Dear Friends,

I wonder how many of us have embarked on a great journey? Perhaps a journey to a place in the world you have had a life-long desire to visit, or maybe a journey to visit a loved one? Perhaps a journey towards a new career pathway or the start of a new relationship. Perhaps a journey that seeks to deal with the onset of ill health?

Life is full of journeys. And of course we will have I’m sure, experienced times when the journeys we have planned have been interrupted. These can range from trivial but irritating road diversions or rail-replacement bus services, to those worrying and uncertain periods of darkness that life can take us through. Sometimes these changes of plan can be a source of annoyance and frustration, while at other times they can bring us unexpected blessings. Sometimes our plans will be changed, as we are taken in the totally new direction that God has planned for us.

Journeying is very much at the centre of my thoughts at this time, as I continue to journey towards the path of ordination; a journey that is testing me to the limits, but a journey through which I am growing in faith and receiving untold blessings along the way. I hope to tell you more about this journey in the next issue of ‘In Touch’, but suffice to say, I am unbelievably grateful for the love and support I am receiving from you all at Emmanuel as I continue to walk this pathway.

As I sit writing this letter, I have in my hands a beautiful little book entitled ‘Words for the Journey’. The book contains short extracts of Scripture to encourage us as we continue with life’s journey. It was given to me by Anne Baldwin. Anne knows only too well the frustration and uncertainty of interrupted journeys that have affected her journey to Sri Lanka to become an Overseas Mission Partner. Anne’s resolve to put her trust in God during these delays, has been an inspiration and we will continue to hold Anne in prayer as she embarks on this amazing new journey in her life, responding to God’s call to serve overseas.

And we are of course journeying through the season of Lent, a time of honest, prayerful reflection. As we travel through Lent we have the opportunity to examine the thoughts of our hearts and minds, focusing upon the journey of our Saviour Jesus who walked to the cross – a journey of pain and suffering, a journey of self-sacrifice and self giving love.

Right in the centre of the book, ‘Words for the Journey’, are these words from Deuteronomy 31:8, ‘The LORD himself will lead you and be with you. He will not fail you or abandon you, so do not lose courage or be afraid’. What a gift those words are.

And so my prayer as we continue to journey through Lent is that we will all have the assurance to journey with Christ through this time of reflection and self-examination of our relationship with God.

May God continue to bless us all,