Sally and I have been praying and seeking God about where we should be and what we should be doing over the next few months. Health issues are always an awakening of how fragile our bodies are. Chris recently had to have eye surgery to repair a detached retina. This has made life more difficult with boating, but we have got on with it and he should be back to manual tasks soon. We value your prayers for continued healing and for no reoccurrences. We believe God has spoken to us clearly using the eye problems to remind us of where we should be when making plans and who we should focus our eyes on.
In 2003, Chris’ dad died at the age of 61. He was a man with vision and a heart that was in love with God. He was an influential and strong character. Chris was very close to his dad; his death was a huge awakening for Chris. Dad had a limited amount of time with his grandchildren, but what time he had with them he made special. Our life here is short and sometimes shorter than we might hope for, however we must not let the world take away what we have to offer through Christ Jesus and we should not live with regrets.
With this in mind, and the fact we have been praying, we received a call from our son and daughter-in-law, Sam and Rebecca. Beck’s has just returned to work after maternity leave and inevitably the issue of care for Felicity has arisen. Beck’s starts a new job in September that was going to be part time, but has been asked to work full time until they can get someone to job share with her. We have been asked if we can be part of their plans for child care. We have agreed to do one day a week until they sort out other provision. This does mean we need to relocate nearer to them in Folkestone and will be heading south on the boat in September, working our way down to the Grand Union Canal and place ourselves approximately 2 hours drive away.
When we came to the Llangollen last year for the CM mission, we felt strongly that we were to stay here for the time being. This year, we had the privilege of working with TCC doing outreach on the canal during a week of mission they had planned in Ellesmere. This took place with American friends, who support TCC, from Mississippi. Although it will be heart wrenching leaving this area for now, we know we have seen God at work through the work that is taking place here. We look at all the plans that TCC have and are looking to do, and will be praying for the success of these. More than a Sundae shop outreach, The Foundry Youth project, Christians against Poverty, Mission to Spain, Engaging in Community activities, Chaplaincy in the local secondary school, Alpha and I could go on. There has also been a realisation there are many on the waterways that need to be ministered to and this will be better served now, with other boaters who also worship at TCC. What a fantastic vision there is at TCC and I do hope all who read this will pray for the work that is taking place here.
We expect to return north next year as there is the start of plans for a Mission on the Bridgewater Canal in Stockton Heath and Lymm. We will be working on trying to pull this together over the coming months. Chris will continue for the moment doing one day in HOW College, Worcester and 2 days at home on the boat. This involves quality assurance related to the plumbing courses that they run. This is an answer to prayer and God's provision through the "tent making" skills given Chris.
Having time looking after Felicity will give us that valuable time with our granddaughter, making sure that we put family in the right place in our lives. Although Jacob will be further away, the rail link between Manchester and Milton Keynes is good, so we can maintain good contact with him. We will also see more of Sam, Becky and Mum as we visit Folkestone weekly. We do recognise there is a fair bit of travelling still involved, but the links are good with trains and motorways, so with God's grace we pray these things will work out.At the heart of our ministry is God and the task we have been given to share His Word on the waterways. We hope to honour that by making sure we are available for the rest of the week on our boat, here ready and willing to share with whomever God puts our way.
In His Name
Chris and Sally Buck
Canal Ministries - sharing God's Love on the Inland Waterways.