Continuing the story of Milly and Steve’s journey to Canada.
What were you doing four years ago? What were your plans, your expectations for the days ahead? What have you been up to since 2009? A lot can happen in four years.
We’ve had four years of waiting since we decided that God was asking us to move to Canada and this time where we finally have a moving date closing fast on the horizon. And there’s no point in denying that the waiting has, at times, been incredibly frustrating! God had placed a call and a purpose on us – and we’ve been ready to get on with it!
But God has purpose in His timing. God has used this time to continue to shape us. We’re both stronger and more secure. We’ve had some great opportunities to ‘try our wings’ in serving in the church – such as leading a small group, teaching Freedom in Christ, and discipling new converts. And we’ve matured in our own walks with Jesus, and grown in the spiritual giftings He’s given us. For me personally, since the moment God healed me of depression in the middle of a seminar at the Together on a Mission conference, He has continued that healing, setting me free of old ways of thinking and helping me take hold of the confidence to be who I am in Christ, who He has made me.
And God has also been revealing more of His plans for us – the biggest of which has been showing us exactly where in Canada He wants us to move to. When God initially spoke to us about going we had assumed that we were to join the Gambles in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario. Being good friends of ours that seemed the logical step. When they moved in late 2010, we visited them, to do a little exploration.
It was a good trip; but something didn’t feel right. We couldn’t put a finger on it, but there was a growing sense of unease. We should have come back from that trip buzzing with excitement; instead we felt confused. However, absolutely certain that God had said for us to go to Canada – and in case we doubted it we very soon had that public confirmation through Julian Adams – we pressed on despite our confusion, simply pushing any doubts aside.
We returned to K-W in November 2011, and the sense of unease was stronger. Instead of feeling excited I was tearful, a rising sense of panic. And yet we still felt totally convinced that Canada was right! During that trip we sought God frequently for clear direction. And He answered – yes, He did want us to move to Canada, but not K-W. He had somewhere else planned for us.
I think it’s fair to say we were fairly shaken by that unexpected answer! On returning to Britain we spent another couple of months in prayer, asking yet again for confirmation. In June 2012 we returned to Ontario – and felt instantly certain that K-W wasn’t the destination God had for us. In surrendering to God’s will instead of doggedly pursuing our own we felt a surprising yet deep peace.
Canada’s pretty big…
So now we knew where we weren’t going to live… but Canada’s a pretty big place! So we set about asking God to narrow down where He did want us!
In the second half of 2012 as we continued on in prayer, we also began some investigation of our own – sometimes if you want to find out which door is open, you have to try a few doors! By November we’d narrowed it down to two choices: either Fredericton, New Brunswick or Vancouver, British Columbia. Two very different places, on opposite sides of the country, with different mission fields, different cultural flavours, different weather! Steve was very much in the Vancouver camp, while I wasn’t so sure. To cut a long story relatively short – God dealt with my objections to Vancouver, then revealed a little more of His purposes for us in Canada, through a couple of prophetic words, both from people within Gateway who were aware of our journey, as well as from complete strangers. God revealed to us that He had plans for us to serve Him in a multi-cultural context, somehow playing a role “in the nations”. Vancouver very much fits the bill, being a very cosmopolitan, multi-ethnic city.
Since then we made contact with Trinity Central Church in Vancouver, a year old New Frontiers church plant. And despite having never visited this large city, we’re excited about joining in with what God is doing there.