Saturday, 29 March 2008


Wind has been a strong characteristic this week both in the natural and the spiritual. The week began with a brief visit with a friend we haven't seen in 5 years who now lives in Canada. She had flown in to England to help her Dad move to Canada and we were travelling down to the South of England so we met up in Sheffield and tried to catch up with quite a bit of news. We then travelled all the way to Petworth a very quaint little town with some interesting roads and definitely not designed for the car, they are so tight and twisty. We were warmly welcomed by John and Sue who we have never met before but we seem to have so many connections with already. It is so amazing how God works! John set off for Latvia on Sunday to help out at a camp I saw before it was bought. 

We have been so blessed by the hospitality of people and know that it is a scarce resource in our Western culture. Hospitality is so much more than offering a bed for people, it is also offering your hearts, your time and making them feel like an honoured guest rather than someone who is an inconvenience at worst, or just putting them up. This doesn't mean that your life has to stop to accommodate someone but just making them feel at home with the little things, such as offering the opportunity to get washing done (which when you have been on the road for a month is a God send), or sitting around a table at mealtimes to talk - now that feels like church to me. I think Wikipedia sums it up nicely in the article on hospitality  "Hospitality refers to the relationship process between a guest and a host, and it also refers to the act or practice of being hospitable, that is, the reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers, with liberality and goodwill. Hospitality is also known as the act of generously providing care and kindness to whomever is in need." Liberality and goodwill! How rich we can be and so poor in our liberality and goodwill. I wonder what our hospitality would look like if we really understood the verses from Hebrews 13 "Keep on loving each other as brothers. Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it"?

Most of this last week has been with Ian and I joining a team to stand in prayer for the people 
of the South Downs and as I said at the beginning it has been very windy and at times very wet but God has been so fantastic and the wind of his Spirit has flowed strongly. You can read about some more of it on our friend Martin's site but from a personal perspective we have seen what a looser church structure can look like and what it means to be church and not just be part of a church. We realised that when we left the States that church was going to have to look very different to us, we were going to have to be more committed to making sure we stay connected to the body of Christ without possibly "going" to church very often, that would have been scary to us a few years ago but now we feel more like Pilgrims "On the way" and journeying with our Lord and Saviour and that is exciting. I am sure we are going to make some mistakes along the way but that will be part of the journey too. 

Spring is definitely here despite the wind and the rain and it something I have really missed while in Colorado and have been delighted to see and recognise the different Flowers that are now springing up along the road sides. 

We also got to see our son Mark racing on Sunday morning, he did very well but we are not entirely sure of the result as some mistakes were made with the time keeping of the last few riders who were the best riders. 

We didn't realise when we planned our trip that Mark would also be moving this weekend, he told us he was moving but not when but at least it meant we were free to help him shift some of his stuff. 

Well it is a long blog this week but much has happened and there has been much to think about. We are perhaps no clearer on what we are going to be doing in Latvia but much clearer on the fact we are on a journey and the blog name seems more appropriate than ever. We are pilgrims in a foreign land and participating in a great adventure to see this world redeemed back to God - how great a privilege is that!

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Travelling, travelling, travelling

What a week! We got our residence permits from the Latvian Government on Tuesday and they are good for five years and then we set off for England on the Wednesday. I feel so American at the moment "if it's Monday it must be Northumberland" (Ok I am writing this on Wednesday/Thursday and therefore it must be Petworth in the South of England but since I am trying to write about one week at a time I shall pretend it is Monday). 

Our travels first took us to London to visit Matthew's girlfriend's parents and we had a good time with plenty of good food. Unfortunately the next day it took six hours to do 150 miles the traffic was so awful, there are some things I do not miss about England and the traffic is definitely one of them. We arrived in just enough time to park Matthew and his girlfriend at Emma's (our eldest) and take Emma and Ben (Emma's boyfriend) out for a meal. This was our opportunity to get to know Ben before he goes to Australia for a year. It was nice to stay that night at some relatives of mine in a very soft bed - the Latvian beds are so hard Ian and I were getting a bad back and in one hotel we even asked for extra duvets (comforters) to sleep on.

We got to travel around some of our favourite places in Derbyshire with Emma and her friend on the Friday, (no not Ben he was cycling to Manchester, only around 50 miles away in wind and rain), we even had some cake in our favourited café that we used to visit so often when we lived in Derbyshire. My American friends, if you ever get the chance to visit England go to Derbyshire it is so pretty and quaint, with lovely old stone cottages and loads of small cafés with cakes and tea, you will love it.

We had a chance on Sunday to eat fish and chips with some old friends of ours from our church in England. It was good to share where we were at and the the prophecy we had received. Talking about what we are doing and the path God is leading us on is beginning to actually excite me, it didn't feel very exciting leaving America because I was too tied up in the details of the move but I think I am beginning to relax now and enjoy the journey. 

Our next trip was up to see Ian's mum in Northumberland. It is always tricky as we recognise it is hard work for her when we stay but she loves to see us. We are so grateful to see the love and the care Ian's brothers and their wives show to his Mum especially now she is on her own. We couldn't do the travelling we do with an easy conscience if we didn't know that his brothers were around. We travelled up to Northumberland with Matthew and Elena and one afternoon we took them up Scotland as it is only just over an hour away from Ian's mum and Elena - being a Londoner - had never been to Scotland and that seemed a good enough reason to go. 

Lastly here is a picture of the daffodils especially for my Colorado friends. Spring is one season I have really missed because of the flowers. The first signs of spring comes with the snowdrops in February and then you have the crocuses followed by the daffodils. Now other plants are beginning to bloom such as cowslips, hyacinths, tulips and oh so many more; we might not have seen much sun in the sky but there is plenty on the ground.

