The beginning of January plunged us into our third national lockdown...

In Times of Change

March 2021 Newsletter

Dear Friend,

A walk in the Lake District after Christmas

Life feels uninteresting since we last sent an update out. It is rough going through our third lockdown. Each day seems like the one before, and the promises from the UK government seem like a carrot and stick to the public. Our children’s best friends are each other or imaginary. We had a brief reprieve on Christmas day when life almost felt normal again. The lockdown restrictions loosened enough at Christmas that we could see one other family in person. It actually felt “normal” for the first time in months.

We had a little snow in January.
Dressed up for our friend's wedding, which was held virtually.

The beginning of January plunged us into our third national lockdown, although it isn’t as strict as previous lockdowns. Iris, who celebrated her first birthday at the end of 2020, continues to live all her “firsts” under lockdown restrictions.

Those of you in the US are probably experiencing a new norm as well. A message someone in OM challenged our movement with recently was how are we reimagining or rebuilding our old life? We ask this question increasingly as we hope for the opportunity to meet again as a church in our city. (It has now been over 12 months since we met together in person.)

Iris is one year old!
The pile on Daddy for virtual church

In our last update, we mentioned we were selling our house to move to a larger house. I should mention that the English process of selling/buying houses is inefficient and fraught with pitfalls. This was people from England who said this, not me. Many times after you have a buyer, the sale can still fall through at the last minute.

We are still selling and buying a house. We have a buyer for our house and have now completed all the legal stuff for us to sell. Our eyes are on a property up for auction on April 1. We need to have the highest bid and work through all the other unique complications of “property conveyancing” in England. Be praying for this as we really need a lot of things to line up for the sale to complete. If everything goes according to our plans, we would move into our new house on April 29! We vacillate between being confident and being anxious about some new obstacle that will prevent us from moving. 

Happy 9th Birthday to Asher!

Things have changed a lot in the last twelve months, and it’s hard to imagine going back to the way things were before the virus became a pandemic. It would be foolish if we learned nothing from this crisis. American philosopher Eric Hoffer said, “In times of change learners inherit the earth; while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.”

So how will we learn from this season and move on with the changes to our world? Look at this free eBook from Operation World as the author Jason Mandryk looks at the impact of COVID on missions and the church.

Iris enjoys family walks from Leon's back.
Longer spring days mean we can go out for walks after nap time.

One way we have tried to reach our community during lockdown is running The Marriage Course online. Leon and I took the course over the summer months last year and found it helped strengthen our already strong marriage. The Lord put it on our hearts to run the course virtually for our church and the wider Carlisle community.

We first ran the course in November. Five couples from our church attended. Feedback was positive, so we’re currently running it again with two couples from outside our church. Leon’s and my prayer is that eventually we can reach unchurched couples through The Marriage Course.

One couple who took part are celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary this year. They found the course helped them feel like they were on their first date and falling in love again.

Ellis perfected his look of concentration.
We occasionally take a photo of just the two of us.

In November last year and again this month, the IT guys I work with held a virtual IT Conference for all of OM. The feedback we received from the conference last autumn was sky high, which is why we held another shorter version again this month.

Our IT demands in OM have dramatically increased and my team has had to up their game during this pandemic. We are facing a challenge in how we in OM provide IT services that truly fulfil OM’s vision of seeing vibrant communities of Jesus followers among the least reached peoples of the world.

One activity in IT that is consuming an increasing amount of my time is an integration project to link our HR, Finance and Microsoft Office 365 systems. We are using Microsoft Identity Manager with PowerShell scripts and C# extensions to bring all these systems together. We are trying to automate the flow of information between these different systems so that it all stays in sync, reduces errors and ultimately makes us more flexible to meet the needs of the changing facing of missions.

“In times of change learners inherit the earth; while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.”
-Eric Hoffer

Prayer Points

  • That everything comes together to complete the sale and purchase of a new house on April 1. There are many things that need to all happen at the same time and we are still waiting 4 days out to see if we can even bid on the house at auction.
  • The Marriage Course has been a blessing to our community. We are praying for more creative ways to bless our community as we start to emerge from winter and our 3rd lockdown.
  • Identity management project is getting very complicated. I am still waiting on the HR system to finalise where they will store all their data. I need lots of wisdom to figure out how to flow the data between all the systems we are connecting.
God Bless,
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