The gate of the year…

It is a fact, that at the start of every new year we have no idea what it will bring. However, as ‘We The Myers’ look forward into 2019 the quote above from Minnie Louise Haskins seems so appropriate.

As far as we can discern, it is the Lords will that Team Myers will move to Addis Ababa Ethiopia soon. We had originally thought that would be August 2018, then the beginning of January 2019. Currently we don’t know when the move will be. For now, what we know is we have about 75% of the pledges we need from individuals in place and the process of getting Pete a work permit has started. About half our furniture has left the house and the rest of it has been claimed. People have done a great job of giving us packable Christmas presents or experiences and the boys have enjoyed lots of quality cousin time this last week.

2018 has been a challenging year with some deep valleys and some great highs as we have seen the Lords calling to serve him in Ethiopia confirmed by SIM mission agency. As every year we can look back and see how He has held us tight.

Many people have said to us we are so brave to make this move. Well yes, it is terrifying! However, we are held in the loving hands of the Almighty Creator God who designed all things and yet humbled himself to come to earth as a man. He knows each member of Team Myers better than we know ourselves and better than we know each other. So whatever happens, we are on a steady path because God has our hand.

Practising…

There are many ways right now we feel life is full of uncertainty. When will the PhD thesis finally be submitted, when will we have raised all the support needed and have work permits to book our flights, will we be leaving England in January, February or later still.

However, there are also many ways in which the Lord is throwing things across our path to encourage us and build our confidence in him. The online security training from SIM has been scary, but helpful. The boys put on an impromtu play yesterday afternoon using the random Amharic words they now know.

And then there are the less well (humanly) timed, but equally valuable experiences. This morning as we started out our drive to head for church we realised we had a flat tyre. Better to learn how to do this for the first time on our drive rather than on an Ethiopian roadside drawing in spectators (is probably what the security training would recommend!)

Starting to say the big goodbyes.

The summer holidays were filled with many goodbyes as we travelled the country to see friends from Oak Hill College who had been so significant in our life while Pete was training for ministry. The next few weeks will be filled with similar Cambridge goodbyes and visits with god-parents and our god-children.

However, as end this October half term we have said our first truely tear-filled goodbyes. Visiting Colwyn Bay to visit Pete’s grandparents has been such a wonderful place for family time and relaxation over the years. We love crabbing and ice creams at Fortes in Rhos on Sea and exploring the depths of the Fairy Glen between Great Grandma and Taid Mawrs house. We took films of our favourite places, took keep sakes from the beach, snuck in an extra trip to Fortes for Great grandma treats. It was a time of many fun memories despite a ‘proper poorly’ toddler with a fever and a Thesis still being worked on as we drove the width of the UK.

Realistically though, Great Grandma (Pete’s paternal Grandma) and Taid Mawr (Pete’s maternal Grandad) may not be capable of us visiting in the same way when we return in 2020.

It is hard for us to say goodbye, it is hard for all those family who will not see the kids grow as much. Man, the tears are flowing! But we go confident we are following where God is calling our family to serve him next.

The count down begins! 10 weeks and we will be in Addis.

Patience

I arrived at church yesterday morning, exhausted, fed up with my boys squabbling and moaning about helping, desperately wanting Pete’s PhD to have already been submitted. This last week instead of being back to normal routines of school and work, 2 of the boys have been home vomiting. Needless to say, it was not the start to term I was hoping for!

This September we have been focusing at Christ Church Cambridge on what being church is. We have looked at belonging, all of us being necessary parts of the body. So I let people see me crying and encouarge me. There is no neex to put up a front.

Yesterday the focus was maturity. It was such a timely reminder for me as we studied 2 Corinthians 5:1-10 that of course living in this world doesn’t feel like it should because ‘our tent here’ will be destroyed. We need to be looking to Christ in faith as we mature in him, studying his word and by his spirit developing his characteristics as we interact with others.

2 Corinthians 5 New International Version)

Awaiting the New Body
5 For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. 2 Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, 3 because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. 4 For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5 Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

6 Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. 7 For we live by faith, not by sight. 8 We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 9 So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.

So as we go into a new week, not knowing what it will hold, we will hold onto the things of this world lightly knowing our home is ultimately with Christ in heaven. Our home is not Cambridge, England or Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Our physical possessions that we need to get rid of here can’t come to heaven, so we don’t need to be sentimenal here (although it is right to grieve).

Please pray for us in these next 11 days, as Pete meets the university submission deadline. Pray we would have the Holy Spirits strength for all that living in this fallen world throws at us.

It’s getting real!

