How did we come about choosing to go to England???
Fun question. With multiple answers really. I will start with a simple answer...The Lord drew our hearts there. Does it make sense to go the England? Why can't we just stay in Alabama and minister to the people there and be about disciple making there, where family is closer and where we are more familiar with everything?
It doesn't make sense on paper, but we know that the Lord has called us to go. We can look back over the last 3 years and say, it didn't make sense to come here to St. Louis. BUT the Lord had us come and paved the way for us to be here. And now having been here almost 3 years, we can see more of his reasons for doing this. We can see how he wanted us to come here to prepare us for a move overseas. It didn't make sense to sell our home and leave everything we knew, but the Lord asked us to trust him and we did. And He has been so faithful to us.
We have learned that if we feel called to go, he will provide and open doors. We are to trust him and seek his will and put aside ourselves. I won't lie and say some days I have to put myself aside, but do it kicking and screaming like a little girl. But the Lord is working on my heart and molding me.
So, how did the Lord draw our hearts to England? Well...let's start with last summer. Michael was given the opportunity to go to South Africa with a group from a church here in St. Louis. They were going to encourage and help out with a campus ministry at the University of Cape Town. There, they were involved with some evangelism on the campus and some Bible studies and also got to check out the Bible college as well. I knew when talking with Michael while he was there that he was in love with being in another culture and soaking up building relationships with people there and being about the ministry there. We had decided, that since his flight coming back home had a layover in London, it would be an awesome chance to get to stop off and see some friends of ours, Trace and Ginger. They had been in England for almost 2 years (they are friends from our home church back in Alabama). So Michael booked a train and made his way to Culcheth to see them and spend 2 days with them before heading back to St. Louis.
During his time there, Michael fell in love with England and he saw the true need for the gospel there. Soon after leaving the airport in London, he met a young man in the train station while waiting for his train. In talking with this guy, it became apparent to him that this guy was a clear example of what the state of England is in. He told Michael that he was baptized in the Anglican church, but "didn't really believe it anymore". Then he told Michael "that's good for you" about Michael stating his faith, but he just didn't see a need for it in his life.
We have come to learn that this conversation he had with the guy in the train station greatly represents where much of the population is: Post Christian. In looking at some statistics, we found that only about 5% of the population actually attend church on a regular basis. Compare that to the states, where about 43% attend weekly here. That is why we feel the need to go. Our hearts ache for the next generation there, where it is estimated that 96% of children will grow up with no gospel influence at all.
Michael and I (and Evie) were able to spend time with the church there in Culcheth. We love the people in the church. We saw that they had a heart for their village and their country. Our desire once we get there is to come alongside this church and support them and serve, and ultimately we hope to plant another church in the neighboring village of Leigh.
We are open to what and how the Lord will work there. We have our ideas of what we could do there, but ultimately we are waiting on the Lord to show us, one step at a time.
And ultimately, we hope to be about loving the people there well. We know that we are called to go and make disciples. It is going to be a fun and crazy ride :)
So what other questions are there? Any??? No question is too silly...I would love to hear them. Like what our timeline for getting to England, will we continue to homeschool or put our girls in school, or any other questions...
I need to blog too about SK starting kindergarden this week... So far so good with this whole homeschooling thing. She is loving it and ask for more everyday. I should take the typical "first day of kindergarden" picture, or maybe the first week seeing as I have missed the first day...oops.