Monday, February 25, 2008

Arrival in the UK

We have much to praise God for. The last days in Brazil were excellent. A "surprise" party for us the night before we left turned into an extended time for testimonies of what the Lord had done over the last years. A large number of people spoke, for between 2 to 5 minutes each. We were amazed and overwhelmed by the consistency and depth of people's words, and so thankful for what God has done in the Peregrinos. Our journey began with a send-off at the airport - never the easiest of moments, with high emotions and no time or space for the words that might actually do justice to it all. But we left - seeing the group still in the observation area even as we took off for São Paulo.

At São Paulo a problem with our airline's seating arrangements, already evident at check-in in Florianópolis, became clearer as we boarded the big Airbus, to find passengers milling about in a confusion of divided families and general mayhem. We kept quiet and sweet... in hope. And hope did not disappoint, as the steward arrived, telling us, in the tones normally reserved for bad medical news, that we were being upgraded to business class. We replied, in an appropriately quiet manner, stiff-upper-lipped, blitz-spirited and with clear echoes of Captain Oates, that we were prepared to go along with his suggestion. We managed to enjoy the journey very much.

On arrival we were met by parentals (2), progeny (1, male) and Caroline Nicholls, and after a cup of tea in Starbucks (not known for its tea, but not so bad) we had an uneventful journey home to Haywards Heath.

We are very grateful for the provision of a car for our stay: an Astra, property of Bob and Veronica Campen from Cuckfield, which they are keeping on for us having just bought another car. This is an ENORMOUS help in what will be by no means an easy year financially.

Our first Sunday back at HHEFC felt very "normal". We had a visiting preacher, Mark Lawrence of Dunstable, who opened up 1 Thess 2, morning and evening. The songs particularly, as ever, drew our attention, with the mix of doctrinal depth and passion which we miss so much.

It was Tom's 21st though. Hard to believe that our youngest is so old. But then, it will be a year of "hard to believe." Hard to believe - Cora graduated from WEST after 6 years hard work, our Silver Wedding, both our children married. Pray for us regarding the emotional ride ahead.

Back home in Florianópolis, we are thankful to hear good things of the first weekend since we left. Please remember Taybar especially, as he settles into the rhythm of preaching, teaching and pastoral care.
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