“Thomas Family Adventure”... When we set out for Sweden in 2017, we knew we would be facing an unknown adventure, new challenges, new pleasures and new opportunities to trust the Lord. We had ample chances for all of those things, plus many more.
A quick look will show you that we didn’t post anything on our blog in 2018. Part of that was trying to figure out what to say that was different from what our newsletters related (let us know if you’d like to be on our newsletter list!), part of it was because there’s only so much you can say about cold, long, dark winters (which, much to my own dismay, I’m kind of missing right now), and part of it was that our lives didn’t vary too much week to week while Ben went to language school and the boys and I hunkered down and tried to not go stir crazy while they fought off one bout of sickness after another (throw my own morning sickness in that mix, too).
But part of our silence was also that things regarding Ben’s job were starting to take a different shape than what we had expected. We didn’t know what was going on and so it was easier to just not mention it too much, since sometimes every week had another piece of the final puzzle put in place… or maybe more like removed.
Spring came! When there were still feet and feet of snow in April, I was beginning to think that winter would last forever. It wasn’t a super cold winter, but it was one of the longest winters that part of Sweden had seen in many years.
During the spring, we took some good scouting trips to visit with contacts in some of the bigger cities. We met some lovely people with a passion to see God’s kingdom grow in Sweden and we were eager to be able to get started toward that goal in the context of a Reformed and Presbyterian church plant, which we hoped to do Spring 2019 after a two month visit in the States.
Spring quickly gave way to summer, which happened to be one of the hottest summers in over 200 years! More puzzle pieces of the role of what Ben was called to in relation to the church and church planting continued to be removed through the summer.
Then our dear Kate was born in August! Her arrival brought a sweetness that we needed, and the church warmly welcomed the first baby girl in the congregation in 8 years!
The fall came, and fairly significant changes in our launching church began taking place. Ben began preaching weekly at the end of August, and in September he began writing his sermons in Swedish! Over the next few months, the elders of Immanuel Church recognized and acknowledged to Ben that the job for which he was brought to Sweden is no longer a possibility, that the church needs to focus on its own health. We were sad to know we would have to leave Sweden so much sooner than we expected, but we also know that the congregation is in a place now to be able to focus on how the Lord will strengthen and encourage them. The Lord will grow His church in Sweden, but not in the way we thought we would be involved.
This declaration did not come as a surprise to us, and though there were lots of questions and tears, the Lord had already been going before us and preparing the next place for us- and us for the next place.
On January 15, with lots of heavy suitcases and even heavier hearts, we moved away from Sweden. We are currently in the US for four months to debrief from the past year and a half, visit and report to supporters, spend time with family and friends, and prepare for our next Thomas Family Adventure:
And those details, my friends, will come in another blog post soon. You will see some changes and updates taking place on the website, but we hope to be more faithful with posts here to share with you what’s taking place with Ben’s new position, our family and our lives in the UK!