I hope you've already had a good summer break or else are looking forward to an autumn trip. I definitely feel the better of my July holiday. I spent the first week in Torquay with Jill Chapman who I first met in 1992 when she was WEC's Acting Field Leader in Brazil. As well as catching up on each other's news during walks around Devon, we enjoyed meeting friends at the WEC prayer conference one evening.
Week two saw me in Keswick with a group of friends from the Isle of Lewis. It was good to hear Don Carson's expositions as well as other speakers. I was delighted to meet up with two friends from my time at All Nations. David, serving in the Middle East, was drinking in the teaching and relishing the fellowship. When we recorded a service from the Convention for Radio 4, I discovered that the producer was Philip, another voice from the past.
While I was away from home, my older brother and sister-in-law looked after my mother. That worked very well -- so they're booked for July next year!
In my Spring newsletter, I asked for prayer around some phrases from Thessalonians. They remind us that God's will for us in Christ Jesus is for us to be always joyful, always prayerful, always thankful and always peaceful.
It's often in the midst of unexpected, difficult things that the Lord cultivates these qualities and habits as His children seek to 'dwell in the shelter of the Most High'.
In the days after me sending out my prayer letter, my mother had one fall after another, each one more serious than the previous. After she broke her hip badly and was hospitalised, it took several days to stabilise her before operating.
She came through the operation but things were touch and go for some time.
After five or six weeks, she started to show a little improvement. Hospital staff described it as, "Nothing short of a miracle."
When family couldn't be over here, I would give them phone updates -- sounding a bit like a young mum seeing her offspring progressing. One week, the news would be, "She had some solid food today." Another week, "She managed to hold a teaspoon!" Later we were excited that she took her 'first' steps.
After two months she was allowed home, a stone lighter, frail and dependent. I was thankful for the loan of hospital equipment and for folk popping in, although I was on my own much of the time. Looking back now, it's great to see her progress, with every week making a difference. Family who've been back and fore over the summer, nurses who call regularly and friends visiting would all say the same.
A wee aside.... A key thought from a book I read recently about caring for older folk is: Be an enabler. Protecting and helping is good. But where is it possible to leave a bit more independence? And encouragement and listening - in this season as in every season - is so important.
Nina (an MTC graduate working in Scotland) hoped to visit me before returning to Brazil in June to take up a new ministry. Unfortunately, volcanic ash meant she had to cancel.
I didn't make it to WEC's international conference for leaders, held in Thailand in May, as my mother was ill. From all the reports, it was a wonderful time of fellowship and clear leading from the Lord. I've appreciated watching devotional talks and interviews on DVD as well as hearing from some who were there. Sergio is one of those who wrote to me to say he was inspired and encouraged.
My home church is grateful to have a new minister settling in after just a year of vacancy. It's an exciting time for Calum Iain and Dina Macleod and their three girls as well as for all the congregation.
MTC in Brazil
The MTC's site www.mtclatino.org.br is now very comprehensive. An important event mentioned is the 25th anniversary of the College being celebrated in September when they hope to welcome lots of graduates and former staff.
(Any unusual phrasing can be put down to automatic computer translation from Portuguese to English.)
WEC UK Training Dept.
Something that I read back in April was helpful as I weighed up several ministry opportunities with WEC and what could be reconciled with me being my mum's main carer.
Planting a seed is a good thing. However, planting it at the wrong time of the year would be a lot of hard work and result in very little, if any, fruit. Doing God's work is a very good thing, but it must also be done in God's time. To do otherwise can result in frustration and very little fruit. By recognising what season of life we are in ["To every thing there is a season..."] and doing the work the Lord has for us in that particular time, we can be effective planters and harvesters for Him.
The upshot, after praying and deliberating, is that I haven't taken up one of the proposed areas but I do hope to be involved in coordinating WEC UK's Training Department. My input will be a bit elastic, depending on home responsibilities, but I'm looking forward to getting involved as much as I can.
I'm in contact with others in WEC who are involved in training and also with other organisations. I've already got a list of responsibilities but my meetings in September will give me more clarity and the chance to talk over various things. Coordination, Information, Administration and Modelling Learning are likely to be key words.
Some Diary Dates
So far this year, I've been unable to get to Bulstrode, WEC's UK base, for meetings or staff conference. However, we've got respite care in place for my mum in September and the end of November/beginning of December to allow me to attend various meetings. While I travel, mum will be in her 'holiday home' in Stornoway, with good fellowship and care.
|25||Aviemore -- Ladies' Conference|
|27-29||Bulstrode -- meetings about the Training Dept.|
|30||London -- Global Connections' Human Resources Forum on Lifelong Learning|
|1||Possible visit to Redcliffe College, Gloucester|
|11||Home church meeting|
|29 Nov to 3 Dec||WEC UK Staff Conference and Leaders' Forum Germany -- WEC LDS (Leadership Development Seminar)|
Christmas/New Year: At home with mum
Jan. 2011: Mum's two wee great-grandchildren visit with their mum and granny
Thanks once again for your fellowship. Every blessing,