This is the second weekend in a row we’ve managed to get out and explore the beauty of the world around us, and I’m loving where God has placed us in the world. We walked along a picturesque section of Hadrian’s wall – like the Great wall of China, but not quite as great. It was built with much the same purpose: to keep out the northern barbarians – in this case the Scots. Continue Reading…
In Australia roadworks were traditionally done by the local council, and though for many years it has been subcontracted out to private companies there is still a general image of ‘council workers’ who dress in reflective gear and sit by the roadside smoking cigarettes. I’ve discovered recently that it’s the same in England – except for the name.
All around the world I have seen this same phenomenon. I can’t imagine why the government needs to install traffic cones along a 3 mile stretch of the motorway where there is no appearance of any work being done or any damage to the road. Do they just do it for fun?
I decided that I needed to look this up on the web. The Highways Agency twitter account mentioned the closed lane:
Still, I found it very difficult to find out WHY the lanes were blocked – as the highways agency doesn’t allow you to search in the past (though it’s helpful for the future – http://www.trafficengland.com/disruptions.aspx)
Eventually I found this on a cached version of the advanced driving website:
M6 northbound between J39 and J40 | Northbound | Resurfacing
On the M6 northbound between junctions J39 and J40, minor delays can be expected at peak times due to carriageway resurfacing , between 8 pm and 6 am, from 5 February 2013 to 8 February 2013.
I passed through on the 9th of February, so I guess they finished the job and decided to leave the cones in place one more day (or more!). Oh well.
Yesterday I saw some guys doing works on the road while there was snow coming down and wind blowing it everywhere, so I guess that kind of makes up for it.
So we’ve been here in Carlisle for just over two weeks now and we’re almost all settled in. We are so very thankful for the gifts that people have given us towards setting up a new home together. Every time I cut up vegetables I am thankful for sharp knives and nice (colour coded!) chopping boards. We love the concept of being able to store things in places other than our bedroom for once! One important part of setting up a home happened just last night – we finally got our new book-cases. Ruth had lots of fun putting out all her books on display, and I must say they look great. And don’t worry, I’ve set up the TV and Wii so we’re all set there!
But we’ve had little time to sit at home and play with our toys because we are already hard at work at OM. With the TeenStreet conference in Germany happening this month, Ruth has been planning a whole kid’s program and I have been training in the use of some pretty crazy sophisticated equipment. It is going to be a hectic two weeks so please pray for us as we go on this adventure together.
Yes, Ruth and I finally tied the knot on the 9th of June 2012 at Northchurch Baptist Church, Berkhamsted, England. We had a magnificent day that (save for a slight delay) turned out just the way we planned. The sun even made an appearance in the afternoon and there was an especially beautiful sunset to end the day. You can see lots of photos of the big day on our facebook pages.
We had a lovely relaxing honeymoon in tropical north Queensland, Australia before heading to Australia for a whole second wedding and reception! It was lovely to celebrate again with the people who are special to me, and who had already met Ruth and encouraged us on our journey together. It was also a time for last goodbyes as we flew back to the UK two days later!
We’ve been very busy setting up our new home in Carlisle, UK and we will have some photos for you to see soon. We’ve also started work already as volunteers for Operation Mobilisation – Ruth is working with families in the mission field and I am working with a multimedia ministry called OMNIvision. Between our day jobs, setting up a home, getting over jetlag and getting used to each other – we’re quite drained – so please pray for energy and grace for one another.
It’s only 9 days now until Ruth and I tie the knot here in Berkhamsted, England. We’re both super excited and thankful we can count the days on our fingers now. Everything seems to be coming together quite well for us as far as wedding planning and preparing for the future.
We will be broadcasting the wedding live over the internet from our church streaming channel:
Note that this is not going to be a television worthy production, but you will be able to see and hear all the essentials if you want to stay up till 10:30pm EST. You can see another wedding has been recorded as ours will be to get an idea of the quality of coverage – though our ceremony will be quite different!
Ruth and I have been going through The Marriage Preparation Course by the makers of Alpha with our pastor and would happily recommend the course to new couples. http://relationshipcentral.org/marriage-preparation-course
Our first couple of months in Carlisle seem to be shaping up as well. We have both been selected to be involved in TeenStreet - a huge Christian event challenging teenagers to live for Christ – in July and we have both been recruited for the Go conference – where new missionaries come to be equipped before going out into the world. I will be doing audio visual and Ruth will be looking after kids and consulting with families entering the mission field.
