Disappointed by Irma

Sometimes the best laid out plans just don’t come to fruition. That was my experience last month when our trip to the US for the annual-ish Global Technology Leaders network was postponed at the last minute due to hurricane Irma.


Obviously the first priority is the safety of our staff, so it was a necessary call to make. However, on a practical level I was very disappointed we hadn’t been able to pull the event off. For Agapé UK, it wasn’t just about the core meeting, but all the meetings I had arranged on the side which would set the direction for the core technology Agapé would use in the next decade. As a consequence I’m now in lots of conversations where I simply can’t move our projects forward…

It’s hard to lead when I’m disappointed and frustrated. I feel a responsibility to cast vision and keep up the morale, but to be honest, I’ve frequently not felt like it.

Since, I’ve spend more time on video conferencing calls than I care to remember, often in different time zones. Collaborating across cultures is also an interesting thing to be learning. Sometimes my critique on a point is seen as negative, and sometime my absence is seen as an approval to the steps forward.

So I’ve been working through all that. The Global Technology Leaders meetings have been postponed to February so at least we can start to re-gather our plans.


On screen

Global NetSuite team

To help us (Agapé UK) be effective in our mission we are at the start of replacing our financial tools and supporter databases. Agapé UK have had our current tools for the last decade, but, although we’ve installed most of the software updates over the years, we’ve found they are not helping us move forward in the current world. At the same time our global movement has experienced the same and we are therefore working together to adopt the same software on a global scale.

I was recently involved in 30 hours of video conferencing meetings reviewing our ‘business requirements’ for the tool we have selected. A lot of people were able to travel to one place but I was unable to travel. The photo shows me on the screen!

The Program Manager for Global Operations projects said, “Your endurance on WebEx was remarkable! Thank you for participating so extensively. Your input was valuable and your participation was a huge encouragement to all of us!”

Next week, for two weeks, I will be in the US to meet with the Global Technology Leaders network for our annual conference, and then staying on to discuss matters relating to Agapé UK.

Please pray for us. I want to be able to give our field staff and team leaders what they need to be effective. I also want to be able to serve our supporters well. Pray for a clear mind and great unity across the regions of the world.

Looking up

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord watches over you—
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.

This is a really common bible passage within the Christian community. It’s been in my mind for the last few weeks. In the 1990’s there was even a popular song sung during church services which took its inspiration from this Psalm. I love mountains and I love being out in the countryside. There’s something about these open and large open spaces where it feels humans have had less influence and where it’s easier to sense the presence of our Creator.

It’s nice to imagine being on a mountain, lifting up my eyes, and communing with God. It’s even better to do it.

But is that what the writer means?

I was taking time out in a coffee shop in the early hours of the yesterday morning waiting for a friend to join me. This is usually a moment of oasis before we both need to go to our respective workplaces. In my mind were all the bigger projects, plan, issues and challenges my role brings. It felt overwhelming as my mind was arranging all the parts, shaping and re-shaping the project steps ahead. These felt like insurmountable mountains in front of me.

Then it clicked.

“I lift my eyes up to the mountains, where does my help come from”.

I was staring square at all the mountains my reality brings before me. These are the mountains. But still, where does my help come from.

“My help comes from the Lord, the maker of Heaven and Earth”

The writer is not talking about escapism and wishing he was elsewhere. He’s not saying if only he was elsewhere he could escape and receive relief from his maker.

He’s making a declaration and declaring a truth. “I’m looking square at all the issues before me. My help comes from the Lord, the maker of Heaven and Earth”

The Lord is with us as we face our mountains. He will help us.

Obviously, to add the disclaimer, he not saying that we will always get our way, he’s not saying he will always back our position, he’s not saying we will always win the argument and that he will help us do that. He is saying he will help us navigate and that he will be with us.

If you’ve not asked Jesus to be your LORD and Saviour in your life just yet, why wait, now is the time. He will be with you. As you face your mountains in life, He will help you. He’s the best person in my life.

Free to serve

15 years ago I moved from being an I.T. professional into the world of full-time ministry and missions. It really felt like God was calling me. It’s important to say up-front that it is entirely possible to be a full-time minister of the Gospel without leaving a job, but for me this was the path God was calling me down.

Agapé staff don’t receive their income in the normal way. We don’t get a salary based on our role, responsibility or position. We are all on the same pay grade. It’s a philosophy of being ‘Free to Serve’ – not living extravagantly, nor living in poverty, but it does always come with a level of sacrifice. Being free to serve in the context God has called us is the principle.

Agapé obviously have a structure and rules around what this means and that is agreed by our Trustees.

 I believe that where God calls He will provide. I have a team of ‘Ministry Partners’ who journey with me in prayer, giving and encouragement. It is my responsibility to discover those God is bringing to partner with me in this role. This year the financial amount I’m discovering is now below the minimum Agapé determine is reasonable for me to be free to serve. And I believe it’s a right judgement.

To understand what that means here are some examples.

If everyone who receives my newsletter was able to give £5.45 extra a month I would be covered.


If I could discover another 25 people who each gave £25 each month I would be covered.


If everyone who already has a regular commitment to giving to me increased by 35% I would be covered. (i.e. £20 became £27, or £30 became £40.50, etc.)

For now I need to make a plan and to start I’m asking people to pray. I can’t entirely explain or understand how it works, but when people pray God answers. Could you pray? Could you let me know you are praying?

Thank you for your time in reading this.

Operation update and MOVE magazine

Thank you for your prayers for my operation to rectify my hearing issue before Easter. The operation went well and without complications. I’ve had some great friends looking out for me. This week I’ve been back part-time in my role with Agapé and will try full-time after the bank holiday weekend. I don’t have my hearing back as I expected, but it can also take a few months whilst things settle down. I will have a follow up appointment mid-June.

Did you receive your MOVE magazine in the post? This edition profiles some great resources that our staff and volunteers use to help make Jesus known. Perhaps these could help you in your church or community? If you don’t get this magazine and would like it just let me know. I can send you one and add you to the list to receive the MOVE magazine twice a year.

Click on the above image to download a PDF of the current edition.

Prayer and Bits

Next week I am having surgery for Otosclerosis. It’s basically a procedure under general anaesthetic where the surgeon will remove some small bones behind the ear drum and replace them with an implant. It aims to restore my hearing in my left ear. As you can imagine it’s not very pleasant. Please pray that all goes well and my hearing is restored.

Please also continue to pray for Thad, Jana and the boys as they move to the UK to enable Thad to start as our Operations Director. Everything is in place apart from a home for them to live in! Once they find that it’s all go. Please pray for the right place for them, particularly thinking of a good locality for a school for the boys.

I’m particularly thankful for your prayers over winter. I’ve not been so affected by the seasonal affective disorder (SAD) this year, and I’m thankful. In part that has been because I’ve been meeting with a friend for coffee almost every week and we’ve been able to share bits of life together.

I’ve been using a phone app called ‘LikeJesus’. This pops up a bible verse and questions twice a day. It’s really helpful in keeping different scripture in the mind. I recommend it. Pray I can continue to apply what I’m reading.