With only five months to go until we leave Shrewsbury, the move is beginning to feel more real! The highlight of this last few weeks has been linking up with the Cooking with Poo tour. Despite being run off our feet hosting events in different locations it was precious time with future neighbours and UNOH team. We got a small glimpse of what God has in store for the future and this has sparked off all sorts of hopes and dreams (as well as feelings of inadequacy!). We have been reflecting this week on the importance of spending time with people on their turf. Next time we see our friends they will be on familiar ground as we stumble around and find our feet.
We were thankful for a brilliant turnout to our Thai evening where Anji Barker shared a heartfelt insight into life in the Lok 3 neighbourhood of Klong Toey Slum. Ash Barker spoke at our church today and his challenge to ‘surrender all’ to God was a great reminder of why we first took steps towards towards living amongst the poorest of the poor. It was a blessing for our boys to meet Aiden Barker who could reassure them about his experience of growing up in the very house we will move into. They also took great pleasure in having the Cooking with Poo team at their school for a Thai themed day! The subject of daddy’s Thai name has dominated conversation since finding out that ‘Jon’ can be pronounced in four different tones which have four different meanings; sadly we can’t yet hear the difference but our favourite is the one meaning ‘crook’!!!
As we begin to sort out some of the practicalities of moving country, we would value prayer for straightforward visa applications and for Jon’s final GP appraisal. The next month seems quite critical for securing school bursaries for Elliot and Sam as some important conversations take place. There are lots of barriers to this so please pray for a breakthrough but also that we don’t hold too tightly to our own plans. Could you also pray that we prioritise sustaining ourselves spiritually as we transition out of life here. It’s looking busy and emotional!
Seeing our financial support come in has been a humbling experience. Henri Nouwen wrote that fundraising ‘is a way of announcing our vision and inviting other people into our vision’; affectively building a team. We knew that if God called us He would provide but it still stops us in our tracks every time someone offers their support! Thank-you to all you super generous people who have pledged to give an amount or already started giving through Stewardship. With this our regular monthly support has reached half-way point! Hooray!
We need to secure another £1250 per month by September in order to cover living costs and project costs when we move – see the ‘Partner with us’ page for more details. As we’ve heard the stories of friends from the slum community and further explored the Incarnational approach to mission, we are more convinced than ever that your contribution will make a direct difference to those who experience the crushing effects of poverty in Klong Toey Slum. We would love to speak to groups or individuals further afield so please contact us if your church or team would be interested in hearing more. In a very real sense we can’t do this without you!