A Month of Joy – Part Two

Melanie —  July 31, 2023

In my last post, I wrote about the joys of the first part of our USA trip, the wedding and surrounding days.   (Click here to read it – A Month of Joy – Part One.)  Here are some photos of the second half of our trip.  NOTE: At the bottom of this post, I’ve shared a few current and pressing prayer requests.

After the wedding, we were incredibly blessed to be able to spend time with many dear friends and family members. On the Monday after the wedding, the owner of the air B and B we were staying in out of the blue offered us the use of another property she had.  We spent a glorious day in the sun using the pool and private lake!  Swimming, kayaking, fishing, playing games and eating good food made it such a sweet day to remember.

 

Precious cousin time!

 

Kayaking on the lake

 

Matthew and Joel – 6 months apart in age – are now more men than boys!

 

Because we usually live so far away from each other, Amy and I treasure our sister time.

 

My parents stayed for a couple more days after Amy’s family left and we had some sweet time with them too.

 

Our next stop after staying in the air B and B with our extended family was Noah’s parent’s house!  What a joy to connect with these dear people.  We had lots of good conversations  – serious and humorous!  We truly feel like the Mozingos are our family now.  The Lord has knitted our families and our hearts together in love.

What a joy to connect as mothers and sisters in Christ.

 

Some of the Meadlings with Noah’s brothers, brother in law and sister in law.

David and Lisa and Kaylah and Jessah loved playing games together.

And the girls loved playing with Mozingos’ dog, Maggie.

 

Here we are getting ready to ride the cable car up to the top of the Gateway Arch in St. Louis. It was such a fun day out all together!

 

We couldn’t imagine how a cable car could even fit inside the arch! It was definitely a tight squeeze. Not recommended for the claustrophobic!

 

The view from the top was amazing!

 

Here we are at the base of the arch. You can see how huge it is, from how tiny we look!

The wedding, time with Noah’s family and the time with his church family were all so rich and meaningful.  Peter spoke at Noah’s church the last Sunday we were there and we felt such a warm connection with these brothers and sisters. Lord willing, we’ll be back one day to reconnect with them all!

Our next mini-stop on our travels was Chicago.  While we were in the Chicago area, Peter and I celebrated our 24th anniversary and my 46th birthday. Amazingly one of my aunt’s friends blessed us with the use of her 42nd floor apartment in downtown Chicago the night of our anniversary. It was incredible. Peter and I kept saying to each other that we couldn’t believe we were actually staying in a place like this!

 

This was the view from the apartment’s bedroom window! I only managed about 5 minutes out on the balcony. My stomach was flip-flopping the whole time!

 

The 18,000 steps we walked on our anniversary took us past many of the major sights in downtown Chicago. Here we are at the end of Navy Pier on Lake Michigan.

 

We even rode the Millennium Wheel – we felt like a couple of teenagers!

 

The next day was my birthday and my aunt and all the Meadlings (minus Hannah – well she’s not technically a Mead anymore!) came down to meet us in Chicago.  We played a game in the apartment, went out for pizza and finished the day by singing worship songs together in the apartment, watching the sky grow dark and all the city lights come on.

 

The beautiful view and the memory of our family praising God together from the 42nd floor will stay with me for a very long time. What a gift!

 

Next on our agenda was a road trip (only 1500 miles round trip!) to see my mom’s extended family in Minnesota and North Dakota.  We had not seen any of them for 11 years! Again, it was such a precious time with everyone.

My aunt Bonnie and her husband Lloyd are some of my favourite people in the world. They are such gracious, hospitable people who just radiate the love of Christ.

 

My aunt seems to have endless energy! She’s always doing something to bless someone else. She made pie and cookies with the girls which they loved.

 

Bonnie and Lloyd live right on the water (one of Minnesota’s 10,000 lakes!) and they took us on two pontoon boat rides. So much fun!

 

Nothing like a sunset over a lake.

