Sunday, 7 March 2021

Chatting on Radio Berkshire

It was wonderful to chat with Bridgitte Tetteh at BBC Radio Berkshire this morning. Thank you so much to friends at St Michael's, Warfield for making this possible. We pray that those listening will be inspired by the testimony of how God has sustained us through the pandemic. It's our first time on radio, so we were a bit nervous! 








Friday, 5 February 2021

Leadership Development

 For the past two weeks, we have been attending a leadership development seminar held online and spanning the entire world, from Hawaii to the Philippines. Thanks to the wonders of the internet, we have been trained by very experienced missionaries from across the world without any of us having to leave the comfort of our own home! 

Tuesday, 6 October 2020

New Baby girl!

 We're delighted to announce the birth of our daughter, Faith Abigail Ruth, born on 6th October 2020! She came in weighing 3.050kg. Both mum and baby doing well. Thank you so much for your prayers!




Saturday, 13 May 2017

Family dynamics

I'm fully aware that I have two children who didn't choose to come into missions. All is wonderful at the moment, because they are still very young and being here in the Philippines is 'normal' for them. My eldest who remembers our last location does sometimes question "Can we move back to South Africa" or "Can we see our friends in England tomorrow", not understanding that flights and time differences, not to mention cost make this thing that's so easy in his mind a practical impossibility! The question in my mind right now is: how do I support my children through the process of being a third culture kid, that is, growing up in different countries other than that of their parents 'home' culture?

We have only been in full time Christian service for 7 years, yet in that time we have gone from being a married couple to being a family of four. Budgets have had to increase and at times stretched. During the hard times, we saw God's provision amazingly break through our needs so that the children were always fed and the rent was always paid!

So, as I journey in missions, I see many missionaries who have struggled with their children. The confusion about being different from the others in their home country, the questions of the work of their parents and the confusion related to growing up overseas means that I'm eager to 'get it right' for my family. If anybody's got any ideas on how to do this right, then I'd love to know.

Right now, we're just aware that it's an issue that may become big for my children in 10-15 years. We are investing heavily in them now, homeschooling them at times and bringing them into our decision making processes, where appropriate.

I know that there's no perfect way to parent, but I want to strive towards helping my kids have a healthy and happy childhood that will prepare them for their adult lives, however they choose to live them! And I pray that their faith will be strong too!

Monday, 1 August 2016

Trusting God in the unknown

The unknown is scary, right!? 

Most of the country did not expect the Leave vote to win. Yet we are heading into an uncharted territory for this country. And for many, if not most (including our family) it’s quite daunting and scary.

How do we deal with the unknown?

Our lives are God’s story and song. From knitting us together in our mother’s womb to dancing with him in heaven, our lives on earth are meant to reflect a walk with him towards that eternal goal. Rather than living just for a comfortable retirement with worldly possessions, God has called us into something much richer, deeper and more beautiful. It doesn’t have to be scary.

We don’t need to be afraid, if we are walking by faith, even in the unknown.

Faith gives us hope. 

In Genesis 12 God chose one man, Abraham, to begin his redemption plan for the whole world. Abraham had to make great sacrifices in this world to be obedient to God. Abraham had to step into the unknown to be obedient to God. In this story, we see how God was faithful to fulfil his promises and more through Abraham and ultimately our saviour, Jesus Christ. And we see an example of the value of trusting God even when our present circumstances looks bleak.

Abram, later known as Abraham, lived in a place called Ur.

This was one of the most developed areas of its time. Life was pretty sweet and Abram was rich with land, livestock and many servants. He had status in the community and was highly respected. The land of Mesopotamia was rich, fertile, and fruitful. They had buildings and even hot and cold running water. If anyone was in a comfort zone, it was Abram. It is here that we begin the story where God first calls Abram to leave his home land.

In verse 1, it says:
The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.

First call of Abram was not a promise, it was a command. Action was demanded of Abram, even though God was scant on details.

I’m a planner. I love to know exactly what we’re doing, when and how. I hate it when I feel things are unorganised and not thought through. And if we’ve made a plan, let’s stick to it, whether that’s what I’m doing in life, generally, or even just what we’re eating tonight for dinner. I don’t know about you, but my nature is one of wanting to know what is coming next and if I don’t know, I get quite stressed and anxious. If we’ve planned on having pizza for dinner, I will move heaven and earth to make sure that it’s pizza and woe betide anyone who dares suggest to change the plan.

So, when I read in Genesis of Abram being told by God to simply leave what he knows and step into the unknown with a “don’t worry, I’ll show you along the way….” makes me anxious just reading it.
Yet that is exactly where I am at right now. We’ve heard the call of God to move to the Philippines.

