One of the hardest things for me to get used to living in Wales, is the dark Winter months. After Daylight Savings hits, the days get shorter and darker until the “day” is only a short sliver of grey haze between 8 and 4 o’clock. I mention this because I want you to imagine the darkness here, so that you can better appreciate the moments of light I’m about to share with you. You see, it’s not just a physical darkness that’s present, but an emotional one as well — as we went into yet another lockdown. Also, there’s the inherent spiritual darkness due to the UK being a “post-Christian” country. So, yes, there’s a lot of darkness…BUT the darkness cannot overcome the Light! (John 1). So, let the light shine!
We did this quite literally this last month with our “Light Party.” Now, it wasn’t exactly a party in the traditional sense, as we weren’t able to meet due to being in lockdown, but with a bit of ingenious innovation from my wife, our church was able to organise a “DIY Light Party.” Miriam put together over 20 “party kits” that contained all the material and instructions for families across North Wales to celebrate that Jesus is the Light of the World! Never before have I seen both Lydia and Ethan so eager to talk about Jesus. It was fantastic! But this wasn’t the only moment of light from this past month. Before we went back into lockdown, we were able to have some fantastic moments of ministry with the youth, children, and young families in the area.
For the youth, we were able to start back our Shuffle and Shake meetings. Even though we had to wear masks and keep distance, it was still great to actually meet together again. In fact, we were able to stretch ourselves to do something we’d never done before – have a digital and physical gathering at the same time. By setting up Minecraft and Zoom at our physical gathering, I was able to play games with young people both in person and online at the same time, and then, most importantly, share with them all, the Love of Jesus. It was a bit sad when we had to go back into lockdown, but because we had already established our Minecraft Ministry online, we were easily able to start that up again, throughout the lockdown. With the lockdown now hopefully ending, Shuffle and Shake should be able to meet again in person next week.
Children and Families Work
For the children and young families, it was great to be able to take the lead with our church’s Family Services. This was such a breath of fresh air to so many families, as many have found it impossible to bring their kids along to a Covid-restricted, traditional service. By having this kind of Family Service, we were able to see parents and kids that we haven’t seen in nearly a year’s time, including some of those that were coming to ministries such as the toddler group and Lego club. Although we did have to post-pone our Family Services for 3 weeks during lockdown, we’re excited to have them start again this upcoming Sunday. This is great, as there’s so much potential to reach out to families that normally only come to church during Christmas time.
Permanent Residency and Knee Surgery
We’ve also had some encouraging progress on both my Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) and my ACL reconstruction surgery. It’s all happening! Firstly, I’ve passed my Life in the UK Test. This enabled me to apply for ILR and now I only need to attend a biometrics appointment to have my fingerprints and photo taken. Getting this appointment, though, has proven difficult with many of the usual sites for biometrics being closed due to Covid. Please pray I can get this biometric appointment completed and be one step closer to having permanent residence. As for my knee, I have been given a date for surgery, November 19th! I’ve been waiting for this day for nearly 2 years and, Praise the Lord, it is here! But pray for me, as it’s not an “easy” surgery. I’m told I’ll have a long road of recovery and physiotherapy afterwards.
Lastly, we’ve been able to carry on with our Welsh classes online. It has been difficult to learn through video calls, but good to maintain our learning. We are now starting to near the halfway point of overall mastery of the language. Please pray for our Welsh teacher. He is having cataract surgery on both of his eyes, and recently, he’s been sharing with me about his Christian upbringing. I’d like to talk with him more about this, but, as you may know, discussing spiritual matters with another person isn’t always the easiest conversation, when you don’t know them very well. Not to mention that all of our conversations are in Welsh, which adds a layer of difficulty. So, yes, prayers please.
So, all in all, despite the shortening days, October has been a month full of Light. Praise the Lord, the Light of the World! God Bless!