Well, this update comes with very good news! We are finally in our new home in Woodley! It is two weeks since we moved in and we have been up to our eyes in unpacking boxes whilst some rooms were decorated and altered (including a wall being knocked down!) We also added to the challenge by looking after my (Nicki) mum as she recovered from a foot operation. Mum is doing amazingly well and now back in Stroud and we are also feeling more and more settled as we finally unpack things that have been in storage for the last few months. Thank you for all your prayers during this time and although the transition has taken longer than we had hoped, we can see God’s hand on us as a family and all the children are doing incredibly well in their new schools.
Last year, we shared that we had held onto Psalm 40, the first line starts with “I waited patiently for the lord…” We have obviously needed to learn the lesson of what is true patience as we waited to move into our home and at times it has been very hard! It is of course easier to look back and see how God was slowing us down, and not letting us rush straight into programmes. Instead we have concentrated on getting to know local people, finding out what are their needs, hopes and dreams and of course praying. We are helping the church here to start a Fresh Expression of church for 20-30’s. There are a lot of young people who have been on the periphery of the church and it will be challenge to draw them in… but we sense a real hunger and need. We are really enjoying getting to know many of them and they seem to enjoy meeting with us too. Please pray with us that we help them to find Jesus, either for the first time or in deeper measures. We need God’s strategy and wisdom for the way forward. Our hope and desire is for these young people to really see themselves as God does and stepping out in their God-given callings.
We have also been enjoying connecting with the YWAM Reading team. Each Monday we meet for a staff meeting and prayer time as we support one another in our various ministries. Kevin has been very excited about his role on the Fresh Expressions board. He has also visited YWAM teams in Sheffield and London to encourage and equip them in their church planting endeavours, and presented at other YWAM gatherings. The challenge to give is that we can no longer just wait for people to come to church in its traditional sense but we must bring church ( or more accurately, Jesus) to them where they are. Some amazing stories which will keep for the next update.
As we have sought God and taken time to orientate ourselves we are also getting a stronger sense about what we should be involved in. For myself I am looking forward to being involved more in September with supporting some of the young families that live near the church. The area right on the churches doorstep is now considered to have greatest deprivation in the Wokingham area. Many young, and often single, mums or many extended families overcrowded into council housing. I am currently meeting with one young mum who is struggling to find permanent housing. Complex and difficult issues but ministry that I feel drawn to… and for the first time in a while, in my own language!
Before anyone asks… Kevin’s ordination application process is finally underway again (as we moved Diocese he has had to start again). There will be a lot of assignments, more interviews and presentations to make over the next year but if all goes to plan and he is accepted he can start training part-time September 2015 (alongside leading the 20-30’s fresh expression congregation)
Thank you again for all your prayers and encouragements over these last few months. We look forward to welcoming many of you to our new home. Plenty of room for guests!
Nicki, Kevin, Sam, Ellie, Luc and Josh