“Are you Esther and Gemma? I’m afraid there’s been a mix up with the seat allocation, but it means we need to move you to Business Class”.
In July 2015 I took my first ever long-haul flight to New Orleans, Louisiana, where Gemma and I were due to attend the ‘Echo’ Theology of the Body retreat run by Dumb Ox Ministries. I’d known for a number of years that to really study this teaching I’d one day most likely need to go to America, but this particular whirlwind trip had been planted in our minds, booked, and executed in a total of 2 months. We stayed for two of the most life changing weeks of my entire life, in which time I came face to face with the person God saw me as, encountered the most incredibly open and authentic community of young adults, received deeply moving teaching, and left feeling more certain than ever that God had a plan for my life.
On the way to the airport for our return journey I offered up a flippant prayer with no expectation at all: “Lord, I hate flying, I’m very tired, and I’m not excited about being cramped in a tiny seat for 8 hours. If there’s any way you could get us an upgrade, that’d be great. Cheers!”. What transpired, thanks to an airplane booking error and a steward chasing after us down the plane aisle to catch our attention at the last minute, was a frankly hysterical reinforcement of the message I’d been hearing for the whole fortnight: that God’s love for me was vaster than I could comprehend and totally freely given.
It was on that return flight that Gemma and I shared our sadness that TOB was not more widely known in the UK, and our deepest dreams for sharing the gift of that teaching with our home Church. We envisaged a holistic ministry encompassing teaching, prayer, resource sign-posting, sharing of gifts and expertise, and above all sharing of life. We began to pray and discern, but with numerous life changes for both of us over the next few years the right time didn’t seem to present itself.
Fast forward to lockdown, 2020. Matt was investing more time in learning from podcasts, and felt a prompting from the Lord that he was to share his own heart and mind in this way. We pieced together the puzzle and quickly found that our plans for Eternity Project and Matt’s prompting towards a podcast were one and the same, and took it as confirmation from God that the right time had finally come.
Gemma, Matt, and I are so thankful for God’s provision at every step of the preparation for launching Eternity Project. We’re thankful for those who have agreed to give of their time and talents by contributing their own reflections. Finally, we’re thankful for the immense wisdom of John Paul II, and his courage and selflessness in sharing it with the Church as the mouthpiece of the Holy Spirit. We sincerely hope that you are blessed by it, as we have been!