London, Liverpool and Limerick*
(*Actually Dublin, but the alliteration just wasn’t the same.)
We recently held events in London (South Woodford), Liverpool and Dublin. It was powerful hearing the stories of those attending. Here’s a snippet of the feedback we received:
“The importance of investing in a good healthy relationship/marriage and for God to be part of it.”
“Essential, a good bunch of fun. We felt immediately closer together. Been one of our favourite things to do together.”
“The importance of re-evaluating, refreshing and re-visiting is often forgotten, as marriage gets busier. A day together highlights that importance and re-roots the strong foundations of a flourishing marriage.”
One of my new roles I (Lisa) am thrilled to tell you about is working with a small group of around seven 14-18-year-old girls. The goal of this group is to create space to encourage, equip, and empower these young women.
We meet every Wednesday night and start by spending some time just chilling out together with plenty of hot chocolate and biscuits. During the week, we each aim to participate in reading five chapters of Scripture through the “First5 App”, and we then discuss highlights from the week on Wednesday night. After our Bible chat, we move on to discussing a chapter of the book “The Dating Dilemma – A Romance Revolution.” This book challenges our cultural views on dating and finding “the one” while helping readers consider the framework of principles the Bible gives toward healthy dating. Just last week we took a good look at expectations – an often silent issue that hurts many relationships.
Please join me in praying for these young women. Pray that they would grow in the knowledge of God’s love for them and in His wisdom for living, so they might be strong, confident ambassadors for Jesus.
Meet Jingle. She’s a hearing-dog puppy that we’ve been socialising and training since the end of February. We’ll have her for about 12 months when she’ll go back to the Hearing Dogs for Deaf People for final “sound training” before being matched with a deaf recipient. She’s been fun to have around, though she does have a wilful streak that tests our patience from time to time.
Rest, Refresh and Redirect
We recently completed the last day of our three-month sabbatical, which was a fruitful and at times challenging time to rest, reflect, and redirect.
Chris used this time to brush up on some programming skills, acquire new ones, grow spiritually through study, and grow personally by understanding what is needed to set better boundaries, an area he admits continues to be a work in progress for him.
For Lisa, a long-time dream of going to Italy together was miraculously fulfilled through the abundant generosity of multiple people. We spent two weeks in our friends’ flat (apartment) in Florence together. Times by the river reading and reflecting as a family were treasures. While Ethan read “The Shack”, Lisa completed Beth Moore’s “Entrusted” study and found it hugely helpful in her walk with Jesus. One principal she found especially helpful was this: “To follow Jesus closely is to fulfil your calling completely.”
One of the goals of a sabbatical is to reflect on your calling and whether God is redirecting you in any way. We gave earnest time of prayer and reflection on our effectiveness, funding, and fit in our current roles. Three things were evident:
- Our funding has always been a challenge; however, we are now to the end of our savings and find ourselves in a place of carrying some debt. A situation which must be corrected.
- Lisa felt she could give her greatest contribution to the Kingdom in a role that allowed her more face time (the real face time) with people.
- Chris felt he could best benefit the Kingdom by having a broader ministry to serve – thus allowing him more actual programming opportunity; his greatest gifting.
After much prayerful consideration and counsel from others, we firmly believe God has led Lisa to take a paid role through our church at The Bread House to assist the goal of getting us financially stable while offering her the opportunity to continue developing her ministry skills in a local context. Our pastors felt this could be a sort of “tent-making” opportunity. The Bread House, a not-for-profit outreach of our church here, seeks to combine a passion for community with a desire to demonstrate Christian values at the heart of Chalfont St. Peter.
Lisa continues in a missionary role as a staff member of our local church family while maintaining her calling to FamilyLife/Agapé as Associate Staff and supporting Chris with his work. Lisa is excited to have this platform to be a light for Christ within the community where we live. Already she has made connections with people in the village; inviting them to church and giving FamilyLife resources to people with whom God has allowed her to have meaningful conversations.
Chris has felt God’s leading to transition teams within Agapé (Cru UK) to the HQ’s IT team – thereby expanding the ministries under Agapé to whom he can offer his technical skills. He will serve the greater mission of Agapé throughout the UK. New data protection legislation comes into effect in the UK next year, and part of Chris’ role will assist in the implementation and migration of software to follow these new laws. His salary and ministry expenses will continue to be covered by our current financial support.
These decisions were not made lightly, yet we firmly believe this is a new chapter in God’s journey and plan for us. We’re excited to see how He will use us in this new season.
While we will maintain our connection to FamilyLife, we are leaving some gaps in the team. Thankfully God was already at work in bringing new team members in, and Chris will continue to support the IT needs of FamilyLife along with the broader Agape IT team. However, we would ask that you join us in praying that God will bring just the right person to take on a Network Coordinator position.
We do hope you find this an exciting expansion of the work we were called to over ten years ago. We are seeking to do more in the areas of our strengths and make greater contributions to ministry while stabilising our family. We rely on your ongoing support as we continue to serve God’s people locally and beyond. Thank you for your faithful commitment to our work and for your continued prayers that we can thrive and bear abundant fruit in our ministry. Please contact us if you have any questions about these changes. We would love to connect with you.
Prayer and Praise
Thank you for continuing to pray for us and your support. Please pray…
- for our neighborhood Christmas outreach on December 10th.
- for participants completing the Alpha Course hosted at The Bread House
And give praise …
- for the changed lives of those who attended our events this year
- for approval to use “The 5 Love Languages” in Toucan.