Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Moulding Chronicles June 2016

Fun with some of our Bolivian Family
Dear Friends,
Transitions and change, just the words on their own evoke many different emotions and feelings, but as we look at the implications of those words the feelings become much more intense. Many of you are now aware that this is the path we are now taking as we have decided to end our time here in Bolivia. Its not been an easy decision to make after almost 9 years of relative stability and knowing what comes next. And yet we feel that God is now calling us to something new, to a new season, to new challenges and the strengthening of the lessons in which we have learned over these nine years in Bolivia.

Pigs wandering the streets squabbling with the local dogs
Aerobics out in the street for the "Dia del desafio" (Day of the challenge)
Since having made that decision it has been interesting how we now see things differently here in La Paz.  We find ourselves reminiscing as we walk around different parts of the city, remembering key moments and events, places we have lived, the clinic where Isaiah was born, and favourite places with amazing views of the city and Illimani. There are also feelings of sadness as we think about the things we will miss, the friendships, the familiarity and sounds of the neighbourhood we live in and seeing the odd sights that only happen in the developing world - farm animals and dogs roaming the streets in packs, buses with people hanging out of the door, bikes and taxis loaded up to the hilt, just this week I saw a taxi with two coffins in the back and three tied on the roof and I thought ‘only in Bolivia.’ All these thoughts go intertwined with thoughts of what is coming. Seeing family for the first time in 4 years, opportunities for grandparents and grandchildren to do things together, places, wildlife and foods to share with our children, times of spiritual refreshment, and being at lower altitude and having more energy. And of course there will be the rain of the UK and other challenges.

Perfect view of Illimani from the Monticulo
So this we were we find ourselves as the book ‘Looming Transitions’ by Amy Young says; living in the tension of our current reality and future reality at the same time, trying not to die to soon or too late. Not too soon with shutting down from responsibilities or relationships too early, maintaining our involvement with work, church and friendships. And not dying too late and suddenly disappearing like the rapture. It is a hard tension to live in, but a challenge we want to complete. Finishing well, standing in this tension continuing to serve and encourage, while little by little giving up responsibilities, praying that God will provide new relationships for the friends we have made to help them to keep growing in the Lord.

We do not know what comes next, we have our desires, but the Lord knows best and so we are patiently seeking him and pushing doors where we can. 

Thank God for: 
  • Almost nine years in Bolivia
  • Seeing our family grow
  • Spiritual growth and character development over these last nine years
  • Friendships that have changed lives
  • FH transforming realities of so many lives throughout the world. 

Ask God for:
  • Finishing well with FH and Church.
  • For all of us to be able to work through the emotions and strains of leaving Bolivia and adjusting to life in the UK.
  • Ed starting year two of his coaching course in August
  • Safe travels within Bolivia and returning.
  • The right job, housing and a car

Practical details:
  • Please don’t send any more post as they can take months to arrive, even if the Post Office says otherwise.
  • 29th July - Ed finishes with FH Bolivia
  • 20th September - Leave Bolivia
  • October to  December -  Home leave
  • December / January - Hope to be starting a new job.

Ed, Sarah, Alana, Isaiah & Lucas

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. 
Proverbs 3:5-6

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Moulding Chronicles March 2016

Dear Friends,

Last month Sarah was clearing out the office and found some cassette tapes that we were given years ago when we first moved to Bolivia. We never looked at them before, but one in particular peaked our interest as it was the same author of a book she had just finished reading, 'lifting the level of our prayers' by Charles Stanley.  So we thought we'd finally make the time on Sunday mornings to listen to them. What a blessing they have been for us as we have listened and learned more about prayer through them. 

One of the challenges involved writing out our prayers and being very specific about who and what we pray for so we can see exactly what we pray for as well as having something to return to, to see when our prayers are answered.  Another challenge was to use some of the apostle Paul's prayers as a guide to pray for people and to be very specific focusing our prayers more on the eternal consequences rather than general non specific blessings. As we have done this we have found our prayers are becoming more intentional and specific and as we think about what to pray and reflect on  scripture God draws more prayer out of us.

