At the University of Birmingham the students are coming to the end of their second term and so I thought it’d be a good time to write another newsletter. I really would have liked to write these more, and so I’m grateful for you all being so understanding that you haven’t received these more frequently. Because it’s been a while this will be a long update, but I’ll try to keep it concise.
Students: This term, Jan-Mar, I’ve been taking the students through various studies looking at the different aspects of a Christian lifestyle. We started looking fairly basic things, for the student group, like quiet times and church. And then spent quite a lot of time focusing on different ways we can approach outreach, and telling people about Jesus. I really felt this was an area in which we needed to grow. So we looked at sharing our testimonies, using film’s as gateways to conversations, and thinking about ways we can carry Jesus’ name into conversation rather than our “Christian culture”.
This last month we have also connected with a charity called Karis, and on Friday mornings some of our students go to a church building in five ways to help teach English to people who don’t yet know it. Whilst this isn’t “Gospel sharing” focused, we think it plays an important part of being salt and light to our city.
Connect: For those who don’t know as part of my year with the Navigators I have also been given some training – in the form of assignments and books to read. There have also been fairly frequent meetings in Leicester with a wonderful group of people who are also doing the internship at different Universities. This has been a really great opportunity for me to meet people who are all in similar positions and face similar struggles. I am regularly challenged by the example and character of these people.
SLT: This term also saw the student group appoint a new Student Leadership Team (SLT). These are an amazing group of students who want to step up and help the group grow. Once a week I meet with this team and we work through various leadership exercises. Last week we had a discussion on Timothy and what it meant to set an example to the students all around us in: Speech, Conduct, Love, Faith and Purity.
Baptisms: Not that I played any role in this at all, but it was a real pleasure to see one of the students deciding to get baptised! And another planning to do so this month! It was so great to see the whole student group attend another church just to support and cheer on and pray for their sister in Christ!
Marriage: Married life is going very well, without getting too soppy! We’ve managed to keep up our “date nights” once a week from before and are trying to be more outward focused in sharing our lives with others (for example having our neighbours and my wife’s work colleagues round for dinners or coffees or both!). Given the jobs we are both in this is really a blessing from God, especially since we’ve struggled to consistently commit to quiet times together (Prayers for us in this would be appreciated!!) we know this must be God’s gift to us!
Church: We have really settled into our new community group and both feel very comfortable to be honest and vulnerable within this group. The couple who host and lead the group have just had their first baby so that is really exciting!!
I am also meeting regularly with our pastor, who is challenging and teaching me new things. I’ve found this very encouraging and helpful in identifying new areas of growth.
My Wife’s Job: This term has been particularly stressful for her as she continues to teach at a secondary School. She has been given the task of receiving training externally and then presenting it back to the department to help them grow. Although this is really encouraging that her boss clearly believes in her and that she is doing a good job, it does mean an added pressure to her already busy work load.
Looking Forward: I really wanted to be able to share an exciting 5 year plan which we both felt God was leading us towards but we haven’t got one! Last week I spent a day journaling and asking God to give us some direction. I prayed through a list of fairly obvious possibilities and have a slightly better idea. But nothing concrete, so prayers in this area would be appreciated.
At the moment it seems likely that she will spend another year teaching where she is before she applies for the School Direct Salaried route to start the following year to get her QTS. Which I suppose means at least we are in Birmingham for a while!
As for me the day journaling narrowed down some options and I’m going to start pressing against them and seeing which doors open. The two most likely options are either continued work with the Navigators (committing to three years and their training: Foundations For Ministry) but on a part time basis with the other part of my time working a paid job to help support us financially in a sustainable way. And the other option involves finding regular full time employment, and applying for a Masters in Theology.
There are pros and cons with all the ideas and even more with the others, but I’m sharing them with you and asking for your prayers that we would listen to God’s leading in this.
- God would continue to hold us together and bless our marriage, and we in kind would actively seek to bless those around us.
- We’d appreciate prayers for clarity in what God is calling us to next!
- That God would equip and refresh us both during the Easter break, so that we can go back to our individual mission fields and bless the people we work with and for.
Thank you so much for all your support whether; spiritual, emotional, financial, I really appreciate it.