“The Lord delights in those who fear Him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.”
I’m excited to be able to share with you how plans have been falling into place over the last few months for a new phase in my life back in the UK, to where I’ll be returning at the end of July. It’s amazing how things are coming together, and this helps me to trust that God is leading the way and that He’ll provide all I need in this time of transition.
As I mentioned in my last update, earlier this year I started to note down several areas of particular interest to me and ideas of things I’d love to be involved with in the future. To expand a little on this, my ideas and interests in general terms tie in themes of community, sustainability and spirituality. Practically speaking, examples include support in the community for addicts in recovery; promoting sustainability and reducing waste (e.g. repair café; ‘junk food’ café using food that would otherwise go to waste; library of things); creative therapies/workshops; counselling and mentoring; contemplative spirituality and creating quiet space for prayer and worship. I realise there are several things there, and at this stage I’m not at all sure if/how they might fit together. But I’m feeling inspired and am keen to pursue!
While considering some of these things (and experiencing a lot of feelings of inadequacy and fear at the thought of trying to start something like this!), I was recommended a course run by CMS, the mission organisation I am currently with, and accredited by Durham University (coincidentally where I studied 10 years ago), called Pioneer Mission Leadership Training. Having spoken to a couple of people currently on the course and having met with the course leader while back in the UK recently, I felt encouraged to apply. The course provides a “chance to connect with experienced pioneer practitioners who want to see you flourish and your imagination channelled into action… a dynamic, supportive learning community that will be there for you as you process your learning and take risks in mission”.
Furthermore, when I was in the UK recently, I began conversations with Yeldall Manor, the Christian drug and alcohol rehab centre near Reading where I worked prior to coming to Bolivia. It was great to see how Yeldall has grown and developed so much since I left, with a high number of residents and a lively buzz about the place, from what I observed in the short time I visited. In this context, it became apparent that they were looking for someone who could work there to focus on programme development – creating, reviewing and improving all aspects of the programme (which has expanded a great deal in recent years). This sparked my interest, as it is largely what I have been doing with Novō, and I feel my skills have grown in this area. Working at Yeldall would also provide me with a natural way to keep connected with Novō in some capacity, hopefully benefiting both ministries in the future.
Pulling these strands together… Having prayed, journaled and talked with others about these opportunities, I have decided (and applied and been accepted!) to return to Yeldall Manor to work 3 days a week and to study on the CMS Pioneer course for 1 day a week in Oxford. I would then have the time and capacity to study as well as start intentionally exploring my other ministry ideas. I hope that the course will equip me in making my ideas more concrete and putting them into practice and I’m pleased that it will keep me connected to the CMS community, post Bolivia. I feel a bit nervous about how this will all look, but also excited, as I know that God is involved and so trust He’ll continue to lead me and reveal His purposes.
I realise and acknowledge that many of you took a particular interest and commitment in supporting me while I’ve been working with Novō in Bolivia. I am hugely grateful to you for investing in me and in Novō over the last two and a half years, in prayer, encouragement, financial contributions and many other ways. I really couldn’t have been here without you. THANK YOU.
If you are interested in continuing to journey with me and being part of where God is leading me next, here are some ways in which you can do that…
- Financial: I’m looking to continue raising financial support of approximately £10,000 p.a. to supplement my part-time salary from Yeldall Manor and to contribute to the costs of the course (£2,500 per year, planning to study for 2 or 3 years for either Diploma or BA).
- Prayer: I can’t do this alone, and especially in the area of ‘pioneering’ a new ministry, will constantly be dependent on God’s guiding. It will mean a lot to know I have people praying and with whom I can pray.
- Recommendations/Sharing the Vision: If anything I mentioned in my first paragraph about ministry ideas resonated with you, made you think of people who could get involved or if you know of something similar that already exists, it would be great to hear from you – to share ideas and get recommendations of places to visit and people from which to learn.
- News: I’ll continue using this blog as my main way of updating people on how things are progressing, so I’d love you to stay connected. Additionally, visiting in person and actually spending time together should be a little easier when in the same country!
I wanted to share my plans with you, as the end of my time here is fast approaching, but I’m sorry not to have given any update on Novō in this post. I will write again before I leave to fill you in, as I think I’ve written enough for now!
I’ll finish with a Celtic prayer that I came across and found really helpful when beginning to explore ideas for ‘what next’. In fact, I think it’s a good one for us all to pray!
A Prayer in ‘the Middle Years’ of Opportunity
Lord, help me now to unclutter my life,
To organise myself in the direction of simplicity.
Lord, teach me to listen to my heart;
Teach me to welcome change, instead of fearing it.
Lord, I give you these stirrings inside of me,
I give you my discontent,
I give you my restlessness,
I give you my doubt,
I give you my despair,
I give you all the longings I hold inside.
Help me to listen to these signs of change, or growth;
To listen seriously and follow where they lead
Through the breathtaking empty space of an open door.
I look forward to hearing from you!
Love and blessings,