We took a step of faith and obedience. 

We reserved tickets to Cebu, not having the funds to pay for it, but trusting that God would provide.

And he did.

This has happened to us three times now, in the last year. This seems to be the way that God works with us:
1. Hear the call and decide to act.
2. Act (ie. Commit to going/booking tickets etc).
3. God provides the means.

This pattern of walk with the Lord has happened to us countless times over the 6 ½ years we’ve been in missions, since we quit our jobs. We made ourselves vulnerable, but God has always come through.

But it’s not always easy. Right now, we haven’t yet got a place to live, we don’t know who we’re going to be working with and how we’re going to be doing it. The call is there but the details are scant. Usually this would freak me out and I would be having sleepless nights worried about what the future might hold.

Yet in a strange way, we have peace. Having seen God provide and guide all these years has given us confidence and assurance in His leadership and provision over our lives. Once again we have stepped off the cliff edge of surety into the unknown. I don’t’ think this makes us special or wonderful – but maybe a bit crazy. There isn’t some special magic that God does to missionaries to make us super human. We have our fears, issues and problems. We have kids who don’t always do what we ask them to do. We get sick and tired. We have mis-understandings with others and each other.
I think if anyone were to ask how we got to this point in our walk, it is through baby steps in the past, and God has always been there for us. We have seen many miracles which each time strengthens our faith and helps us to take the next step.

OK, so let’s look at the next bit of Genesis 12.
“I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”

OK, so God has told Abram to go, not told him where to go or what he’s going to do. But…he has given him a great promise. And what a promise it is. This is a man without any children at this stage. He’s got wealth but no descendants.

He didn’t start by giving him Isaac. 

He started by sending him out into the unknown. Abram had to trust God’s promise in the midst of the unknown.

I don’t know your circumstance. I don’t know what you’re facing in life. But I do know one thing: God is faithful and trustworthy. He is big enough to carry your burdens with you and walk with you in your journey, in your story, your song. You can trust him that he is good and true.

But do you trust him, even when things look bleak, even when you don’t know exactly where you’re going? 

Let’s just have a look at that verse for a minute. That’s quite a promise to Abram. This man who seemingly has everything he needs, except a family of his own. Yet at this stage, God doesn’t promise him children. He goes way beyond that. He promises so much more. This is not feel good, pithy promises from God. These are true statements that actually came true.

In Galatians 3 we see the end of the story:
Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith— 6 just as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”? Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. 8 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify[c] the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.” 9 So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.

Paul, here, nicely unpacks for us the fulfilment of that promise to Abraham. Our saviour, Jesus Christ, was a direct descendent of Abraham. All who have faith in Jesus are blessed, along with Abraham. There is no doubt here, that God fulfilled his promise to Abraham. He didn’t fill Abraham in on the details. Abraham had to trust God, take that leap into the unknown. He had to have faith in God. It’s that faith that Jesus is referring to, when he says in Matthew 17, with the power that faith as small as a mustard seed can have. Abram’s faith to walk in obedience with God, made him righteous before the Father in Heaven.

What is God calling you to do, which is a leap into the unknown? What areas of your life are you holding back from him, because you’re afraid of losing them? Allow the Holy Spirit to prompt you, even whilst I’m speaking.

For us, stepping into the unknown is easier. Back in those days when you left your household to follow the call of God, you probably never saw your extended family again.
But now… …with social media and the internet, home never feels that far away. We can see pictures and watch videos of our god children. We can skype with Grandma and Grandad. We can tweet the queen, if we so choose!

However, it doesn’t make it comfortable, or even easy, to move 6,754 miles away. Yes, I googled it! We are all experiencing varying levels of culture shock in our family right now. Having lived out of suitcases since May, our lives have been continuously disrupted and we’re ready to settle somewhere as soon as possible. Our promised land may be different to that of Abraham…but we know that it will be good.

Abram was, at the age of 75, to make this long journey towards Canaan. He was to leave everything behind. Yet he was obedient. He continued to trust God along the way and didn’t complain when God told him to keep moving.

Our journey and our experience is different to that of Abram, all those years ago.

Living in the 21st Century, we have the joy of the knowledge that Jesus has already come. He has already died for us. He descended to the dead and rose again on the third day. He is alive today! And he’s coming back! The curtain is torn. There is no need for an earthly intercessor or priest. We, yes all of us, have access to the Father through the Son. And as we step into his throneroom, we have a freedom to dance with him, to run with him, to enjoy life with him.

