Lots to Be Thankful For

Melanie —  May 3, 2023

Jessah in our beautiful backyard tree.

When I last wrote, we were feeling so discouraged and unwell.  We were so touched by all your prayers and messages of encouragement.  Here’s a short update about the things we shared last time:

Praise the Lord, Peter improved enough to preach that Sunday and get ready in time for Albania.  He had a super encouraging trip! Peter was able to connect with pastor Berti – it’s his church that our short term team will connect with in August. The main purpose of the trip was for Peter to spend time teaching some Albanian pastors who have little or no access to ministry training.  He said it was a really fruitful and blessed time. I will let him write a longer report sometime!

Mariah did come down with the virus but praise the Lord it was early enough that she had time to recover and her version was much shorter than ours.  She and Joel (who never got it!) were able to fly to the USA together healthy and well.  What a mercy.

The night Peter got back from Albania, we heard the news that the US government will be lifting the last of the Covid vax requirements on 11 May – including the completely illogical and unjust ban on unvaccinated foreigners.  To give a little context, we had heard a few days before (possibly in error) that the ban had been extended and we were all devastated.  So, to say the least, we are incredibly relieved and grateful and the joy of the upcoming wedding seems so much more real to us now!  One month from today!

Another request that I shared was our need for a vehicle to borrow in the USA that we would all fit into.  Well, only a day or two after I shared that, a dear family contacted us and want to lend us their car for the whole time we are there. This is a such an answer to prayer!

All of this actually makes me want to weep with joy!! Our God hears and answers the cries of his children.  He is full of mercy and compassion.  Having said that, I am all too aware that sometimes his answers are no or not now.  From my own recent experience, I can say, it’s so much harder to accept these answers. . . . no to getting well for church or life group or the weekend away (multiple times), no to going away with Peter, no to getting to simply be a mum to my children day after day, no to special planned events or even seeing people, no to the ability to do basic things, no to relief from pain.  Sometimes small losses on a daily basis add up to create a deep grief.  There’s no denying that life in this fallen world and in our broken bodies can sometimes be pure anguish.  Our lives are so far away from God’s original good design.  However, God is teaching me, gently, slowly, to keep surrendering to his perfect will.  And in the darkness, to keep clinging to what is true – that He is good, He is wise and He loves me so much. And – this is huge – that there is hope beyond this life, when all the tears will be wiped away.

Actually, on Sunday I had some time journaling with the Lord about 2 Samuel 15:25-26.  It’s something David said when he was fleeing from his son Absalom who was trying to take the throne away from him.

“If the Lord sees fit,” David said, “he will bring me back to see the Ark and the Tabernacle[f] again. 26 But if he is through with me, then let him do what seems best to him.”

Wow.  That is some incredible humility and faith and a deeply surrendered heart.  I guess we could all fill in our blanks (and I did as I journaled!) . . . If the Lord sees fit, he will . . . . But if not, let him do what seems best to him.  We have a tender Saviour, a suffering Saviour, who understands our pain and is with us in it.  And because of his great wisdom and love, he sometimes says no to our cries.  And there is blessing in that.

To close, a little update about my own health . . . I did recover from the virus too, just not as fast as Peter.  I had a better couple of days, then a migraine and then when Peter was in Albania, frustratingly, I started feeling some of the virus symptoms again. I’m not doing too badly now but I’m not 100% yet.  I’ve also been struggling with sleep and have had some pretty emotional days.  I still feel pretty fragile.  However, I’m grateful to God for his love, shown to me especially through friends. And the girls I and made it through the weekend with lots of good moments.

It’s so wonderful to have Peter back and for all of us to share the joy of the news that he gets to go with us to the wedding!  We leave for the USA on the 26th of May . . . it’s coming very fast now!  Having been out of action for the better part of a month, there’s a lot to be done to get us all ready to go so we’d very much value your prayers for health, strength and peace of mind and heart. Peter has an upcoming trip to the European Leadership Forum in Poland (18-25 May) so I’d very much value prayer during that time as I will be at home with the girls, especially for health and strength and for us to be ready to leave the day after he comes back.  Please pray for God to use him powerfully in the lives of the European pastors he will be training to preach.  Many of these people would never have any kind of access to this training in their own countries.  Peter will also be preaching at Trinity the next 2 Sundays and we will continue with our other ongoing ministry involvements.  We feel our weakness and our need of Jesus and his grace as we press on!

God is good and we are so thankful for your prayers for us!

For you are my lamp, O Lord,
    and my God lightens my darkness.
30 For by you I can run against a troop,
    and by my God I can leap over a wall.
31 This God—his way is perfect;
    the word of the Lord proves true;
    he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.

2 Samuel 22:29-31

PS A little bonus photo of our children across the pond . . . we have quite an empty nest at the moment (still two Meadlings with us!).

Mariah and Joel have been reunited with Aliyah at Moody in Chicago. (Yes, Joel is that tall!) They are flying to Oregon, along with Hannah’s fiance Noah for her graduation from university on Saturday!

Weakness and Weariness

Melanie —  April 19, 2023

This is just a short post to ask for your prayers.  Two weeks ago, I (Melanie) came down with a really nasty flu-like virus and Peter and Jessah got it a week later.  Looking back, we think Kaylah had it the week before I did.  It’s been a high fever that’s gone on for quite a few days, body pain, cold symptoms, and major fatigue, among other symptoms.  I’m definitely improving now but even after 2 weeks I’m not myself and my arms and legs are still feeling very heavy and exhausted.  Both of us missed our church weekend away which was a huge disappointment.  Peter wasn’t able to preach and teach as planned (praise God for a wonderful team at Trinity who stepped in to cover for him).  Because of illness, I haven’t been able to go to the weekend away since 2018 . . . needless to say it was a hard pill to swallow.  Before I went down with the virus, I had almost a full week of migraines, so I feel like I haven’t been able to do life normally for a long time.

