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New Chapters – Autumn news from the Colyers

Kevin holding the teapot of the Eclectic Society - Former members William Wilberforce, John Newton etc. out of which CMS arose. WW could have drunk tea from this pot!

Click picture for more photos and to find out why Kevin is holding a teapot

Dear All,

Wonderful news – Sam is in remission! We are all thrilled to arrive at this point – after all the procedures and treatment of the last six months, the intensive Leukaemia treatment is over and Sam now enters three years of low-grade “maintenance”. We are all pleased although on the day-to-day basis it is a more subtle change. Sam is still at home and has tutors visiting; he is still weak but getting stronger. The next three years will involve monthly chemo, steroids and regular blood tests and checks but the process of getting Sam back to health and back to school is happening.

New chapters that have turned are to do with our leaving behind YWAM and starting training for ministry in the Anglican church. I say we as Nicki is joining me for part of that training! The most exciting part too. We are travelling up each Tuesday to Church Mission Society to follow the Pioneer training course run there. What was such a surprise was that because of Sam’s progress Nicki felt strongly that she should commit to taking the certificate and not just attending the modules. This means she will need to submit assessments and do much more reading. But It’s wonderful to study together, get a common framework for ministry and share the same perspectives. And based on the first few sessions I think it will be an exciting, challenging and relevant ride for the pair of us. We also have some really interesting fellow students with whom we are very much on the same wavelength! Do pray for us both as we engage in this training and apply it immediately to our contexts of Impact (20-30’s group) and ministry to families on Drovers Way estate.

Yet another chapter has opened for me in the second part of my training. I do the Anglican bit at Ripon college, Cuddesdon. It is absolutely beautiful there, in the heart of the Oxfordshire countryside. There are dozens more fellow students here, some more local than at CMS and from very differing church backgrounds. It is harder to know what to expect here and it is perhaps not the most exciting part of the training for me. It will challenge me in engaging in the formal and high style of Anglicanism I am not familiar: I already know where to hang my robes etc. (Not that I have any).  Although some aspects wont challenge me so much (I am on the worship rota this term to say grace at lunch on a Saturday!). It is fun asking questions though and the other students have described us pioneers as “fascinating”. Hopefully not in the insect capturing and pinning sense!

Finally, it is great to announce the arrival of two rather gorgeous bunnies called Camacazi and Bazinga.  We are all smitten with them and they help to make up for our sad loss to the foxes of Lulu (our rabbit brought over from Belgium).  Needless to say we have worked on the outside hutch being more fox proof!

So all around there are new things and new experiences, which Nicki and I thrive on!

Till next time,

Kevin, Nicki, Sam, Ellie, Luc and Josh

Prayer Points

  • Ongoing health and strength for Sam and a clear plan to return to full-time school
  • For Nicki’s study that it wont be interrupted by appointments and family pressures
  • For both of us as we learn new things and critically reflect on what we have done and are doing
  • For Ellie and the twins to grow “in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.” (Luke 2:52)
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June News from Kevin and Nicki in Woodley

More photos click here

More photos click here

Dear Friends,

We were thrilled to realise that we could celebrate one whole year at 150 Kingfisher Drive! It is a great blessing for us to live here in Woodley in such a lovely place and in such a great house. In order to celebrate, I (Kevin) have moved into a caravan… for my new study! Nicki and I are still not ready for a caravan holiday, but after four years of having an office/study in my bedroom I have finally made a space out of an old caravan that I picked up cheaply on Ebay. Much to Ellie’s shock the mouldy green caravan has scrubbed up well on the outside and been transformed on the inside with some judicious demolition and two coats of white paint! Do pop in and visit.

The last few months have been a challenging for all of us, most especially Sam who’s chemotherapy has been intensive and exhausting. He has made very little school during this time. After a few weeks break from any treatment he has now started Interim Maintenance which is a lot lighter on him and we are hoping he will have opportunities to catch up on his education and social networks at school. We are just getting some tutors from the council and it looks like they will work out really well. They can offer two hours a day which will go a long way to bolstering the missing months of education. A more intensive chemo programme will start again in August.

Sam’s illness has dominated what we have been able to do. Nicki has been working on a reduced plan of outreach to the local mums. I have worked on smaller projects around and trying to reconnect with some Fresh Expressions work further afield. To be honest, we both feel like we have just managed to keep our heads above the water. Locally I have enjoyed covering some teenage youth work whilst Emmanuel seeks the new youth worker. I have established a contemplative prayer meeting called Just Be which is growing nicely. This is the second prayer group – the first one in Brussels is still going I am delighted to report! In addition we have both managed to keep on meeting people and doing one-to-one work.