Walking in obedience to Christ is no burden. As we release the hold that worldly values keep us enslaved to (and there are plenty of them that I still need to release), we find a new freedom that means that the unknown is no longer scary. The Joy that comes from knowing that He loves us, no matter what our circumstances may be, is immense.

Abram was righteous. He was brave. He chose to trust God, even when what God was offering him seemed impossible and even laughable.

Have a think about your own life. What is your story? 

It has been said that there is no testimony without a test. A test from God is not put there to put us down, or humiliate us. It is there to purify us – just like when you’re purifying a precious metal, it’s held under the fire, so that all the rubbish falls away. God purifies us, tests us, and nurtures us, so that we may be Kingdom fit and heaven-ready.

For me, I am not brave or bold, or clever, or rich.

As a family, we do not go out into the mission field feeling like we’ve got it all together. We choose to go, because we know He is the one going before us. He is the one who provided the clothes I’m wearing today.

He is my true father and I want my story and my song to be his.

This text is taken from a talk given at St Mary's Church, Luton on 31st July 2016

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Leaving Muizenberg

It is today that we say farewell to Muizenberg, South Africa. We leave on a high. We're not leaving because our time here has come to an end per se. If we stayed, there would be plenty of work for us to do. And we have great relationships here which we've built over the past 6 years. God has blessed our time in South Africa, and it's with a heavy heart that we leave this beautiful country. But leave we must if we are to pursue our dream to adopt.

We feel the Lord is with us as we made this decision, even giving us the space to decide when, and where to go. As we presented Phillipines to Him, we felt His peace and providence. We didn't need to fundraise or send out an appeal, God just put it on a few people's heart to give extra support in this time of extra need. We are so grateful to God and the friends for their amazing faithfulness and generosity.

So now here we are. About to check in to our flight to cebu, not going home to they uk first but stepping straight into the unknown!

Please pray for us.

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

A new year, the beginning of a new season

This is going to be one of those years with big changes: clearing our house and finishing our work in South Africa and going straight from here to the Philippines. Muizenberg has been a wonderful place to live for the past 6 years and we'll miss it terribly. Our new home will be in Cebu, Philippines. We will have to develop new contacts, new friends and new jobs. We'll still be with YWAM, but in a very different context.

Over the next few months, Pete will be winding down his work with AfriCom and handing the ministry over to the eldership for them to consider its future. Becky will train up staff at S-Cape with her skills and knowledge so that they can continue the work that she started.

Reflecting back...


 
Six years ago we left our jobs and house in the UK to follow our dreams and calling, we came to Muizenberg, South Africa to do our Discipleship Training School (DTS), which was so amazing and life changing! It's hard to imagine that it's been six years ... but so much has happened in that time. We've seen lots of miracles, made wonderful friends and, my favourite - had two beautiful children! God has blessed us beyond our imagination! Thank you Jesus ♡

Friday, 1 January 2016

Happy New Year 2016


Wow, Cape Town is voted Most Beautiful City in the world (Buzzfeed), and I can totally see why. It is an honour and privilege to live here. Can't believe we've been here for 6 years - that flew by!

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Christmas far from family

When you grew up with cold weather Christmas festivities, it's hard to adjust to a warm weather one. Even though I've been in South Africa for 6 years now, it still doesn't feel right to don shorts and t-shirt and have a braai (barbecue) on Christmas day!

This year we had a friend, Beccie George, who was bridesmaid at our wedding and has been a friend of ours since university days.

Having a new visitor is wonderful, because it's a good excuse to do all the tourist things in the city which we wouldn't normally do. Oftentimes, with the busy-ness of every day life, it's easy to forget that we live in one of the most beautiful places on earth. Each time we get a visitor, they comment on how blessed we are and then we often take a step back and look around us and realise how right they are. Beccie was a wonderful gift to have with us as she helped with the kids and is just a very fun-loving easy-going person to be around. It wasn't the same as having Christmas with family, but we had some great laughs along the way.

Skype had to be our form of being with family this year, which isn't quite the same, but it's an amazing way of staying in touch when there's such a big distance between us and the grandparents.

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Tools for evangelism

In my job I get to meet some wonderful people, doing amazing things. Many of the people I meet are unsung heroes, working behind the scenes to fulfil a calling God placed on their hearts and lives. Sometimes I meet whole organisations that don't shout about what they're doing, just quietly get on with it. Once such organisation is Christian Vision. Known as CV, this group, founded in the UK, has the task of helping us share the gospel using media and communications (hoorah!). They have developed many tools that use social media and the web to help churches and individual Christians in their journey to fulfilling the Great Commission. One of their latest projects is YesHeIs.com which is a databank of videos sharing how people have been touched by the love of Jesus. It's a tool for Christians who are serious about evangelism to use. Rather than just sharing it 'on their facebook wall' as is the most common way of using social media, users are encouraged to share the video directly with friends and contacts.

