Well we are still alive and kicking in the United States. We can’t believe how quickly time has gone since our last update, and also how much has happened in that time. Sorry, this is a long update, but please keep reading! We love to hear from you so please do keep in touch.
BSSM is full on, but that is ok; it’s why we’re here! Our days are fully occupied with the normal things of family life and full-time studying. It’s definitely not like University was! It would be impossible to go into detail of everything that has occurred over the last couple of months, but here are a few headlines. For those that are interested, a normal week looks like this: Mon - Thurs, 10am - 4pm (roughly!) around 1400 first year students gather at the local Civic Auditorium, within that time, we also have:
Revival Group: A group of 65 first year BSSM-ers. This is our community where we press in to God and be open, honest and vulnerable together (see picture).
City Service: This is serving the local area and wider. Jos is practically helping a single mum in the church, and Justyn is on the prophetic appointments team for Global Legacy, which involves giving prophetic words to Christians, from around the world, that have booked a 10min online appointment!
Small Group: 4-5 people of the same gender from our revival group. An opportunity to be more honest, open and support each other.
Worship: We have the joy of an hours worship every day. It has been so passionate, deep and intimate as we’ve encountered His presence.
Bible Teaching: Bethel loves the Bible and it’s great to enjoy deep, quality teaching that has ranged from how to read and understand the bible, through to daily bible teaching looking at core values. It’s definitely not surface level stuff - good to use the brain cells!
Main Speakers: We’ve had an amazing variety of teachers. We usually have Bethel’s Bill Johnson & Kris Valloton each week, as well as practical teaching on evangelism, creativity, prophetic, worship, brave communication and weeks focused on ‘Intimacy’ & ‘Moral Revolution’.
Advanced Ministry Training (AMTs): Aimed at equipping us. So far Josie has done ‘Encountering the Fathers Love’ and ’Loving Yourself Well’, and Justyn has been on ‘Cage Free - The Power of Vulnerability’, and also ‘Dream Interpretation’. These last for 5 weeks, we’ll have 2 more blocks over the year.
Homework: Our mornings and evenings are taken up with the bible study we need to do as well as the book reading and reports. For those interested the books currently read are When Heaven Invades Earth, Kingdom Foundations, 30 Days to Understand the Bible, Experiencing the Father's Embrace, Basic Training for the Prophetic, Defining Moments, Grasping God's Word, Supernatural Power of Forgiveness and Evangelism Supernaturally.
Sunday Celebrations: Yes, we get to go to these as well. Due to the size of the church (around 10,000 people), and the passion of the BSSM-ers, we get allocated to specific services to attend. We are only allowed to go to one service a day. Bethel have 3 sites that run a total of 8 different Sunday meetings.
There are many stories to tell of what God has been doing in us over the last few months. We will save these for a future email (coming soon, promise!), but a couple of highlights have been from our Revival Group Retreat, Love After Marriage Course, and Ropes Course.
Revival Group (RG) Retreat: This was at the start of October, and in our group, the power of vulnerability was unleashed! Our RG Leader really released safety through her own powerful and vulnerable testimony. It allowed our group to be real, and for many, to find real healing and release from shame, guilt, abuse and hurt. Many stories can’t be shared, but it was humbling to be part of this group and to minister to one another in it. Our group feels like family now and we have a deep love for each other. Bringing those areas of our life that we’ve hidden in the darkness, and bringing them into the light is so releasing.
Love After Marriage Course: If anyone reading this is married you really have to do one of these courses (nothinghidden.org.uk). It was truly transformational, and so different from any marriage course we’d encountered before. It was a like a continuation of our retreat, but through it, we found a connection that was deeper and more real than we’d ever known before. Being vulnerable together, and in the group work, and using the simple tools given, allow much healing and forgiveness to be found from things in our past. As with everything, we’re on a journey and this is not a one-time course that solves everything, but our challenge now is to make honest communication a part of everyday life and make sure that we stay better emotionally connected than before - easier said than done when life is busy, but it’s vital!!
Ropes Course: A one day course, last week, that was team building, but with a God dynamic. To see our RG supporting one another, and facing fears, or facing some things about themselves that they didn’t like, was humbling. In our testimony evening at the end, to hear stories of what God had been saying, and doing, in everyone, was amazing. Our personal stories: (Josie), I was not looking forward to it and was pretty shaky when I got up to the high level (35ft) (see pic), but as I stepped out, although I was fearful, it wasn’t as bad as I thought - I felt God saying that I have more in me than I know, and where I’ve allowed fear to hold me back in the past, as I walk close to Him, leaning on Him for direction, I don’t know the half of what He’s going to do in and through me! (Justyn), A couple of key moments for me were helping those on the high level ropes to be able to step across, and to step out of fear and see success. Also on a blindfold game, I felt God speak to me that although blind folded, and not knowing where I am going, if I trust the person directing, I can run full pelt with each directional nudge. This is so apt for where I am at. I don't know the end point, but I know who is directing me on each step. I can give it my all! God speaks through all things!
The boys are in the swing of school life and really enjoying their time at Bethel Christian School. Reuben was recently in a school play, that he thoroughly enjoyed, and he also got baptised just over a month ago. See our blog for fuller details on the baptism and a video - afamilyadventure.org/blog/reubens-baptism.
Isaac has connected well with various kids in his class, and can be found after school playing BayBlades battles with all the boys. Levi is just his lovely self. Kindergarten is repeating some of his initial reception year work, but it’s enabled him to settle into his class well and to make friends. His teacher recently said her highlight of the day is when she can make him laugh! Levi loves going to the onsite prayer chapel with his class, and either spending time soaking in God’s presence, painting a prophetic picture or dancing!
All the boys have been making friends in their classes and the teachers have said how much of a delight they are to have. As a parent, you have to love that!
As a family we’ve a few favourite places that we’ve been out to visit such as Lassen Volcanic National Park, Whiskeytown Lake and the local In & Out Burger restaurant! We are also visiting other local locations; there's snow only 1 hour away! A trip to the local pumpkin patch was a new experience at the end of October.
We’ve been blessed to have various guests from the UK to come and visit. It was a delight to spend time with some dear friends and family. They also came and brought supplies for us! Remember we have space if anyone fancies a trip out to Bethel.
Investing in our Family
Before we came out to Bethel, our prayer was to have the finances to last through to Christmas; at the time, that didn’t look possible, but thanks to a God who likes to show that nothing is impossible for Him, and the very generous one-off and regular gifts of support that we have received, we have made it without any concerns! We see them as an investment in our family and so, thank you! As we head into 2019 we recognise a regular gap in our monthly living expenses (it’s costing around £2000 a month, not helped by the falling exchange rate!). We’d love to invite you pray and ask God whether partnering with us financially is something that you’d like to do. We fully believe that this is not just about investing in our family, but in the Kingdom of God. We know that He has promised to provide for all that we need, and we know He will, but also, He’s been speaking to us about not being so independent, and taking off our masks and allowing others to see our process and weakness - more of this in the next email! God has been, and is, so good and faithful in his provision for us. If you want to find out more about how to support us then details are on our blog: afamilyadventure.org/support.
- More of knowing the Father’s love as we keep being vulnerable and letting him bring more healing and wholeness; taking off the mask isn’t easy, but absolutely essential if we’re going to become everything that God’s made us to be!
- That the boys, with our help, grow in their own relationships with God; hearing His voice and growing in confidence of who they are. That they continue to feel at home here.
- Continued financial provision for the months ahead.