IMPACT has been going on well. We have enjoyed eating together and had one or two more people come and join. We are doing some surveys of young people in the area to more keenly understand the needs and pressures they are facing. Already some ideas are starting to appear on how we can reach out more to this age group!

Following my successful Anglican minister selection interview I am sorting out the training with the colleges and looking into the funding of these next three years. In the next update we will be able to give more details about this exciting new phase for us both, which will hopefully also involve Nicki partaking in some training with CMS too (Church Missionary Society). We will be writing in more detail very soon to all our financial supporters to talk through the financial implications.

The twins are doing well. They love school life, and have managed to catch up, which considering they were about 18 months behind is a great achievement and huge relief! Sadly, they have lost all their French, but only a few of their teeth. Ellie has completed her first GCSE in French and has also won an award for her science – most improved student (having hardly ever studied science in Belgium!)

That’s it for now.

Lots of love,

Kevin and Nicki, Sam, Ellie, Luc and Josh

PRAYER

  • Keep praying for Sam, especially the emotional impact of being so unwell and our of the social loop of his friends at school.
  • Pray for the other kids that they would not feel neglected in this time of intense focus on Sam.
  • Pray that Nicki and I will find a new balance and fresh energy as we focus locally and prepare for the next three years.
  • IMPACT: that it would grow outwards in numbers just as it is growing in depth

DATES

  • 12 July – Nicki speaking at Emmanuel
  • 25 – 31 July – Sam, Ellie and Nicki have a break at New Wine
  • 7 – 14 August – Family Holiday at New Wine
  • 29 – 31 August – Nicki and Kevin weekend away (Farewell to our friends the Sullivans)
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Springy News from Kevin and Nicki

Kevin speaking at the Fresh Expression Network gathering

For more photos click here

Dear Friends,

The winter months have zoomed past as we are now very well embedded into Woodley and getting more deeply stuck in. January, I (Kevin) was busy with interviews with the Church of England. The good news is that I passed the interviews and can now go on to be a pioneer minister in the church of England. That is IF I am selected to be a vicar at all in the next and final set of interviews (the ‘BAP’) in May! February was also a distracting month as I went away to visit my sister and relatives in New Zealand and Australia. Nicki stoically manned the fort at home, only slightly pleased in that it rained the whole time in Australia (there was the tail end of a cyclone). And yes, I did have an amazing time.

Impact is bubbling along well. We are establishing outreach with the group and going out into Reading one Tuesday evening a month to serve Hot Chocolate and food to the homeless people we find there. We have been taking sleeping bags too as we find this is a need. There are far too many people trapped on the streets through misfortune and life-controlling problems. It is really sad. One great story is from the last time we went into Reading. We were just talking to a homeless man who remembered us from the previous month when a young lady came up also offering food. She was a nineteen year old who had previously attended Sam’s school, Bulmershe. She had just started working in a café. She was horrified at how much waste went out each evening and so took it upon herself to take it to the homeless. In her own words though she had not thought this through and realised quite quickly she would have been vulnerable alone. She ended up joining us the entire evening sharing her story as she did so. At the end of the evening we headed for a cafe to get warm and do the part of BELLS we do well, Eating! She chose to join us and said “I’m not religious but I’m interested to know how you all got into it?” Each one of us shared our stories. We are hoping she will join us again!

What is BELLS, well it is actually the rhythm (or Rule) of Impact and stands for:

  • Bless each other with encouragement and help
  • Eat together
  • Listen to God and pray
  • Learn how to follow Christ
  • Serve others

We aim to do this weekly as much as possible despite our diverse lives: so we Carry Out Weekly BELLS, or COW BELLS to you!

Nicki has also drawn on her contacts, made while visiting local families, by starting two groups this March. An after-school club for 7-11 year-olds on the first Wednesday of the month began well with 7 children. Four children from existing families that we have supported and three new contacts. Each session will include some aspects of messy church even though the children are all from un-churched families: games, challenges, cooking, DVD clips. In March the theme was Moses so they built pyramids and made chocolate baskets with jelly-baby Moses! In April the theme will be Easter and so will include a big Easter egg hunt and making bread!

