A Month on the Field
Nobody said it would be easy…
Our family has now been in Southall for a month. This first month has been a lot of things: exciting, rewarding, terrifying, frustrating, affirming and exhausting.
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” – Charles Dickens
We all arrived safely the first week of March, including Dolly, our Yorkie. We arrived in Southall to an empty house. The shipping container with our stuff in it would not arrive until three weeks later. So we made do with some air mattresses, yoga mats, a borrowed dining room table and some kitchen goods from the church-run Asha Charity Shops. Basically, camping out in Southall.
Our house is in a great location, within walking distance to several bus stops and a large Tesco store, which is like a Kroger or Target in the States. Our neighborhood is mostly Asian folks and is home to a Sikh Gurdwaras and a Muslim Mosque, both very near our house. The Southall team here has been truly amazing in helping us get acclimated to our new surroundings. We have become close to a very nice Indian family from the church who have been a real blessing to our family. They have helped show us the ropes in many important ways and saved us a ton of money in pointing out the best places to shop in the community for things that we have needed.
We have tried to jump in to serving on the team in several ways. During a normal week, we are serving on Tuesdays with the Mom & Toddler Group and the Kids Group in the afternoon. On Friday nights we serve with the Heston Youth Club, which is a cool group of teenagers from around the community that meet at the church for fun, games and Bible study. On Sundays we serve on the New Life Masih Ghar worship team, which has been a real blast. The worship sets usually contain Western worship tunes as well as Asian worship songs. This is a great opportunity for us to push our musical boundaries.
Last weekend our shipping container arrived which was a huge blessing. Our amazing friends on the NLMG team showed up to help us unload it all. The house is now full of boxes as we try to put everything in order in a smaller space than we left in Franklin. It is a work in progress for sure. Prayers appreciated…
We have had some really good times here so far, including great fellowship, amazing food and a trip to the WB Harry Potter Studio Tour with the kids. But this has also been the hardest month of our lives. The sadness of leaving, combined with the “country shock” of trying to adapt into this new UK environment have taken our stress levels to surprising levels. (Having to take a bus everywhere we want to go is a unique and unusual challenge!) We knew this would not be easy, but we are really seeing now how hard it is to move your family to another country and culture. We are affirmed in our call to serve here daily in many ways, but we also struggle daily on many fronts.
We are blessed to be here, no doubt. The Lord is with us and showing up in powerful ways in our lives. We are here because of the shared vision and generosity of many people and we very much appreciate your support. Please keep our family in your prayers as we adjust to new surroundings and work in this amazing, vibrant and many-cultured community.
– Please pray for peace for our family. This is a hard time for everyone and we need the supernatural touch of the Lord to bring us peace during this time.
– Please pray for discernment as we try to integrate into the Southall community. We have some important choices and decisions ahead of us concerning the kids’ school, our house, our jobs and our lives here in the UK. Pray that the Lord will lead us into the best choices along the path.
– Please pray for Temple’s health right now. She has been grinding her teeth a lot at night because of all the stress and it is causing great discomfort in her mouth and jaw. We have been to a dentist already, but they weren’t really able to help. She now has a mouth guard which we hope will help. This is really painful and really tough for her on top of everything else that we have to deal with.
– Please pray for our kids as they move into their schools in the next couple of weeks. We decided to go ahead and enroll them in local schools rather than home school. This was not an easy decision but we feel it will be good for them. They are a little scared, as we are, about this new world of UK schools. Pray for understanding teachers and good kids to come around them.
– Please pray for our music efforts, both in the school startup and our professional ventures. We really need to start generating some income on the ground here, but that is a slow process which is being help up by our effort to set up our home and family. Pray that doors will open up and opportunities will become available for work for Temple and I.
– Please pray for New Life Masih Ghar and the work that they are doing in this community. It is important work in this area of so many Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs. They are trying to shine the light of Jesus love in a dark place. Pray that we may add something to this team that will help the great things they are doing.