Greetings once again from a hot and sticky Santa Cruz – I hear England has also been pretty hot since I left a week and a half ago. I’ve been procrastinating on writing an update, as I have several things I’d like to write to you about, and don’t quite know where to start! I’ll begin with my recent 12 weeks in the UK, and see where we get to.
Firstly a huge thank you to so many of you – too many to name – for hosting me, feeding me, inviting me to share about Novō, listening, praying, encouraging, lending me a bike, donating clothing (for Novō, not for me!) and supporting generally. I had a great trip and it was wonderful to spend quality time with so many people (from Devon to Reading to Oban and many places in between – travelling approximately 2,500 miles by train, which Dad informs me wouldn’t have been a bad carbon footprint, if it wasn’t for my long-haul flights!). I really appreciated the opportunities I was given to do some updates and fundraising for Novō both with existing supporters as well as some new churches. And I was pleased to be home for two particularly significant events within my family – celebrating the life of my Grandpa (an amazing and inspirational man) who passed away while I was there; and welcoming my lovely new nephew, Thomas, into the world.
Amongst others, one of my aims for this trip was to seek and discern God’s direction in my life and make time to be refreshed in His presence. A verse that resonated with me at a contemplative service I attended at my home church, Emmanuel, was Psalm 84:1 “How lovely is your dwelling place O Lord Almighty!”, and a couple of days later the verse awaiting me in my room on a retreat I attended was Psalm 27:4 “…the thing I seek most is to dwell in the house of the Lord…”. It reminded me of the importance of taking time to simply ‘dwell’ with our Heavenly Father, making room for Him to speak and encourage. I certainly came away from that time feeling encouraged, and also with a sense that God was putting things on my heart when thinking about ‘what next?’, post Bolivia. The jumble of notes and ideas (top of this photo) that flowed out one particular morning during the retreat gives an idea of what some of these things are. It is rather an unformed vision at this stage, but one to which I keep coming back.
Towards the end of my trip in the UK and in the last week or so, I’ve been weighing up and praying about several things – timescale of my remaining time in Bolivia and what I need to focus on to end well here; employment (or other) on my return; ways to explore my ideas of starting something new and follow where I sense God leading; as well as actually earning a living! I’m excited to say that some things seem to be falling into place (the details of which will have to wait until my next instalment), and it is currently looking like I could be wrapping things up here as soon as this summer… hopefully after a final little adventure in beautiful Bolivia with Kieran, my boyfriend. I hope that’s enough information for now to inform how I’d love you to be praying for me! In general terms, I’m praying for boldness to both seek and follow what I believe God has in store for me next. I will write more on that soon!
A shift in gear. It was so great to be back in Santa Cruz just in time to celebrate the graduation of two residents from Novō’s programme at Quinta Totaices. It has been a great privilege to have got to know Antonio and Rogelio throughout their recovery journey so far, and it was special to be able to celebrate with them alongside their family and friends (some with whom they hadn’t had contact for a number of years due to their addiction and addictive behaviours). Despite facing many challenges during the programme, both Antonio and Rogelio have amazing testimonies of God’s transforming power in their lives, and are now living free from the chains of addiction. One of my tasks this week has been to work with the therapeutic team on consolidating an aftercare structure. This is to ensure we give Antonio and Rogelio, and future ex-residents, the maximum support they need in their transition and particularly in their first year after completing the programme. I’ve felt really encouraged in coming back to see the therapeutic team working well together at the Quinta and continuing to develop and improve the programme.
PRAISE AND PRAYER
- Praise God for the lives of Antonio and Rogelio. Pray for protection over them, especially in the coming weeks.
- Thanks for a great, refreshing and productive trip to the UK. Pray for continued guidance and courage as I seek God’s leading in my next steps.
I’ll write again soon!
Blessings and love,