I left something rather significant out of my last post, mainly to give myself time to pray and process it. Almost as soon as arriving in Sheffield, taking a shower, having some coffee, I thought it would be good to let people back at home know that we have arrived. When I opened I email I discovered a letter from one of our biggest supporters letting us know that they will no longer be able to support us. Their reasons were completely legit and we wholeheartedly support them in their decision.
However I do not think it is an accident that we got this mail as soon as we arrived in Sheffield, thousands of miles away from home, all set for a time of encouragement, teaching and relationship building. The timing of it struck me immediately as something both sent to teach me to trust Him and his provision, preventing me from running around like frantically trying to fix it, and a time of testing, Satan desperately trying to derail our time here by making us anxious, preoccupied and unable to effectively engage and learn during our time here. Trusting our gracious Father has allowed us to be at peace and rest in his goodness and provision for us, even though the “answer” is far from clear.
What about the trip? I was hoping to post regular updates but travelling with kids is far more hectic than I imagined. And then I discovered I had not brought the right plug for charging our camera so went dark for a few days. But I managed to get what I needed from a really sorted electrics shop in the buzzing country metropolis of Boroughbridge (that’s sarcasm if those not in the loop).
On a totally different note here are a couple of interesting things we have seen so far:
The famous crooked spire of Chesterfield, snapped from the train.
If like me you wondered what that crooked spire was all about here is what Wikipedia has to say:
“The spire is both twisted and leaning, twisting 45 degrees and leaning 9 feet 6 inches (2.90 m) from its true centre. Folklore recounts that a Bolsover blacksmith mis-shod the Devil, who leapt over the spire in pain, knocking it out of shape. In reality the leaning characteristic has been attributed to various causes, including the absence of skilled craftsmen (the Black Death having been gone only twelve years prior to the spire’s completion), the use of unseasoned timber, and insufficient cross-bracing. According to the curators of Chesterfield Museum, it is now believed that the bend began when the original wooden roof tiles were replaced by heavier slate and lead. The bend in the spire (the twist being deliberate) follows the direction of the sun and has been caused by heat expansion and a weight it was never designed for. There is also no record of a bend until after the slate change. An interesting point is that the spire is not attached to the church building but is kept on by its own weight.”
Everyone thought Rippon cathedral was beautiful… well almost everyone!
And now some images from the absolutely breath-taking Fountains Abbey in North Yorkshire. Built in the 12th century and abandoned in the 16th century, this ruin is a world heritage site and certainly one of the highlights of things we have seen on this trip.