Last week was made a lot sweeter - and bearable - by having our beloved Susu in town with us. Thomas took the train out of London for a network retreat, Shepherd recovered from the lurgy, and we hosted some dear friends from Toronto. It's hard to believe we're into Thanksgiving week! Here's a little more about where we're at...
Nope, it's not really a 'word of the week' type word. Yet, it's the word on our minds tonight and we're taking a minute to reflect on it. It's a different feeling being 3,600 miles from friends and family when one of your favourite holidays approaches. We love Thanksgiving. We will miss visiting with family. Eating piles of specially made food. Falling asleep in front of a fireplace while it's 70 degrees outside in Alabama. We will miss all of it.
Nevertheless, we're going to work out our own traditions. We have a dear couple from the States coming over for a visit and it will be refreshing to spend some time with them. We will cook a big meal and have dinner on Thursday night when the kiddos get home from school...
First Trip Post-Move
This week contained another first for us: Thomas took his first trip since we made the move to London. He took the train north for Co-Mission Network's "Staff Focus." This was a network-wide staff retreat for all of the churches within Co-Mission network. There was team-building, lots of chats over meals and tea, and some training and collaborating. The theme of the week was prayer. Men and women from across the network sat in teaching on prayer, talked about the journey and struggle of prayer, and spent lots of time actually praying together. We are really glad to have landed with such an amazing group of people. We love Co-Mission Network!
This Week Made Survivable by: Susu
Before and after Thomas' trip we were glad to have some time all together with our Susu (Elizabeth's mom). While Thomas was away, the girls (plus Shepherd) had a really good couple of days together.
Susu was especially helpful around the house and neighbourhood while Shepherd was recovering. They had a really encouraging time together while Thomas was out of town. Having Susu around - while approaching our first major holiday abroad - stirred up the emotions for us. We really love and miss our family back in the States. We're glad to be here but we really miss the festivities of being around everyone there.
We had a great time with Susu.
Finally: Toronto Mike Came to London
We've known Mike for about seven years now. We first met when our church in Raleigh (Providence) started supporting Mike in his venture of starting a new church in Toronto. Over the next couple of years Thomas and Mike were to become really good friends. Mike, and the church community called Trinity Life Church, started noticing certain giftings in line with starting a new church in Thomas' life. Mike walked with us and prayed for us for a number of years as we navigated our way through the thinking and planning around starting a new church. We were glad to have a few days in London with Mike.
Like we mentioned, we will miss a lot of the routines around Thanksgiving week. It's specifically weird to think about the kiddos even going to school on Thursday. More than this, Thomas suggested we go home from drop-off to watch the parade via our ExpressVPN - only to be gently reminded that it would be about 4am Eastern Time...
Would you pray for us? Pressing through five months abroad, coupled with really not wanting our Susu to leave, and now rucking up (British term, perhaps next time) on the first big holiday abroad - we're feeling a little low and tired. We hope to find some fun and refreshment over this week.
ALSO, please continue praying specifically for our Carol Service coming up on Saturday 14 December. We will share some more information about it closer to time.
We love and miss so many of you.
Thank you for keeping up with us on our journey.
We are thankful for you.