As we write to you this weekend, the clocks are springing forward one hour in the UK, announcing the shift of season and the arrival of spring. All around us we can see uncontainable life bursting forth, as blossoms appear on the trees, bulbs put out their yellow trumpets and vibrant colours appear everywhere. A sure sign that winter is passed! As I looked at my garden, I was reminded of this verse from Isaiah 42:9 – “See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare; before they spring into being, I announce them to you.” Many of us have lived through a strange year as we have handled the restrictions of the Covid-19 pandemic. Often the media has been so negative and full of contention that we have found ourselves bracing for the next announcement of bad news. But as I read this verse, I felt God say that we need to emerge from this season, drawing a line under “the former things”, and listen attentively for the announcement of the good new things that God is declaring. Can you hear the GOOD announcements for your life coming from heaven at this time? As we approach Easter, we need to take off the grave clothes that have wrapped our minds in this last season. Let us be intentional to remove all the thinking that has controlled our expectations, and let the sound of these heavenly announcements spring us forward into this new era.
March, April and May are milestone months for Gordon and me. On March 21st we celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary and took time to reminisce together as we walked along the Thames path near Abingdon. We are thankful to so many of you who have been praying for Gordon’s recovery following gall bladder surgery last year and we are delighted that some of the remaining pain and nerve inflammation has finally begun to subside and he is feeling so much better. On 27th April Gordon will turn 70 so his goal is to be completely pain-free and fully recovered by then, ready for new adventures! As we shared with you last month, Gordon and I are watching our family return from the nations too. My mum, Eileen, arrived safely from Texas three weeks ago and her shipping container with all her belongings has also now arrived. We expect she will be able to move into her new home near us in Oxford sometime during the first week of April after some maintenance work and decorating has been completed. We have also had confirmation that Nicola and Tim and our Australian grandkids will be moving back to the UK on 4 May, pending the completion of some final paperwork to allow them to travel. They will quarantine in our home for the first 10 days so we are excited to have time with them before they move into their new house in London and life gets busy adjusting to new schools and new ministry roles. So life is definitely springing forward!
On the Heartcry ministry front, as the UK adjusts the Covid restrictions in the next couple of months, we look forward to being able to connect with you in person again and we are beginning to book in-person ministry from mid-June. In the meantime, our messages of hope will continue throughout April and after Easter we will look at embracing the wealth of the nations. Gordon will lead us for two weeks, taking us on a tour of the Muslim world during Ramadan, the Muslim month of prayer and fasting. Helen will look at some of the hotspots in the nations and help us pray prophetically for them and I will share some of the Sunday messages and then conclude April’s messages with a week of meditations from the Psalms. From May we have felt to change our rhythm of these messages of hope. Most of us will want to take advantage of the new freedom to meet with family and friends over these summer months. So, from May to August, we will only have a Trumpet Call Sunday, on the first Sunday of each month. Helen and I will take this time to write/edit a new book, probably from our series on prophets and prophetic people. Following an enthusiastic response to our suggestion of some Legacy Days in Oxford again, we are planning our first day called “It Is Well With My Soul” in September. The provisional date is Saturday 11 September but we will keep you posted on this as government advice is clarified. We are also considering a fortnightly Bible school which would take the form of an online study morning on Saturdays that Helen would lead. If this is something you would enjoy, please do get in touch with us and share subject areas you would find helpful for us to cover. Where do you feel your biblical knowledge gaps are? What would you like to study together? What format would you find most helpful?
In April we will also be ministering via pre-recorded message in a number of churches and conferences both in the UK and USA and we greatly value your prayer support as we ask the Lord for the messages of hope for each context. Here’s an overview:
12 April “Standout Girl” mentoring meeting (Helen)
18 April Bethany Community Church, Gatley, UK (Rachel)
25 April Victory Faith Church, Spokane, USA (Rachel)
30 April Bloom Conference, House of the Lord Church, Idaho, USA (Rachel)
Finally, but certainly not last in our gratitude, we want you to know how much we appreciate you! The encouragement and support so many of you have given us over the last 12 months as we have ministered online through our social media pages has been life giving. Thank you! There are now over 500 messages, organised under playlists on Facebook and YouTube, which you can still access and listen back to if you haven’t caught them all. They are free of charge to listen to, with no subscription fees, so do please share them with your friends. Thank you also for those of you who have faithfully and generously sown into our ministry financially over this last year. Your investment enables us to continue to support our mission projects in Moldova and supports us as we preach, teach and write. Our Spring Gift Days in March saw donations totalling approx. £3500 given into the ministry and we are thankful for those called to partner with us in this new season. Thank you for helping us SPRING FORWARD!! If you are in a position to become a monthly partner or to give a one-off gift at this time, you can do this through our website at www.heartcryforchange.com/support-us. Thank you!
Thank you so much for your love and support! Soon we will be able to hug and meet which will be so exciting!
Rachel & Gordon and Helen.