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From Isaiah 30:15 – ‘Only by returning to me and resting in me will you be saved. In quietness and confidence is your strength.’

Two weeks ago (or was it three?) I wrote about the issues facing J10:10, about the choices that I had to make, and I asked that readers of this blog would pray for me to do what God wanted me to do.

For those of you who fell asleep during that blog, or who gratefully missed it – a precis: J10:10 needs funding to meet its monthly overheads; I don’t have the cash to do it any more; the passion fruit business is still a cost and not a contributor…….and I have been offered a very well paying role in Europe that would allow me to fund J10:10 until farming takes over. And for me to fund the construction of the classrooms in Kigazi that need to be finished by February 1st next year and for which I don’t currently have the money. £17,500 since you asked. The downside to this wonderfully lucrative opportunity being that I will have to base myself primarily in Europe for the next 2-3 years. And manage J10:10 and Passion4Africa from afar. And not be with the children that I adore and love seeing changed by love and by God. Kids like Michelle. Ouch.

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And so I have been praying and seeking God’s heart and will for the past three weeks. And as I have done so I have become more and more convinced that:

– It’s NOT about the money. God will provide financially whether I do this work or not. Over the past two weeks we have seen £7,000 come from nowhere. So whilst the money will be very useful that’s no reason to go.

– This opportunity IS heaven sent. But the reason is not the money – it’s about rest, recuperation and renewal.

I am knackered. Absolutely worn out. Each day is a long list of money to try and earn; staff to meet with; fruit sales to try and make; orchard issues to address; visits to Kigazi to try and cram in; time with Michelle and other vulnerables to schedule; vehicles to get repaired; equipment to get delivered; harvests to collect; UK phone calls to make; etcetera, etcetera, etcetera….
And that isn’t the half of it.

Samuel Shoemaker wrote, “The surest mark of a Christian is not faith, or even love, but joy.” Let me be honest and say that very few people see much joy in me. I’m too busy, stressed, and focussed on the next task.

And that is NOT Christ-like. Or who Christ wants me to be. And I can’t break the chain here.

I need time away. I need time with God. I need a church that I can go to without being asked for money or roped into prayer requests to which it is obvious that I am the expected answer. I need to break the chain of reliance that I have stupidly allowed to be attached to me. And I need to see if what I have been trying to do – build a system that doesn’t need me there to operate (sustainability and survivability) does work whilst I am away.

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And most of all I need to rediscover the joy of Christ. Which I am going to do whilst I spend a lot of unhurried, unpressured and undemanding time with Jesus. Time that I don’t make at the moment.

One phrase has been repeating in my mind over the past few weeks, ‘Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.’ I need to do this. So that I can be all that God wants me to be. And so that I can do all that he wants me to do here in Uganda – with joy.

And so, I am now putting in place the systems that I hope will allow me to take time out with my God and with my wife, and re-discover the joy of Christ……before we retuen to Uganda to complete what we have started. Please pray for us………