For my 200th post and becasue it's Sunday and I am just chilling, here is a mammoth post of how we ended up on the island, i thought it was time i wrote it down.
We came back from 2 weeks All-inclusive family holiday in Cuba in June 2004 having felt refreshed and chilled.
We were talking and Tracy said she felt more than ever that we could live abroad. Some of this was dissatisfaction with the culture we live in and the education system but also we were attracted to a different way of life in a different culture. Funnily Tracy said it would have to be somewhere hot.
We somehow felt God might be in this little chat.
I was a little resistant because everything we had was very good we both had great jobs were earning the most money we had ever earned and had just extended our house and made it a lovely long-term 4 bedroom home. I was also really fulfilled in my role at DC3 and Tracy's job gave her the flexibility to spend all the time she needed with the boys when they were not at school.
However it stayed in our minds and we decided we would pray and tell God we were open to His leading.
We started to pray pretty regularly along the lines “God wherever you want us we will go”
Then one day in July a guy in the church came around our house and gave us two kites and talked about being willing for the spirit to lead us, he never normally does this kind of thing! The two words he gave us with the kites were “Be still and know that I am God” and “Run with this vision” (He didn’t know I had been to Remix in Birmingham, where I first been impacted by that phrase)
We went to living water, a big Christian conference of 3000 people that I had just started working with, with really open hearts and willingness for God to speak to us.
A couple called David and Philippa Stroud led the morning bible studies. The subject they chose was Abraham it was about moving on and not settling, of course this unsettled us.
At the end of the first session which was about Terah and the fact that he only got half way and never got there, a prophecy that Norman Barnes had given Tracy in 1990 fell out of the back lining of her bible. The bit that stood out for us was "You have travel written over your life" Interestingly Tracy had not seen this prophecy for years. The bible it was in had been left by me at another church were I was preaching in 1997 and someone had found it and gave it back to me in 2003! So it was a miracle we even had the bible yet alone the word.
Then over the week we had further challenges from David and Philippa one from David who had to go to the church he had told he would spend the rest of his life with (something I said at DC3 that year) and tell them he was moving on!
All in all we came back from Living Water spiritually very challenged and refreshed with an inkling that God may be wanting to do something new with us that might well involve geographical relocation.
I came back from work one day after thinking about all of this and said something like "Maybe we could plant a church in Ibiza" a bit of a random comment because we are not clubbers!
We had a brief conversation but felt inclined to let it rest and felt God remind us of the verse in Psalm 127 "Unless the Lord builds the house the labourers labour in vain". We decided to tell absolutely no one but just keep praying about our future on a daily basis. With this whole process we kept a lid on all that is going on because we didn't want to cause unrest at DC3, I only talked to 2 close friends about his general feelings. But I never mentioned Ibiza to anyone.
I then went to America to work on the book I was compiling for 24-7 payer, as I drove to the airport I really felt that this could be a significant time, obviously relating to the book but also felt a stirring that there could be more to it than that.
Whilst with Pete Greig in what was a safe environment that ran little risk of people finding out what was on our hearts at this time, I shared some of our general feelings and the journey we were on at this time. It must be stressed that at no time did I ever mention Ibiza or ask Pete if he had any ideas about what we could do. I just expressed my heart and was not really looking for anything in return, just friends sharing life.
It was on the last day of my trip whilst I was having lunch that Pete said something like "what would you think about planting a church in Ibiza" at this point all I can say is there was like electricity in the air.
Upon my return I shared with Tracy and she felt very excited and warm to the idea and we both went into over drive thinking and talking about the possibilities.
The next day we went to a family get together in Bristol and bought a little travel book on Ibiza, during the day I went to my room to escape the hustle and bustle, pray and recover from jet lag. Whilst staring blankly at the book reflecting, one of my nieces in the other room put on a track "whoa we're going to Ibiza!" a weird coincidence.
On the Monday back at work I was sitting with homeless (now in housing) transsexual friend who said he had a house in Ibiza and if I wanted to go and look at it I could. Only one bedroom not big enough for us and due to his mental illness problems not a possible buy, but once again another weird coincidence!
At the Barcelona Roundtable I had the chance to chat with Jenny Baker and James Bullock alongside Ian Nicholson. It was great to hear of all that had been going on in Ibiza, I shared our heart, which was not like “Here we are to save the day!!” but more along the lines of “how can we serve what is already happening and contribute to the ongoing development of the work of 24-7 on the Island?”
The guys recommended that we go, so in the October half term we went to the Island.
We loved it the vibe the place the whole thing. We looked at a great school that the boys could go to. Bob the vicar of Ibiza and Clare who we stayed with were very hospitable and asked us some good questions.
We then went and met Julia Torres, she was great and we felt further warmth towards the whole place. After our chat with Julia she pointed us in the direction of a little beach, so we decided to go for a walk. We knew Tracy’s auntie was on holiday at the time in Ibiza however we didn’t know where. So I said “I am going to pray a mad little prayer, If God wants us to come here we will see Auntie Anne” 3 minutes later as we walked on the beach a ball blew out in front of us and a woman ran right in front of us into the sea, it was Tracy’s Auntie Anne!!! We both found this amazing.
We then flew back to Stanstead and on the train from the plane to baggage reclaim. We stood under a sign from National express which said “PLANE OBVIOUS The way to go is 24/7” We couldn’t find it anywhere else it was just on our carriage.
So the next day Thursday October 8th 2004 we decided that we would respond to Pete and Ian’s invitation to go to Ibiza and work in partnership with 24-7 prayer. We felt we should commit ourselves to a minimum of 3 years on the Island…….
I then told the leadership team of our church and Graham Blake the one guy who I felt could lead it and take over from me said that 4 years ago God had spoken to him and told him one day he would lead DC3. More confirmation.
Our trustees and other members of the leadership team felt this had stamp of God on it and were totally behind us in our desire to go.
We moved in March 2005 to establish a 24-7 boiler room on the island.