Your steadfast love, O LORD, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds. Psalms 36:5
God is so faithful and kind. In every challenge he keeps proving Himself true.
This transition of our family from living in Cambodia, to moving to the UK, having a baby and then moving to the States, all in less than 6 months - is the biggest transition I have experienced so far! It has meant much uncertainty in many different areas! At the beginning of this whole journey if I (Steve) was to try and look at the "big picture" of everything that had to fall into place it would feel a bit overwhelming!
Every time that I would start to feel overwhelmed, Jesus would be so gentle and reassuring; reminding me of His promises and His faithfulness. From there I decided to just try and take things one small step at a time. In every single little step Jesus has proven Himself consistent, faithful and encouraging.
An example of this happened recently when we sent out a private email update requesting prayer for a few things including our impending visit to the US Embassy for our visa interview. They could have denied our visa request after asking to look at our proof of funding for the year (we needed to show that we had at least $20,000 to finance our 9 months there). So we needed to really trust God that he would get us through.
We were interviewed by a man who actually had a cousin attend the exact school of ministry that we are enrolling at and understood about it all. What are the chances? Out of hundreds of possible interviewers!!?? In the end he didn't ask to look at our bank statements and our visas were granted!
Each small step like that, before and after, God has been re-enforcing his faithfulness and kindness. Even in the really difficult step in leaving Cambodia and all that is dear to our hearts out there He has been so faithful. We have at times missed the precious people and team there so much! But He has given us the grace to get through as we have followed him in obedience.
While we were first settling back into the UK, we felt the leading from the Lord (from Matthew 13:44) to sell a one-bedroom that flat we own in Grimsby; to help part fund our time in America. It needed a new kitchen and lots of other work. I had never done anything like this before in my life and had absolutely no clue about renovating a property. Yet small step by small step we were blessed with help, by the right people at the right time and after a couple of months of hard work (and what seems like lots of small steps) it was completely finished. Then when it was put up for sale it had three different buyers in a bidding war and we ended up receiving an offer significantly over the asking price and much more than what I was hoping for (and more than the average value for the local area)! The sale is going through at the moment and we are praying for a swift completion!
There were a few times whilst I was renovating the flat (while I was also working as a supply teacher in a secondary school) that the task just looked too huge! I felt clueless, but I was just looking in the wrong place. When I looked at Jesus I just kept getting reassurance and encouragement from Him and He helped to make it happen in lots of little ways, including providing people to help me out.
He has proven himself in lots of other things in the last few months and there are may things which we are really thankful to Him for (included in the pictures and captions below):
My favourite of all of the things to be thankful for from our time here has been the safe arrival of our little boy Benjamin Robert Brown. Many of you already know about him and some of you have already met him personally. In everything from the pregnancy in Cambodia, the moment he was born, the following few months as a newborn - God has been faithful and we are so grateful to Him for this precious little addition to our family.
He is now 3 months old and just doesn't stop smiling. He is healthy and is such a joy to our whole family including his big sister Gracie who loves him so well (sometimes too well by giving him very big squeezes). He brings me so much joy every time I look at him.
During our time here there have also been some very intense situations and some moments of deep testing of our faith; which have been hard and stressful at times. However whenever we took the time to come to Jesus, to hear from His perspective; He has then given us wisdom, love and the faith to keep going, keep hoping and keep trusting in Him
We mentioned also in a recent prayer request that we were trying to find a house in America to rent. It is difficult finding somewhere in a city that you have never been, you have no clue which areas are good to be in, a place that's the other side of the world and you can only look at photos on the internet of and not actually be there! We think we have finally found somewhere though! So thank you so much for your prayers!
It was a long process after 2+ months of looking at hundreds of different places online we were still clueless but we were blessed to be able to speak to someone in the Iris Global team based in Redding who really helped to point us in the right direction. Then after narrowing it down to a few options we decided to go for one that we thought was the right one so we applied for it! Then Mollie looked back at a random message that she received in June from a person from Bethel Church who she had never met before (see picture). This person said she felt "led to message" us about looking into a particular apartment complex. The ones she messaged about is exactly the same one we decided to apply for! After a long and gruelling process two months after we first received the message we ended up going with the very apartments which she felt led to tell us about two months previously (and that we had forgotten about). God is so good, even if we miss it and have to go through a process to get to the very place He intended us to be!
We are hopefully finalising paying a deposit for this place soon and then looking to start getting furniture so it's not completely empty when we arrive there. We fly out to San Francisco on the 27th of August and will stay there a night before driving the long journey North to Redding.
I feel like in these last few months (and even for many years before). The constant pattern has been this; me realising I am completely clueless, me coming to Him for help, then after being with Him I realise that he is completely faithful and able to fulfil His promises, then I just try to trust him in the next small step of His leading.
Sometimes looking at the big picture of what Jesus calls us to do can be a bit overwhelming and scary! But if we just lean into Him, ask Him to show us things from His perspective, and then believe enough to follow Him in in the small steps of his leading, we can do "all things" through Him who is with us.
Now, because of these constant testimonies of His goodness, we choose to continue to follow Him in all the small steps ahead. We are learning more and more that He is fully able to fulfil His promises. He is so worthy!
**Please note because of our move we can no longer receive our financial support through stewardship.org.uk. If you support us through stewardship you will need to cancel any regular payments by the end of August.