The members at Gunnersbury have been a model of kindness and support since we announced our news that we would be moving on from ministry here in order to church-plant in Huddersfield. We had a very encouraging members' meeting on Wednesday. In our prayer time at the close of the meeting one precious member prayed in her excitement about our 'missionary' endeavours that - and I quote - 'going to Huddersfield's like going to Iran'! The sniggers from all round the hall were barely restrained, but I do agree that life is going to be very different. If Sarah and I are to be disciple-makers we'll have to be wise and patient listeners, learners and pray-ers before we ever make any contributions. Iran it is not, another place it most certainly is!
The joys of moving five children involve the quest for schooling. In the Lord's kindness we've discovered a couple of excellent schools which would suit our kids very well. The junior school hatches its own chicks, perfect for my poultry-mad children. The senior school offers textiles, rugby league and a great art department, which will keep my tribe very happy, and I'm chuffed that they offer Latin, too! Of course the schools are oversubscribed, so now begins the work of getting a local postcode - probably through taking our a local house-let - whilst still living and working down here for now. To that end Sarah and I had a long day yesterday in the town seeing schools and viewing properties. In the course of the day a few asked why we were coming North. It felt daunting but good to say to them 'to plant a Bible-preaching church in the town centre.' It sounds a little mad, but the Apostle Paul must have felt that many a time in his life. The Lord can do it, we long to be part of it.
So, change, change, change. Sarah will rediscover her flat Yorkshire vowels, our mixed-heritage children will discover their other Yorkshire gene-pool, and I will be an incomer amongst these wonderful people. But for now our prayers are that we would live wisely in the present whilst planning appropriately for the future. In all of this we need energy and much grace. Please pray for us.
Tomorrow morning I go the the real North, Inverness, where the compasses probably stop working. I'm to preach for David Meredith at the three anniversary services of Smithton-Culloden Free Church of Scotland. I've not been to Smithton for over three years, and am really looking forward to the return.