Nicki also started a weekly mum’s group on Tuesday afternoons for mums from the local area, whether familiar with church or not. For the babies and toddlers each week there will be lots of songs, followed by a bible story and craft. Then as the children play, the mums have a discussion on a topic connected to parenting. On the first session four mums came with their children and made many suggestions for topics they would like to discuss. The next session will be on free things to do with your children in Woodley.

Both Nicki and I have worked on some more prayer initiatives too. Nicki has a team working on another prayer event similar to the 24-7 prayer week for Holy week. The plans are looking great and will inspire many to take time out to pray. I am running “Just Be”, an introductory contemplative prayer course that I first ran with Sonja in Belgium just before I left. The group in Belgium is still meeting and I hope that we will continue to meet here in Woodley too. First signs seem to show it is going well.

Family news is all positive. The twins have caught chicken pox finally and are happy and back at school again. All the kids are doing really well at their schools and pleasing their teachers (and parents) by achieving well and catching up fast. We are all happy and looking forward to Spring in our strictly pruned garden and all the bulbs to fully bloom that we planted in November.

Till next time.

The Colyers in Woodley

Please pray

  • God would draw mums and children to the groups, that God would particularly lead us to “people of peace” on the estate who will open doors to other families.
  • Thank God for the good start but pray that we build on this being inspired and led by Him and that many more
  • Mums would make it to the groups.
  • Pray for Impact and the work reaching the 20’s in the area.
  • Pray for all the plans leading up to Easter.

Diary Dates

  • Tuesday’s – Nicki’s Mum’s group 1pm-3pm. Impact from 8pm
  • Wednesday (1st of month) – Nicki’s after-school group. 4-5pm.
  • 26 March – Kevin in Harpenden for YWAM National Leaders forum
  • 24 March – 5 April – Prayer Cabin event.
  • 11-19 April – visiting Plymouth and Stroud
  • 21 April – Fresh Expressions Partners day (Methodist Central Hall, London)
  • 1-4 May – YWAM England, Ireland, Wales and Scotland gathering in Harpenden (Kevin running some Fresh Expression meetings)
  • 5-7 May – Kevin’s Bishop’s Advisory Panel. This is the big one!
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New Year News from Kevin and Nicki

Dear Friends,

Josh on a frosty day (click for more)

Josh on a frosty day (click for more)

We hope you have all had a wonderful Christmas and we pray that 2015 will bring you closer to our amazing God and receive all He has for you.

I (Nicki) would like to start by thanking you all for your prayers and support throughout this past year. A lot has happened to us in 2014.Some things hard, like saying goodbye to very good friends and leaving Belgium which has become very dear to our hearts. Packing our home and making the journey across the channel whilst not having a moving date into our new home and the school places still uncertain, meant we were making a big step of faith. We would like to say we took it in our stride and were always confident in our God… ahem… of course we are human and had more than a few wobbles at times! We are so grateful for good friends, for the prayers of many who lifted us up when we doubted and carried us through so that we could truly say “our God has lifted us out of the slimy pit and set our feet on solid rock” Thank you for your part in helping us to transition.

Highlights from this past year include

  • working with our 20-30’s group IMPACT seeing them grow in faith,
  • running a 24/7 prayer week with IMPACT.
  • working with the YWAM Reading team running a weekly discipleship course
  • getting to know and building bridges with young families on the local needy estate
  • Kev’s work across the UK as the YWAM representative on the Fresh Expression’s team (helping them with fundraising and promoting and assisting fresh expressions of church throughout YWAM England).

Now we look ahead to 2015 with excitement and anticipation for what God will do through our own Fresh Expression, IMPACT but also across the UK as God breathes life in new ways to the church across this nation.

May we ask for your prayers though for an urgent prayer request for YWAM UK. For a few months now YWAM (along with other missionary agencies has been under investigation from UK immigration. Just under a week ago YWAM was notified that it’s visa status has been changed which means that in effect 350 YWAM staff in the UK are at risk of being asked to leave the country. YWAM has until the end of January to appeal the decision. This could have catastrophic effects on many YWAM training bases and teams. YWAM Reading could lose 4 of it’s 8 staff. As YWAMers we are called to a day of prayer and fasting on January 7th. Could you please pray us as we are reminded that “our battle is not against flesh and blood but against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms”

For us personally we would value ongoing prayer for the touch of God on our ministry with IMPACT and the needy families in this area. Please also pray for Kev as the application process continues for Anglican ordination (three interviews in January alone!) He has heard that the final interview will be over three days in May called the “Bishop’s Advisory Panel”.

