“I thought I spoke English before I came to the UK” I exclaimed to those gathered at the table. The night before the big celebration a few of us close friends from ship days gathered together for dinner and were sharing our experiences of adapting to British culture.
A little over a year since we shared two years of our lives in close quarters with so many people we called friends, I cannot describe to you how refreshing it was to be back in the company of these old friends. Chief amongst these for me were some of my closest friends from my time onboard. Ruth also enjoyed meeting with friends of hers. I was encouraged by others sharing their stories of difficulty adapting to british culture after marrying Brits. Calling crackers biscuits and calling biscuits cookies, parking on the wrong side of the street and misunderstanding social cues. Sometimes I feel totally foreign and at other times I feel like I belong here.
The celebration lunch happened the day before they left for the US and just weeks before their US wedding and held all the hallmarks of a wedding reception. It was a delightful affair – and it was so nice to see them walking the road to marriage so well. I was very impressed by the way Colton had prepared every detail for their future life together in the states.
Christian weddings are often a great witness to God’s goodness to us and our ability to celebrate without excess in drinking and the like – and this celebration was a shining example. I loved the way the speeches reflected God’s provision and guiding in their lives, that whilst alcohol was available it barely featured, that we celebrated with such a lovely barn dance – and mostly that we could all gather around Claire and Colton to pray God’s blessing upon them as they travel onwards and together. They say that Christian marriage should reflect the way Jesus loves the church and we love him – and this is already evident in their lives.
Yes, Ruth and I finally tied the knot on the 9th of June 2012 at Northchurch Baptist Church, Berkhamsted, England. We had a magnificent day that (save for a slight delay) turned out just the way we planned. The sun even made an appearance in the afternoon and there was an especially beautiful sunset to end the day. You can see lots of photos of the big day on our facebook pages.
We had a lovely relaxing honeymoon in tropical north Queensland, Australia before heading to Australia for a whole second wedding and reception! It was lovely to celebrate again with the people who are special to me, and who had already met Ruth and encouraged us on our journey together. It was also a time for last goodbyes as we flew back to the UK two days later!
We’ve been very busy setting up our new home in Carlisle, UK and we will have some photos for you to see soon. We’ve also started work already as volunteers for Operation Mobilisation – Ruth is working with families in the mission field and I am working with a multimedia ministry called OMNIvision. Between our day jobs, setting up a home, getting over jetlag and getting used to each other – we’re quite drained – so please pray for energy and grace for one another.
Following our week in Carlisle nailing down the details of our future, this week has been spent connecting (or re-connecting in Ruth’s case) with the community of Ruth’s Home Church, Northchurch Baptist. I’ve been staying with two lovely families that live near Ruth. It’s been great to get to know them better by living in their homes and sharing a little in their lives. Ruth and I have been doing our best to share with others what God has called us to do in Carlisle. (you can read it here: Chris|Ruth) A big part of this has been participating in home groups. We’ve also had penty of time to spend on wedding planning – which as you could imagine, turns out to be quite a bit of work when you want to stick to a budget!
We are both really excited about continnuing work with OM, and sometimes I feel like I’d like to be there right now serving God with my skills and giftings – but He is encouraging me each day that building my relationship with Ruth and connecting with people in her life – laying down a good foundation for the future is the best use of my time right now.
This Wednesday I’m headed to Carlisle for 1.5 weeks to work on an urgent project, then I’m back here in Berkhamsted until the wedding on June 9th. We’ll disappear until our Australian blessing and reception on June 26th, and after that we’ll return to Carlisle to set up home and start work on July 2nd.
We’ve been really encouraged so far by generous gifts and pledges of financial support. it’s still early days as far as Ruth’s levels are concerned. I’m still resting at 70%. We can’t help but testify that God has suppplied all of our needs up to this point and we Trust he will continue to surprise us in the future.