It’s a significantly more relaxed Fletcher family writing this month! We are so glad we set aside these weeks of holiday/retreat as the season of goodbyes was hard. God has used this time to strengthen us and help us process our experience of leaving Shrewsbury.
Here are some pictures of our time staying with the Iona Community – yes it was even warm enough to have a quick dip in the sea! The routine of services, meals and tasks provided structure to the day and still left plenty of time for exploring the Island. Our usual instinct would be to avoid meeting people on holiday (how unsociable are we!) but connecting with the staff and other guests was a huge blessing. A highlight was our trip to Staffa where we climbed to Fingal’s Cave and were accompanied home by three dolphins jumping alongside the boat! This week camping on the Borders has been mostly about lighting fires so far… Sam is already wearing gloves so it is some consolation that he won’t get cold fingers in Thailand!
We were all very moved by our leaving party and service and are not quite sure how we held it together that weekend. Thank you so much to everyone for making it so special! There is so much love and support from UK friends and family and we miss you all already. Just three days with each side of the family and then we fly on Wednesday. It doesn’t feel quite real yet; we’ve known about this move for years now but it has always seemed a long way off. It is definitely the first thing we think of in the morning now and we’ve had some pretty weird moving dreams!
We’ve had the space to have some meaningful chats as a family and voice some of our hopes and worries. Can we ask you to pray for some specific things in the coming weeks?
– Good relationships with close friends and family as we leave and knowing how to keep these strong from a distance
– Smooth travel, especially that our airline will be lenient with weight limit and visa issues. That we will get some sleep as we travel overnight and arrive in a reasonable state
– That the boys will have their first impressions of the slum protected and not be too overwhelmed. That our new space will quickly become home and we will all find coping mechanisms
– Clear thinking about our reasons for making this move and a fresh willingness to limit our freedoms for the sake of others
– That team dynamics will be positive from the start with openness in our communication and love for each other rooted in Jesus
– That our arrival and general cluelessness won’t overly burden anyone in our team or new neighbourhood, but that we will also be humble learners and receivers
– For confidence to speak Thai as we pick it up and not be held back by our fear of making mistakes
– For some significant relationships with neighbours willing to guide us through everyday culture and share life with us. That neighbours won’t have unrealistic expectations of us
– For meeting the wider UNOH team as they come to Bangkok later in October and that we grasp more of their vision for the future
– Elliot and Sam beginning to adjust in the 4 weeks before they start school. Especially that language will be no barrier to play and that they will be secure in family relationships. For ways to process their new experiences well and extra patience for parents
– That some more generous people will be prompted to give through our Stewardship account (see ‘partner with us’ page for link or form to print) as we still haven’t fully covered monthly costs
Thank-you all so much for your support and your prayers, please know that these are carrying us in a very real sense at the moment. Our next update will be written from Bangkok!!! Hooray!