One final blessing though that we are incredibly grateful for, Kevin’s father has asked him to go with himself and his sister, Claire, to visit his other sister, Liz, and cousins in New Zealand/Australia! It was an out of the blue offer and quite a surprise but it will be a very special opportunity for them all to be together for the first time in many years. They will go for two weeks in February. Thank you God!

With much love and appreciation,

Nicki, Kevin, Sam, Ellie, Luc and Josh

Dates for this coming year

  • Keep praying for IMPACT meeting Tuesdays
  • Thursday 8th – 2pm Kevin’s Interview for Anglican church (Vocational, Pioneer Minister)
  • Wednesday 14th – YWAM Fresh Expressions day in Woodley
  • Monday 19th – Home Visit for Anglican church interview process
  • Monday 26th – Kevin’s Interview for Anglican church (Educational, Pioneer Minister)
  • Thursday 29th – Trip to Bristol to visit YWAM team there
  • Tuesday 10th – 24th February – Trip to New Zealand and Australia
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Autumn News from the Colyers

Dear all,

The Colyer Mob! (click here for more photos)

The Colyer Mob! (click here for more photos)

We have had a packed and exciting couple of months that have been very fruitful and positive. The family is well and thriving; all the kids are doing well are school. Sam is enjoying Rugby and getting into GCSE’s and Ellie is mastering Spanish and having an excellent time with her two best buddies here.

IMPACT, our Fresh Expression for 20’s has grown well. There has been plenty of bonding going on and I (Kevin) really look forward to each Tuesday evening. We have eaten Raclette together, followed the Mission Shaped Intro course and looked at what it means to be a changing church for a changing culture, we have had great fun with Creative worship, we ate chocolate fondue (see a theme emerging), we prayed together using Lego… One comment as we were reviewing our progress just last night was that “I feel at home here as I am with equals and supported” (We feel pleased about this – our innate youthfulness is shining through!).

The IMPACTers wanted to go out “Treasure Hunting”, where you pray for a description of someone, a name, place, some history or message from God and then go looking for them! Emma clearly felt we should go to Blockbusters and there would be two men sitting on the ground. And indeed there were right in the beams of the car headlights as we pulled in. There were numerous other details correct and Emma and I listened to and prayed for Mikey and Jonathan, the two homeless guys who were living there. We talked some more and then had ongoing contact trying to get them into proper accommodation. Making a long story short, they have been off the streets for two weeks now and are building their lives again in Newbury. Please pray for them!

The other major event was the 24/7 Prayer week IMPACT organised. We wanted to have a big focus on prayer as we are setting up IMPACT and this was a great way to pull us all together and help the wider church too. It was a fab time. We cleaned out and jazzed up the double portacabin, Liam installed low lighting, Rachel, Catharine and various others put in about 15 different prayer stations. A particular favourite place was the Gazebo of God as I called it; a cozy space in the corner where many crept in for different prayer times. And people came! Quite a number. I was on the night shift and I was rarely there on my own. At midnight, there were most often five people praying. Masses of prayers were offered. Some slept in the peaceful atmosphere. Others fired up the kettle and strove to keep their eyes open! It is hard to summarise the ways God touched many so people at so many levels of faith. It was a great joy to see local kids come in who had never prayed before and over the week become far more spiritually open. One great point was the sudden healing of Adam’s back. One moment he was in agony the next he was wiggling his shoulders about and twisting with full mobility again. We just saw so many prayers answered and a real change in people’s lives that week, particularly in IMPACT team.

Where now with IMPACT? We are taking a few sessions to reflect and keep praying and consolidate what we have experienced and the direction we feel God is calling us in. It feels like we are on the edge of something and we are all very excited. Please pray for the whole of IMPACT and the Tuesday evenings we meet on.

On top of that Nicki and I have preached in church, given talks in YWAM and generally been busy meeting, planning and praying. Nicki spoke last week in Emmanuel on emotional healing and renewing the mind and made a powerful impression on everyone. She was invited to share again at Yeldall Manor rehab. This time we will try to record her as many have requested to hear her again. Nicki has also been building up relationships with local women living close to the church with house to house visits after the sessions of the afterschool club she was running. This aspect of her role is still developing as the club was not really viable, but the visiting is working well and she is (of course) greatly appreciated!

There is so much more we could tell you about all the friends we are making here, the way the kids are thriving, our gardening escapades, the Fresh Expressions work nationally and with YWAM. But that will have to wait for another time.

Look forward to a slightly calmer December.

