Take Off

By the time you read this, we’ll likely be sitting on TAM flight JJ8085 from Heathrow to Sao Paulo. TAM is a Brazilian airline and from Sao Paulo we’ll fly to Santa Cruz via Asuncion, Paraguay and arriving in Bolivia at midday on Saturday 4th July.

It’s strange to think that we’ll be flying over Paraguay and Bolivia whilst the Yeldall Open Day is in full-swing!

All told, despite the two stops it should be an 18hr45min journey from take-off to landing – not bad compared to the 24hr+ trips we’ve done in the past via Miami. Also on the plus side, we each have a 2 x 32kg bag allowance (yep, that’s 12 big cases to haul to check-in) and the joy of knowing we got a sweet deal on the tickets!

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As I write we have a couple of hours until we head off to the airport and, despite a few tensions/disagreements/outbursts there is an air of calm about the house… the lull before the storm?! Earlier, we all sat round my Mum and Dad’s garden table with an ice-cream (JJ had an orange Calippo, the rest of us had Twisters, if you’re interested…) and we took it in turns to pray, each of us sharing one ‘thank you’ and one ‘ask’, as well as how we were feeling.

It was a special and significant time – and a key moment for us to get a glimpse into their thoughts and feelings. Daniel prayed that they wouldn’t be too nervous about starting new schools; Jemimah said thank you for the ‘incredible opportunity’ we had as a family; Phoebe prayed that no-one would get poorly; JJ said thank you for his new Lego for on the plane!

It’s exciting to be at this point! After so many months of praying, wrestling, dreaming, discussing, planning, and preparing we are about to wrap-up the Introduction and begin Chapter One. As I look back over the last couple of years my mind keeps going back to a sermon Ben Davies preached at Kerith Community Church, right back at the start of this journey.

The message was based Genesis 17:18 where Abram, laughing at the promise that God would give him (a man of 100) a son through his 90 year-old wife Sarah, prayed and asked God to bless his son Ishmael instead. The message asked the question ‘Why Did Abram pray the prayer?’, a prayer for second best. Here are my notes from sermon:

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At that time (and since then on more than one occasion) we have been tempted to pray for ‘second best’, for an ‘out’ from the thing which God has called us to do. We’ve felt each of the pressures listed above but, again and again, God has affirmed to us His call to go, affirmed to us the truth that He will be with us every step of the way, and encouraged us all to ‘walk unafraid’.

We have also known the incredible love, care, generosity and encouragement of so many people so we want to say a huge thank you to each of you for the different roles you have played in getting us on the plane and the foundations laid for Novō!

We’ll write again once we’re unpacked.

With much love,

Andy & Mickey

PS: we’re planning be a little more active on social media once we get to Bolivia so if we’re not already connected on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram, let’s change that!

News & Prayer Update / 002

It’s been a little while since our first News & Prayer update and a lot has happened since then, so it seems it’s about time I caught you up on how things have been going!

In terms of the items I mentioned back in News & Prayer Update / 001 back at the start of January, here’s a quick update:

  • We had a positive response from the American Mission re. the property which could make a great home for the first Novō Community. However, we felt the rental price they came back with was too high to justify making a move on the property at this time, a good number of months before we actually need a property.
  • Jony Muñoz has arrived and is both loving being at Yeldall and making a very positive impact as part of the therapeutic team.
  • We are still a few steps away from being in a position (in terms of our bank account being set-up) able to apply for charitable status for Novō here in the UK but we appear to be very nearly there.

So, what’s new?

Well, it’s been a busy period with my time as Director of Yeldall Manor coming to an end, a fabulous holiday visiting friends in St Andrews at Easter, and now a period of packing-up and preparation for what lies ahead!

We are very grateful to have secured tenants for our house who are moving in at the end of the month. This means, having boxed up our personal effects and sent them off on their 40-day sea voyage to Bolivia, we are now taking care of everything that remains and ensuring we leave the house empty (with items given-away, dumped or sold, as appropriate!) and with everything ship-shape from a maintenance perspective.

We have also had some super opportunities to share about Novō and what lies ahead for us as a family and we’re very thankful to Wymondley Chapel, Crowthorne Baptist Church, Great Hollands Free Church, Woodley Baptist Church for the different ways in which they have welcomed us and adopted us as a missionary family.

