Making a Choice

I recently heard the statement, “If God had a love language, it would be obedience”. Jesus said that anyone who loved Him would obey Him (John 14), James explained that hearing without action would lead to deception (James 1) and the apostle Paul described being a believer as synonymous with walking (obediently) in step with the Holy Spirit (Romans 8). In short, following Christ is what makes you a Christ follower.

For the most part, following Jesus is rather routine. I’m not saying it isn’t exciting, challenging, costly, maybe even life changing at times (sharing the gospel with unbelievers), but there aren’t many times that being obedient really leads you to count the cost and change everything about your life. But that’s exactly what has happened to us over the last few years.

I was born and bred in Hastings and I’ve been a full-time pastor for the last 9 years. Before that I was a primary school teacher along with my wife Lou who I married in 2007. We were settled, comfortable and were enjoying life with our three young children …and then it happened. It wasn’t a vision or writing in the sky, it was just one small step of obedience. We were mid application to extend our mortgage, move to another (even more comfortable and larger) house and settle long-term in Hastings, when God spoke to Lou about leaving her teaching job to seek him and invest time in the kids. We had a choice to make, sign on the dotted line and release the extra £70k to move and fix ourselves in Hastings, or we could be obedient, leave the job, lose the potential house and leave ourselves in limbo …we did the second. I remember walking out of the bank after being refused all credit on my salary alone and feeling such joy, all because of our obedience. Don’t get me wrong, it hurt. But we were given a choice and obedience won.

This led to a time of reflection and prayer and ultimately a growing sense of restlessness. We told the other elders at the church. For the first time we articulated out loud that Hastings would not be the forever home we thought it would be. I wish I could say it’s been all plain sailing, but it hasn’t. The last two years have been more of a light to our feet, rather than a light to the path, but step by step we have endeavoured to walk in faithful obedience and now we can look over our shoulders and see how far we’ve come.

In the Autumn of 2020, we began more intentional conversations with the apostolic team of New Ground and others. We explored all the connections we had – from Manchester to Mumbai, from Brussels to Brazil – everything was on the table. By the November we knew just two things, we would be leaving soon and one day we would be back, but we still had no idea when or where we were going.

In January 2021, my church undertook a week of prayer and I felt God lead me to pray and fast for the whole of that week. One week turned into two, then three and finally four. I would like to say it was a time of incredible growth but very little seemed to happen at first, until the tide began to turn. We started to hear God, receive prophetic words and Lou was even having dreams like she hadn’t had before. As time went on, He revealed more to us until we had some clear ideas on where we would be heading …and it wasn’t what we expected.

Within weeks we will likely be on a plane and flying from the South-East of England to the Philippines in the South-East of Asia to plant churches in the city of Davao. If you’d told me that three years ago, I would have signed on the dotted line and bought the bigger house in Hastings for sure! But interestingly, something happens to a believer as they set their heart and mind on being obedient to God. He gives them the faith to do the things He asks for, whether that’s walking across the room, or flying across the world. We’ve found it starts with a choice and the choice is either to stay safe or to be obedient.

We’re just a normal family, with normal quirks and weaknesses. There’s nothing special about us and those closest to us will tell you so! But somehow God does have a way of taking ordinary people who are willing to be obedient, and with His Spirit, enabling them to do what would otherwise be extraordinary. Who knows, maybe today you’ll have a choice to make.

Aled, Lou and the family are moving to Davao city in the south of the Philippines. If you would like to hear more about their journey and receive their newsletters and updates, you can sign up here!