 

Lloyd’s son, who was equally as loving and hospitable, let us use their fun water equipment.

 

The water was a little cold but still lots of fun!

 

Peter finally got to fulfil his lifelong dream to drive a jetski!

 

I also was so thankful to get to spend some time with 2 of my cousins. Nate even took Mariah and Joel for a flying lesson one night. Amazing!

 

I enjoyed some beautiful morning walks in the area, just drinking in the splendour of God’s creation. I found it really hard to leave Minnesota too.  It was such an oasis for us of refreshment, love and beauty.  I don’t know if I’ll get to see some of these relatives again in this life which is hard.  We’ll treasure the memories for sure.

 

Our next stop was my relatives’ farm in North Dakota. It was a joy to reconnect with my Aunt Lynn . . .

. . .and also my cousins Joy and Blair.

Lynn remembered Peter thinking jello “salad” was funny (to his English brain!) last time he was there and so she made him some!

 

The kids had so much fun – playing basketball, going on the trampoline, driving the “gator” around the farm (thanks Ellah for chaperoning all the wild rides!) and playing with the dog. My cousin Blair took Kaylah and Jessah on a tractor ride just like my uncle Dean (his dad) used to do for my sister and I when we visited as kids!

 

We also got to meet Joy’s husband, Bob, for the first time. Kaylah and Jessah had an epic game of Trouble with them!

 

Mariah and Ellah (2nd cousins) connected really well.

 

It was a joy to hear them playing and singing worship songs together.

 

Goose, the dog, was a highlight!

 

Here we are with one of the (HUGE!) outdoor farm dogs.

After our long road trip, we landed back in the Chicago area and stayed with my aunt Carol. Those days included playing baseball in her yard, playing pickleball nearby, going for walks, having a water fight, playing school, spending time with Aliyah and trying to catch up on laundry!  On the Sunday, Peter spoke at two Moody Church Sunday School classes and then did an evening service at another church. Busy days!

 

With two cars full of luggage (quite a bit for Hannah and Noah) . . .it was time to say goodbye to aunt Carol and head for the airport.

 

My heart is just overwhelmed thinking about God’s abundant blessings to us! So many undeserved gifts from the Lord.  We are so grateful to him for all his kindness. Every good and perfect gift is from Him!

Life has been full since we returned to Chippenham.  It’s been wonderful to be back home with our church family. The older 5 kids attended/helped lead Trinity’s youth weekend away. Peter has preached every Sunday and has finished the first draft of his latest book which I’ve been editing.  We’ve also been busy helping Hannah and Noah settle into the cottage they are renting and also planning their ceilidh reception which was last Saturday.  We all wore our wedding clothes and it was really sweet to celebrate with our English family and friends. We’re so happy to have them living here in Chippenham.

Here they are in front of their little cottage.

This past week has been a pretty intense one as Peter’s dad has been in hospital since last Sunday.  Initially things weren’t looking good for him but he’s improved so much since then. It’s been an emotional week for all of us, especially for Peter and his mum. We are so grateful Dad seems to be getting better. We would appreciate prayer for him as he hopefully comes home from hospital this week.  And prayer for us for strength and wisdom as we support them both.

Lastly, on Friday, Peter, Aliyah, Mariah, Joel and Kaylah are off on a mission trip to Albania with a team from Trinity Chippenham. We’d very much appreciate prayer for them and also for Jessah and me as we hold down the fort at home and support Peter’s parents. I’d especially appreciate prayer for no migraines while they are all away.  I have had more frequent migraines since we returned, including a severe one last Sunday.  We also have some illness in the house at the moment, so would you pray with us that everyone will be healthy to travel to Albania on Friday?

