Update from Mark and Arlene 20th March 2021
It is almost a year since we last updated our news on the church website. As for all of us, the past year has been nothing like we had expected and nothing like we have ever experienced.
Despite being mission partners with Gleneagles church to work with the Church Mission Society in Moldova we have both been living in Antrim, Northern Ireland since March 2020. From December 2019 and through the pandemic Arleen has been the main carer for her mother who was diagnosed with Myeloma. After excellent treatment for this condition, she has made good progress and since September Arleen has been able to work part time for the health trust in Belfast. Mark has continued to teach a full timetable of English classes on zoom, as part of the Baptist church English project in Cahul, Moldova. It has been a real privilege for us both to be able to find ways to serve and to develop relationships with the people of Moldova and Northern Ireland despite the restrictions and challenges of Covid. As our stay in Antrim was becoming longer term than we anticipated, we have let out our house in Wellingborough and accepted that we are to be here for the time being.
So, we have found the Lord to be faithful to us through all the ups and downs. Have we made the right decisions at each step? His peace has reassured us that we are where we are meant to be and he has given us strength for each day. We’ve been greatly encouraged by His word to us, by our faithful prayerful friends, many of you at Gleneagles, and by resources such as the ‘Choose life’ book and Lectio 365, a daily devotional. This has helped us face the next challenge of Arleen’s diagnosis of breast cancer in January. Once confirmed, the treatment started quickly and she is now well into her course of chemotherapy, before surgery and radiotherapy early in the summer. We are so thankful to have excellent care here and for the kindness shown in so many ways. What a compassionate and loving heavenly Father we have, he doesn’t leave us but walks with us through these times.
Like many, we look forward to that day when we can see our children and Mark’s family again. Meantime zoom has been great fun, even having an online birthday party, murder mystery and lots of chats. We always look forward to the Gleneagles Sunday zoom too and to seeing many of you there. You may not be aware what a great encouragement that has been. For the future then there are questions of course, but this song from our childhood has been our prayer,
‘I know who holds the future, and he’ll guide me with his hand:
with God things don’t just happen, everything by him is planned.
So, as I face tomorrow, with its problems large and small,
I’ll trust the God of miracles, give to him my all.’
With our love and prayers,
Mark and Arleen