We began our life in overseas mission in 1998 with a year in Tanzania. After that we think most of our friends thought we'd got the 'mission bug' out of our system and would get back on with our lives in England. However we felt strongly that we were supposed to be serving God overseas. In 1999 we joined a UK mission agency and after a year at All Nations we went to Zimbabwe.
Initially we were working with a street kid shelter in the city centre but after a year began working with our church as we planted out into the Westgate suburb of Harare. After being somewhat unceremoniously thrown out of Zim' we arrived back in the UK just 3 weeks before Joel was born. Dean ended up moving house for us on the day Joel popped out!
We eventually spent just over a year in Blighty before going to South Africa at the invite of the eldership of a local church from which we began working with the community of Chris Nissen Park. After almost 5 years of serving the church and CNP we began serving a local church in Macassar just 10k's from where we were. Sadly, for reasons never explained to us, this church folded just 2 years later in 2011. We continued to reach out to those who had been hurt by this and gathered a small group of solid Macassar folk with whom we joined Love And Grace Church in Mitchell's Plain where we were cared for brilliantly.
A long story short... we were planted out of Love And Grace into Macassar in January 2012
2011 was a rollercoaster year and part of that journey involved us leaving our mission society after 12 years together. This was a mutual decision but as one chapter closes so another opens. As from January 2012 we are associate mission partners with Christians Abroad. We're really excited by this and believe that the greater freedom offered us by Christians Abroad will serve only to enhance our mission here in South Africa.
A bit more about us: Dean is a mad cyclist and has participated in many local races and completed the legendary Cape Epic in 2009. He also likes to unicycle, juggle (balls, clubs and fire) and chill out.
Paula is a gym junkie and loves to spend time making and developing friendships which, of course, involves time sampling the various coffee shops in the Helderberg Basin! She loves being a busy working mum and being involved in things about which she is 100% passionate.
We both have a passion for Crystal Palace FC and having colonised Zimbabwe for the Red n’ Blue Army, it’s obviously time to spread the word to other parts of Africa! We both always separately said that we felt called to serve God in the UK - God has a sense of humour!!
That's us, but what about the blog?
We started blogging back in 2002 whilst in Zim' but accidentally deleted the blog before beginning this one in 2004. This blog was originally entitled 'Adventures With God' but after 6 years of blogging in the same format decided it was time for a change. We'd also received some criticism (in a positive fashion) about the title of the blog. We realised that the criticisms were valid as many non-believers would arrive on the blog and leave almost immediately as they saw the title and were turned off.
We've also battled a bit with the nature and purpose of the blog and had found ourselves being very reticent about posting certain things due to the blog being read by our mission organisation and people we work with. Whilst we have no intention of trying to stop anyone from reading our blog, we feel it is important to reclaim it as a personal blog which is not associated with our mission agency or local church. That way we can return to being more candid in our blogging without worrying about what others may or may not like.
We really want to stress here that our blog is a personal blog!FTM is not a theological article, it's not a mission agency blog nor is it a church blog. Whilst we may discuss these things from time to time, any views expressed here are entirely our own (unless plagiarised) and entirely personal! Unbelievably, just the other day Dean was told off by someone for something he had posted so it really is worth stating that this blog is a personal blog!
In fact, we'd go so far as to say that our blog may well contain stuff which some object to or maybe take offence at. If this is the case please let's have a healthy debate about it in the comments section where others can also have the chance to join in the discussion.