Today I visited Frontline church, Liverpool. It is where my brother and his family attend church. They've been Christians just over a year and this was the first time we've been able to go to church with them. I'm here on a visit linked with heading to the IFES Assembly.
I sat there being introduced to various friends and the church pastor. It was great to be there. As the service started my eyes fell on the back of the head of the man in front of me. He was black: dark, West African black. His fair flecked with white above his ears. "He looks like Femi" I thought.
Femi Adeleye is the Associate General Secretary of IFES. We've met several times over the last 20 years: Britain, Canada, Australia. The meetings have always been fleeting and never particularly significant. His significance in the work globally has made him more memorable to me than I would ever be to him. "He REALLY looks like Femi, but that is ridiculous, Femi lives in Ghana and he'll be in Poland already".
The moment came to say hello to those around us. This dark skinned African and smiled a borad smile as he introduced himself to the man directly beside him, "Hello," came the African bass "my name is Femi and I am from Ghana."
I spoke to Femi and reintroduced myself. We chatted then and again at the end of the service. How is it that two visitors to a city, on the way to a conference in Poland, sit within one meter of each other at a church service?
In that moment I felt the power of God's sovereignty - struck too that the subject of the sermon was Acts 4 and God's sovereign ruling over the great sweep and the minor details of life. It is a sobering lesson in a week when a talented and famous young woman throws away her life in the pursuit of a chemical escape and when it an unknown man blows up a car and points guns with the sole focus of destroying lives. It is powerfully sobering when considering the brokenness of the world, soul breakingly demonstrated in the depressing realities of East African famine yet again compounded by evil of local rulers.
The IFES World Assembly over the next 10 days will unpack the sovereignty of God worked out in the details of student ministry. Meeting Femi today spoke to me of God's power and presence in the minutiae of life - I'm looking forward to many more such meetings actually at the World Assembly.