Sunday, 16 March 2008

The cat saga and other incidents

Well it kind of started one night when I was cooking in the home of our new American friend Marvin, who took pity on us that we didn't have a toilet in our apartment and offered us room in his home, the cat which resides at his home wanted feeding and I didn't realise so it attacked my feet, Marvin was not home so I evicted the cat. A day later the cat was sat on the windowsill in our room and it wasn't supposed to be there so I went to pick it up and it tried to bite me, I wasn't having any of that so I picked it up and it was struggling and trying to claw me and as I turned I tripped over a suitcase, we both fell and the cat ran downstairs. I ended up hobbling round for a day thinking that I might have sprained my ankle but fortunately it was only bruised and I was fine the next day apart from the stiff shoulders from the fall. Here is a picture of Mickey the cat

It wasn't the only incident this week, I also managed to fall getting into the bath for a shower - non-slip mats are a must and I am determined that one will become part of my travelling package. Apart from some hurt to my dignity and some slightly bruised ribs it ended fine, thank goodness!

At least there is progress in
 the apartment and we now have a toilet which is a vast improvement on what we had
before as you can see from the before and after pictures and 
we also have one room completed.

Sunday night we attended a prophetic meeting and Keith Hazel the prophet picked us out and told us that although people may think we are crazy we were on track and in the right place 
at the right time which was 
terrific confirmation for the decision we had made. It was also really weird at the beginning of the meeting to hear Keith talking about the need to open a spiritual well here in Smiltene the town we are visiting as the prophecy that set us off on our travels talks about us opening spiritual wells, so we are not sure where this is leading us but we do know that God is not just calling us to one place but to join different places together and this was also confirmed by Keith. We look forward to God revealing more of his plan to us.

Monday, 10 March 2008

I'm all shook up

No I haven't suddenly become an emotional wreck, it refers to our little adventure on the snow ravaged dirt roads of Latvia to see our friends Steve, Natalija and Samuel. As you can see from the picture they are a little rough in places.

Our trip to get the process of getting a residence permit was quite painless though, oh the joy of being EU residents! One copy of our passports and a bank statement was all that was required to at least start the process and we can hand in the completed form that we were given on Friday along with two passport photos and a copy of the health insurance and we are sorted. At least it is supposed to be that easy so we will wait and see. 

Our apartment is still not quite ready for habitation as it is lacking an attached toilet, shower and sink - mind you the tiles are looking really nice and our shower once installed comes with a radio. Why do we need a radio I hear you ask, I have no idea either it is just that model came with one. Anyway we have to suffer further hardship of staying in a little hotel with friendly staff and wonderful food for two more nights, can you hear the tears of

consternation already? (Not!). It is great to see that our Swedish workman is teaching his Latvian apprentice good techniques as they work on the bathroom together - as you can see from the picture of the radiator not all Latvian workmanship is particularly well done (this was not done by the same guy who is doing our bathroom thank goodness!)

Last night we were sat in the restaurant in the hotel when a couple came up to us because we were speaking English and introduced themselves, turns out they already knew about us from the friends we had visited earlier on in the day. It is really strange to meet people you don't know and they already know about you. 

 The last two pictures are views from our apartment here in Latvia.

Thursday, 6 March 2008

Pictures as promised

Well just a sample of what we are leaving behind. These are pictures taken in The Rocky Mountain National Park on our last day.

And these are from our last trip to our favourite eating place , the Chocolate Rose in Wellington and if you live in the area do say hi to the folks in the place for us and tell them the "English couple" are missing them!

Arrived safely

Just to let you know that we have arrived safely and with our luggage. We arrived in Munich airport yesterday and it was eerily quiet, unusual for such a large airport that early in the morning, turns out there was a strike by local workers We were a little concerned that although International flights were not affected that maybe our luggage would not make it onto the next plane but it did.

This was the verse on day we set off on which I thought was rather appropriate for us, not that we are afraid or discouraged but was reassuring confirmation that God is in this adventure that we are on.
Joshua 1:9
Tuesday, 4:53 AM
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

A Week of Goodbyes

It has been such a blessing of a week. I know goodbyes can be quite tough but I am a great believer in leaving well and it was fantastic that we had the opportunity to say goodbye properly to so many good friends. We also received some amazing and thoughtful presents, I forgot to mention that we had been given some presents at our leaving do at Timberline Oldtown,the church gave us two beanie hats, one Broncos hat (Denver American Football Team) and one CSU hat (Colorado State University situated in Fort Collins) for the expected cold weather of course, a Crisco cookbook (long story!) and a small Indian drum for Ian's continuous tapping (and no he hasn't got any better for those of you who have known us a long time). A friend also gave us a Farmer's Market Cookbook which was lovely and I look forward to trying out some recipes - that is when we see our stuff again. Other presents were a collection of photos on CD of Fort Collins which was great as we just hadn't had the time to go and take pictures of some of the places we remember or that remind us of Fort Collins (keep taking the photos Max and don't forget to send us some), and someone made a "scarf" to remind us of the clouds, God's goodness and a special little lady we got to know.

In saying goodbye we have also been well and truly fed and I have probably put pounds of weight on, oh well! The food has been great though and we even had a sort of Thanksgiving meal, Turkey, mashed potatoes, salad and followed by pumpkin pie.

Yesterday we also said goodbye to the Mountains and later on in the week I shall post some pictures of the Colorado Rocky Mountains along with the elk and deer we saw on our trip.

One last thing, thanks so much for all of you who had written in the bible we were given, those thoughts were so greatly appreciated and it will be something we can treasure. Well must finish now as I need to get myself ready for boarding the plane from Denver and in the words of the song "I am leaving on a jet plane, don't know when I will be back again" it is such a strange feeling, will we ever be back this way again only God knows that for sure. Thanks for all your prayers and love guys!