This Spring everything is changing. As one season in our lives comes to an end, we are in this strange place “in between” what has been and what will be. It is a time of uncertainty and a time of waiting, but it is also a time of shaping of character and realignment. We believe God is doing something special in us even though we do not always understand what it is, and the more time we spend “in between” we realise that this journey is less about what we will do in Brazil or our ability to work for God, and more about God’s shaping of us as people… it is more about who God is and who we are, and how those two things work together.
At this time as the Church throughout the world prepares for Easter, we are reminded that before Easter there was a time “in between”. Two long nights stood between Good Friday and Easter Day. That “in between” period was painful, uncertain, confusing and lonely. However, in those two nights and three days God was redeeming, providing and saving. As the disciples wondered how to make sense of it all, God was finishing the job once and for all. Whilst many thought death had triumphed, Jesus was conquering its power and shattering the gates of hell. As it happened, that time in between, was the most important moment in the whole of time. God had redeemed His creation.
God works in the time “in between”… it is not wasted and it is necessary.
So here we stand. In between. Nothing is clear yet, but all is certain. If we trust that God has the best for us and that he will always be true to his promises, then all is certain. As in the lyrics of a song by Graham Kendrick, Crucified Man:
I have buried my life in the cold earth with him
Like a seed in the winter, I wait for the spring
From that garden of tombs Eden rises again
And Paradise blooms from his body and never will end
He’ll finish all he began
Creation hopes in a crucified man
The Christian Hope was shaped in the “in between”. Our salvation made available in the “in between”. We are the “in between people”, those who wait for that which only God can do. Like a seed in the winter waiting for the first Spring day, so we too will wait, trusting that God will make a way.
So what is happening in this season in between?
On 6th January we welcomed our second child, Olivia, through planned caesarean section. Debora and baby are doing well and we are now rediscovering the joys of a new baby in our home! Nicolas (6) is loving having a sibling and loves to spend time with his sister. We had the desire for a second child for a long time and feel so blessed to have her in our lives. It is also such a blessing to have a placid and calm baby at a time of change and transition such as this.
We have been really encouraged to be invited to a few churches to share about our hopes to work in Brazil. We have visited a couple of those already and will be visiting a couple more in the coming few months. It is great to share and feel that our sense of call resonates with others and to hear people and churches express their desire to stand with us.
One of those churches is St Michael and All Angels, Hughenden who have invited us to share our vision for Brazil on May 14th. We have been really moved to hear that their Vicar and Church Wardens have started a sponsored diet in aid of our work. They have so far received pledges in excess of £1400 pounds! It is so great to have such support, thank you! We look forward to hear how they are getting on with their diets when we come to visit.
We are also thankful to St Andrew’s Church where Levi has been working as Curate, for their commitment to us and their amazing support at this time. We will really miss them!
Move to Oxford
After over 10 years in High Wycombe, as Levi’s curacy comes to an end and we start our training with Church Mission Society, we will be moving to Oxford around Easter time. We are leaving our lovely home and giving away our belongings. This again has been an exercise of faith but it has also been releasing! It is so easy to accumulate things even without realising. As we mentioned before, God is more interested in who we are and forging our character, and we feel this detachment from material things is part of His work in us. So it has been liberating to part with stuff and realign our focus on what is important!
We will be moving in time for our training, starting 24th April. We have been told we will have 3 rooms (2 bedrooms and an office) in the house used by Church Mission Society’s Mission Partners in Oxford. There will be other people living in the house and we are looking forward to living in community. We have not done this before but hope that our practice of hospitality over the years will have prepared us a little for what is to come.
Nicolas is also very excited about the move. He has surprised us with his conviction that Jesus has called him into mission as well. He was very upset when he realised the flyers produced did not include his picture! He will be attending Emmanuel Christian School for one term and starts his new school the same day we start training. He visited the school before half-term and loved it. We are praying he gets settled in quickly.
After the end of the required training at the end of June, we will remain in Oxford for an extra month. This is because Levi will be doing a CELTA Course (TEFL) to prepare for our work in teaching young people out in Brazil. Most of those on the streets or at risk would not be able to afford English lessons, so we hope to offer lessons as a way to build relationships etc.
What is going on in Brazil?
The church we are going to work with has expressed how they are looking forward to our arrival. The church pastor is always in touch and has assured us that he and the church are praying for us. They are hoping we will help the church in becoming more focused on the community and to engage with the city’s poor in more effective ways. One of the things they did ahead of us arriving was to take down the church gates, which gave the impression the church was not a welcoming place.
As the country’s political situation deteriorates with huge corruption scandals, a slow economy and violence and crime numbers at historical highs, the country’s poor are the last on the agenda. Whilst politicians try to save themselves from corruption investigations and companies are struggling to continue their activities (particularly small businesses ), the poor are left to their own devices. It is in times like this that people turn to drugs and crime, so we feel excited that God has called there for such a time as this.
We have raised around 43% of what we need for our work in Brazil. We are praying more churches and individuals will choose to support us. Thank you for praying for us and also for all the support we have received through gifts and in other ways. We also pray for you and please do get in touch if you need any prayer, we would love to stand with you!