We’re also very grateful for the support of our church family at Kerith Community Church where we held a Novō Evening to which a mixture of Kerith people, Yeldall people and other friends and family came. For us the highlights of the evening were the interview and Q&A, which enabled us to really talk through in some details the opportunities and challenges which lie ahead, and the time of commissioning prayer with which the evening ended.

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We are continuing to raise the financial support we need as a family, having got to about two-thirds of the way towards our start-up and monthly support targets. We now have an online facility with Stewardship through which you can make a one-off donation or set-up regular giving which you can find here: www.give.net/20171708.

We’re also starting to turn our attention to fundraising for the Novō Charitable Trust and this was given a great kick-start by a brilliant team of 8 supporters who ran the Reading Half Marathon dressed as sloths. I can’t tell you how hot it was in those costumes (something not helped by the fact that I had to run with the flu) but it was well worth it to see nearly £4,000 raised as seed money for the first transformational community in Santa Cruz, Bolivia!  

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Looking ahead, our flights to Bolivia are now booked for 3rd July! During June we have a family wedding and then holiday time planned with both Mickey’s family and my family. We’re so grateful for the chance to be able to spend special time with our families before our departure and a new season where our relationships will hinge on the quality, more than the regularity, of our time together.

We’d so appreciate your prayers in relation to all of the above, or anything else you feel prompted to pray into. Thanks for your support and please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you’d like to follow-up on anything!

Novō Evening

Mickey and I want to invite you to a Novō evening at Kerith Community Church, Bracknell (in the K2 building) on Tuesday 21st April.

It’s going to be an engaging and exciting evening which will include a mixture of films, interviews, and Q&A. There will also be information on how you can support Novō practically and prayerfully. The evening will close with a time of commissioning prayer for us as a family.

We’ll start with cheese & wine at 7.45pm and you’ll be able to get away promptly at 9.30pm.

It would be great if you could join us. If you are planning on coming, do let us know – but feel free to just turn-up on the night!

Here’s a map and the address for your SatNav:

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The Kerith Centre, Church Rd, Bracknell, RG12 1EH

Running for Transformation

Our Bolivia/Novō journey is bound to involve some crazy stuff so it occurred to me, why not start as you mean to go on?!

And so a group of 8 of us have formed ‘Team Novō’ and plan to run the Reading Half Marathon (22nd March) dressed as sloths to raise much-needed start-up funds for the first Novō community in Bolivia!!

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Why sloths? Three reasons:

  • I couldn’t get llama costumes
  • sloths (like llamas, toucans and pink river dolphins) are on my list of ‘incredible animals native to Bolivia’
  • no-one expects a sloth to run very fast

I really don’t like running, but the prospect of generating start-up money for Novō makes all the training (and the embarrassment of running 13-miles dressed as a sloth…) worth it!

If you’re up for sponsoring me all you need to do is click on the link below which will take you to the JustGiving website where you can make your donation (with Gift Aid if you’re a taxpayer). The donation itself will go to Yeldall Manor who will then pass it on to Novō.

http://www.justgiving.com/Andy-Partington2

All sponsorship received from the Half Marathon will go towards the launch costs of the first Novō transformative community in Santa Cruz. If you’d like to support us as a family you can now set-up your giving online through an organisation called Stewardship by clicking on the link below. If you already have an account with Stewardship the process is incredibly simple. If not, then it doesn’t take more than a few minutes to set-up an account.

https://www.give.net/20171708

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Meet the Team

One of the things that has blown me away as we’ve moved forward with Novō has been the incredible people who have been willing to invest their time, passion and expertise in pursuing the vision with us. In particular, God has blessed me with a superb co-leader in Myron Penner and has brought together an amazing group of Trustees here in the UK.

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I’d like you to meet each of one personally but, until that happens, the link below will take you to the newly-created Novō website where you can read a little bit about each of these brilliant people.

http://novocommunities.org/team/

While you’re on the website do take a look around and, if you know people who you think might be interested in what we’re doing, do point them to it via email, Twitter, Facebook or good old fashioned word-of-mouth.

