Question to Ellie: “Are you the girl who is living in the caravan on the bishop’s drive?” The news had got out that we had arrived! Sean was very pleased to get a promotion! So, I am indeed writing this in the caravan exactly a month since our big moving day from Belgium. Our heads are still spinning from all that has happened in these last few weeks but overall we are incredibly grateful to God for so many answers to prayers. First of all the initial move went very well and Kevin did an great job of driving the monster truck without it getting any scratches. Ellie and Sam joined Kevin in the truckers carriage on Eurotunnel. All our furniture was then put into storage and then Kevin made the trip back to Belgium to clean, repair the house and dispose of everything that did not fit into the lorry. I went with the children to my mum’s in Stroud for a week.
Finally we arrived as a family in Woodley, near Reading and our new life has begun here, albeit a bit on hold as we still await news of when we can move into our new home. You will remember that a family in the church are buying the house for us to rent from them. Things are progressing but a lot slower than we had all hoped. It will be easier when we have a moving date but in the mean time the community have welcomed us amazingly, helping with washing, meals, rabbit sitting etc. so in some ways we can see how God is using this time to integrate us much quicker than if we had been self-sufficient. We are only human though, so sometimes grumpiness levels rise just a bit!
The children have all started their new schools and again it has gone very well. Of course there have been some wobbles and tears but overall they have done amazingly well, getting to grips with new timetables, new friends and not forgetting the huge adjustment for Ellie, Luc and Josh to be learning in English for the first time. We have been accepting that England doesn’t feel like home yet. We miss Belgium and all our wonderful friends there and we are aware that we are different people through our experience of living there for ten years.
Having said all that we are very excited being here and are amazed at some of the opportunities that have already arisen. Our programme is coming together. Kevin and I are both working together two days a week with Emmanuel church helping them to start a Fresh Expression for the 20-30s. We have had conversations with a number of people wanting to be a part of the core group to set this up. We are hoping to draw everyone together this coming Sunday to pray and brainstorm. Up to the summer we will be focusing on building this core group up, working through Fresh Expression’s resources, praying and drawing out their gifts and how they can get involved. The aim is to start the new congregation in the Autumn.
We got to meet some of the local community in the joint church/community fête last Saturday. We were thrilled when one young couple that Kevin had met whilst delivering flyers turned up with their three young children. They even stayed long enough to help put away the bouncy castle! It felt good to connect straight away with them and others who came including community support workers… and we certainly found it easier in English! See the link…
Kevin also has a national role, being the YWAM England representative on the Fresh Expressions national team. He is already planning trips to Sheffield and London to meet with YWAM teams who are also exploring new ways of forming churches. God is doing a great work through this movement and Kevin’s prayer is that more folks within YWAM Europe will catch this vision of meeting the un-churched where they are. He will devote two days a week to this national role.
Finally, we are also pleased to connect to the newly formed YWAM Reading team and will be meeting with them each Monday. Initially we are just coming in to mutually support one another but there are many possibilities of future projects such as a mini discipleship training school.
As you can see there is plenty we can get on with but the key thing is that we don’t just fill our time with good things which ultimately could obscure us from doing the best things. We want to be wise with our time, and led by God’s voice in all that we do so please pray we are sensitive and obedient to Him… especially as we still have to do phase two of our move at some point in the near future!
Needless to say, we are incredibly grateful for your ongoing support and prayers. Please continue to pray with us that we can move into the house soon. Please also continue to pray for the children as they adapt and make new friends, at school and church.
With love Nicki, Kevin, Sam, Ellie, Luc and Josh
- 21st – 23rd May : Kev in Cheshire for FE team day and visiting YWAM Sheffield
- 30th-1st June: Ywam England staff conference
- Dates tbc: visiting some YWAM New Teams and moving into our house!