It’s funny how you can anticipate moments and how they will pan out. You can look ahead to an event and wonder what it will be like. You can imagine the script and the scene, and how it will be. And right now we are living one of those events I’ve anticipated for many years.
When I came back from my year in India in 2000 I thought I’d be in Sheffield for a year at most and then would head back to India as soon as I’d finished my teacher training. And yet here we are, in Sheffield, fourteen years later. It’s funny how God does that.
Rich came to Sheffield as a student in 1997 with a head full of hair.
I was born here and have lived 32 of my 37 years of life here.
Sheffield is the place where Rich first came to know Jesus.
We met here.
Had all our kids here.
We’ve lived in 6 houses and temporarily lived in many more.
It’s here that we’ve lived in, been part of, and led, various communities.
It’s here we’ve been invested in as leaders, trained, and given opportunities to serve in many different places.
And Sheffield is home to so many people we love.
It’s been an amazing season. With lots of highs interspersed with a few lows.
But, these last few months we’ve been feeling a loosening away from Sheffield; a little bit like when you open a tin of paint. You prize open the lid little by little with a screwdriver, then a little more until the lid is fully off. Well, the last few months we’ve felt the screwdriver opening the lid a little at a time. God has been speaking to us in many ways about the call to “go”. And after praying and listening with a small number of people we feel God confirming to us that now is that time for us as a family.
And so now I find myself in one of those moments that I anticipated a long time ago. That moment where I share the news that “it’s time to go.” And I’m filled with a whole range of emotions.
Will the kids be ok? Will they make friends? Will we make friends? Will it all work out? What if.. what if? So many “what ifs?”
But there is one thing that is never a “what if?” Though everything around us may be changing God remains the same.
He has set our feet upon a solid rock that can never be shaken, moved, or changed. It says exactly that in Psalm 40, verse 2:
“He set my feet upon a rock, steadying my steps and establishing my goings.”
He is the same yesterday, today and forever. We follow a faithful God. And so, when change comes, we can be confident that He always remains faithful. It’s His very nature to be faithful.
Our God goes with us and He has promised He will never leave us nor forsake us.
So, what’s next for us? Though we’ll be sad to be leaving Sheffield we’re excited to say that we’re moving onto Edinburgh to work alongside Karl and Niki Martin and the team at Central. We’re looking forward to engaging in the work & ministry of a local church who has a vision to become a Centre of Mission that impacts its city, nation and nations. This will go alongside us continuing in our national & international training role working with churches, networks and denominations around discipleship & mission.
For those of you who we’ve not been able to tell you in person then please forgive us. We’ve tried to do this process as well as we can and will inevitably have made some mistakes and left some gaps – so please forgive us if we have.
At some point I’ll reflect more on our life and learning from our time in Sheffield but for now we just wanted to update you with our news.
For those of you who pray: we’d love your prayers right now as we start to sell the house, look for a house in Edinburgh and begin the transition process. We would also value your prayers for those around us as they ask what God is saying to them in this process.
(We have also written a blog post on the 3DM Europe website which explains our process a little more from a 3DM Europe perspective. You can read that by clicking here.)