For our American friends today is Thanksgiving – a day to give thanks to God for provision, freedom, family and friends. By the time I finish this post and you read this, who knows what day it will be… but let’s run with the theme. 🙂
Thanksgiving (for obvious historical reasons) is not a day we celebrate in the UK but it feels appropriate to be writing this blog on Thanksgiving because we’re doing a lot of thanksgiving at the moment!
These simple and direct words from Psalm 107 express our thankfulness – and our confidence for all those who, hungry and thirsty, look to Him for life!
Praise the LORD for his great love and for the wonderful things he has done… For he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.
In terms of Novō we’re excited to be on the cusp of receiving our first residents to join our first nearly-functioning transformational community at Quinta Totaices.
Hopefully you saw the Novō Update with photos from our launch night on the 4th November. If not you can see it (and sign-up to receive Novō Updates) here: Quinta Totaices Launch Night – Special Update. It was a fantastic night where over 150 people, representing at least 20 different churches and organisation, joined us to give thanks and commission our first project.
Since then our focus has been on completing a long list of final preparations to the programme and the property and on preparing for and delivering two (long!) days of formal staff training.
These were excellent days during which we explored four areas with our staff:
- What is Novō? Our vision, our overarching mission, the mission of each community, core values, governance, strategic partners.
- The Novō Programme. Our timetable, our phase-stages, therapeutic groups, one-to-ones, the discipline system, supervision of residents.
- Working with Novō. Working with people in early recovery, healthy attitudes, staff development, staff code of conduct, HR policies and procedures.
- Addiction & Recovery. Our philosophy of treatment, our understanding of addiction, God’s heart for the addicted.
The next (very big) step is to receive our first residents. Please pray that God would lead the first 6 residents to us by the end of the year – men who are ready for change, wide-open to God’s grace, and willing to make the short-term sacrifices necessary to experience a deep and lasting transformation!
As a family we’re also giving thanks!
In part we’re celebrating reaching this point with Novō.
It was great for Mickey and the kids to be a part of the launch night and for the kids to begin to see and feel for themselves what has been accomplished as a result of their willingness to leave family, friends and home to begin a very different life here in Bolivia.
This sense of connection to Novō was reinforced for them yesterday as they came for their first lunch at the Quinta – something they used to love to do at Yeldall Manor!
We also have much to give thanks for personally.
JJ is doing great and continues to be a bit of an action man, climbing walls and trees at every opportunity, and still loving to ride his bike. He astounded us all a few weeks back by doing a 5K training run with Daniel and I. We kept expecting him to stop or slow down, but he just kept going, even though he was just wearing sandals.
That said, he’s also a very thoughtful, sensitive and caring boy and its been lovely to see this side of him from a different angle through his school reports and when Mickey goes in to read to his class at school.
Phoebe is really benefitting from extra tuition with her wonderful teacher from last year, as well as a great class teacher. She has discovered she’s not so keen on football and volleyball. She’s very excited about the idea of playing sports, but the reality of balls flying towards her turned out to not be her cup of tea so she’s sticking to swimming for now – and she’s a great swimmer!
Jemimah celebrated her 11th birthday at the end of October with ‘Daddy Date’ at a lovely new coffee shop where they serve the most incredible milkshakes and desserts!
She’s been training hard all year at volleyball and earlier this week represented the school in a friendly volleyball game. She was sad to say goodbye to her first teacher this year, but is loving her new teacher, Miss Carrasco. She also has a new art teacher who has started an art club, which she’s really loving.
Finally, the firstborn. As I write Daniel is experiencing a ‘proper’ American Thanksgiving having angled for an invitation to his friends’ house. He’s alarmingly close to being stronger and taller than me (and knows it…) but, luckily, I will always have experience on my side and he’s still not quite there yet 🙂
His volleyball season is over so preparations are now underway for ‘track’ (athletics to the rest of us) and basketball after Christmas.
Daniel is not just growing in stature but also in maturity, spiritually and personally. It’s a pleasure to walk with him as he engages with friendships, church, youth group and special school events like Spiritual Emphasis Week and Servant Day.
Most of all JJ, Phoebe, Jemimah, Daniel and I want to give thanks today for Mummy/Mum/Michaela/Mickey. She’s our family’s unsung hero – the person whose faithfulness, love, care, strength, and faith brings a deep joy into each of our lives and keeps ‘the show on the road’!
As we close a quick word about finances. It’s been suggested that we do an occasional short update and, since we haven’t done one before, this seems like as good a time as any to do one.
The big headline is that God has provided amazingly for us over the last 18 months and we want to say thank you to Him and to each of our supporters. Thank you!
That provision has included:
- a great place to live rent-free
- the significant start-up costs involved in setting-up here
- 85% of our support needs for 2016 (through a mixture of regular support and one-off gifts).
The only negative this year has been the 15% drop in value of the Pound in relation to the Dollar which has meant an equivalent drop in the value of our support here in Bolivia.
Of course, we’d love to see that figure get to 100%, even in the context of the 10-20% decrease in the value of the pound against the dollar which has reduced the value of our support here in Bolivia by the same percentage since the Brexit vote (the currency here is the boliviano but its value is tied to value of the dollar and so we feel the impact directly).
Please pray with us, giving thanks and committing our support for the remainder of this year and 2017 into God’s hands. And, of course, if you feel stirred to respond practically do get in touch or use the giving information is below 🙂
With much love,
Andy, Mickey, Daniel, Jemimah, Phoebe & JJ.
We’re in Bolivia serving with Novō as self-supported missionaries. If you would like to support us financially you can do so tax-effectively through an organization called Stewardship at www.give.net/20171708.
If you’d rather not give online just send us an email or a message via Facebook and we can send you a Stewardship Giving Form.