So far, so good!

California 350x240 So far, so good!To say that a lot has happened since the last blog post, would be a bit of an understatement! God is so good and He’s teaching us so much along the way. So, here is the tale of the adventure that started at Heathrow…

 

 

 

TUE 13th

We woke up at 6am on Tuesday morning and ended up getting to bed 26 hours later! I’ve never been quite as tired as I was on that day. Even Frans, who can normally stay awake for much longer than I can, was almost asleep on his feet. The time difference between England and California is 8 hours, so our Tuesday was actually 32 hours long instead of the normal 24. Ever the theologian, Frans likened it to when God lengthened the day for both Joshua and King Hezekiah. Isn’t it amazing how God stopped the planet from turning, at the request of His children?

We had a good flight and despite leaving almost an hour late, we made good time and landed at San Francisco Airport only 20 minutes behind schedule. We left Heathrow at 3pm and landed at SFO at 5.20pm. Talk about messing with your internal time clock!

We picked up our hire car and began the 3 hour drive to Redding. Even though it was 7pm, we got stuck in the traffic that was leaving the city for the evening. Look at this photo of the Golden Gate Bridge lighting up in the dark. We will have to come back and take a longer and closer look sometime soon.

GG 350x350 So far, so good!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After hours of driving we thought we’d better pull over at a Services and get some coffee because even Frans felt like he might fall asleep while driving. So, we pulled up to this Starbucks (which had a Drive Thru window) and sat outside at 10pm, sipping our coffee in the lingering heat of the day.

SB 350x350 So far, so good!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before we left, we asked the Lord to please put us with a couple that could mentor us and look after us. I’m a firm believer in not re-inventing the wheel. If someone else has done something successfully, then I’m happy to learn from them and build on those foundations. So, I wanted to stay with people who know the Redding area and could help us with info like which area was safe to live in; where to buy a car and how to get gas &  elec turned on at our new place as well as give us a safe and spiritually rich place to adjust to our new lives. I logged on to the Student website of BSSM (Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry) and ran down the list of people offering accommodation and my eyes settled on a small advert. The heading read something like “Need a place to stay while you find permanent lodging?”. Just what we were looking for. We corresponded and it turned out that the couple had a double room in their house that they could rent to us for exactly the dates we needed (someone moved out the morning of the day we arrived and someone moves in the day we leave!). They are a lovely retired couple who have gone through the 3 years of BSSM themselves and now have the time and heart to help others who come to Bethel for both school and the various conferences that are held throughout the year!

We eventually found their house and followed the instructions to get to our room (it was midnight by the time we got there), and it was then that we saw a little plate with cookies on it, welcoming us to their house. It felt like coming home!

 

WED 14th

We fell into bed and got 5 hours sleep, but found ourselves wide awake at 6am because that’s 2pm in the UK! We love to explore, so we decided to go for a walk and see what the area was like. It’s really beautiful here and while it was still cool, we got to walk around and see what there was to see. The sprinklers were on in almost every garden because it’s the best time of day to water everything and the smell of grass, water and fresh air was lovely. God knows that I love that time of the morning and so He’s blessed us with a beautiful place in which to go walking with Him.

Frans was itching to go and explore, so we left the house and started driving towards town. There’s a story he tells of a time when he was working away from home and he was feeling pretty lonely. He decided to take a drive and took a wrong turn, ending up in a back street. As he drove he came across an Elim Church that was having a midweek service. He went inside and everyone welcomed him in. By the time he left that city a couple of months later, he’d been to many midweek services that had helped him feel better about being away from home. Ever since then he’s been convinced that everywhere we are led in a day (even if it seems like a wrong turn) is all part of God’s plan for us that day and, if we’re willing to be open and receptive, we will see a blessing from it. So, as we drove, we ended up passing a car dealership. We decided to go in and have a look and ended up being shown a vehicle that had come in as a part exchange the day before (first confirmation). We both loved it the moment we set eyes on it (second confirmation). We’ve always asked the Lord for a car with lots of seats that can also fold flat. We want to be able to give lots of people a lift as well as help people to move anything they need moving. We’ve had cars that fit this description for the past 5 years. The moment we saw this car, we knew that we’d got another one (third confirmation). As we looked through the car, we found a handful of Gospel tracts tucked into a holder (fourth confirmation). After some serious negotiating, we got the car for just under what we were willing to pay (ker-ching).

We had got some advice about mobile phone providers and so we went along to the local AT&T store. While we were there, we got talking to the sales lady. We let her know that we were here to study at Bethel and she shared a story with us of how God had healed her. She had a cancerous tumour and had been invited along by a friend to go to the Healing Room at Bethel. She had been badly hurt by Church when she was younger, but after much nagging by her friend, she grudgingly went along. They prayed for her and when she went back to the Doctor for her pre operation check up, the tumour was completely gone. It was the coolest thing to be standing in a shop, talking to a stranger who had been touched by God in such a fabulous way. This church has really made room for God to do amazing things through it.

That night, we got our first full night of sleep and it was lovely!

