Post by: Simon Turner
So Sunday 7th April 2013 the cat was well and truly out of the bag and we (my wife Fiona and I) wanted to give a little back story to the news that we are prayerfully considering moving as a family: Katie (aged 9), Amelia (aged 7) and Olly (aged 2), to Mumbai for 6 months!
Before we go any further… MUMBAI! MUMBAI! Neither of us have even been to India let alone little old MUMBAI!
We feel that Swindon is our home. That God has not finished with us here yet. That we are yet to see the fullness of His promises over our lives at Gateway and we’ve still not been to watch an Ice Hockey match! So why would we even consider this? Why would we leave a church that we love? Why would we leave behind dear friends and family? Why would we take our children out of a school that they love, away from everything that they have known? Why, when there is still so much to do here in Swindon, would we even consider this?
In the natural, we wouldn’t. In the natural there would have to be a hefty ‘package’, huge pay rise, guaranteed standard of living, private healthcare, private schooling and a monthly return flight booked in advance! But as God’s people we are not called to look at life through the natural.
It’s such a privilege to be part of a church who takes seriously Jesus’ call to ‘go to the ends of the Earth’ and actively look at how to work that out in a local setting. Being part of Regions Beyond amongst other things reminds us to lift our eyes to the Nations. With friendships in Africa, South Africa, Lesotho, Dubai, India, Burundi and other churches in the UK, Regions Beyond gives us a great international perspective of the Kingdom of God. It is through Regions Beyond that we were made aware of the need to provide support ‘on the ground’ for a few months in Mumbai with One Nation Church lead by Franco Lonappan who spoke at Gateway (you can listen to his talk here). Franco and I first met in November 2011 and instantly a friendship was established. Over the past year or so this friendship has grown and when I read of his need of support my heart responded.
Franco is currently leading the church and also running a business. There are huge promises over One Nation Church Mumbai and in the short term Franco needs some support and someone to help carry some of the day to day building and come alongside those who are being raised up into leadership.
I initially joked with Fiona that we should go, however she knows me well enough to know that part of that joking was to see what kind of response I would get from her! For those of you who know Fiona well you will know several things about her: a) she deserves a knighthood being married to me; b) she loves home; c) she struggles to travel and gets culture shock going to Wales; d) security means a lot to her… Taking those things into consideration, I was shocked at her response. With a certain amount of trepidation we started to talk frankly about the possibility and started to weigh up the ‘cost’ of doing something like this.
God has done an amazing work in her even in the last 4 months to go from “Simon, you’re welcome to go to Mumbai for a couple of weeks but don’t expect me to come with you!” to “Come on Katie, it will be a Kingdom adventure!” In her own words, she would say that she is worried because she is not worried; she is panicking because she is not panicking and she is scared because she is not scared. That is what you call ‘peace that transcends all understanding!’
So from the ‘place of peace’ we identified three key areas that we needed God’s leading in:
- Simon’s job in Gateway
- The girl’s schooling
- Provision of finance
Over the past couple of weeks God has clearly both spoken into these things and provided a way forward in each area. This has left us thinking we now need to visit India, trusting that God will confirm one way or another. So on 24th April 2013 – 30th April 2013 Fiona and I will be visiting Franco and Sweethin (his wife) in Mumbai, seeing the city, meeting the church and generally ‘testing the water’.
Isaiah 6 verse 8 ‘Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” That’s our prayer as a family. Our desire is to be exactly where God wants us to be and doing exactly what He wants us to be doing. We are willing to go if that’s what He wants and we are willing to stay. For now we welcome your prayers and look forward to sharing our thoughts on our return…