We hope that you have all had a wonderful Christmas and new year. We have enjoyed hearing from many of you and all that God has done in your lives over his past year.
Leading up to Christmas was a busy time, as I am sure for many of you all too. For me (Nicki) one highlight was being able to share the Christmas message at our mothers and babies Alternatives Christmas party. You can see me in the photo sharing with them all the story of the birth of Jesus. All of the ladies present were Muslim and some we have known for as long as six or seven years when they came with their first babies. Over the years it has been great to see a trust being built, as reflected in the comments that they make to us or the special cultural kisses that they give only to people they trust. We always take the opportunity to share our faith at Christmas and Easter. I took in our little nativity scene from home to share the story and particularly dwelled on the simplicity and hardship surrounding the birth of Jesus. Many of the women have faced hardships over this past year, times of being without and at least one of the ladies present had also faced homelessness and emotional turmoil. I had felt very nervous leading up to doing the talk and I knew that many were praying about it. There was such a peace in the room and it was wonderful to see them nodding when I said that God understands all that they go through. Please keep praying for them.
Leading into this new year I am feeling a mixture of emotions but the main one is excitement for what God has ahead for us. The start of my handover of my various roles in Alternatives has been a very encouraging and satisfying process as the current leadership team has risen to new challenges and two new members will be joining them to share the load. I will work alongside them in the next few months but am so excited about how God is going to take this ministry on. Please pray particularly for the fresh publicity going out for Alternatives in January and the work on a new website. (STOP PRESS: The advertising agent we used, Clear Channel, have abruptly lost the contract for the Metro advertising. Please pray this will offer us better and cheaper opportunities to us to advertise with the new agency replacing them. We are pleased as we felt it was time for a shake up.)
As we wind down here, we need to start to prepare more intensively for our move in April. Kevin already is working two days a week with the Fresh Expressions movement from Brussels. He is busy writing resources for them and will be meeting with the Fresh Expressions team in the UK each month from now on. He will tie this in with any arrangements for our move.
Earlier on this year we felt God challenge us that it was “time to get out of the boat”. The time is getting closer when we need to step over the side of the boat and walk on the water! Please join us in praying that 2014 will be a year to fix our eyes on Jesus and not the waves beneath us.
God bless you and as ever thank you for your faithfulness to us.
Nicki, Kevin, Sam, Ellie, Luc and Josh