News & Prayer Update / 001

As we begin 2015 let me wish you and yours, on behalf of me and mine, every blessing for the year ahead. Whatever you’re dealing with and whatever lies on the horizon, may you know God’s guidance, peace and strength!

As we move forward with laying the foundations for Novō and look to the opening of the first Novō community in Santa Cruz we are absolutely convinced of the power and importance of prayer! As such, I’m planning to write a ‘News & Prayer Update’ every couple of months which zeros-in on the key issues for your prayers.

My expectation is that, as we look back, these posts will become a faith-inspiring record of the incredible things which God (who “is able to accomplish… infinitely more than we might ask or think”) does as a result of our prayerful conversations with Him.

So, here are the key issues for prayer right now:

  • The conversation continues with an American mission who approached us about the possibility of us using one of their properties (2.2 acres with 2 houses). The property would be absolutely spot-on for the first Novō community! The mission has a key meeting at the beginning of February and we are praying it will result in a positive outcome. Please pray that God’s best will result for this conversation – both for Novō and the mission.
  • Jony Muñoz arrives on 15th January to do a year’s placement at Yeldall Manor with our therapeutic team. Jony is Chilean/Panamanian but has lived much of his life in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. He has worked as a teacher at the Santa Cruz International School for the 7 years but, following at visit to the UK last year, felt prompted to step-out and give a year to serving at Yeldall with a view to seeing if God had plans for him to get involved with Novō longer-term. Please pray for Jony as he gets settled at Yeldall and that God would, in due course, guide his future steps.
  • We’ve been humbled and encouraged by the response to our recent email/blog re. our personal support needs as a family. We are now half-way towards our targets for both ongoing monthly support and start-up costs, which is incredible at this stage! Please join us us giving thanks for God’s provision through the incredible generosity of His people and in praying that the remainder of our support needs will come together over the next couple of months. 
  • We are in the process of applying for charitable status for Novō in the UK but are dealing with some bureaucratic blockage at the moment. Please pray that we will be able to progress this application with real speed over the next few weeks.
  • As a family the Christmas/New Year break was a time of real refreshment and taking stock, ahead of such a big year. The kids seem to be in a good place with it all. Mickey and I are increasingly excited, but also conscious that there’s lots we need to do to make the move happen! Please pray for us (especially the kids) that we would know a tremendous sense of God’s peace and joy as the move draws closer.

Thank you so much for your interest, care and support. If, as you pray, you sense God saying something you think we might need to hear, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment or get in touch by email.

Would you consider joining our Support Team?

As you know, big changes lie ahead for us as a family in 2015.

Earlier this year, through the generosity of some incredible people, we were able to make this short film which expresses the vision behind these changes. It’s only five minutes long and includes interviews with men in addiction in Bolivia, as well as church leaders who have a burden to respond.

We are committed to seeing this vision become a reality but we know we can only do so if we are part of a far larger team of people who, together, are forming Novō through their practical, prayerful and financial investment.  

In that context, I want to ask whether whether you would consider joining our family financial support team so that we can see this vision become a reality?

We need to raise a minimum of £40,000/year to enable us to serve in Bolivia. This figure includes significant sums for education, travel and healthcare, as well as a ‘salary’. In addition, we are trusting God for an additional £40,000 to cover one-off start-up costs such as a vaccinations, visas, a robust vehicle, travel and home set-up.

Of course, £40,000/year is a lot of money, but I love the way this table clearly demonstrates the significance of each and every gift, whatever the sum:

£/month Number of Supporters Monthly Total
£10 25 £250
£20 20 £650
£50 15 £1,400
£100 10 £2,400
£250 2 £2,900
£500 1 £3,400

We would be so grateful if you’d consider being a part of our support team but please don’t feel under any pressure to respond positively!

If you are able to support us, whether with a regular or a one-off gift, please let us know by email (partington.andy@gmail.com) or whatever means is most convenient and we will send you a big ‘thank you’ and the information you need to set-up your support! 


I thought it would be good to answer a number of ‘FAQs’ about our financial support. If you have a question, I hope I have answered it below. If not (or you would like to talk in person about anything related to our move to Bolivia and Novō) please be in touch.

When does your financial support need to begin?