We hope to send out a short email update very soon with specific prayer requests for Albania the team. So watch your inbox for that! Thanks so much for reading to the end of this long post.  We are so grateful for each of you and for all of your prayers for us! Thank you from our hearts for partnering with us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Month of Joy – Part One

Melanie —  July 11, 2023

 

ABUNDANT JOY! That is how I would sum up our month in the USA.  It felt like God gave us one joyful blessing after another – grace upon grace.  For me, it felt almost too much to take in.  I don’t know if it was because this month followed an especially difficult season, or what it was, but it felt a bit hard to accept all the goodness.  Maybe there is something in me that felt I didn’t deserve it or that the joy would all come to a crashing halt.  The verse came to my mind where Paul says, I have learned the secret of being content in plenty and in want.  Perhaps that tells us that Paul had to learn to be content even with plenty.  So it’s been a season to learn to accept grace from my loving heavenly Father – gracious undeserved gifts of joy.  I will share some of these gifts through photos which will hopefully give you a taste of our trip.

For those of you that prayed for my health, from the bottom of my heart. . . thank you. I was well for the wedding day!  And actually I was incredibly well overall for most of the time we were in the USA.  I did have a couple of migraines but they weren’t severe and they didn’t stop me from doing anything that we had planned.  In fact, I didn’t miss one single special thing that I wanted to do, the whole time. I am still amazed. It felt like a true miracle. Thank you again so much for all your prayers. I am humbled and emotional even now just thinking about the gift of so many good days and how so many people were praying with us.

To start with, the wedding was incredibly special! There’s so much I could share . . .The days leading up to the wedding were so sweet. Spending time with Hannah and Noah and his family, helping with different jobs for the wedding . . . it just felt like such a blessed time and the excitement was building!  The day before the wedding we were busy at the church setting up for the reception.  Many hands working together!  Hannah and her bridesmaids were making bouquets and arranging flowers for the wedding before the rehearsal. That evening we had a fantastic rehearsal dinner (a tradition in the USA) hosted by Noah’s parents.  After the meal, we had an open mic and it was a beautiful and emotional time, as their Hannah and Noah’s family and friends shared memories and encouragements with them.  Many tears were shed!

The excitement was building at the rehearsal!

 

Five beautiful Mead sisters ready to practice walking down the aisle.

 

My precious Hannah – I love her so much and what a joy it was to watch her marry Noah. This was taken after an emotional evening at the rehearsal dinner.

 

And then came the wedding!!

 

 

 

 

 

The ceremony was absolutely beautiful and so Christ honouring and joyful.

 

This was one of the most precious moments of the day for me – all four of us parents praying for our children as they were united in marriage.

 

And the reception was also a wonderful time. Peter and Noah’s dad gave speeches and also Noah’s brother and Aliyah (best man and maid of honour). And Noah at the end.

 

Father daughter dance . . . they danced to the song Always Remember to Never Forget . . .such sweet and precious moments to savour. I don’t think there were many dry eyes.

 

And Hannah and Noah did their first dance to “Time” by John Lucas. It’s all about seasons of life, God making everything beautiful in his time and crowning God as King in the ups and downs of life. It’s worth a read of the words – they are beautiful!

 

All in all it was an unforgettable day and they are now Mr. and Mrs. Mozingo!

 

All glory and praise goes to Jesus who is the reason for all the joy and celebration. As Noah said in his speech at the reception, this wedding was just a foretaste of the great wedding feast one day where the joy will be never ending!

 

I opened this post talking about a season of joy.  Life has these moments of joy and also has its seasons of sorrow.  May we crown our Lord as King in every season, trusting that he will make everything beautiful in his time.  Here are some of the words from Hannah and Noah’s first dance song:

There is a time for healing and pain
A time for drought and a time for rain
There is a time for everything
Until we crown the risen King… Until we crown the risen King

And I don’t know the end, or tomorrow’s story
But I have found the one who gives me rest
And I will make my bed in His promises
For He holds true when nothing’s left… When nothing’s left

So crown Him in your mourning
And crown Him in your laughter
And crown Him when it all turns dark

Crown Him when you bury
And crown Him when you marry
And crown Him when your faith finds a spark

Crown Him for He’s faithful
And crown Him for He’s worthy
And crown Him for He is good

The beauty that has come
And the beauty yet to come
And the beauty that is yours and that is mine
And that death produces life
And that we are made alive
By the King who paints beauty with time

I will add a part two soon to share some photos of the rest of our USA trip – St. Louis, Chicago, Minnesota and North Dakota!

