I am reading in Proverbs at the moment and I came across this verse that I don’t ever remember reading before (Proverbs 14:4):

Without oxen a stable stays clean,
    but you need a strong ox for a large harvest.

Hmmm. . . interesting verse . . . It made me think about our house . . . if we didn’t have so many people in it, it would be nice and clean and tidy! But at the moment, it is full of people and yes, we all make plenty of messes!  (physically and emotionally and even spiritually). But it’s in the mess of life and family that planting and sowing and reaping happens, and Lord willing, eventually a harvest! We are praying for and working toward a large harvest – a harvest of love and spiritual life, a harvest of people who are passionate for God and who will affect eternity with their lives! That makes me think of my favourite mummy verse:  (Galatians 6:9)

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

Being a parent can be really exhausting!  At times, it’s tempting to give up on various aspects of parenting.  But as we continue to change those nappies, dry those tears, make those meals, wash those clothes, read those Bible stories, take time to instruct in those teachable moments, pray with those little people, discipline and teach and train . . . in time, we trust God that we will reap a harvest of hearts sold out for Jesus.  Of course there are no guarantees (with children or crops!) but the law of the harvest says that generally, when you plant and water and care for the crops, you eventually yield a harvest.  Let us press on toward the goal, hand in hand with Jesus.  We feel our need of Him every day.

These last few weeks have been full ones (I guess our weeks are never not full!).  Here are some photos that share the story of our last couple of months.

First, Miss Jessah turned one!

 

She took her first steps a few days before her birthday and we’re sure it won’t be long before she’ll be off and running.  

 

Tonight she fell asleep in my arms when I was putting her to bed.  She hardly ever does that now so I really savoured the moment and thought back to when she was tiny.  Where does the time go?

 

Here we are celebrating her birthday with Grandpa and Grandma.

To follow the tradition of the Mead girls, I made her a cat cake.

 

Hmmm . . what's this?

Hmmm . . what’s this?

 

Jessah wasn't too bothered about opening her presents but she made up for it in how much she enjoyed eating her cake!

Jessah wasn’t too bothered about opening her presents but she made up for it in how much she enjoyed eating her cake!

 

We all delight in her so much!

We all delight in this little girl so much!

 

Peek-a-boo!

 

Reading with Hannah!

 

We have been busy with schooling . . . but here's having a time out for a hug!

We have been very busy with schooling . . . but here’s having a time out for a hug!

 

And here we are at one of our favourite places to go for some fun – Bowood House. We have many a photo taken in front of this big tree by the entrance.

 

Can you believe the Meadlings colour-coded the balls in the ball pit? Yikes!

 

We went dressed as traffic lights for our church's Light Party! The kids and I helped with the planning and we were thankful that it seemed a success!

We went dressed as traffic lights for our church’s Light Party! The kids and I helped with the planning and we were thankful that it seemed a success!

 

Peter and Jessah and I went away for a weekend recently – Peter had found a very sweet little cottage for us to stay in. We had some much needed rest and time as a couple. Here Peter took Jessah out to get some wood for the fire.

 

The autumn leaves are just beautiful at the moment!

 

On the ministry front, there has been a lot happening and there is a lot coming up!  Here are some prayer points and we hope to send a fuller email update out soon.  We always appreciate prayer for physical energy and spiritual vitality as we raise our family and serve in ministry.

Pray for the youth girls at church who are doing a Bible study called Beauty By the Book on Wednesday nights.  Melanie is helping to lead this along with a couple other women.

Pray for a Cor Deo intensive coming up in two weeks.  Numbers are high and we are anticipating a great time together.  Melanie will be attending this (the last one I did was four years ago!) and of course Peter and Mike be teaching.

Peter is preaching every Sunday this month on the book of John.  Pray for open hearts, especially for those who don’t yet know Jesus.

Please pray for Peter as he continues to teach his preaching courses at Union School of Theology over the next two days.

Thanks so much for praying for us!

 

 

Oregon Trip

Peter —  October 15, 2016

I (Peter) had a great trip to Portland and Sunriver with my colleague, Mike.  We went primarily to run a Cor Deo Intensive, as well as a one-day seminar, and for me to preach in two churches.  We also thoroughly enjoyed hanging out as I showed Mike my old neighbourhood (it still feels like I’m going home, even though I was the foreigner who married the local!)  We stayed with Melanie’s sister and family, which was great.  We also enjoyed a few chances to eat at some old favourites places, such as the Mongolian Grill I used to eat at fairly regularly when I was living and working in the area (I can’t believe the same guy is still working the grill after all these years!)

The Intensive went extremely well.  We had a full house with 20 of us present, made up mostly of folks from Westside Bible Fellowship (our sending church).  We so appreciated the tone in the room, the eagerness to learn, the openness for God’s Word to challenge, etc.  This was the second Intensive that Mike and I have led together and again it was a very enjoyable few days.

We then had a day to travel down to Central Oregon where we enjoyed a one-day seminar at Community Bible Church in Sunriver on the Saturday, and then being with the church on Sunday morning.  We headed back up to Portland only to discover our flight had been cancelled and we had been rebooked on a flight through Chicago.  This meant two “red-eye” flights on consecutive nights as we flew overnight to Chicago, and then overnight to London.  Thankfully we were able to get a few hours of sleep at the house of some kind friends in Chicago, plus a bonus meal in America, before we got home tired but safe at 7:30 on Tuesday morning.

