Wintertime in London

It’s been five days since I arrived, which means I am now fully acclimatized to the area and adjusted to the time change, just before I head back home and go through acclimatization and jet lag all over again.

I thought I should check in with an update, but I’m sure the details of my day to day life are of little interest so I’ll stick to the big stuff. Regarding a future life in London, nothing is sure yet, and we are careful not to get ahead of ourselves. But it all seems pretty good right now. There seems to be a lot of opportunity for ministry here-which I guess can be said of most places. Looking at what we could be doing, it seems like it would be a good fit for our gifts, and in a church that would be a great fit for us. Once I head home, we will all take a look at things-Julia and myself back home, and the eldership over here-before a final decision is made, probably within a week of my return. I’d love to be able to say more, but in the name of respecting the process I have to restrain myself.

Till my return, I’ll be continuing to get familiar with as many individuals and activities here at Eltham Green Community Church as I can, while enjoying the scenic dusting of snow.

*Snow update: the “senic dusting of snow” has turned into some pretty large flakes coming down pretty heavily. I hear London doesn’t respond well to snow, so the next few hours should be interesting.

Eltham Green Community Church

Random Sight Around Eltham

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First Post From London

I am newly arrived in London, and while here I plan to be submitting a couple of posts giving insights into my thoughts and impressions as we go along. I’ll be here till December 2, by which time we hope to have  good idea of what our next step will look like.

I don’t really have much to say at this point, given that travel here was uneventful. I managed to take a short tour buy car of the immediate area, with John Watson, the pastor of Eltham Green Community Church, as my guide. I’ve been to London before, but never into a residential area, which I’m happy to say is just as I imagined it, at least at first impression. Eltham is part of the bourough of Greenwich (as in Greenwich Mean Time) and seems very green and tidy, although this isn’t the time of the year to see anywhere at its best (which seems to be how we travel, seeing as we visited Italy and Slovenia in February and March). I plan to take a closer look by foot as I have some time this morning, after which it will be all about getting to know the church and figuring out details like schools.

I’m curious to see how things differ over here. My first couple minutes in London involved me attempting to get in the wrongs side of the car, which serves as a reminder that differences exist.

Also, for all of you who are wondering how to pronounce ‘Eltham’, apparently you pronounce it as if the ‘h’ wasn’t there (not with the traditional ‘th’ sound), which apparently is what should be done with as many consonants as possible in order to fit in comfortably around here.

Thank you for keeping us in prayer as we continue our journey into all the great things the Father has for us…

Britannia

It’s been a crazy time for us this last while. Our plans have undergone a bit of an adjustment in light of new opportunities in front of us. I was about to write all about it, but since this has already been done for a newsletter we just sent out, it seems unnecessary to write it all over again. Therefore, I’ve pasted the text below which gives a good description of what we are looking at. More details and posts will be upcoming as things unfold. Thanks for following along with us!

Fundraising and otherwise preparing to leave as a missionary is, most of the time, a ‘steady as she goes’ journey. But every once in a while a week comes along that stands right out. These are the fun ones to talk about!
In the middle of our preparations for Italy a new offer has come along, this time to spend some time in London, England working with a church as it seeks to develop leadership for its youth program. In exchange, we would receive a place to live and a small allowance.
Our first response was to dismiss the idea. We are after all called to Italy. Wouldn’t London just be a distraction?
But as we thought about the offer, it began to make some sense, like maybe the Father has had something in mind all along…
First, although not Italy, London is a lot closer than British Columbia, which may be a bit too obvious to count for much. But it does mean that we will have access to Trieste for not much money (€33), which will give us access to what is happening in Italy and allow us to begin ministry, albeit on a somewhat limited basis. We are incredibly excited to be able to begin contributing to what is already underway, and earlier that we had begun to expect. We are anxious to begin the mission we have been preparing for so long, and going to London allows us to do so, although in a different way than we had imagined.
Secondly, the gradual transition is appealing for how it will help our whole family adjust to a new life. Making the change in stages seems to make sense, especially with an English speaking country  in the middle. We will be able to begin learning Italian while in London-the advantage of living in such a multicultural city-and so will be that much more prepared for the move to Trieste.
Finally, we are excited about the chance to build  relationships in a church that will be so accessible to us while we are working in Italy. The life of a missionary, with the usual stress of ministry exasperated by the cross-cultural context, can burn anyone out. To have a support base available nearby will be a huge blessing.
All of this has led us to see London as a terrific opportunity that we need to take seriously. To be clear, nothing is decided yet. Brad will be in London from November 24 to December 2 to get to know the church a bit better and complete the process of discerning the best next step. If it indeed is the right place for us to begin ministry in Europe, we may be able to move very early in the New Year.
If you are curious about the church, google Eltham Green Community Church (Eltham is the area of London in which the church is located). We have had a great impression of the church so far as it seems like an active place with a great passion for ministry in the neighbourhood, just the kind of community we want to be a part of.
We will be involved in this church on a part-time basis working to establish leadership from within the church that can lead the youth program once we leave. For the rest of our time we will be learning Italian, participating in what is going on in Trieste and other parts of Italy, possibly participating in ministry to Italians in London, and of course fundraising.

So where does this leave us?
If London is indeed the place for us we have a good amount of logistical stuff to take care of, such as visas, figuring out the school situation for the kids, and all that goes into the move. None of these are insurmountable, however we are beginning to realize that it is a bit more difficult than we had originally assumed, especially in our target timeframe. That said, we have always operated under the conviction that, when we step out in obedience, it is God’s responsibility to work out the difficulties, which he is more than capable and faithful to do. We would appreciate all of your prayers as we navigate all that will go into this move.

I want to make clear that none of this means that we have abandoned our plans to serve in Italy. We have every intention of fulfilling our original plans. However, if we were to wait until all of our support was in for us to live for Italy, it would simply take too long. This switch allows us to leave now and continue the preparation from a different place.
While we will need to commit to a certain amount of time in England, we know that God has ultimately called us to contribute to his work in Italy.

Financial Support
We continue to work to raise the necessary support for our future ministry in Italy. If you have been planning on supporting us but haven’t gotten around to it yet, we would appreciate hearing from you soon. If you haven’t yet thought about contributing, please give it some thought. Every contribution is appreciated, and goes a long way towards making this ministry possible. We currently have 53% of the support we will need to be fully supported.