 

 

 

 

Countdown to the Wedding!

Melanie —  May 29, 2023

Arriving at Heathrow on Friday

We are so grateful to God for his help in the past few days.  Peter had a wonderful week in Poland at the European Leadership Forum (see below for more) and he arrived home last Thursday afternoon.  It was a busy 16 hours – packing and doing last minute prep for our trip – before we flew out of London on Friday for Chicago! After spending the night with my aunt Carol, we made the 5 hr. drive down to Noah’s town in Missouri (near St. Louis).

We drove past the famous St. Louis arch

 

It was super sweet to be reunited with Hannah and Noah and meet Noah’s parents and brothers and sister in law and have dinner with them. Yesterday we went to Noah’s church and met his grandparents and friends.  Peter will preach there on 11 June.

Happy reunion with Hannah!

 

 

And Noah!

 

Noah helping Kaylah shoot an airsoft gun.

 

Peter and Kaylah and Jessah and I are staying in an apartment in this building which is the youth centre at Noah’s church. Hannah and Noah will have their wedding photos taken near this beautiful lake.

 

Jet lag has given Peter and I some early morning walks on the church grounds in the cool of the day. It’s been good to reflect and pray together as the wedding of our firstborn draws very near!

It’s also been sweet to have the Meadlings back together.  Peter and I just picked Aliyah up from the train station in St. Louis and we’ve just had some celebratory (and some of our last!) meal together as 8 Meads. There was lots of laughter!

Last days together as 8 Meads. Celebrating the memories and years God has given us. And we can’t wait to watch Hannah become Mrs. Mozingo on Saturday and welcome Noah into the family.

Last night Noah was at his bachelor party and Hannah was explaining all the plans for the coming week and the wedding day (3 June) – so exciting to see it all coming together!  Peter and I can’t believe we have a daughter about to get married.  The tears are coming easily for me, but they are happy ones.  Sometimes in these seasons of celebration, there’s so much joy in my heart that it’s overwhelming and hard to process it all! But we are grateful.

Thank you so much to those of you that have been praying for my health  . . . I have had several days where I’ve felt a migraine threatening or had a mild version of one, but it’s all been very manageable.  I can’t quite believe how well I’ve been doing over the last weeks and the last few days especially.  Please keep praying with us for more migraine free days this week, especially for the wedding day itself and other important times like the rehearsal dinner.  Also pray for us to continue to adjust to the time zone and for Mariah to recover as she’s been down with a bad cold the past day or so.  It would be great if no one else gets it this week (especially Hannah and Noah!).  We are so thankful to God for his help so far on this trip!

Now for a little report from Peter from his trip to Poland:

It was great to be back in Poland for an in-person ELF for the first time in four years.  The Bible Teachers and Preachers networks both went really well.  I was blessed by numerous conversations, and was thankful that each of my sessions seemed to go very well.  I also enjoyed being part of a group from TC (there were five of us there from Chippenham!)  The morning Bible sessions were taken by Conrad Mbewe, who spoke from Malachi.  After a blessed and busy few days I got back home and packed up the bags ready for our flight to the USA the next day.

 

 

Here is our team for the Bible Teachers and Preachers Networks – Andy Hamilton from Rome, Italy, as well as Mike and Peter from Chippenham!

 

These two Italian students were excited to meet Peter, who has been their teacher on video in their Union learning community in Rome. It was fun to meet in person!

 

Thank you for reading this and praying with us.  Our next update will be after the wedding with pictures to share!