Update coming soon!
Why YWAM? Why Woodley? Why Missionaries? These deceptively short questions all have long answers! We will attempt to give a good answer for you. We joined YWAM in 1991 and 1992 respectively. We initially joined just to complete the excellent Operation Year training programme in Torquay, Devon, that gave us some excellent teaching, a chance to radically live it out and lots and lots of experience in sharing our faith, which we love to do when given the chance! We enjoyed our years so much we stayed in Torquay to work on other projects with YWAM and ended up leading an Operation Year together. We fell in love, got married and felt an increased sense that we wanted to work with YWAM. After taking a 20 month break we moved to Plymouth to help a year of mission that 70 churches were putting on in the city. We stayed for another eight years! So we are kind of accidental YWAMers, and missionaries. Along the way we have discovered in new and deeper ways that we want to work with YWAM and enjoy the freedom to explore and seek to reach out in many ways. We love explaining our faith in understandable way and helping people to become Christians. We enjoy making church relevant and approachable for everyone. We also have very much become city people who enjoy the hustle and bustle of cities and all that goes on there. The very immediacy of the people to our work place is a sharp contrast to living and working at a YWAM centre in a green field in splendid isolation! Each and every day we can see the poverty both physical and spiritual around us. Having our mission field on our doorstep is very exciting. Towards the end of our time in Plymouth, having established a YWAM base, trained dozens of staff and students, started a youth outreach on a needy housing estate (that is still running as part of a local church) we felt the need to move on and find a new place and fresh responsibility to take on. We considered a number of places in the UK and some didn’t work out. We always had a growing sense that we are both called to work outside of the UK as missionaries, although exactly where and when had not been clear. Kevin had previously got to know JP, a crazy Dutchman who had worked in Brussels for twenty years. He spent time with him, visited Brussels, sent and took short-term teams out there, always having a fantastic time. We realised that there was a growing link with Brussels. When Nicki made some exploratory visits here she felt very positive about it too. She especially liked the work of Alternatives and could see where she could contribute. Kevin also could see great possibilities for developing the YWAM work and the strategic importance of Brussels. We both recognised that it would be a challenge as a family to come here, to learn French (we both had atrocious French; a subject jointly loathed at school) and live in a different culture. As we talked, prayed and consulted our team of financial partners about moving to Brussels we decided it was right to take the plunge. So we threw a third of our possessions away to fit into a van, leased our house to Plymouth council, and arrived on Jan 5, 2004. Since then we have sweated out our French. We have made wonderful friends both in the expatriate community and increasingly outside (the advantage of putting children in a Belgian school). YWAM Brussels has turned around from a declining work with no financial resources and an ageing staff, to a fresh and vibrant place with a younger staff that has doubled in number and increasing resources that is touching both people and churches of Brussels more and more. You can see more dynamic images of what we are doing now on the YWAM Brussels website. We decided that we would come to Belgium for five years or more, recognising that to really settle into a culture you need to invest a lot of time. We are in no hurry to leave Belgium as we love living in Brussels, like Belgian people and the hundreds of other nationalities who live here. We see so many possibilities right at hand to serve God.
But now we are in Woodley, Reading. More news to come on that as soon as we get a chance!
So long answers to short questions!