March 12, 2009

Westhead Update - Spring 2009 - Part 2

Andrew continues to be busy at work, though he recently enjoyed a two-week holiday, which also included the boys' week-long mid-term holiday. Compared with the normal two weeks that many of us are used to when we start a job, most jobs here in the UK start with something like 6 weeks!

For part of the holiday, we all traveled down to Southampton to visit with Andrew's sister, Jean, and her husband Ian. Using their house as a base, we managed to visit Marwell Zoo and Stonehenge!

We have managed to put the house up for sale on the market, and it has even been viewed several times. The housing market here, just like the economy, is touch and go at best, so we're praying that God will allow it to sell according to His timing. We are also praying about what we should do after the house eventually sells.

The troubles of our neighbourhood continue, though it seems that through working closely with the local police, councilors and other council departments, we might finally being some light at the end of the tunnel. Other neighbours are also finally coming forward, and the police and anti-social behaviour unit have now identified a number of youths. We are now just waiting for the "process" to begin!

In addition to our own mini campaign against the troubles here, the West Yorkshire Police are also unrolling a new campaign to better work with communities to identify and tackle specific issues within communities, which also coincides with a new pledge for local police nationally by the Home Office. In our area, as a result of all the past reporting, we are now seeing regular patrols. These PCs and PCSOs have actually caught some of these kids in the act! We can only hope that all these events will lead to more peaceful evenings as the weather gets better.

In addition to all of these public meetings, and the regular responsibilities at home, teaching Sunday School and helping out at Ambassadors at church, I've found myself doing a lot of babysitting of late. I've recently befriended one of our neighbours, a young, single mother with two little boys. Her oldest attends school with Jonathan, while the younger is just 6 months old. It has been a blessing and a challenge to offer her the friendship and support she needs, as well as hopefully being an example to her. Please pray that our friendship will be strengthened and that she will be able to see Christ's love for her through me!

March 05, 2009

Westhead Update - Spring 2009 - Part 1

Spring is blossoming here in England!

After such a long winter, which included the worst snow our area has seen in 18 years, it is such a blessing to be facing more sunny days, and to see the patches of purple, yellow and white flowers brightening up road sides.

When we first left Bermuda, it had been my intention to send out monthly updates, but life has, unfortunately, proven far too busy. It is difficult to believe that it is already March, but the shops are ever reminding us of the fast-approaching Easter season with the sale of chocolate eggs, which appeared as soon as Valentine's was over.

One of the biggest events since the New Year was Jonathan starting nursery at Fitzwilliam Primary, the same school Andrew and his siblings attended as children. Andrew, in fact, laughed at how little the main school building has changed since he was a boy!

Originally, Jonathan attended 2-1/2 hours every afternoon, but since the mid-term holiday, that has increased to 3 hours a day. He has settled in beautifully, and loves to go to school. I even got a big thumbs up from one of the teachers a few weeks after he started, to let me know that Jonathan actually SPOKE!

His speech has drastically improved, though he is still very shy about talking away from home.

Tommy is proving to be quite the little history buff, as the subject seems to becoming his favourite. He absolutely loved learning about the Black Death and the Great Fire of London during the first half of this term, and is equally excited about learning about World War Two during the second half. He did, however, get somewhat distressed about the evacuations of children from London during the German bombing raids.

He has recently given up on football on Saturday mornings, which, in a way is a bit of a blessing for us, as it means we now have more time on a Saturday to do things as a family. He apparently wasn't the only child who could no longer face running around in 0˚C weather, often in wet and/or semi-frozen conditions.

He has, however, recently begun karate through a 5-week taster course being given through his school, Crofton Infants. He begged us to be allowed to try it, and after speaking with the karate instructor about some of our concerns over how it would be taught, we agreed. He is absolutely loving learning about karate as a sport, and would like to go on to take more lessons, but is still looking forward to being old enough to begin fencing!