We’d appreciate prayer for God to heal us and encourage our hearts.  I’ve found this time to be quite dark, isolating and disheartening. It kind of feels like I will never get better as I’ve been house/bed bound for so long.  We’d appreciate prayer that God would allow us to be healthy and ready for what he has ahead for us. Peter is meant to preach this Sunday at Trinity and has plenty of other church work and other projects he needs to attend to. He currently has a cracking headache and is still feeling really poorly.  Please pray that God would protect others in our church from getting this virus (especially other leaders) and heal those who are currently sick.  Peter is also supposed to be leaving on a trip to Albania on the 27th.  This is the same day that Mariah and Joel leave for the USA where they will attend Hannah’s graduation, visit Aliyah and some other friends before we all meet in St. Louis on 26th May.  Please pray for Mariah and Joel to be healthy when it’s time for them to travel (they still haven’t caught the virus – it’s one that definitely knocks you flat so travelling would be difficult).

Also, on another subject, the rule still hasn’t been lifted banning unvaccinated foreigners from entering the USA.  So please pray earnestly with us that Peter would be able to enter and attend Hannah and Noah’s wedding on 3 June. Another practical request is that we are still looking to borrow a 6 seater vehicle to use while we are in the USA (26 May to 27 June).  The Lord knows our needs and we are relying on him to help us.

In all of this, we are definitely feeling our weakness and deep need of the Lord in many ways.  I was reading in a book this morning that “. . . desperate isn’t a bad place to be.  Desperation can cultivate deep dependence on God.”  It is our hope that this time of weakness and weariness is doing just that.  We are reaching out for the Lord, knowing he is our only help and hope.  Thank you for praying with us .

Winter Reflections

Melanie —  February 9, 2023

The winter air is crisp and frosty this morning.  I’ve been out walking and marvelling at God’s creation, especially the exquisite frozen spider webs dotted through our neighbourhood.  I love how these hidden mini-miracles show up so clearly when the air is the coldest. Who know there were so many busy spiders at work all around us, even in the dead of winter!  This reminds me of the work of God in our world . . . He is always working, often in hidden ways that show up when life’s harsh “weather” hits.  It’s also brought me joy to see the first snowdrops appear, poking their delicate heads through the dead leaves under the bare branches of the trees down the street.  Their beauty reminds me of the faithfulness of our Father who tells them when to burst into life at just the right time, every single year.  Spring always follows winter.  And in our lives, the seasons of suffering and challenge (even if they last a lifetime) will always be followed by hope and joy.  The longer I live, the more I feel like I join creation in its groaning for liberation.  And my heart longs more deeply for home – our eternal home where we will be with Jesus face to face.  One day soon it will be reality for us.  Come quickly Lord Jesus!

It’s hard to believe we are now well into the second month of 2023. Crazy how time marches on! After a lovely few weeks of Christmas holidays with Hannah and Aliyah home, we are now past the second half of our school year (we started early due to our planned trip to the USA for Hannah’s wedding in June.) It’s been awhile since we shared any family news, so here are some photos giving you a little picture of the last few months of ministry Soon, we’ll also share a new mini-update and let you know what’s been going on in our ministry and family lives and what we are looking ahead to.  Keep an eye on your inbox for that.

First, a few photos from the autumn:

This gorgeous tree in our backyard gives us so much delight every autumn.


Jessah at Bowood . . . one of our favourite local places to enjoy the outdoors.


All dressed up for our church’s Light Party. Kaylah was Susan from Narnia and Jessah was a parrot.


Joel is continuing to love running and has done several 5K and 10K races with more planned for 2023.


Jessah 7th birthday – with her roses from Dad.


Peter and I were blessed with a little getaway in November in the Cotswolds. We are always so grateful for time together.


December brought us some snow! We had so much fun in it together. And thankfully, it didn’t put a stop to our children’s musical at church which happened later that day.


Our first ever Trinity Chippenham children’s Nativity musical was a huge success! All the kids did a fantastic job!


The younger girls have picked trees in our neighbourhood to watch throughout the changing seasons. Jessah named hers “George Muller” which I found quite hilarious. This gorgeous oak is absolutely massive and it was a rare treat to see it in the snow.


Hannah and Aliyah both came home in December for a few weeks.


It was such a joy to be all together at Christmastime!


We had some sweet times together . . . we had a great day out in Bourton on the Water.


And our traditional Christmas Eve ice skating! (Sadly, Joel wasn’t well so couldn’t be there.)


Aliyah had an extra long break so was able to stay while longer than Hannah. She and the younger girls had a bucket list of fun things to do together while she was home that they worked through. They made a pie together on her last night!


Kaylah and Jessah and I thoroughly enjoyed reading a book about George Muller in January. What a beautiful testimony of faith and God’s faithfulness! We went with some friends to visit the George Muller museum recently and had a wonderful time. The girls even got to dress up in Victorian clothes.


And finally, Kaylah kicked off our family birthday season by turning 11 on February 1st. Peter and I took her on a little outing to Bath. Our voracious reader was on a mission to show us a special bookshop she had seen with her sisters and it did not disappoint!


We also had lunch at the famous Sally Lunn’s. Sweet times.


Trinity Chippenham continues to grow! We are excited and humbled at all that God is doing and we are praying for his wisdom to know how to respond to the growth.  We’ll share more in our upcoming mini email update . . . watch for this in your inbox soon.


So there’s a little snapshot of family life these past months.  We very much value your prayers for each of us to stay close to Jesus every day and rely fully on Him.  Please let us know how we can pray for you too!