Well, we're off again to Portsmouth, England!!! Last May Chris and I went to Portsmouth, England for 10 days for what we thought of as a missions to trip to try to make an impact in that community for the Lord. But what we found was that the people in the community were the ones who made the impact on us! We met the most amazing people and developed friendships that we've kept for this entire year.
When we left last year the pastor, Gareth, suggested that we return this summer between Chris' semesters for school. We thought it sounded fun but certainly weren't sure if we could ever really make it back for an entire summer.......but God placed something in our hearts that we just couldn't shake and in a short time we found ourselves again making plans to return.
There have been many "open doors" along this journey as we've prayed about whether or not to come back. For me, the first major open door was the getting my new job in Texas. When we moved to Texas in August, 2009 I assumed that if we were going to come to England for 8 weeks during the summer then I wouldn't be able to find a regular full-time job. I assumed that no employer who hired me just 9 months earlier would permit me to leave for 8 weeks my first summer working. But, to my surprise I found a wonderful job, my first choice actually, 1/2 block away from our apartment - AND even before the first official interview I told them that I was planning to go to England for 8 weeks this summer and they said they'd try to work it out. I got the official approval later in the year right before we bought our tickets - it's AMAZING to me that they would work so hard to cover my patients and my job for me while I'm gone. I truly know that this in and of itself is a gift from God.
The open doors continued with Chris getting approval to use this 8 week experience to count for his internship for school, so he isn't even having to take off school this semester since this was a requirement anyway. We have had one gentleman offer us his flat (apartment) for free for the first four weeks which is completely accessible including the bathroom and shower. Then we had another couple offer us their home for the second 4 weeks to stay for free again! We also were able to raise enough money to purchase a wheelchair accessible van for the church to have the ability to offer person's with disabilities a ride to church. With the church having this van Chris is now able to travel to farther locations to speak to different churches and community groups than he would have been previously.
So we've chosen to walk through each of these open doors and grab the opportunity that God has given us and here we are....in Portsmouth, England!