Grateful to God for a Week of Grace

So after a whirlwind few days of travelling and ministry (including the most random wedding I’ve ever attended) I’ve finally found a bit of time and headspace to post a few reflections on our recent holiday to Bangor. Our 6 day family adventure to the beautiful coastal town of Bangor (Northern Ireland) could have gone one of 2 ways. It could have been a total disaster – a first ever ferry crossing with kids, a long drive on the other side of the Irish sea, squeezing our already large family into a house with another already large family, 5 of whom we’d never even met before!! Or it could have been an unparalleled success – a journey that more than justified the ‘gamble’! Praise God, it was very much the latter. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that it was the best family holiday that we’ve ever had. Here’s why: Basically, there are 6 reasons why it was such a great trip. Those six reasons are called Glen, Janine, Abigail, Jessica, Joel and Noah (aka the Mitchell Massive!) Truth is it was TOTALLY the family that we got to hang out with, learn from, pray with, laugh with and make memories with, that made it so special.

Prior to our arrival we had only ever met Glen (a friend of mine through Acts 29 WE) and had got to know Janine a little thanks to the wonderful world of Twitter and email. But we had never met the kids before and had no guarantee whether their little people and our little people would even get on! But they REALLY did. We all REALLY did! We could have been staying in a drafty barn in Siberia and it still would have been awesome. There are so many things that I could write about here, but it would take too long. So here’s a couple of highlights (in no particular order!)

  1. Being with a couple that totally understood the pressures of trying to balance a happy home life with loads of kids whilst leading a church.
  2. Never once feeling like we were intruding (a mark of true grace and hospitality!)
  3. Seeing both sets of kids learning to share, to learn and to have fun together.
  4. Feeding my caffeine addiction with the Mitchell’s phenomenal coffee machine!
  5. The encouragement of witnessing God’s clear hand at work at King’s Church and the privilege of preaching there on the Sunday.
  6. The humbling experience of hanging out with Glen – one of the most godly, gracious, kind and calm men I know, and an inspiring church leader.
  7. The blessing of being around Janine – such a fun-loving, grace-giving, compassionate, creative and Christ-like woman and a frankly wonderful mum.
  8. Buying McDonald’s for the whole tribe (see photo above!) It was the closest thing to Cheaper By The Dozen I’ve ever experienced.
  9. Helping each of the big kids to paddle out in the sea and to climb a ladder up the rocks to Glen at the top. (Gotta love dad adventures!)
  10. The Prayer Bubbles, Worship Bopping and Bible time we had with the kids on the last night.
  11. The correct decision to go to Pickie Park (EPIC family fun) rather than go the North Coast (beautiful scenery but not as good for kids!)
  12. Getting to enjoy a Lamb Jalfrezi at Archana in Belfast (my favourite curry house in the world, that I hadn’t visited for years!)
  13. Joel giving Josiah his toy bat and Josiah giving Joel his truck as leaving presents. #bredrinz
  14. Stopping off in Dolgellau (our honeymoon town) for tea on the journey home.
  15. Checking my bank account after arriving home and finding a C not a D at the end of the figure. (God is so faithful!!)
  16. The pleasure of coming home knowing that we have made genuine friends for life!
I’m sure there was a load of stuff that the other guys will look back with on with fondness. I guess that’s what the comments section is for! For what it’s worth I just want to go on record to thank the Mitchell’s for pouring more grace into our lives in 6 days than we ever would have received supping cocktails in Barbados for 6 months without them! I want to thank my dad for his generosity in helping to us to get there at all! Above all I want to thank God for the gift of good friends that provide colour, vibrancy and epic grace for the gospel adventure!

Right, glad I got all that off my chest.

Time to crack on with the mission of making Christ known in Trevethin…

One thought on “Grateful to God for a Week of Grace

  1. Man I could read this a hundred times and never get bored… You have summoned the week perfectly..it was a blessing and an honour to have the hankeys stay… I learned so much by just being around you guys as a couple, parents and a family… God was so good to us by bringing a week of faith filled friends, an amazing family and memories to literally cherish for a long time! Thanks hankeys it was a blast!

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