Gateway Church member, Nick Atkins is right in the middle of learning how to hear and follow the voice of God, about a possible move to another country.
So we thought it would be good to share his story so far…
Nick: It would have been about 1972 or 3 that I was first introduced to Sweden by my Geography Teacher. Then in 2008 I visited my sister Judith and her husband James, who had been re located there with work.
They gave me a map of the city, and I had a good time navigating my way round, visiting various museums, parks and markets. In the process I learned more about the culture, the food, various customs habits and language.
Having had a great time I came home and decided to set myself the challenge of learning Swedish.
In 2010 I returned to Stockholm this time with my son, we had a great holiday seeing museums galleries travelling on the Underground and swimming in the archipelago. On returning home I continued studying Swedish, but I still did not really know why.
Last summer my Small Group leader Anna, asked me if I would be willing to prepare a World Foods Meal for our Group, instead with her agreement I offered to cook some Swedish Cuisine. I also asked God if he would help me to say Grace in Swedish!
On 31 August 2013 amidst a range of Swedish food, God met that request and I was able to give a prayer of thanks in Swedish.
The next day at Gateway, Simon Turner was telling the story of how God had led them as a family to go to Mumbai for six months. Part way through his talk he said “it does not matter where you live or work, it could be Swindon or Sweden”.
I literally grabbed Simon straight after the meeting and told him some of my story and what I felt his statement meant to me. We prayed together about Sweden and asked God to continue to lead me.
On the 2nd of September I went online and discovered that Newfrontiers have 3 church plants in Sweden. By midday I was in touch with Phil the lead elder of Grace Church in Stockholm.
On October 3rd I had a call from Adam at the Newfrontiers church Peterborough because they have very strong links with the churches in Sweden. We chatted about what experience (outside of work) that I might be able to bring, and I talked about my involvement with Food Bank and Christmas Care.
I then sat down with Mark Thornett and we talked and prayer about all the above and he encouraged me to continue push the doors and to watch and see how God would confirm his will in it all. I also continued to practice my Swedish and to read up on the country, it’s history and culture etc.
I have continued to have a number chats with Phil via email, sometimes with some long gaps between, but these gaps are ok, because they make you dependant on God and push you to seek him for the timing of each step.
Coming up to date, I have now booked tickets to attend the Newfrontiers Scandinavian Conference in March. I will be in Sweden for 2 weeks and as well as attending the conference, I hope to visit two or three of the church plants there, travelling across the country by train which will also help me to get to know the country some more.
There is still lots to do and to plan, so please do pray for me as this is all very new territory for me. I’ll let you know what happens next!