I received a helpful response to our last prayer letter, which explained the current trend in Boston. I thought an edited version of my response would help everyone know our thoughts about the future of ministry in cities like Boston. Below you will see my friends note to us, and below that my response to him. Hope this is beneficial to you.
My Friends Note: Subject: RE: Edmondson Prayer Letter
Prayed for you this morning, Bill. It must be the strangest new school year ever! Perhaps God has some new doors to open for you since the student outreach is limited. Perhaps some international business people?
Thank you for your insightful encouragement and the discerning prayers that accompany it
Yes, for now at least, ministering to the academic community has become more difficult. Some have even cut off communication completely.
Yet, as you know, this has not caught God our Savior, who continues to build His church, by surprise.
A couple things:
There remains a large and diverse global academic community in Boston and there will always be individuals from that community aching for the gospel. We just need to ask our Savior to lead us to them.
The city, particularly global cities like Boston, are made up of many components, which are by nature globalized and strategic: 1) the business community, 2) the various immigrant communities, 3) city government, 4) the tourist industry, 5) and even the recreational communities. Until now we have been concentrating on the academic communities at the neglect of the other communities. It is time to diversify our outreach. Remember, our calling is to minister to the world by ministering in strategically populated cities. We think God has prepared the city for this, and we must join the Savior in the whole global city to build His body globally.
Actually, I have seen this coming for awhile. At least for me personally, it has become more difficult to minister effectively to the Chinese community, which was the heart of our academic ministry. Now, with the pandemic along with the geopolitical situation, Chinese ministry is becoming very limited—at least for now.
However, Deb and I are experiencing new opportunities in our new South End neighborhood. Just think, after all these years, God has placed us right in the center of one of most globally connected cities in the world. It took arduous labor and much time to get here, but we are here. Now we just need to learn how to effectively live Christ here. We are making slow progress—it always seems slow. It takes time for us to learn the lessons our Savior is teaching us, but we’re getting there. God has placed us in two additional communities beyond the academic communities to which we feel led to invest time, our condo community and our rock climbing community.
The 290 Columbus Avenue Condo community includes eight units with eight very diverse globally connected people/couples/residents, professors, lawyers, students, and professionals of different occupations. I have become not only a trustee but also the point person for the community as we corporately deal with our property management company and various contractors. Deb and I have also cared for many small maintenance needs around the building. One other way we have become acquainted with our neighbors is through Deb’s hospitality. Many have received her bake goods. These activities are building relationships, which we plan on becoming evangelistic Bible studies. Recently, one of the owners complimented us by saying, “No one knew each other around here until you two moved in.” Our condo community is becoming a community. It is our intent that it become a Christian community.
The rock climbing community is a very interesting community to say the least. Good hearted and unencumbered is one way to understand them. Several of these friends live in their cars or at the climbing gym. What binds this community together is a love for climbing, a love which they pursue globally. One of our good friends is from Ukraine and another is Jewish, it is in fact a global community. It has taken a long time to understand, to accept, and to be accepted by this community, but we are there now, and gospel opportunities are happening—it’s so cool. I’m 66 now and do get tired. Yet our stewardship from God remains—ten churches or communities of churches doing Great Commission ministry in ten Cities in the ten major civilizations.
By God’s grace and energizing power, we are committed to pursuing this stewardship until it is fulfilled, or until our Savior returns, or until we go to Him. However, as I have said, at ninety it will be time to sit down😇
Thanks for asking and praying,