Greetings from a hot-but-not-too-humid Santa Cruz!
It’s been a little while since our last News & Prayer Update, so I thought I’d bring you up to speed with how we’re doing and how things are progressing with Novō.
As a family we are feeling more and more settled and at home. That hasn’t stopped Phoebe and JJ from asking questions related to what’s going to happen when we get back to our house, our school, etc… but it does mean we’re getting into the kind of routines and patterns which take some of the stress out of life and that our house here is starting to feel like our house.
After a couple of months of research (and, confession here, a couple of ‘bunk’ Sundays…) we’ve settled on a church. Fuente de Vida (http://fuentedevida.info) is pastored by our friend David Adjei and has a special concern with being a welcoming and safe place for those who, like those we are here to help, have lived/are living on the margins of society. It’s a part of the New Frontiers network of churches and has a relaxed, friendly, safe feel to it. A key blessing for the kid is that they each have an english-speaking friend in the church, someone to help them (not least through translation) to get comfortable in a Spanish-speaking church.
In other news, we had a visit from Mickey’s parents in late August/early September which was a massive help to us in getting our home set-up and the kids’ settled in school; JJ had his sixth birthday; Phoebe has made some great friends and is doing really well with her work; Daniel has been playing volleyball for the school team and looks set to strart drumming at church. We have also just welcomed a little Cocker Spaniel called Barney into the fold!
Of all the kids Jemimah has found the transition to a new school the most difficult and we’d appreciate you praying with us that she’d develop a really good friendship with one of the kids in her class and not need to ‘be brave’ every morning!
We’d also appreciate your prayers for our finances. God has been incredibly good to us but there’s been a seemingly endless list of start-up costs (next-up are visa application fees and school fees) and we’d appreciate you pressing into Him with us at the moment – both for one-off gifts to help us with these expenses and for the additional amount we need each month for our regular support to hit its target!
Things are really progressing with Novō.
The most exciting development has been José’s arrival at Yeldall Manor for 6 months (perhaps a tad more) of training. This has already been an intense experience for José but by all accounts he is adapting really well to his role as a full-time intern. José is living-on site at Yeldall, eating all his meals with the residents, working day-to-day with the guys on the estate, and is ‘on duty’ some evenings and weekends. This is seriously challenging work, even when English is your first-language, and José needs our prayers! It’s also an incredible learning opportunity and I’m so encouraged by the fact that God is preparing our first local Novō staff member in this way!
We have also been able to set-up an office from where we can work. This also gives us an address at which we can register Novō as a legal entity here in Bolivia – a process which has taken a significant leap forward over the last few weeks! To start from scratch setting up an SRL (very similar to a Limited Liability Company and the best option for us at the moment) costs in the region of £4,000 and takes months and months of work. However, as a result of some changes to another ministry here in Santa Cruz we have been given the opportunity to fast-track the process Novō will be set-up as a fully-functioning SRL by the end of the month for under a £1,000! This is a huge boost to us for which we’re very thankful.
We also received another major boost through the visit of Trevor Childs, the Chair of the Novō UK trustees, late in September. Trevor’s career was spent running global chemical businesses – legit global chemical businesses, not the sort for which Bolivia is well known… Currently he works as an executive coach and during our time together, in addition to lots of planning, we explored our Myers-Briggs personality types and our approaches to conflict resolution. This was a strategic time for Myron, Warren and I as we established foundations for the kind of team leadership we want to bring to Novō – leadership which is built on rich, honest and vulnerable relationships, and which is effective in announcing in the Kingdom and leading many, many individuals into genuine freedom from addiction and new life in Christ! Please keep praying for us as a team during these important months.
Trevor is currently working hard making some requested amendment to our application for charitable status with the Charity Commission, squeezing it in alongside professional and church responsibilities. Please pray for him – and also keep praying that our application will be successful and we will have charitable status soon!
As I wrap-up, let me leave you with a verse which my brother, Matt, shared with me when I was beginning work at Yeldall – words which express God’s heart for you, us, and all those who (even now) are hurting, broken and looking for a loving community where they can experience transformation and discover life in all its fullness.
The Lord your God is with you;
His power gives you victory.
The LORD will take delight
in you, and in his love he will
give you new life.
We are pioneering Novō as self-supported missionaries. If you would like to support us financially you can do so tax-effectively through an organization called Stewardship. To make a one-off gift or to set-up a regular monthly donation, please go to: www.give.net/20171708 or send me an email.