Friday, 25 November 2016

A LOOK BACK AT 2016

It hardly seems possible that 2016 is nearly at an end.  I had been meaning to write various blogs this year but that just didn't happen as you will know. The intention was there but not the time or the moment.  

Now the moment has arrived as I am sitting looking back at the year from the perspective of New Zealand.  We are back down under for the Christmas holidays spending time with our Kiwi and Ozzie families.  It gives me time to reflect a little.

Being slightly OCD I have kept account of the number of things as varied as countries visited and ministered in since 2007 - 25;  FHM A Schools and B Schools attended or led since 2007 - 96; birds spotted in Uganda and Tanzania - 170;  beds we have slept in this year - 62,  much fewer now we have our own flat in the UK as a base to land back in.  That says something about me, I know not what though.

We began the year with a brilliant family gathering in Taupo, New Zealand, with all our children and grandchildren spending a few days together with their grandparents. We even had the twins other granny from England and Noah and Lily's other grandad from Auckland there. We recreated a family photo that we took last time we were all together three years ago. Every one had changed! We were all there except Chrissie's husband James who couldn't get time off from work in Australia.  We so value family and as we look at our brood and their broods we feel very very proud and thankful.

The major change for us this year has been the provision of a flat not far from Winchester in the UK.  This was perfect timing and a great kindness by our friends who own the place beside their house in Ropley and are kindly renting it out to us.  It is just what we needed and gives us a place to keep our things and a place to rest and recover between trips.  The timing was perfect as we needed to clear our rooms at the Eden Centre, the ministry base for FHM in New Zealand because of its impending sale.  We couldn't be happier about this.  In the past we have trusted that when we needed it Father would provide the right place and this is it.  Very happy!


 


Mission situations have figured quite highly this year and it was great to return to Uganda to lead a second FHM A School for deaf church leaders at Mto Moyoni in Jinja.  Participants came from 9 different African nations. Our links with DMI, Deaf Ministries International and our friend Gunnar have grown through these schools and in this coming year I am going to S Korea with him for a School there.

The other missions situation was Port au Prince Haiti where we taught an A School.  This was about 2 weeks after the hurricane had hit the country.  I was there at the invitation and with the support of a team from New Day Church, Summerville, S Carolina.  We had just held a B School at New Day in the wake of the same hurricane that had hit Haiti.  A large number of pastors and leaders came to this Haitian School and we are excited about how they were able to received and what the future will bring. At this point it looks like we will be returning in February 2018 for another School. 

Thank you for supporting us in these mission Schools.

In terms of our ministry we continue to speak at conferences and churches and teach and lead FHM A Schools and I am also now quite involved in teaching at B Schools. These have challenged me and brought me great joy and enabled me to dig deeper into the biblical basis and foundation of what we are teaching.

 It has been very encouraging to hear Linda speak at a number of events too.  She has her first event where she will be the main speaker in February 2017 at Northchurch Baptist Church in the UK, where we first began ministry in 1977!  If you are interested in us coming to your church let us know. We try to keep our traveling plans up to date on our "Comings and Goings" page on this website.

I managed to publish another book earlier this year which comes out of my reading, study and teaching of church history.  You can see more about this on the pages of this website also.  Sales have gone very well and I'm encouraged.  If you have bought it and read it and felt like leaving a review on Amazon or Kindle, that would be appreciated.  In the first day it went I hit the best seller list ( for about 2 hours)!   The book "Jesus and his Father " was translated into Dutch and published in the Netherlands in April which was exciting.  With three books out now I wonder if I am done,  but maybe not.  We are looking at another one sometime soon on a topic that has been important and significant for us both. This might be one we write together.  We shall see.

Our health has been pretty good this year apart from the usual selection of coughs and colds.  Linda has had her moments with her old head injury from the previous years fall being an occasional challenge but generally we have been well.  I had my annual mole check this week in Auckland and it seems I have a couple of possibly dodgy cancerous ones on two places.  The Doctor thinks one is a BCC rather than melanoma but this time he wants to cut it out to be sure rather than just treat with cream. The other is a pre-melanoma  So I’m having them done Jan 5th.  He says it will take awhile to heal up as he is going for a large chunk of skin.  Nice - not.  It doesn’t change any travel plans for OZ. But we will be at our daughter's for about two weeks while it heals up and we get the results.  Whatever the outcome I’ll get it referred to the UK if I need any further treatment.  I’m hoping that I might be able to claim it on insurance as he says it needs to be treated immediately as it cannot be left for 3 months till we get back.  This sounds all a bit of a drama and we are not that happy about it but one of the annoying facts of life and aging!

Well that is about it for 2016.  December for us is chilling time with family and then Christmas at sunny Pauanui again thanks to our good friends Murray and Julie.

We end the year celebrating the goodness of God our Father and his faithfulness to us and rejoicing in the birth of his Son, Jesus and the Holy Spirit's abiding presence within us.  Christmas greetings to you especially if you have read this far.

Next year I'll see if I can write some more than this year. No promises. 








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