Embracing Growth – So much news!

Hello Everyone! We’re back! 

It’s so lovely to be writing to you all again after such a long break. The summer seems firmly behind us now that the good weather is gone, but even as memories of holidays and time spent holidaying with loved ones fades, we are so excited to get back into schools and share our amazing news with you:

Our team has grown! 

We have hired a new full time primary worker, Joshua Openshaw, and a new part time worker, Jill Elston. You can read more about them and see their pictures in our most recent newsletter at the bottom of this post. We really believe we are responding to God’s word by hiring these individuals, and God has been speaking to us clearly about expansion. You can read more about this in detail in the letter from the Chairman in the newsletter below, but the most important point is that we are trusting Jesus to be faithful as we step out in faith and enlarge the place of our tents.

It reminds me very much of a sermon I heard last term about stepping out in faith. The passage being preached on was Joshua 3 verse 8 when Joshua, facing down the might of Jericho, tells the priests of the Lord to take the ark of the covenant out into the Jordan river. We know, from our biblical knowledge and heritage, that as the priests step into the river, the water dries up and the entire nation of Israel is able to cross the river Jordan thanks to a miracle of the Lord. However, we do not often consider what it must have been like to be a priest of the Lord at that moment. To be told to take the heavy ark, the most precious ark of the lord, and walk into the river Jordan without knowing what was going to happen. They had to have faith for that first step, trusting God for his protection even when all they could see where the fast-flowing, threatening waters and the might of the walls of Jericho. All they could see was danger and doubt.

They must have held their faith like a shield against their fear, and some people might say that maybe being that close to the Ark of the Covenant and so familiar with the intimate presence of God nullified their fears entirely. We cannot know for sure this side of heaven. But whatever they felt, they were obedient to God’s command to go, as given through his messenger, Joshua. Sometimes we can waver in our obedience when we hear a command from God that is sent through his Saints. Sometimes we tell ourselves: “Well, I’ll keep that to myself until God confirms it to me.” The priests of the Lord couldn’t do that. They couldn’t turn around to Joshua and say: “We’ll hold off on risking our lives, thanks, until God confirms it personally to us.” They recognised the spiritual authority of Joshua, a servant of the Lord, and obeyed.

For me, that is a powerful lesson in the way of obedience and servitude. When the Lord speaks to me through the Saints, through our trustees or supporters, I am challenged to be obedient to the spirit of Lord. One of the things I like about the bible verse that was given to the Trust (Isaiah 54:2) is that it includes the command “Do not hold back.” So often, our obedience is tentative. The equivalent might have been one of the priests of the Lord wading into the water before all the others, “just to check how deep it is.” The Lord doesn’t command tentative obedience. He says, “Do not hold back.” This academic year, I am going to be strengthened by those words in everything the team delivers and plans. We have this instruction from the Lord, to grow in every way, to make room for what is to come, and to do it without holding back. My prayer this year, is that we will be brave enough and strong enough to take those first steps of faith, and walk confidently into the promise God has given us.

Please do read the newsletter, it has some important dates in it for prayer and also some wonderful information from Josh and Jill. For those of you reading in your email, please follow the links to the website where you will be able to click on the newsletter and download it to read on your computer.

Here it is! NEWSLETTER START OF TERM 2017

With blessings at the start of the term,

Emma

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