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One Year

A year ago, almost to the day, Sam and I sat down and had a conversation about this pandemic that has hit the whole world. 

Our conversation was via Zoom because she had made the hard decision to not come back from the USA to the UK for her regular visit in March. I was 4 months pregnant with my second child. We had just moved house, and my husband was 6 months into a new job. Sam and I were both feeling the weight of the pandemic, the separation of not being able to travel, or even meet friends who live nearby. We were so aware of the darkness and panic being spread by the news and social media. We felt we had a responsibility to share the hope that we have in Jesus because hope was, and still is, so sorely lacking in the world. 

Over the next few weeks the UK went into tighter and tighter lockdown. Sam’s decision to stay in the USA was confirmed as international boarders were closed, non essential businesses, shops, restaurants, cinemas and theatres all closed and eventually schools. Sadly, the institutional church accepted its ‘non-essentia’ status all too easily and they closed their doors too. This gave Sam and I an idea. What if we could encourage those following Jesus to actually spread the hope we have, like the virus was being spread?!  What if we spread hope not the coronavirus home to home, person to person, heart to heart?!  

And so the Beacon of Hope was born. This weekly e-newsletter encouraging all those who read it that there is hope, there are ways of sharing Jesus even if we can’t meet as we used to. The Beacon of Hope became a way of sharing how different families and individuals were celebrating the little things, noticing God in everyday life, seeing Him in the wonder of creation. It became a way of encouraging individuals who were shielding, feeling isolated and alone, that they are not separated from the love of God. We thought it might run for a few months, maybe 5 or so, because by the summer everything would be returning to normal, right?

A year ago, almost to the day Sam and I sat down and had a conversation about this pandemic that has hit the whole world. 

These days, Sam and I still have conversations via Zoom because she is still in the USA but amazing things are happening and God is also growing the Inspire Movement in new exciting ways! I’m not 4 months pregnant because I now have an 8 month old daughter who delights and surprises us every day. She has never met anyone her own age because we are still in lockdown in the UK, but she attends a weekly toddler group on Zoom run by a church near Chester and has a weekly story time on Zoom with her two ‘Aunts’, one in Chesterfield and one in Helsby. As a family we have never ‘gone to church’ together, but every week we listen to the sermon of a ‘Grandpa’ of hers in Texas, we connect with a church in Beverley where an ‘Auntie’ goes and we listen to Lectio 365 every morning with breakfast. I am surrounded by packing boxes, not because we haven’t unpacked, but because we are about to move…again!! And the job my husband was 6 months into, well, he has resigned and he finishes on the 18th April. Through the weight of the pandemic God has made it clear to us that investing in a few and seeking real fellowship with Christians who are hungry for more of God is key to the life of a radical disciple. We don’t seek to be radical disciples for our own benefit but so we can live as everyday witnesses sharing God’s light, truth and HOPE with all we meet. 

The Beacon of Hope was supposed to be an instrument through which God could break into the darkness, the struggle, the anxiety, the wounds, the tears, the battle and the loneliness. From the feedback we have had it has done just that and more. We will continue to send out the Beacon of Hope for as long as God needs us too. God isn’t going to stop doing amazing things just because the pandemic ends (if it ever does!). We cannot do this without you, your stories, feedback and contributions are vital to the continuation of this work.

So…where have you seen God recently? How has God surprised you with his presence or provision? How have you shared God’s hope with those around you despite the pandemic restrictions?

21 March 2021

Rachel co-edits the Beacon of Hope with Sam, and they would love to hear from you: [email protected]

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