Planning Ahead

About two weeks before we were due to leave SA for Blighty, our line manager at church informed us that they were terminating our contract with them. This came as a bolt out of the blue and the timing wasn't great but that was the reality we had to deal with. Sadly over the next two weeks things were said and information was made public which never should have been and this lead to a lot of hurt on the part of our friends here who (like us) simply didn't understand the reasoning behind the decision. For our part we didn't agree with the decision and were very unhappy with the way in which the situation was managed. However what has been done can't be undone so we've tried to act as graciously as possible and attempted to ensure our words and actions remained honouring of the gospel. If we've failed we can only ask for forgiveness.

This situation complicated our time in Blighty as we suddenly needed to spend a lot more time with Crosslinks sorting out how we move forward. We agreed a broad plan which we're now working to, but more on that shortly.

We've been really bowled over by the love and support shown to us by our friends both here and in Blighty and would be really struggling now without your ongoing prayers and support.

So what next with that 'broad plan'? We still feel called to continue serving God here in South Africa and we've had no leading to suggest otherwise. We now plan to find another local church with whom we can work and which would offer us the accountability we've been missing for so long. We've followed up on a few leads we were given and are really excited by a few leads of our own which we've followed up. We've had some really helpful discussions with key people which we've really valued. WE plan to assess where we're at by the end of November so we should have a much clearer idea then of where we'll be and what we'll be doing. Having said that, we plan to have things sorted before that time.

We've also had a few good discussions with other folks who have left our previous church for a number of reasons. These discussions have been very fruitful and a blessing to us as we seek to bring closure to our time with the church.

School Run

So here's the latest mode of transport for the school run. The boys are really excited about this new contraption (it's a Raleigh trail-a-bike), especially Joel as he'd outgrown the child seat a while ago.

I've been taking Eli to play-group on the child seat for a while now and Joel has been desperate to go on the bike again as I used to take him on it to school quite regularly.

The great thing for us too is the saving in fuel. We save almost a pound a day just taking Eli so the saving will be even greater taking Joel too. Just hope my legs can hold out!

Top Gear

We're alive and well but don't seem to get much time for blogging at the moment so you'll have to excuse the silence.

Just to prove we're still here, here's a photo of Joel playing 'Top Gear' (a well known TV program in the UK), he's re-enacting the episode in which the Hamster races a Bugatti Veyron against a Eurofighter Typhoon of the RAF.

Joel was heard commenting at one point during our time in Blighty: "Daddy really likes Top Gear doesn't he."

Guilty as charged!

Routines

We've been back for just over a week and it feels like we've hit the ground running in terms of following up on contacts, establishing new contacts and working out a plan of attack as to what we do, where we go and who we see over the next few months.

The boys have slotted back into their routines smoothly and they're both delighted to be back with their friends at school & playgroup.

We're enjoying catching up with friends and getting into our fitness routines. Paula's been to the gym a few times and Dean's had a few good rides.

We've spent a bit of time in Chris Nissen and it's been great to catch up with our friends in there. We both felt our spirits had been lifted after spending just a few minutes with them. thankfully no-one seems to have died whilst we were away and the HOPE team have been doing a great job in our absence. Also, the Tiny Bubble créche has received its third container so they can now expand which is good news.

Early morning cloud around the Helderberg

Home Again

We arrived home safe & sound on Thursday morning after a great flight. Everything went very smoothly from the clear M25 to Heathrow to getting the luggage (all 120kg's) dropped off and getting something to eat in the airport. In fact, as we were eating our plane started boarding so we took a leisurely stroll to the departure gate. The plane took off on time and landed about 20 minutes early. Customs left us alone and Jo was waiting for us when we got through. We'd also arranged for Andy to help as we had a lot of luggage. The boys were great on the plane, Eli slept the whole time and Joel slept a bit and watched quite a lot of TV.

We're glad to be home and settling back into our routine. The boys are pleased to be back at school/play-group and we're glad to have some space again in the mornings. On Sunday we went to NewGen in Somerset West and enjoyed the service so we'll visit there again.

We're both back into our fitness regimes with Paula back into the gym 3/4 time a week and me back on my bikes. I've managed one MTB ride and one road ride so far which is great.

We'll post some photos of our time in Blighty and Spain in the next day or two.