Love,

Kevin, Nicki, Sam, Ellie, Luc and Josh

Please pray for:

  1. IMPACT, the ongoing growth and wisdom as we start to identify and reach out to those outside the church.
  2. the YWAM DTC soon to finish.
  3. the ongoing work around Emmanuel church on Southlake Crescent and Drovers Way.

Diary Dates

  • Monday evenings – YWAM Discipleship course
  • Tuesday evenings – IMPACT’s main meeting time.
  • 23rd November – Kevin speaking on Stewardship in Emmanuel
  • 28th November – Kevin in Sheffield, Fresh Expression Partners meeting
  • 6th December – Kevin speaking at FISH youth group retreat
  • 8th December – Last of the YWAM Discipleship course evenings
  • 9th – 10th December – Kevin in Cheshire for Fresh Expression team meetings
  • 11th December – Kevin in London Fresh Expression meeting and visiting YWAM Earls court project
  • 20th December – Inviting Neighbours over for Mulled wine and Mince pies
  • 22nd to 2nd January – Christmas break
  • 14th January – YWAM Fresh Expressions Network meeting here in Woodley!
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Summertime news roundup from Kevin and Nicki

Dear Friends,

This summer has been a hot and hazy whirlwind for us. A great fun whirlwind! We have settled into the new house and loving living here more and more each day. It is so good to wake up so grateful for where God has placed us. We are in a friendly spot and one evening we invited some neighbours around and they all accepted! They took quite a fancy to my Belgian beer too. Fortunately Nick Woodman stopped by the next day to help replenish my supplies!

Work over the summer was a little more relaxed  whilst the children have been at home. However, both Nicki and I connected to people in Woodley and are both mentoring two people each which is fun, including one young mum who Nicki had the privilege to lead in a prayer of commitment at the beginning of the summer. We have also spent time meeting one on one with the young folks from Impact, the 20’s and 30’s group that we are helping to start a fresh expression of church with. We had a curry evening at our place and one evening of open and honest sharing and learning in the local pub. We are definitely feeling a sense of bonding and community with Impact. We have now set dates for the beginning of the praying, training and planning phase for this coming autumn. My work with the National Fresh Expressions team is also developing. I am doing some writing for them as well as helping with some Trust and Grant applications. All are going well. They have published a booklet I have written on Self-Supporting Ministry (i.e. how to raise funds from donors to support yourself). I am also writing the opinion piece for the e-expressions monthly newsletter this month too see booklet and newsletter.)

A total of three weeks away at New Wine, Norfolk and Belgium and hosting of many of our friends and family, who have held off from visiting whilst we have been in the caravan, has made for a fabulous summer! Now we are looking ahead to a busy Autumn starting with the return to school for the kids tomorrow. Nicki starts her weekly after-school club for the families local to the church. We will start running our training evening for Impact on Tuesdays. The YWAM team is ramping up for a weekly series of Discipleship evenings on Mondays that we will be helping with. We will also be working towards a 24-7 prayer week in November with the Impact folks too. All in all, lots to do! In the background the Anglican application process is now chugging along smoothly, somewhat faster than glacial pace and is on track for a springtime interview.

We hope and pray that you have a good Autumn and rise above busyness of the coming month with God’s peace.

Love,

Kevin, Nicki, Sam, Ellie, Luc and Josh

Exciting dates

  • 9th Sept – First Impact meeting. Nicki starts after-school club
  • 15/16 Sept – Kevin to Sheffield for Fresh Expressions meetings
  • 16th Sept – After school club and Impact meeting
  • 23rd Sept – After school club and Impact meeting
  • 29th Sept – YWAM Reading Discipleship course starts
  • 30th Sept – After school club and Impact meeting
  • 6th Oct – We are teaching on “The Cross” in YWAM’s Discipleship course
  • 7th Oct – After school club and Impact meeting.
  • 7th – 10th Oct – Kevin to visit Belgium for YWAM Belgium board meeting and other visits
  • 13th Oct – YWAM Reading Discipleship course
  • 14th Oct – After school club and Impact meeting
  • 20th Oct – YWAM Reading Discipleship course
  • 24th – 29th Oct – Visiting Plymouth!
  • 2nd – 9th Nov – 24/7 Prayer week (proposed!)
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Finally Landed in Woodley – News from The Colyers

Dear Friends,
The keys to our new house! (click for more)

The keys to our new house! (click for more)

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!

Love,

Nicki, Kevin, Sam, Ellie, Luc and Josh