Two years today, my family and I boarded a plane in London to head off to Australia. We had no idea of what to expect and knew no-one in Melbourne where we were headed. It was the adventure of all adventures and although we knew God was with us, everything else would prove to be a massive challenge of our own personal faith and resolve.
As I write this, I am sitting in my 3x5m office at work and am reflecting on all God has done for us in these past 24 months. None of it has been plain sailing to say the least but all of it has brought us in a much closer relationship with our Father in heaven. To be totally honest there has been times we have asked ourselves what we are doing and when we have been at our lowest ebb, God has shown us what we have accomplished. It's safe to say that we wouldn't change what has happened because it has installed in us a strength we didn't know we had.
In Melbourne, we didn't know anyone. We arrived with nothing apart from a few suit cases and we had even left without completing the sale of our house. To almost anyone who reads this, this does sound complete lunacy and unwise and to a certain extent it definitely was. But very quickly we were able to rent a house without any references and sure enough, our home in the UK sold and we were able to pay off all of our debts.
As well as finding a house, we found two good schools for our kids and an awesome church. Not long after this I was able to string some work together and we began to connect with amazing people. Yes, we were terribly missing friends and family but knew we were not completely alone.
Six months into our life in Melbourne, I secured a job working for a shop fitting company and although we were grateful for the money it meant I had to work away from home. My wife and kids really found this season so very hard and to be frank I did, too. It was simply horrible. It felt like we were in a very barren time and I hated being away from home. But without that job which we persevered with we would never have been able to move to Sydney, which is what we did just over nine months ago.
Sydney was always going to be our dream city and the place which we had prayed about, perhaps more than any other place I can think of. But when we moved we had to start all over again. We had no home, no schools and needed to connect with the local church. The thing is, this time we knew God would supply because He had done so before. He had shown us this very early on (a week before we moved) by providing a well paid job just outside of the city (or so I thought).
Sure enough, after less than a week in Sydney while staying with friends, we were accepted by a rental agency to move into a wonderful house one road away from the beach in Dee Why. Not only that, but our daughter was accepted into the best school possible for her and our son was enrolled into an incredibly culturally diverse primary school. Everything was fitting into place.
Once settled into our home we began to connect with our local church and became part of a connect group, where we have made good friends. So far, God had done everything He said He would do.
However, when I started my job I realized that living in Sydney was going to be no walk in the park. It was incredibly difficult. I had been given a job based on my previous role in Melbourne but this time I had been promoted way above my own skill set. I was made a project manager on a huge building project and it was an hour and a half drive from our house. I tried to reason with God and ask if there was anything easier but since I started in January (and am still here) all He has kept saying is "Keep going!" That has been so very hard, but I have not given up.
You see, if I had been given this job a year earlier, I simply would have not been able to handle it. But through all the trials I faced in Melbourne, it had built up my spiritual muscles as well as my inner strength to see this as an opportunity to learn more and not as a problem I had to suffer. Together as a family we have become completely different in how we see the world. We now know that everything happens for a reason and sometimes, although extremely painful, we benefit massively by allowing God to lead us though the wilderness.
So what have we learned from two years in Australia? Well the first and most important thing is that God is ALWAYS faithful. No matter what the trial is, He never ever lets go. The second thing is that as a family we have learned that prayer is the ultimate weapon when being faced with huge difficulties. One of the things I can say which I have noticed the most in my children is they have prayed together every single night. They have grown into faithful giants with their child-like faith. It is so inspiring.
Thirdly, and this is more personal, is that I have learned to trust God in ways beyond my comprehension. What I mean is that in my job, particularly, I have trusted God for every single word that comes out of my mouth and He has literally taught me how to chair board meetings, produce performance reports and handle situations I have no former experience in. It has been mind-blowing what I have been able to achieve in such a short time by just trusting Him.
Fourthly, I have seen so many changes take place in my wife's personal faith and reliance on God that she is almost unrecognizable to who she was before we left England. She is so unbelievably strong that I am in awe of her and I know she affects everyone around her with her faithfulness.
So what happens next? Well, I don't actually know the answer to that. All I do know it we simply have to keep trusting God and letting him lead us into the next chapter. Please continue to pray for us as we venture into new territory because although we know God is faithful it certainly does not mean that we have an easy task ahead. We just know He is with us and it's always good to know that others are with us, too.
Thank you for reading this and many blessings to you.