Friday, October 09, 2009

Coming down the mountain

I have just sent this out in email form to all our supporters but rather than a massive rewrite I thought I would post it here as well...

Sorry for it's length......

Urgent prayer
Brian has been charged with operating an illegal taxi! A drunk guy we took home told the police he had paid for our services, which just wasn’t true. This is very stressful and we are currently trying, with the help of a solicitor, to convince the local council that we do not charge for what we do. If the truth does not prevail we will end up having to pay a 6000 euro fine, or Brian will be asked to leave Ibiza and not allowed back for 5 years! We could really do with your prayers on this one.

The farm and the future
This is a time of transition for us as a community. Many of you were excited with us when we shared our news about the farm last year; we want to update you thoroughly on that, so the next bit is quite long!

After much deliberation, prayer and stress we have decided to leave the farm. There have been many contributing factors…..

Brian and Tracy have craved a sense of family space and feel that it is increasingly important as the boys enter adolescence. The layout of the farmhouse does not lend itself to this.

Bruce would much prefer to be close to San Antonio to facilitate developing relationships with people who live here all year round.

Helen will not be here for the winter; after faithfully honouring her initial 3 year commitment to the work here, she will being going on a 5/6 month furlough back to Germany. Please add your prayers to hers as she asks God to show her whether to return to Ibiza at the end of that time.

All of us need to live in a place that feels like home – although we have tried hard, we acknowledge that the farm has not been that for any of us.

We have recognized that we do not have enough people here to realize the dreams that we had of offering a place of refuge and respite in addition to the rest of our work. Although we have been able to use the farm as a place of hospitality, there is not anything that we have done here that we would not have been able to offer if we had been living as we did previously.

We have not found that living here enhances the work that we are already doing; in reality it could even detract with the additional work that is involved in looking after the property and basic amenities. ‘Living simply’ is hard work!

The lack of a telephone has been a major factor in making us feel disconnected from relationships with our family and friends who are not in Ibiza and this has been a big struggle.

Although the tranquillity and beauty of the location has been incredible, we all feel that friendships and connections with residents would be improved by being less remote. This is also relevant to Ellis and Dan as they are now old enough to begin to go out independently.

It has been a hard decision; we all felt so sure that God had brought us to this place and people got behind us and supported us financially. We have learned a lot and with the decision to move made, have started to focus on the future here again.

We have struggled with questions. Did we make a mistake in moving? Was there something that God wanted us to do here that we haven’t been able to do? But we are clear that we cannot continue to live here in the same way and have come to a place of peace with God about that.

What next?

Brian and Tracy particularly have struggled with a sense of guilt and responsibility for ‘walking away’ from the farm, especially with the awareness of people who dreamed with us and generously gave to help to make this happen. Those of you that we have already spoken to have been very gracious and affirming in your support for us and the work, which has been a huge relief. We are now looking for a family home.

Bruce will need to find accommodation. This will mean either living alone or lodging/house sharing with others.

Helen will drive her car back to Germany. Someone very generously blessed Brian and Tracy with a new vehicle this year and they have passed on their previous car to Bruce; this will mean an extra financial challenge for him in insurance and general maintenance costs.

We have come through a tough year, a little weary, but with a growing optimism for the work of 24-7 Ibiza. We feel there is more still to be done here in both summer and winter and have not arrived at a ‘plateau’.

When we decided to leave the farm a wise friend said this to us “Little about God's movements and directions in our lives are about the "ministry" itself and more about character and relational strength - that is the Long Term nature of God's dealings in the immediate time and space. The call of God to the farm was the call of God, you were obedient, but you may have thought it was about expanding the ministry when in reality it was about bringing your team together, readjusting the focus of your vision for Ibiza and showing you the sanctity of having a more private family life - a lot of idealism gets punctured in this process, some pain and tons of fruit will come from it.”

Thank you once again for your love, prayers and support.


Mark G said...

A courageous decision and again an example to the rest of us. Being brave enough to say that it is time to stop something that we are doing is not an attribute seen in many Christian missions. So thanks for giving us a good honest example.

It doesn't mean a vision is over, often the 'letting go' provides space for new things to grow and develop, and it shows trust that it is God's mision not ours.

God's peace be with you at this next stage...and in sorting out the riduculous fine.

Sarah said...

My prayers are with you as you seek God's next step for you as a ministry team and as individuals.
We went through something similar when we left our established "sense-making" mission in Brazil and ventured to Portugal, only to be asked to leave two years later by the gov't. I still remember the guilt (false) that we felt, the grief that was both raw and real, and the questions.
Looking back now we see how the pieces we couldn't even see the edges of then, now fit together to create a picture of His design.
Blessings on all of you as you continue to seek and serve the One who loves you so much.

Carla Harding said...

We're so proud of you guys. I'm praying for you all at this time. Did you get the money from the 24-7 EuroGathering auction ok? Hope it's a blessing :)

Paul Kelly said...

Wow. That comment at the end was good. So many times I feel like we do take what we feel the Lord is telling us and apply it in our best human effort, which is unfourtunatly wrong sometimes. This is something I have struggled with myself. Good insight and I applaud you for recognizing and quickly re-aligning yourself with God's plan. He will reward you for that. My prayers are with you and your family as you work to establish your home.