This weekend we've got the privilege of having Matt and Bianca Olthoff with us, coming all the way from sunny Southern California. I first met Matt at a church learning event in Windsor where a bunch of European churches came together to be coached by church leaders from the US, then met Bianca some months later at a similar event where she'd come along with Matt. Catrina and I had a meal with them and felt strongly to invite them to come, so here they are!
Bianca works as Chief Storyteller (how cool a job title it that!) for The A21 Campaign, a global anti-human trafficking organization which was founded by Christine Caine who many of us will have heard speak at different events. She's one of those people who just lights up any room she walks in to, and has an infectious enthusiasm for life and for God. She's also very prophetic and has a remarkable teaching gift.
Matt is based at Mariners Church in Irvine California, a church of around 15,000 people based on 5 sites. For years he was on staff overseeing discipleship in the church, but more recently he has felt the call to Europe and is now helping to build churches across Europe. Matt's family are originally from Germany - he wasn't too happy about the football result last night! Matt is a great communicator and has a powerful story to tell, both from his own life and his revelation of God through the Bible.
Bianca is going to be speaking at our REAL women's conference this weekend. Please can I encourage any women out there who haven't yet booked in to come along. Even if you can't make the whole event you can get a ticket for either Friday or Saturday evening for just £7.50 cash on the door. Parking is in the college, and there's a special welcome area if you're worried about being there on your own. I'll be around too, so if you do make it please come and say hi.
Then Matt and Bianca are both going to be speaking on Sunday. Matt will be at the 9am and 11am in Bracknell, and Bianca at the 10am in Sandhurst and the 6pm in Bracknell. If you miss Bianca in the morning then please come and catch her in the evening.
Finally Matt is staying on for a few days to meet our staff team, helping us think about how we are organised and how we can communicate what we are doing better.
It's a huge privilege for us to have Matt and Bianca with us. Please make them feel incredibly welcome, and be open to receiving all God has for you through them.