Thanks for your prayers for this trip – it really was one answered prayer after another, and we thank God for the blessing of this trip.  Now if only I could sleep at the right time!  (Actually it is quite a busy season here at home with visits to Guildford and Union School of Theology, as well as preaching at Trinity Chippenham on Sundays, etc.)

Here are a couple of pictures you might enjoy:

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When we arrived in Portland we took a little driving tour and saw places like Multnomah, where I studied until 2004.

 

Even in October we got to enjoy some stunning weather as we drove down to Central OR

Even in October we got to enjoy some stunning weather as we drove down to Central OR

 

After the one-day seminar in Sunriver we drove out past Mt Batchelor for views like this (is this South Sister, or Broken Top? Not sure!)

After the one-day seminar in Sunriver we drove out past Mt Batchelor for views like this (is this South Sister, or Broken Top? Not sure!)

 

An 11-hour layover in Chicago meant sleep and an opportunity to enjoy the famous Chicago style pizza - a bonus US meal!

An 11-hour layover in Chicago meant sleep and an opportunity to enjoy the famous Chicago style pizza – a bonus US meal!

 

Linking Hearts Across the Sea

Melanie —  September 19, 2016

 

I had a super special visit with my sister and her family in Oregon!  I was only there one week but we packed a lot of fun times in.  The journey over was long but went really smoothly – God was very gracious.  Jessah didn’t sleep too much on the way over but she got some catnaps in that kept her going and even though she was awake a lot on the long-haul flight, she was generally happy.  She kept waving and smiling at everyone and being very sweet.  She and Hannah fell asleep during our long layover in San Fransisco we had a joyful meeting with my parents at the airport and then with Amy when we arrived at her house.  Jessah did amazingly well at coping with the jet lag.  She did come down with a tummy bug while we were there which was no fun for her, poor thing, but it was short-lived and thankfully Hannah and I stayed healthy.  The day after we arrived, Hannah went to stay with her good friend Anne for a few days.  They had a wonderful time!  I was able to see some ladies from church one morning – brief but sweet time – and also go to our sending church on Sunday (a shorter than normal time as Jessah was sick) which was very special.  Here are some photos of our visit.  When you live so far away from from family sometimes it feels like your heart is in two places.  I felt quite emotional leaving but so grateful for the memories made with people I love so much.

 

This is us, all excited, just before the plane took off from London!  Hannah was a great help with Jessah (lots of people thought we were sisters and/or that Hannah was Jessah’s mum – yikes!)

 

My sister and brother in law, their kids and Jessah

 

Amy and me and Elly and Jessah – matching outfits from Aunt Carol!

Amy also got them matching sleepers. It was hilarious trying to pose them for a photo – they wanted to do everything but take a photo! This one was probably the best one.

 

Elly didn't want to give up looking at her book - so we gave Jessah one too (we laughed so hard when we realised the title was something about Loving the Man in your Life!)

Elly didn’t want to give up looking at her book – so we gave Jessah one too (we laughed so hard when we realised the title was something about Loving the Man in your Life!)

 

Hmmm . . .what shall we cook for dinner?

 

Jessah is really into waving at the moment. She is so happy and friendly with everyone!

 

It was so fun celebrating Elly's second birthday! She is such a cheerful little girl with a lot of spunk!

It was so fun celebrating Elly’s second birthday! She is such a cheerful little girl with a lot of sweet energy!

 

What a sweetheart! A friend made this chalkboard for Elly's party.

What a sweetheart! A friend made this chalkboard for Elly’s party.

 

Mmmm – birthday cake!

 

The boys getting into the birthday theme with their bee stingers!

 

Jessah got to sit on a horse for the first time - she wasn't too impressed!

Jessah got to sit on a horse for the first time – she wasn’t too impressed!

 

 

It was so nice to see my Mom and Dad too. I got to do a picnic lunch with each of them individually.

 

Hannah had an amazing time with her friend Anne. And I enjoyed getting to chat with her mum for a bit too when she dropped Hannah back. Good friends are such a blessing.

 

Anne and Jessah

 

Anne and Hannah bizarrely came across this turtle near Anne's house!

Anne and Hannah bizarrely came across this turtle near Anne’s house!

 

Hannah also got to spend some time with her friend Esther! Very special.

 

Fun at the park

 

It was a treat to get to spend concentrated time with my nieces and nephews.

 

Claire and Jessah

 

More park fun!

 

Hannah and Amy

 

Auntie memories . . . here Jessah is wearing the same outfit that Elly wore last summer when Jessah was still inside me!

 

All tuckered out on our journey home . . . we had an amazing trip!

 

Jessah was pretty wasted when we got home (so were Hannah and I!) but jet lag didn't last long and it's been great to be back all together as a family.

Jessah was pretty wasted when we got home (so were Hannah and I!) but jet lag didn’t last long and it’s been great to be back all together as a family.

 

 

It was such a special trip – a gift from God.  If you prayed for me, thank you so much.  Now we are back into the swing of things with school and “normal” life.  We would appreciate prayer for us as we continue to serve our family and church.