Monday, 12 December 2011

Big News

We hope that Christmas preparations are going well. We are writing to share news that we imagine will be quite a shock, but we will be returning to the UK earlier than anticipated.

We continue to be grateful for the opportunities that BMS has given to our family. Over the last year, we have had the privilege of teaching in schools, running an environmental project, running a holiday club, leading a children's club and much more. We hope and trust that God has used us here in Cusco. We hope that seeds have been planted that we know nothing about, but trust that God knows and is nurturing these seeds. We have personally been challenged and changed, often in difficult circumstances, and we will all come back with a different perspective of faith, God and the world.

However, we have felt for some time that this particular placement is not a good fit for us. It has been a privilege to be a part of El Puente, but it is a small church plant and we feel that it is overwhelming to have 4 mission workers placed there. We have enjoyed a lot of the work that we have been involved with, but feel that we can not offer a strategic role with sustainability at its heart, simply because the church is not at that stage. In training, we were told to be flexible in mission and always expect the unexpected. We have found this to be good advice, and we have tried to adapt to the situation being differerent to the one anticipated. It is a common story that mission workers travel to a country with one job description and end up doing something completely different! However, in our situation we can not see a new situation developing over the course of the next year that will be helpful and sustainable to the work of the Baptist Convention. We feel that rather continue with our work here, it would be better for the church if the youth and children's work develops at a slower pace, with the local church taking responsibility.

This has not been an easy decision, and has involved lots of discussion and prayer. We did not take the decision lightly to move to Peru and it is with the same consideration and prayer that we have decided to return to the UK. Personally, it has been a difficult time for us and we would appreciate your prayers as we process this decision and the next stages.

As we said at the beginning, we appreciate that this could be a shock, and for that we are sorry. God is at work here and we have tried to reflect that through our posts and stories. It has been hard to communicate the difficulties for various reasons, and hope that you haven't found the blog and newsletters misleading.

We were originally hoping to return to the UK between April and June, but it actually worked much better for the church if that was earlier, due to the departure of the Action Team and the home assignment of Scott and Anjanette. It was therefore hoped to be mid-February. However, Neil visited immigrations recently and discovered that it is not possible to renew or extend our visas beyond 6 January. Flights are better before the end of the year, and therefore we are due to arrive in the UK on 21 December. We have had to process a lot very quickly. Please pray for us and especially the children as we pack up and say goodbye in a much shorter time frame than we had planned.

Living in Peru has given a new perspective on the UK. We always saw our long term ministry as being in the UK, and although we will be leaving Cusco with sadness, we will also be returning to the UK with a renewed sense of the needs and potential within our home country. We are all called to mission and we see more than ever the importance of the church in the UK.

Your prayers and support have been invaluable to us and we can not express enough the difference that they have made.

Love Neil, Amanda, Daniel and Sophia

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