As we’ve celebrated Sam’s fourth birthday today it’s brought home to us how quickly time is passing. The baby of the family is growing up! Sam surprised us earlier by announcing that he is ready to go to Bangkok; for the past year we’ve been telling him to wait until he is four! Time is such a hard concept to grasp and, like most of us, Sam would like more control of it. But he also commented “I don’t feel four” which is an interesting insight. Sometimes when we step into an identity it takes a while to really own it.
I’ve lost count of how many times people have told us ‘you’re so brave’ when we talk about our move to Klong Toey Slum. I never know what to say and tend to make a joke of it. Just to set the record straight, we are definitely not brave. The worries are very real. To echo Sammy “We don’t feel brave”! We take comfort from the assurance that God will give us the strength we need at the right time and not before. Because he does control time! I don’t suppose we’ll ever feel brave but I do dare to pray that we will feel equipped and more able to own the identity of ‘urban missionary’.
Maybe Sammy will feel four tomorrow!
In other news, we loved the opportunity to speak at Holy Trinity Meole Brace Church on Sunday night and felt truly ministered to by a very special group of people. We are still looking for other churches (near or far) willing to host us and hear about God’s heart for the marginalised and His specific calling on our family. It is exciting to see our list of supporters growing and feel that God is mobilising a team that really cares about us, about our future neighbours and about the wider evil of urban poverty.
We are still needing to secure another £1,000 in regular monthly giving before we make the move in October and share this as a matter for prayer. It is always hard to judge how much we should ask for financial support and how much to trust that God will provide anyway. Please pray that we’ll be better at both!
We get the impression that it is an exciting time to be working with Urban Neighbours of Hope. The organisation is coming through it’s period of transition and is more committed than ever to serving the urban poor at a grassroots level. Jon has been reading Jean Johnson’s book ‘We are not the hero’ and Elise is reading a book by Dave Arnold called ‘Pilgrims of the Alley’. We are learning a lot about the value of culture and humility.
Further to last months newsletter we have sent off applications to Bangkok preparatory school and are asking for reduced fees. Please pray for the admissions tutors as they consider our application in the coming weeks. We have also taken part in a ‘families overseas’ training day at Redcliffe College where Elliot was able to meet with 10 other children in a similar position. It was wonderful for him to take time reflecting on his feelings about the move and normalise the prospect slightly. As parents we also took away some great encouragement and tools for helping our children with this transition.
Birthdays are fun but they also remind us how much we will miss our close family and friends. Please pray that we will use our final months here well and that close relationships will be protected.