My first day working full-time on Novō will be 1st April 2015 so this is the key date. However, our hope is that many of our supporters will begin their support sooner for two reasons. Firstly, so that we can plan with a clear picture of what support we have in place and plan with confidence. Secondly, so that some of our one-off start-up costs can be covered through the accumulation of regular gif

What oversight and accountability do you have in place?

As a family we are going to be a part of the EFCCM, a Canadian mission with a strong team on the ground in Santa Cruz. In the UK we have formed a Trustee group who will oversee the Charitable Trust we are setting-up to administer Novō project finances and oversee our personal support. The Trustees, along with our Pastor, will also be supporting us pastorally.

What about project costs for Novō?

Despite the fact the Novō communities are going to be built around an income-generating business we will need to raise both start-up and ongoing support for each project. However, the priority at this stage is raising the personal support to enable us to pioneer the work of Novō. We have exciting opportunities on the horizon to fundraise for project costs amongst UK Grant-Making Trusts, EFCCM churches in Canada, and through the Yeldall network.

Andy, Mickey, Daniel, Jemimah, Phoebe, and JJ

Andy, Mickey, Daniel, Jemimah, Phoebe, and JJ

Fancy running a Half-Marathon dressed as a Sloth?!

On Sunday 22nd March I’m going to run the Reading Half Marathon dressed as a Sloth (Bolivia’s most incredible animal) to raise funds for Novo!

If you (or someone you know) fancies joining me and making history by forming the largest bed of Sloth’s ever to complete a Half Marathon, do let me know ASAP.

Surely, a once in-a-lifetime opportunity…

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A Productive Trip to Bolivia

Late on the evening of Monday 3rd November, having survived a 34 hour journey (which included a night roaming the streets of Manhattan…), I arrived in Bolivia for a week of meetings.

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Here are the highlights from the trip:

  • I spent a good deal of time working with some key colleagues planning the way forward for the launch of the first Novō project in Santa Cruz and the key priorities for coming months of preparation.
  • We met with the members of an American mission organisation who approached us earlier in the year about the possibility of using a 2.2 acre plot of land they own (including two buildings) for the first Novō project. The meeting with the team would appear to have gone very well and I hope that we’ll soon have a clear indication of where this possible strategic partnership is going. We visited the site on Sunday afternoon and concluded that it is absolutely ideal in terms of location, facilities, and feel.
  • We were introduced to some potential local staff/volunteers by the leader of the same American mission and have a sense that one of them could have a key role to play. He is an ideal fit in terms of character, attitude, education and experience.
  • As a side-note I was encouraged that I was able, with only limited translation support, to share in a 90-minute meeting with these Bolivian contacts in Spanish. I don’t doubt my Spanish left a lot to be desired, but it was encouraging to be able to ‘get it done’!
  • I met with Graham, an English missionary-friend, who gave me some useful perspective and advice which will benefit us as a family. One specific example: their experience demonstrates that it will not prove difficult for our kids to apply for university back in the UK (if they wish to do so) or to complete their schooling to the level necessary for entry to top-flight UK/US universities (if they have the potential to do so).
  • I met up with a guy called Jony Munoz. Jony is a good friend (who was my translator in the church) who’s coming to Yeldall in January to do a year as an Intern with our Therapeutic Team. He is another guy who has incredible potential as a Novō staff member.
  • We also received some real boosts which weren’t directly related to the trip. While I was away a number of people from the UK got in touch about supporting Novō. These offers included one-off gifts totalling more than £3000 and served to encourage us as we now set about fundraising to turn the Novō vision into reality!

Looking back, I’m so pleased with what was achieved in such a short space of time and I’m tremendously grateful that Mickey and the kids had a smooth-sailing week in my absence.

Next time, we all travel to Bolivia together!

If you are praying for us, please pray that the possible land/buildings will come together! It would be just incredible if we could get something firmed-up before Christmas so that we could plan with this in play.

Thanks, as always, for your interest and support!

Novō Film

I’m really excited to be able to share our new Novō promotional film with you.

This short film was produced by MediaNerd as a gift to Novō and it does a great job of communicating the need for transformational communities in developing nations and the vision for Novō as a response to that need.

In order to turn this vision into reality we need your support! If you’d like to know how you can support Novō financially, do send me an email to andy@novocommunities.org