These last few weeks have seen the usual boys off school, summer holiday craziness. We been as a family to help at a Christian summer camp for teenagers, we’ve had funs with friends in woods and parks, we’ve hunted for and painted ‘Haslingfield Rocks’ painted by the kids of our village and hidden some for other to find. We’ve had our annual trip to Kew gardens with Grandma and Grandpa. And of course there has been quite a lot squabbling and complaining about how much homework has been set. Just now we are finishing the holidays in North Wales with Pete’s grandparents. The boys have played for hours as a team (!) building trenches on the beach and eating with Great Grandma at our beloved ‘White Tiger’ aka The White Lion Inn at Llanelian.

However amongst normality, this whole moving to Ethiopia thing is becoming much more real. We have been accepted as members of SIM mission agency, had our first round of inoculations and 2 days ago the first 60kg of our stuff (well Pete’s books) made its way to Addis with a friend from church!

No turning back now. Please pray we’d cast all our anxieties on Him who is able to do more than we can ask or imagine, knowing that ultimately our home is no-where here on earth!

Thriving at thirteen!

It’s been a crazy week and a half so as a result this post is a week and half late being written!

Monday last week we celebrated our 13th wedding anniversary. We celebrated by having intimidating physical medicals as part of clearance to move to Addis Ababa.

The office where we had the medical was just a 5 minute walk from the flat we lived in the first two years we were married. So we took the opportunity to pop back and have a quick look. Our flat was those top 2 windows of the tall house, up 68 stairs!

It was a fly by visit, before walking down the south bank of the Thames for afternoon tea in ‘Canteen’ at the Royal Festival Hall.

It was a wonderful time to reflect on God’s goodness to us these past years. There have been extremely low and testing times over the years, but in his great mercy the Lord has grown us and changed us both. We can honestly say we love being married and supporting each other on this crazy journey.

This week last we have also completed the doctrinal questionnaire and a 3 hour psychological assessment. Just one more interview and then we will know if God willing Pete will be serving at the Ethiopian Graduate School of Theology.

Never thought I’d say that 13 years ago!

The wobbly bridge.

Part of our cross cultural orientation was walking over a wobbly bridge. It will feel steady, occasionally slightly wobbly and definitely up hill these next few months preparing. When we arrive it will feel very wobbly as we try to understand our new country, make mistakes and have to be brave and try things way out of our comfort zones. The bridge was to illustrate it is good and wise to ask for help of locals and others we work with who’ve been there a while. Eventually, we will come down onto solid ground again when it will feel like home.

Cousin fun and countryside antics.

This past week in amongst Pete and I ploughing through the ENORMOUS and brain draining SIM doctrinal questionnaire and medical forms, we have all enjoyed lots of time Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles and cousins on both sides of the family.

The boys have made airbed rides slides down the stairs, cycled through the woods in the rain, floated ducks down the stream at a village carnival and generally been loud and energetic.

We have appreciated time to enjoy Gods glorious creation and breathe in the fresh air on the farm where Pete’s parents live. From climbing to ‘the top of the world’ to running down the wooded valley. From riding the quad bike with the farmer to hours staring and sheep and cows. This week has created precious memories and helped us process these past months. We are grateful to God for time as the 5 of us and with extended family.

So as we return to Cambridge this evening, after some not insignificant medicals (more later), we will trust the Lord to help us through this final push to get the PhD thesis finished and the SIM process completed.

Psalm 121

A song of ascents.

1 I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
2 My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

3 He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
4 indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.

4 indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.

5 The Lord watches over you—
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
6 the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
6 the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.

6 the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.

the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
6 the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
6 the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.

6 the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.

6 the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.

7 The Lord will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
8 the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore

he will watch over your life;
8 the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore

How to live abroad training.

Guest post by Jos.

We went to Wetheringsett Manor. There were lots of children’s activities to do while the grown ups learnt stuff.

We learnt about lots of countries in Africa where SIM work. Here are photos of some.

We trained to be God’s agents in our new countries. We were set missions to do in coffee breaks to find out about the SIM home office staff.

We made a den.

Climbed trees.

We also went over the wobbly bridge to help us understand how we might feel when we first go to Ethiopia and that it is OK to ask for help. Our bears tried too! I want to put a video of me on the bridge, but it won’t upload. Mum says she will try to put it in next post.

Full signs in our eyes!

Pete and I feel like every spare gap in our brains have been filled these last few days. We have learnt about living cross culturally in another’s world and working in teams of people from around the world. We have talked about finance, raising support, child protection etc. We have looked at mission statements, code of conducts and and most importantly we have looked at the biblical basis of what we will be doing. It is all fascinating and there are still 2 and a half days of information to take in!

Just as well we have these beautiful grounds to get some fresh air in.