Part of the process is that the person receiving the video will not only see the video, but they will get a chance to respond/react to the video and 'do' something about it in their own lives. This tool enables people to hear the gospel directly. It's such a wonderful and powerful tool that I wholly endorse and think that there should be more initiatives like this! May God guide and bless those that work for CV and help many come to faith through these wonderful resources.

Monday, 16 November 2015

Spinning for Freedom!

This weekend saw us 'spinning for freedom' at a local mall here in Cape Town. The event, which has become an annual tradition of S-Cape (the safe house for girls rescued from human trafficking), is an 8-hour spinathon.

Laid out in the middle of the shopping mall were 20 exercise bikes with a spinning instructor up front, egging on the participants. Every hour the teams change over so that throughout the day there is a constant buzz of the wheels.




The safe house which is run by S-Cape cannot publicize its location, for security reasons. Therefore to help raise funds and awareness of the work of the home, activities like the spinathon are held. Passers by could see videos, hear stories of the girls and and engage with the fight against modern-day slavery.

Whilst Becky wasn't spinning she was out there engaging with the shoppers and encouraging them to donate.

Although exhausting for the participants, many of whom are not avid gym members(!), it was worthwhile to be out there, shedding light on this dark problem. I'm proud to say that my team, Team Pete, completed the task and raised our ZAR 1500 contribution towards this worthy cause. Now I'm back at work on Monday and feeling delicate as my legs ache from the intense workout!

Even Joshua, who couldn't reach the seat, had a go at spinning, giving it a good 10-minutes with his boundless energy!


Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Working with integrity

Reading Steve Moody's blog* today made me think of what it is to serve in missions. As iron sharpens iron, we are meant to be willing to challenge one another and break down the barriers that cause us to pretend "all is Ok". Steve referred to it as wearing make up which covers the blemishes but never actually heals or changes anything underneath. It's been like that since the fall: we have to somehow cover ourselves out of shame.

Right now, I am taking a greater role in mentoring staff at the Youth With A Mission campus here in South Africa. At the same time, I'm also being mentored by one of our elders. Verbally processing our disappointments, fears, shame and other areas of darkness in our lives with trusted believers gives us the ability to break it down and recognise that we cannot do this without Christ who strengthens us. It pushes us to lay everything down at the Cross and submit to Him. The longer I'm in missions, the more I realise that it's not about me, but about He who sent me, trained me, equipped me, and went before me. But as I shared with my mentee, things can get messy and difficult when we ask each other the difficult questions. It is a risk - a potential damaging of reputation and friendship. Yet a vital step in order to be more like Him.

Therefore, we've got to remember that the first and foremost person to be honest with is Jesus who is the author and perfecter of our faith. Steve sums it up nicely even he concludes with the difference between preserving reputation (=worldly) and preserving integrity (=godly). He also quotes Psalm 139:

Search me, God, and know my heart;
   test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
   and lead me in the way everlasting.

As Steve says: It assumes an attitude that does not work to preserve reputation but to preserve integrity.  It assumes that we will make mistakes, that we will go astray.  Such an attitude is the basis upon which forgiveness operates and the foundation of our reconciliation with God.

*Steve is the pastor of the wonderful Stopsley Baptist Church in Luton. He is often thought-provoking in his sermons. He is partly the reason why I am serving in missions today!

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

What's behind the lens

When it comes to presenting a story, we can easily be influenced by the story teller. Sometimes that's easy to spot other times it can be a while lot more subtle. An experiment was carried out recently to explore the way in which photographers take portraits.

Once they get to know the story behind the person, it heavily influences how they take the photographs, giving them a great deal of power on how they present that person to the audience.

This shows us the great power that the media has on our opinions and our paradigms. This is especially true for famous people whom we have never met but invariably have an opinion about, usually based on what we've been told, or in many cases shown through edited videos and images.

It challenged me about the photographs and videos I select to present to others our work and the great power reach of us hold in this realm know of mass communication.

Friday, 30 October 2015

Grizelda

My friend Grizelda was trafficked at 18. We met at the trafficking conference last year. She shares her story to raise awareness and empower others. She's so brave and I really admire her courage in being able to share her story to strangers. I'm privileged to know her!