Greetings from Bolivia! We hope you’ve had a really good start to 2022.
If you haven’t seen it already, you can find the latest Novo newsletter on the brand new Novo Communities website www.novocommunities.org. Do take a look around the new site! And, keep it in mind as a reference point if your church, small group, friends or family are interested in learning more about Novo.
As a family, and Novo, we have some exciting news to share with you. For a little while now, Mickey and I have been wondering whether our time in Bolivia might be drawing to a close. The vision, from the outset, was to set-up the work here in such a way that it would be locally-led and ‘owned’ by a national team. Celebrating the 5th anniversary of Quinta Totaices towards the end of last year confirmed to us the sense that the community is ready for life without us here permanently. Indeed, the next steps of growth and development may be aided by us being further afield. We have also had a growing sense that our long-term goal should be to launch a Novo community that model best-practice in addiction care (heart, approach, professionalism) and support and train others in a country, rather than setting-up multiple projects in a single country.
Our expectation had been that a move away from Bolivia would mean a return to the UK. This seemed to ‘make sense’ and after a demanding 7 years in Bolivia, seemed good to us. However, not for the first time, it seems our expectations and God’s plans weren’t fully aligned. Towards the end of July, as we started to talk seriously about when we might return to the UK, we were hit, quite independently, by a strong sense that whilst God was calling us away, he wasn’t calling us home. Rather, his next step for our family is for us to move to a new place to establish Novo in a second location.
Since that point, we’ve been weighing up, along with the UK trustees, whether that sense is from God and, if so, where we should be heading. Having done so, we have a shared sense that this is the right move, both for the success of Novo’s first project outside Bolivia and for our family, and that the place where God is calling is Nicaragua.
Having made virtual connections in Colombia, Panama, and Costa Rica, Mickey and I have made separate exploratory trips to Nicaragua. In addition to a real sense of God’s peace and leading, there are a number of reasons why we sense Nicaragua is where we should go: 1) The needs in the country – Nicaragua is the second poorest country in the western hemisphere, second after Haiti. 2) the potential in a connection made with Rommel & Ana Raudales, missionaries with LAM who lead Quien Soy Yo?, a ministry with a long-term vision to start a residential rehabilitation center and are looking for the kind of help that Novo offers. 3) the heart and quality of the Christian International School. 4) Nicaragua’s proximity to Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala – places with massive addiction problems and a harrowing approach to treatment (see https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-28934795) 5) The potential for Novo Adventures to offer tours across Central America.
Inevitably, there are moments when it all feels a bit overwhelming, but to be honest we all have a tremendous sense of peace and calm anticipation about what lies ahead. The Novo team on the ground have been part of the process and they feel ready for what’s coming, understand Novo’s commitment to Bolivia is as strong as ever, and recognize the vital role they’ll play in equipping our team in Nicaragua.
Looking ahead, we’re all excited to see what God will do and how he’ll do it. We have open minds and open hands, are ready to follow Him step-by-step. Our trust is in Him and His wisdom, guidance, provision, and purposes.
So what lies ahead? We aim to arrive in Managua, the capital of Nicaragua, at the very end of July. We know we need to take our time during that first year to settle the kids well, to learn and build relationships, and to discern God’s plan. In addition to being connected via WhatsApp and Zoom, Andy will be doing at least two trips a year back to Bolivia to support the Novo Communities and Adventures teams.
More immediately, we’re selling-up our stuff here in Bolivia in readiness for a flights to the UK on 9th April! We’ll head immediately to the Isle of Man from where the kids will finish the school year online and Andy will be working to finish-up his book, Hope in Addiction, ahead of the 1st June publishers’ deadline. In June and July, we’re looking forward to spending quality time with family, many of whom we haven’t seen for 5+ years, and to catching-up with friends and supporters.
As we move into this next chapter, we’re so grateful for your support! We’ve always felt like your ‘hands and feet’, doing work that belongs to all who pray, give, and work to make things happen. Thank you for continuing to walk with us. We have a group that meets monthly to pray via Zoom. If you’d be up for joining us, even if just occasionally, let us know. Our monthly support is just over £700/month below budget and, inevitably, we have some significant transition expenses on the horizon. You’ll find the link to our Stewardship support account below.
In the light of all this, we’d be especially grateful for your prayers in the coming months!
- For a strong finish here in Bolivia as we say farewells to much-loved friends and set-up for Novo to run smoothly without us on the ground permanently.
- For David (Novo Communities) and Lewis (Novo Adventures) as they lead things forward in Bolivia.
- That the kids would feel loved and secure throughout the whole transition and quickly make good friends in Nicaragua.
- For finances and provision of all kinds, for us and for Novo.
- For the expansion of the support network around us – that new individuals and churches to get behind us as a family and Novo.
- For Andy as finishes his book.
- That Miah’s British passport would be issued promptly.
If you have questions, ideas, or would like to catch-up and hear more, do give us a shout. And please let us know how we can be praying for you and yours in the days ahead.
With much love,
Andy & Mickey
We now have a WhatsApp group where we share occasional prayer requests and arrange a monthly 45-min Zoom pray gathering. The group and the meetings have proven to be a huge blessing to us all. If you’d like to join us, please drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to be able to stay in touch with you more closely in this way.
As a family we don’t receive a salary and are able to serve with Novō through the faithful generosity of our supporters. If you’d like to join our support team, we’d be most grateful. You can set-up one-off or monthly donations to our family support online at Stewardship, using this link: www.give.net/20171708