The Birthday Boy turns 5
Last week I (Ed) was praying for a couple of people and a difficult situation I was in the middle of and I saw that in the Ephesians 1:16 prayer it started with thanksgiving for them and what God is doing in their lives and it stopped me in my tracks. Here I am praying that God would sort this situation out and I am only looking at the problem and have not lifted up my eyes to ask God to show me where His grace is at work so that I can thank Him for that and then ask what He wants me to pray.

In other news, coaching is continuing to go well and I am enjoying learning lots, as well as seeing the power in asking simple questions and watching my clients have ah ha moments as God reveals new things to them. I am also working with another coach in Spain to help launch later this year a Foundational Coaching Skills training FOCOS in Spanish. I am really excited about being part of this as it will enable these simple but effective skills to be used in many more settings. 

At home we made a smooth transition into schooling with two, Isaiah has been very enthusiastic and excited about learning letters and numbers and Alana has enjoyed a little more autonomy in deciding what to work on and when as well as somebody else being around to interact with. She has also ventured out into art classes this year at a local college which she is really enjoying. After a bumpy first few days Lucas settled into kinder, and in the last month all three have been enjoying getting involved in Oansa.

The Easter Bunny
Thank God for: 
  • Lucas settling well into kinder
  • Isaiah adjusting well into homeschool

Ask God for:

  • A break away to rest, reflect and review
  • Continued help in learning and growing in the skills of a Coach

Check out the video from the FH President to see what is happening worldwide with FH  

Ed, Sarah, Alana, Isaiah and Lucas

Making good use of his love of Lego

A special surprise for fathers day
Teaching herself to ride a bike

Friday, 29 January 2016

Moulding Chronicles January 2016

Dear Friends,

Over the holidays we were glad of an afternoon to ourselves to reflect on last year finding the threads of God’s hand through the year and looking forward to the year to come. Looking back we saw how at times we took our eyes off the Lord and tried to work things out in our own strength and then got frustrated when things didn’t work out. But even through this we saw how God used our lack of dependence to bring us back into depending on Him and increasing our desire to seek Him more and more. This was brought into focus for us both as we read through Bruce Wilkinson’s book called ‘Secrets of the Vine’ based on John 15 and considered whether God was disciplining us, pruning us or asking us to abide more with Him and bear more fruit. So 2015 has continued to grow and shape our character for which we are very grateful to God. 

In December we finished the book When Sinners say I do by Dave Harvey with the families group. Throughout the study this year we haven’t been sure as to whether it has had much impact or not, however in drawing it to a close there were a number of encouraging comments about what people had taken from it. Such as looking for were God’s grace is at work and praising God for that and not focusing on the negatives, seeing the need to extend mercy and forgiveness in the little things, learning that God really is interested in every area of our lives and how he gave these different areas for our enjoyment, being thankful for the challenge of the book regarding relational struggles.  In February the group will start again and we will see where it goes next. 

Over the last 2 months Ed has begun to coach colleagues and friends and is finding it really enjoyable and something that fits his passions to walk with people and help them discover God more. It has been a joy to see people share their desires and hopes and to watch them work out how to fulfill them. The challenge now is to balance his time well with his current responsibilities which he hopes to gradually phase out of and the requirements needed to do the coaching well.

At home Sarah has just begun a new Homeschool year with Alana and Isaiah. They have had a good start with Isaiah’s energy and enthusiasm to learn encouraging her. This week they started a new morning bible study series on Wisdom, learning about what it means to be wise people.  We are enjoying sowing seeds into their lives and we are excited to see what fruit will come from it in the future. God is faithful. 

Thank God for: 
  • The growth of families within our group
  • A good chilled out Christmas
  • Leading arty activities with other children over the hols
  • A good start to Homeschool and coaching

Ask God for:

  • Lucas returning to Kinder
  • This coming year and the challenges God has planned
  • Where to take the family group now.
God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
1 Corinthians 1:9

Ed, Sarah, Alana, Isaiah & Lucas