"Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert"
Isaiah 43:18 & 19
I was almost seven months pregnant when we moved. I remember asking God if we could please move before she was due, I didn't want to move with a newborn. The first thing we aimed to do when we arrived was to get established in the our new Church. The first sermon we heard was titled "There is always more." It was prophetic. We also joined the Church Homeschooling Group. I loved it. We met up with homeschooling friends in the week and we did many fun things together.
We were invited to a birthday party by one of the families we had connected with previous to coming to this new church. We spent the evening sat next to and chatting with a lovely couple we had not met before. The mother was a midwife and God orchestrated for her to be on call when I went into labour. It was a really special time, and a strong bond was established. The father was also heavily involved with the home-ed group we joined and so we started seeing quite a lot of them.
During the time we spent with them, they mentioned some interesting points regarding the Bible, what Yeshua (Jesus) really came to do and the relevance of the Old Testament laws. I have a real love for God's Word, and enjoy a good biblical debate, so this was something that really interested me. Pete and I set out to disprove what he was saying to us, but to our astonishment he was correct and when tested against scripture we could not dispute it. A whole new world opened up to us, and we started delving into Gods Word, pondering and discussing scripture every opportunity we had. We started keeping the Saturday Sabbath, and looking at the biblical feasts. It took some time to adjust as Saturday used to be a busy day at home. We continued going to our church for a time while we were learning how to live out our renewed faith.
For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.
1 John 5:3
God put us together with four other families, we only met up occasionally at first, but then ended up meeting every second week in each others homes. We learned about the feasts, about the significance of the Menorah (lamp stand) and the shofar (rams horn). We realised that our Messiah (Christ) was in fact a very Jewish man, who had kept the Saturday Sabbath, all the biblical commandments and all the biblical feasts during His time here, and that He wants us to be his disciples. To live our lives the way He did. And about our Jewish brethren and how (under the banner of 'Christianity') they have been persecuted.
And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.
It was now Autumn of 2018. There are three Autumn feasts. We didn't have much of an idea how to keep the first two, so Pete went to work and we only acknowledged them, reading whatever we could to give us a better understanding of what they are about. Our group was 'bonding' and we decided to go away together for the third Autumn feast, Sukkoth (Tabernacles). This was a turning point in our lives. We were going to a campsite for Sukkoth, and we were leaving on Sunday after church. There was a lady speaking there who had a real heart for Israel and we wanted to go and hear her speak. Sukkoth is a joyful festival, and halfway through the service a friend of ours stood up and brought a message that brought such a joyful spirit that everyone stood up and danced. It was amazing. It was also our last service at church as we felt that God had closed that chapter for us. It was a wonderful send off.
2019 was a good but conflicting year. God had blessed us with this house and garden, but in many ways it created work that we felt was distracting. Work is good, but it has to be the right kind of work. Work that God has given for a purpose to further His Kingdom. Everything we did was 'good', but it was only for ourselves. We were sure God had brought us here, brought us together with these other families, and taken our faith to another level; but it always felt like THERE WAS MORE. We wanted to be really happy in that place where God had put us. The big house and huge garden, chickens, veg patch etc. all seemed like a dream to us and we had felt sure that it was God's blessing. But it felt very hollow and started to feel like a burden.
During this time Pete’s business was also growing. He had already taken on an apprentice, but the workload was increasing and it was necessary for him to expand. The good thing was that he was home more to do paperwork, but always stuck in front of the computer or phoning customers. He was not fulfilled by his apparent business success either.
This year also brought an increasing focus to Israel and God’s Holy Mountain. Israel and its importance in our lives was becoming more apparent. We started yearning for something more. By the end of 2019 I just sensed that there was going to be a change, something exciting was going to happen in 2020.
Havah was born in November. Havah is Eve’s name in Hebrew and means 'living one'. Before I got pregnant the children were unanimous that the new baby had to be a girl. Faith needs a sister, and God is good and gave us a sister for Faith. Not long after her birth, Pete and I felt that he needed to go to Israel with HaYovel, a Christian organisation that serves the Jewish farmers on the mountains of Samaria and further afield. They do a men only pruning trip in the winter, pruning the grape vines for the farmers. He had thought about going the previous year but didn't because none of the other men we fellowship with were able to go. It was the same this year, none of them could go but we knew this was the right time so he signed up and booked flights. He was going for two weeks, from the end of January. It is said among the wives of men that go on a pruning trip they never come back the same. I knew that this is what we needed.