 

THU 15th

We got a phone call to come and pick the car up after she’d been safety checked and valeted. Frans had the biggest grin on his face. He loves driving the car!

So, we’d sorted out a car and a cell phone. Now we needed to start looking for a place to rent. Again we just went driving and ended up finding ourselves outside the Civic Centre, which is where we’re going to be going to class. As we drove round the parking lot, I noticed the offices of one of the Realtors! Once again, we’d randomly gone somewhere and ended up finding what we needed. We had a budget in mind and found a couple of places that met our criteria. We made an appointment with the Realtors and went to see the first one.

Oh my word!

The smell of smoke hit us like a wall and everything was dirty! Not nice. The second property reminded me so much of what we see in American movies. It was what’s known as a ‘fourplex’. Two apartments on the bottom floor and two on the top floor. As we walked up to the apartment block, there was rubbish, toys and broken BBQ’s etc lying all over the place. The spiderwebs were huge and the wood siding on the outside of the building was falling off and rotten. We carefully went up the rickety staircase and the smell of animal wee hit us as we opened the door. Things weren’t looking promising!

Time to revise our plan and rethink the budget.

As we drove away, we saw a man sitting on a deckchair and a woman sitting in the doorway of one of the apartments. I have never before seen such looks of hopelessness. I was so struck by it that I asked God what it meant that He’d brought us to this place. He said that firstly He wanted us to see what kind of place we didn’t want to live in and secondly, He wanted us to see the hopelessness that pervades places like that, so that we would be open to coming and praying for and helping the people who were stuck in that cycle. My heart has been etched with compassion and a deep desire to see them encouraged and given real hope for a better life. I’m open to see how God wants that to develop.

 

FRI 16th

On our travels, we went to Walmart to get a couple of things and, as we were walking around, we heard two girls speaking with South African accents. I went over to say ‘Hi’ and it turns out that they’re going to First Year at BSSM too! They were buying bikes because they don’t have a car and so we said to let us know if they’d ever like a lift anywhere. We got a text from them and we’re giving our first people a lift to Church on Sunday! We’re also giving people a lift to Redding from San Francisco Airport when we take the hire car back. It’s so cool when you make space for God to work (asking for a big car) and He then fills the space with what you’ve asked for. Blessing all round!

As we were driving around a light came on on the dashboard of the car. We looked it up in the manual and it was one of those that said ‘stop driving the car and take it into the dealer immediately’. You know the ones that strike fear into the heart of anyone that isn’t a mechanic? You don’t know whether you should even be driving the car to the garage in case the engine block falls out on the road!

We decided to stay calm and just gently drove to the dealership. They told us that it would be about an hour to do the diagnostics and so we decided to walk across the road and have a sandwich at ‘the best sandwich shop in Redding’ as recommended to us by Alan the salesman. With all the ups and downs we’ve experienced over the past year, we’ve learned to realize that, just like taking the ‘wrong’ turns, everything in our day is ordered and we get to choose to celebrate and let God do what only He can, or moan. So, instead of feeling bad, mad or sad about the car, we held each others hand and walked across the 6 lane road and headed for the ‘San Francisco Deli’.

By this time it was so hot that we could literally feel our skin burning. You know what it feels like when you’ve pre-heated the oven for a Sunday roast and you open the oven door and you’re hit by a wave of heat that melts your mascara so that you end up with one giant eyelash? That’s what it feels like when you leave an air-conditioned building. It’s been over 40 degrees here for two of the days so far. I’m not complaining though. The sun is bright, the sky is blue and I’m warm!

We got to the Deli and ordered a pastrami sandwich and a roast beef sandwich. They smoke the meat themselves and it was absolutely delicious.

Deli 350x350 So far, so good!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We got back to the dealership and it turns out that the light coming on was just the result of a faulty sensor and once they’ve replaced it with one they’ve ordered, everything will be back to normal. It’s all part of the ‘God Adventure’ that we all get to go on every day. This is the day that the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it!

 

SAT 17th

We went to look at two more places today and Frans is definitely leaning toward the one with a pool! He reckons he’ll be swimming even when there’s snow on the mountains. Do you think this has anything to do with the fact that it’s over 40 degrees Celsius at the moment?

We have several more to look at tomorrow, so we’ll see which one feels right to both of us and then we’ll post pictures for you to see.

Tomorrow we go to Bethel for the first time. We’re going to the 8am and 10:30am services, just to soak it all up and see what’s what. This church has had such a profound impact on not only the city of Redding and the state of California, but also on every nation to which it sends out graduates from BSSM. We get to be a part of that from tomorrow onwards and we’re very excited to see what God has in store!

Well, I’m off to bed now. We’re sending lots of love to you all and we’ll post again in a week’s time, sharing more of what God’s doing in this part of the world. If you want to automatically receive notification of the next blog post then pop your e-mail address into the space provided at the top of the page.

Let us know how you’re doing by commenting in the Facebook comment box  and feel free to share and like by clicking on the buttons below. It’s always great to hear how God is working in our lives all over the world. Sleep tight and we’ll see you in a week!

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