Thursday 24 December 2015

Christmas Greetings!

Dear Friends and Family,

This comes with our very best wishes for a wonderful peaceful and blessed Christmas and our love and prayers for 2016!

That just shows how long it's been since we sent an update! (our apologies) we hope you didn't think we'd dropped off the face of the earth. We are still here - on the face of the earth and here in Hong Kong! It seems like only a few weeks ago that we were in the UK, but in fact it's been about 4 months! We had a really wonderful time. If we managed to see you thank you so much for making the time amazing! If we didn't manage to see you we really hope that we'll be able to see you next year ... or maybe out here!!??

Well since the last time we wrote there have been some big changes in how we are doing things here. The biggest change is that Samuel is now in School. We really have so much to thank God for in this. Samuel got a place at ICS (International Christian School), we got a bursary and provision of funds for the remaining part, and the school is wonderful. After so much transition and a year of homeschool Samuel is doing amazingly well. His grades are good. Perhaps surprisingly Mandarin is his favorite subject at the moment - he's even learning to write the characters (though it's slightly odd that they learn Mandarin in Hong Kong ... where the main language is Cantonese). He's enjoying being responsible as he get's himself ready every morning at 6am! But most importantly he's happy and making new friends - something that was lacking last year. 
He's also had an amazing school trip to Vietnam!

Reuben is also doing really well. We're still praying for him to get into ICS but while he doesn't have a place there, Jo is continuing to do an amazing job. Reuben is growing so fast in confidence and is adding reading to his list of things he enjoys (phew!). The great thing is that Jo also has some help now (one morning a week we have someone come in from outside to teach maths, music and Cantonese). Another family also came to Sin Mun Springs this year. They have a son aged 11 and a daughter who's 8 - this is just perfect as Reuben and Ian have found each other as friends. It's such a blessing to have other families with kids Samuel and Reuben's age here.

  • Do pray for Reuben's schooling - For Jo to have the resource/patience and/or others to come in to help. And the possibility of him joining ICS sooner rather than later.
With the friend coming in once a week to help teach Reuben it means that Jo has a little more time in 'block2'. We are trying to make other changes so that Jo can be more involved over in the men's first stage house. It's been great to be able to work together a bit and are praying for ways to make that happen more.

In 'block2' we have had 3 baptisms in the last few months. We had one guy come in who just mocked us when we prayed for him (or especially when we asked him to pray). It's wonderful to see a 180 degree turn around in him. He's given his life to Jesus, received significant healing from past hurts! and is now sharing what he's received with others. He's tasted and seen that the Lord is good and was one of the ones who got baptized. Our desire is not just to see that turning and healing but also to help them become disciples.

We try to have plenty of fun with the guys, part of this is practically experiencing the things God has made them to be and do. For example we recently took a group of guys on a 10k run. For some of them persevering through to the end of a training program and doing a race is a first, and something they can really look at as an achievement! Added to that as a 'house parent', it filled me with a real sense of pride that they all completed what they had started! But even more simple things like having a pizza night (Jo's pizza dough is amazing!) or playing Jenga can bring a significant 'family' feel to the house. These things make a difference - but ultimately if Jesus isn't healing the brokenness that leads to addictions in the first place, then we won't see the changes we hope for in the guys. This is an ongoing battle.

You probably want to know what our ongoing plans are like. Well at this stage we're still unsure. We are learning so much here - but also see so much need. There is desperate need for workers in all sorts of places along the opium trail and the Philippines and we hear many stories of the harvest being plentiful ... but the workers few. 
  • Do pray for our ongoing vision and clarity of calling as our desire is to serve wherever God would send us ...
This comes with so much love at Christmas from Alec, Jo, Samuel and Reuben.