EMILY'S STORY

In April of 2015, Peter and I faced one of the biggest decisions we’ve ever made together. We were 3 months away from our wedding and considering an international move at the same time. We had recently graduated from Moody Bible Institute and hoped to be involved in a local church, attend seminary and begin a life in ministry together. We had the bare bones of a life in suburban Detroit mapped out—a one bedroom apartment, entry-level employment and the brand-new plates, bath towels and small kitchen appliances that accompany marriage—but we had no relationship with a local church and we were hesitant to take on thousands of dollars in debt for a seminary degree.

For several months, we had been considering AT3. In some ways, it was a perfect opportunity. Peter fit the ‘job description,’ we were committed to Christian work and we were in a major life transition anyway. But so many anxieties cropped up that seemed like reasons we couldn’t or shouldn’t move to England. 2 years felt like it would be an eternity to live away from family. We would have to move just one month after our wedding, and we would need to raise quite a lot of support. I’m also willing to admit that boxing up my shiny new stand mixer along with the other wedding gifts and minimising into two suitcases each sounded like a sacrifice I wasn’t willing to make. There were lots of uncertainties. Would we even like living in the UK? Would it be hard to get a bank account? Would our flat come with everything we needed? What if we didn’t like our new church? What if I couldn’t find a job?

At a certain point, we knew that God had sent this opportunity straight to us. After saying ‘yes’ to Him, we began the process, applying for our visas, writing support letters, sharing our plans with family and friends—all alongside the organised chaos of a wedding! Things were falling into place though. 2 days after our wedding, we realised that we had raised the amount we needed to go! And with 11 days to spare, we had our passports in hand, stamped with our UK visas.

Sometimes we look back on that time and just laugh. We’re not sure exactly how we made it through! I can see that we had what we truly needed during that time. Our families were exceptionally supportive, and helped us to prepare and pack. We had a network of people praying for us, reading updates on our website and sending us encouraging messages.

The transition to life in Liverpool and working with Christ Church Liverpool taught us a lot. In our marriage, we tried (and frequently failed!) to approach each new experience as a team. Whether it was a 20-minute walk uphill in the pouring rain after our first grocery shopping trip or our first Christmas without any family, we were together for every challenge. Both of us had to make new friends and adjust to new work environments, a new church and a new culture. I learned the importance of seeing AT3 as our ministry and our experience, and not just Peter’s. Even though he was the official apprentice, we were learning to see our service as teamwork. This radically challenged any tendencies I had to be resentful. I needed Peter’s help and he needed mine to carry out our new tasks of discipling students, organising church events, ongoing fundraising and completing coursework.

There are so many more reflections I could share. What stands out to me right now is the importance of pursuing whatever will make you into a better disciple of Jesus, instead of holding out for a lightning bolt moment and perfect clarity about the right decision of where to move, what job to take or where to serve. Staying where we were may have been a very good option, but I wouldn’t trade the blessings we’ve known since our move to the UK. We were even convinced to continue in ministry in England after AT3 ended, so we’re still on this adventure! On the bad days, I can say that it’s all Peter’s fault for bringing me here, but in reality, it’s all thanks to Peter that we get to experience this life as ambassadors for Christ in the UK!

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