We can hardly wait for our new life to begin. We are seeing God’s provision for us every day in having enough money to buy food and bus tickets, to the big things like wedding rings and houses. Ruth’s monthly support income is almost at 100% – we are just seeking God for another £100 – £200. She is also looking for part time teaching work to give us enough to live on. If she is unable to find enough work, my monthly support will need to increase by up to $600 per month to give us spending money for things like groceries and public transport. Please continue to pray that the rest of the figures add up and we can begin serving God without being a burden to the organisation we go with.
“It’s such a relief that you could come to help out today Chris, you were a big help” a member of the OMNIvision crew remarked as he dropped me home late Saturday night. I was just thankful to God for the opportunity to be a part of the event.
Last Wednesday I left my lovely fiancee in Berkhamsted and caught a train to Carlisle to work on a software project for OM ships. I had wanted to spend some more time in Carlisle connecting and getting accustomed to the area, and OM had kindly paid my way up here for a week and a half. On Friday morning in devotions, a member of OMNIvision approached me and asked me if I’d like to go to Manchester with them for the weekend Northern Men’s Conference. I agreed without delay and was whisked off to the bus as soon as I could tell people where I was going.
One crew member had fallen ill and I was needed to help with setup, packdown and camera. I had operated a camera many times before on the ship, but this was a step up from that. Bigger cameras, more professional crew, and an audience that expect quality.
The Northern Men’s Conference was a one day Christian conference with keynote speaker Dr David Cook from Australia encouraging men from all around Northern England how to be the man God designed them to be. As I operated the camera, it struck me that he was saying some key stuff that mattered to me at this point in my life. I am moving from being a single man under my parents to being a husband and head of the household. Whilst I won’t repeat his talks, I especially like that he said God designed us in his image – to work as He does, to rest as He does and to Love as he does. This and many other truths washed over me as I operated the camera – I felt doubly blessed hearing this instruction and doing what I love doing.
The Audio/Visual side of things ran very smoothly and everyone was thankful that I could come along and fill in for the other camera operator. I am looking forward to the big events like Teen Street that I’ll be involved with this summer. I thank God for the surprise adventure, the blessing of growing relationships with the crew and the instruction I received on being a man of God.
Following our week in Carlisle nailing down the details of our future, this week has been spent connecting (or re-connecting in Ruth’s case) with the community of Ruth’s Home Church, Northchurch Baptist. I’ve been staying with two lovely families that live near Ruth. It’s been great to get to know them better by living in their homes and sharing a little in their lives. Ruth and I have been doing our best to share with others what God has called us to do in Carlisle. (you can read it here: Chris|Ruth) A big part of this has been participating in home groups. We’ve also had penty of time to spend on wedding planning – which as you could imagine, turns out to be quite a bit of work when you want to stick to a budget!
We are both really excited about continnuing work with OM, and sometimes I feel like I’d like to be there right now serving God with my skills and giftings – but He is encouraging me each day that building my relationship with Ruth and connecting with people in her life – laying down a good foundation for the future is the best use of my time right now.
This Wednesday I’m headed to Carlisle for 1.5 weeks to work on an urgent project, then I’m back here in Berkhamsted until the wedding on June 9th. We’ll disappear until our Australian blessing and reception on June 26th, and after that we’ll return to Carlisle to set up home and start work on July 2nd.
We’ve been really encouraged so far by generous gifts and pledges of financial support. it’s still early days as far as Ruth’s levels are concerned. I’m still resting at 70%. We can’t help but testify that God has suppplied all of our needs up to this point and we Trust he will continue to surprise us in the future.
Ruth and I recently spent the week in the northern border city of Carlisle nestled at the foothills of the Scottish highlands. Though it was a little colder up there we had a lovely time and we feel like we have a little more assurance of the future. We visited the OM International Coordinating Team (ICT) office and met some of the team who work there. ICT’s purpose is to come alongside missionaries at all levels and in all countries and provide the support and organisation that they need to do the work God has given them to do. Whilst the roles here feel a little bit corporate, the focus and outworking is in equipping, praying for and ministering to missionaries around the world.
Ruth spent some time with those she will be working with and the person that she will be replacing. She was able to get a good handle on what the job involves and get her hands on some resources that she can get familiar with in the coming months. The team seem very keen to have her working there as soon as we can – which will absolutely be after our wedding and honeymoon in June!
I spent some time with the team who run IT (Information Technology) on Logos Hope. They are putting together a donation system for the ships ministry that I am helping to construct. This is something I’ll be working on in the coming weeks alongside wedding plans and support raising. I also got to visit OMNIvision again and connect with the crew there. I will be based at OMNIvision (which is in a separate studio a few miles from ICT). I got to see the events that are coming up this summer and I’m very excited about the possibilities.
