"be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind"
On Sunday 18th June I was preaching from Ephesians 3:14-21 about our God who so often keeps us in suspense, and is full of surprises... but one who is "able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think". The next day we heard that the States of Guernsey had granted us a permanent eight year licence to remain in Guernsey and carry on the work as Pastor of La Villiaze!
A few months ago I doubted this was possible. Indeed for the whole of the four years we have been here, I had suspected that we would not be able to stay long term. Other Church Ministers had their applications turned down. We submitted our application to extend our licence prayerfully but still really unsure whether it would be granted. Within a week or so, details of the new Population Management Strategy began to be published in the Press, along with a list of jobs with the permits they would be granted. Against all expectations, we were stunned and humbled to see the job of Church Minister listed as essential.
For a further fifteen weeks God kept us in suspense while the States of Guernsey processed our application. Then, as is his way, he surprised and delighted us, truly showing again that he is "able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think".
We are so humbled that God has categorically made it clear that he wants Dorcas and myself to remain in Guernsey and continue to serve him here at La Villiaze. It feels very much like "a Gideon's fleece" guidance.
To be honest, it leaves us feeling a little over-awed because clearly God has plans for La Villiaze Church and a future that we are sure will be equally surprising and exceed all our current expectations and prayers. We are not here to manage the church's decline and closure, but in God's plans, to equip and mobilise those of us already within the church, so that together we see a whole new generation come to know the Lord and serve Him here for many years to come - we trust until the very day the Lord returns.
There is a great harvest field to reap in Guernsey. "Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest" (Matthew 9:38) - beginning with all of us already in the church! We have ample evidence that our God is "able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think".