Monday, October 31, 2011

Making a New Start

Whilst we served Shiloh Church in Guernsey for some years we coined the strap-line for it - 'Helping People Make a New Start'.  I always felt it to be the best descriptive phrase about church life that I had ever come across, and now it is coming true for Diane and me too.  After more than 4 years of not being able to work because of the agony of chronic pancreatitis, and the all-too-frequent admissions to hospital near home and in London, my situation has improved dramatically.  Recently my GP started saying that he thought I might even be well enough to consider starting work again, and for Diane and myself that could only mean one thing - active Christian ministry in one capacity or another.  We just love preaching and teaching the Word of God, and mentoring and encouraging Christian leaders, while all the time sharing the good news of the love of God with folk of all faiths and of none.  This was our great desire, though the exact details seemed to elude us for a while.

For some weeks we have been praying about this, in particular the possibility of serving the Eldad Elim Church, in St Peter Port Guernsey, as its minister.  The present incumbent and my close friend John Bristow will retire in December and he and his wife Iris plan to move to New Zealand.  Through different talks and negotiations, both with Elim's National Leadership Team and the Eldad church leaders, we came to the settled conclusion that this is what we should do.  Last Sunday morning it was announced to the congregation that Diane and I will be joining them in the New Year, and we are so thrilled that we can even contemplate this.  It is a daunting challenge, but one in which we know we will be joining some wonderful people and will learn much from them.

We are so grateful  for all your love, support and prayers.  To all our friends in the Pancreatitis Supporters Network we say 'hang in there, guys - we can beat this'.  To Katie Bassett, a dear Christian friend who is our pain control specialist nurse and who arranged for my implant at Guys' hospital last February, 'God has really used you, Katie.  You were really meant to come to Guernsey'.  To so many much-loved prayer partners - Brian and Doreen, Hazel, Daphne (and the late Clarence), Jean and David, Jean P, Eileen, Peter and Dorien, Kev and Mary and so so many more - many thanks and don't stop now!  There is an encouraging verse in Revelation 3:8 where God says 'I have set before you an open door which no man can shut, and I know that your strength is limited.'  If He is leading us to this new start, then all may not be easy, but it will all be well.