After five years teaching at Grace International school, we are set for another transition to take up a post called Minister of Discipleship at Above Bar Church Southampton. May God have mercy and help me get through the wretched British winters!
We asked the Lord for clarity and I believe we have it. When discerning a call as significant as this, the external call from the church needs to be corroborated by an internal call; which is a strong sense, given by the Holy Spirit, to all the family, that this is the right thing. At least that is what we prayed for, and I believe we received in Southampton. When we left Chiang Mai, to visit Above Bar Church. I felt that it was only 50% likely we would accept the position. I have really enjoyed teaching at Grace. Missionary Kid education and discipleship is so vital and strategic. Also, recently we have been doing more hospitality and the kids have been excelling in their sports. But the external call was pretty clear from the church and this was affirmed last week by the vote, at which 98% of the members voted for us to come!
The week we spent, four weeks ago, with John and Alison Risbridger (Pastor and wife) was a whirlwind of activity. We were jet lagged and slightly disoriented arriving in winter which we haven’t experienced for five years.
Yet, Joe felt, as soon as he arrived at church, that this was to be the place the Lord has for us. “The Lord sets the exact times and places we should live, so that we would reach out and find him- even though he is not far from each one of us.” ( Acts 17:26 PAR). After numerous breakfasts of porridge, some great chats with John, Paul Webber and other members and a grueling four services on the Sunday including an hour of questions and answers at tea time, I and Ann definitely felt the same as Joe. God was calling us to Southampton!
On the Saturday, we managed to escape church activities for an afternoon and go to watch the Saints lose to Cardiff with my Dad, his wife and my sister Louise who are based in Southampton at the moment. This was also a lovely day out (despite the result). Isaac and Joe were thrilled to attend their first Premiership match. Hopefully we can go to a few more!
As we think about transition there is so much to do. I have another 9 weeks at school and hope to be involved in the interview process for my replacement. We need to pack everything, find schools for the kids and then a house in Southampton to rent initially, before hopefully buying once we have sold our house in Woking.
At this stage of the school year with the pollution and heat (It will be over 100F every day for the next 6-8 weeks) we are very tired. Please do pray for us to get everything done and to be able to start our new roles somewhat fresh!