We were delighted to spend time with the Ingham family who let me stay with them for the week and often had Ruth and I around for dinner. It was very encouraging to be welcomed so warmly, especially when we don’t really know anyone in Carlisle. We were able to see a house that we could possibly move into in July, but there are no guarantees. We like the house so we are praying it will work out – if not they will find us another place.
It’s all very daunting moving to the UK, moving away from Ruth’s hometown, getting married and changing jobs – but we keep bringing it back to God and He keeps reassuring us we are doing the right thing. We are continually encouraged by the way that our lives seem to have been building towards this place and time – that God has been working behind the scenes in our lives in the good times and the bad to prepare us for ministry.
Independence seems like the ultimate confirmation of being a ‘real man’ or for that matter a ‘real woman’. Something inside us wants to prove that we can make it on our own, to pay our own way, to not need anybody. Perhaps that’s why some people move out of home when they turn 18 (or sometimes younger!) Perhaps we were taught from early on that being independent from our parents and those around us should be our goal. Birds will push their young chicks out of the nest so that they will learn to fly – if they didn’t push them, the little birds would never try something that strange. Maybe you’ve also been pushed out of the nest.
But more and more I’m starting to see how this mindset develops into a lonely and isolated existence. Going it alone – either as a single person or as a family unit – has some romantic notions and promises to never be a burden on anyone, but it can’t be healthy. God designed us to live in relationship with each other, to be a community. Listen to this verse from 1 Corinthians 12:
14For the body is not one member, but many. 15If the foot says, “Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. 16And if the ear says, “Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. […] 20But now there are many members, but one body. 21And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; or again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” […] 26And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.
I love that part ‘If one member suffers, all the members suffer with it’. It’s not that I want to bring everyone down all the time – but have you ever suffered something in silence? Have you ever pretended that everything was OK, because you were afraid you would be rejected or be a burden – or you weren’t even sure what you were afraid of? As Christians we are supposed to be the body of Christ, and there are no independent parts in that body. Each part needs every other part in order to function, and God has designed us to work together in unity and harmony.
I have been wrestling with God today over finances. He has repeatedly reminded me to trust him to provide for me, but there’s that part of me that keeps rising up and saying “I want to do this in my strength. I want to provide for my own needs and in the future for my wife.” But that’s not how God is leading Ruth and I to live. He is asking us to be fully dependent on Him, and on our fellow Christians for all our needs. Even though things don’t look promising now, He knows our needs and He will provide for us. We have to let go of that part of us that wants to be independent.
I also think about Romans 12:10 – “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.” Was that only talking about honoring the pastor above yourselves? No. It applies to everyone in the church. To often, the person sitting next to me in Church is suffering emotionally or financially or in their health, but I’m not at all interested in listening, praying for and helping them. My prayer is that I am more sensitive to the needs of my brothers and sisters in Christ – and have the guts to ask them how things are really going for them.
“We’re just glad to have you for Christmas” were my Mum’s kind words. After two years away from home missing Christmases and Birthdays, it was good to be home this year for my birthday, Christmas and New years. Often I think to myself that even though I would never change where God has taken me, I have in some way neglected my family and friends back home – that I’ve travelled the world doing God’s work, but left friends in the lurch. Spending this season at home, before jetting away again is an opportunity for me to make up for lost time. To spend quality time with my family, to help around the home where I can, to laugh, cry and hope with friends wherever they are at in life and to share with anyone who wants to know a little of what God has been doing in my life. My prayer is that God will use me in the time that I am here to bless people.
I was also delighted to spend this Christmas Eve at Grace Wamberal. I put in many hours of planning and two days of maintenance work to bring our lighting installation up to scratch for the carols service. It was so rewarding to see it on the night – everything working and arranged for the best coverage. Few if any people commented on the lighting this year, and that’s actually the way that I think it should be. They didn’t notice it at all, rather they were rejoicing and celebrating Jesus birth. When large numbers of people notice what I do, whether positive or negative – I know I’ve done something wrong, because my job is to point to the saviour, not to wow people with special effects.
As the new year dawns, I’ll be getting back to working in the church office on websites near and far in addition to continuing work on the audio visual equipment. I hope to be of the best use to the kingdom of God that I can be during these summer months at home. In April I will be heading over to England to be involved in an Audio/Visual missions movement called OMNIvision. I wish you and your families and friends all the best for 2012.