We had started to feel that the house, the business, all the excess possessions that surrounded us had become more of a snare than a blessing. In February I started selling anything that I could think of. Mostly books at first. I had a real need to not be burdened by all the things we have accumulated over the years.
…Behold, I am doing a new thing…
It was hard, the thought of Pete going away for two weeks. But I was so absolutely sure that it was necessary for him to go and that nothing would stand in the way. One of my very special friends lent me her daughter for a few days before Pete returned. It was a blessed time, and helped me out so much. Pete had a really blessed time in Israel. The pruning has such meaning, especially when we think of Jesus’ words regarding pruning and abiding in the vine. Perhaps Pete will do a post about his time out there sometime soon.
Strangers shall stand and tend your flocks; foreigners shall be your plowmen and vinedressers;
When he came back on the 11th of February we had lots to talk about. After only a few days in Israel, Pete felt a burning conviction that we had to be involved in the work there, he could not sleep and knew he had to speak to someone about it. Before coming home he talked to the HaYovel leadership. Our hearts had such a desire about somehow being a part of the redemption process that is happening out there. They prayerfully considered what to do, and decided to extend us an invitation for four months, and then see what God’s leading is. Now we had to decide how to prepare for it. We couldn’t stay in our house while saving up to go. The only way to do it was to sell everything we can and give up the house. All the children were in agreement – God had prepared us for this. We would need a miracle, we wanted to be out ASAP, but how to get rid of everything??? We had chickens that needed a new home, tools, furniture and lots of junk.
Miracles in the Everyday.
One day not long after, I had a conversation with a newly married friend. They were buying a house. They are living in a static caravan, and so I enquired whether they would need any furniture. She was in need of some furniture, so that was brilliant.
A few days later Pete had a conversation with a friend who had recently moved to a bigger house. They had been talking about our chicken setup that very morning and were about to go out and buy everything they needed to get set-up. They also needed a bigger dining table, and many other things that we were looking to re-home.
The next week they all came round, and walked around the house picking what they wanted. It was amazing, that was such a huge weight off our shoulders. We started moving things to their new homes. God had also provided us with a trailer that Pete had agreed to buy when his dad bought a lawnmower. At the time Pete was a bit upset with himself for spending that money, but it was such a Godsend. He wouldn’t have been able to do what we did without it.
And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.
It was also around this time that the Covid situation was brooding. Although we didn’t pay much attention to it we felt a real urgency to get as much done as possible. We organised a campsite to stay in on the Lizard where Pete could continue working and we could save every penny. And then one by one places started shutting down and we were meant to stay at home. Pete did almost daily trips out to his parents where we had put a shed up for the things we wanted to keep.
We were doing really well. With about two weeks to go we had pretty much emptied the house. Just before lockdown we had gone to the charity shops and bought everyone a suitcase. So we were all sleeping on mattresses on the floor and living out of suitcases. Pete was systematically painting the rooms and emptying out the workshop and garage. Then the dump shut, and when he phoned the campsite to check that we could still go they couldn’t take us anymore.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.
Because God’s hand was upon this so strongly we knew that He had the perfect place for us, and so we kept on pushing every available door. They all slammed shut. With a week left before having to be out we were starting to get a bit concerned… and then on the Sunday before we had to leave a friend of mine living on a smallholding in Devon offered to take us in. Funnily enough, at the beginning of our move she had written to say that we could come for a week if we got stuck, we did think that it would be lovely, but not sure how to make it work.
God had given her a verse “for such a time as this”. The thing is, they were living in a static caravan as they are renovating the farmhouse, and in order for us to come and stay they decided to vacate their lovely static for us, and they moved into a camping (uninsulated) yurt. We had planned to camp, but there wasn’t enough flat area to put a tent up, and she knows I’m a wuss when it comes to being cold. Their generosity and heart just blew us away. After we arrived we had amazing weather but very cold nights with heavy frosts. They have not grumbled once. Amazing people.
So on the eleventh of April 2020 we left our home to be free to go where God sends us. And God willing we will be in Israel on the 1st of July.
For I will proclaim the name of the LORD; ascribe greatness to our God! The Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is he.
Deuteronomy 32: 3 & 4
P.S. It was quite difficult fitting 2 years into one post. If anyone has any questions feel free to drop us a line (on the blog) and we will reply or write another post.