If you were at one of the ICF services last Sunday you will know that Hwee Ping and I shared some significant news. As not everyone in our wonderful church family would have been there we wanted to share with you the decision that we have made.
One of the reasons for our recent sabbatical was to have time to reflect on our life together, the work that God has called us to, and our future.
We were pretty weary when we began our sabbatical and so our first priority was to have some physical and emotional rest and to spend unhurried time with God. God enabled this to happen very well. We were blessed with peaceful surroundings, the beauty of creation, places to walk in and explore, and time and space to ‘be’ with God, through his Word, through prayer and through His people.
We were able to connect with Hwee Ping’s caring church family in Singapore and we found a warm and welcoming church in the UK.
We also appreciated time with some close friends, and in Singapore we met regularly with a wise mentor who listened to us and helped us to have a clearer perspective.
A number of things became clearer to us on Sabbatical.
As a cross-cultural couple from different countries, we need to do something about our future residency soon. At the moment, we can only stay in one another’s countries (Singapore and the UK) for a few months together even though we are married, due to present day immigration restrictions, which isn’t ideal.
The only way we can begin to sort this out is by actually living in the country and starting the process towards permanent residency.
We also saw that Hwee Ping has a real passion to help cross-cultural workers to be spiritually and emotionally healthy and resilient. But she realises that she needs to be better equipped to do this well. She has explored further training but this is not available in Cambodia.
As I enter the autumn years of ministry I would ideally like to do a refresher course in Biblical studies and Pastoral care. This will refresh my soul and help me in practical ministry.
So we have made the decision that we will continue serving at ICF until April 2018, which is a year after our sabbatical ended. We will then leave Cambodia and live in Singapore for the next season of our life. This will enable us to begin the immigration process and to do some study to equip us for future ministry.
This has not been an easy decision, as knowing the right time to make major changes in life is not always clear. However we have taken time to think, to pray, to seek wise counsel, and in different ways the Lord has confirmed this next stage ahead. We both have a sense of Peace in His leading, even though there are many unknowns ahead.
As we are learning to trust God for the future we are aware that as He leads us as individuals He also leads His church. The ICF is in safe hands! Whoever the under-shepherds are, Jesus is the chief Shepherd! (1 Peter 5:4) He has given His life for us and He has promised to always be with us. We can be certain that He will lead us all into a future that is the very best. So we can be confident in God for everything that lies ahead.
We are all “In His grip” as God promises in His Word:
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10
We know that this may be a surprise to some of you, that you may have questions, or you may feel sad. That is natural. Please talk with us. Hwee Ping and I are happy to share more about our decision and where we sense God is leading us.
Hwee Ping and I will be here for nearly another year. We aim to finish well. Please pray that we will use the opportunities that God gives and take one step at a time, as we trust God.
There is a set process in place for looking for a new ICF Pastor. This involves all church members. The ICF Council will give more information about this over the next few months.
Working with the ICF has been and continues to be a great privilege.
In this season may we all know afresh that God is enough!
With our love and prayers,
Pastor Peter and Hwee Ping