You may have seen on the news sheet that the PCC have recently approved the Appel family as our new Mission Partners. We are delighted to hear this news and as Howard (my husband), myself and Debbie Bloomfield will be their links with the church family I thought the staff letter would be a good place to introduce them to you.
Of course, some of you will remember them well as Tom served here from the summer of 2006 for just over 3 years. I had the privilege of working alongside him on the staff team and have great memories of his wonderful ministry. Not only did Tom do a great job as Youth Minister, he could also lead worship, preach and lead, he was (is) a great writer and teacher AND he was great fun to be around. I have particularly good memories of working with him on our Resonate Camps down at Latimer.
We were so blessed to have Tom, not least because he is married to Joanna and they were often at their best when they ministered together. When they served as interns at St Andrew’s prior to coming here, Jo led the young women’s ministry, mentored young people and led worship. Here at Christ Church Jo continued to support Tom in the youth ministry building relationships with our young people and they led worship together beautifully. I got to know Joanna really well when we took a group of young women to Uganda to serve with Jenga. She was a complete star, passionate, caring, hard-working and brilliant with sorting out the money side of things which I was hopeless at!
We were so sad to say goodbye to them when the time came for them to return to Nashville in 2009. Since then they have been busy serving the Lord in various positions ranging from working as a neighbourhood organiser, assisting the church planting department of the United Methodist Church, working on the Mayor of Nashville’s initiative for after-school programs for young people, helping to plant a new church, and leading the Youth Ministry at Bethany Vineyard Church in Denver. Oh and by the way, they also had their four beautiful children (!) twin sons Reuben and Eli, followed by Silas and most recently at just 6 weeks old, a little girl Elodie.
Tom began studying at Bethany Theological College in 2012 and towards the end of his study, Tom and Jo began to think about their ministry calling. They love evangelism, serving in places where there aren’t yet very many believers, Europe (especially France and the UK) and developing and offering discipleship to leaders. In April 2015 Greater Europe Mission (GEM) invited Tom and Joanna for a discernment week. This was an intense and tough interview process with personality tests, a bible knowledge exam, interviews with counsellors and more. In November 2015 Tom and Joanna visited the GEM team in France and it was then that they had confirmation that France was where the Lord was calling them.
Since Tom finished seminary with a Masters of Divinity focused on mission and evangelism, the Appels have been working hard on ministry partner development and that is where Christ Church fits into the jigsaw. Howard, Debbie and myself would love to have more people alongside us prepared to pray regularly for the Appels and to be on their circulation list for news. You may already have signed up for this direct with them. If so would you mind letting us know? We look forward to being part of their exciting journey to France. Please consider joining us in supporting them.