Married long distance?…they mustn’t love each other much!

I’ve been asked a lot recently about how I can live for extended period of time, without my husband and why I would choose to delay my return to the Philippines by another few months. Many people seem to struggle to understand how we cope. I am aware that it is regularly remarked when I’m out of ear shot ‘what sort of marriage is that? They mustn’t love each other much if they can live like that? Do you think they married for visas?….they probably won’t stay married for long!’

The answer to the question of ‘why we currently live separately’ is simply because we believe God has said that’s the right thing to do. When Gibs and I first decided that we wanted to be married, we knew that we would likely find ourselves living apart for certain seasons. We talked in depth and prayed about these things, eventually we made the decision that whatever, whenever or even wherever God directed we would do it. After we married we spent six month together in the UK and when it was time for Gibs to return to a Manila we knew it was right for me to stay behind. It has been important for me to be in the UK to grow relationships and ensure that we have good people supporting us as we plan to restart our projects in Manila. Although physically apart we are building important foundations for what we will in a few months build together.

I had expected to rejoin him sooner than now, however God has continually said ‘wait’. Has this been hard? Of course it has! It’s been one of the hardest periods of my life, but out of obedience to God we persevere. During this extra time we have managed to gather enough money for a vehicle (as mentioned in the previous post) and Gibs has been able to establish his business and a regular client list without the pressure of a regular busy ministry schedule. I have been able to build strong friendships here in the UK, which will ensure we never feel as alone as we have the last few years. I believe this season has laid foundations for bigger things to come and for new lasting partnerships in ministry. 

We endure this time of separtion to secure the future of our ministry and our marriage. It’s bigger than just us, it’s about what’s conclusive to building the kingdom. If God has asked us to stay apart for a while longer then we can trust him to sustain and hold together our relationship. It’s a decision we made together, in light of what we believe God was asking of us, yet knowing he would not force us if we chose not to. We talk via video call almost everyday, and share the tiniest details of our day with each other to ensure we stay connected. We still pray together, make decisions together, laugh, joke and cry together. While we may miss physical proximity and intimacy this is not what our marriage is built upon, it is built on love, trust, mutual respect and a shared faith in Jesus. We look forward with excitement and anticipation for our reunion in a few months time, and for all that God has for us to do together in Manila.

I believe our marriage survives this testing season because of our faith and it is strong because we love each other enough to do so at a distance. 

 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

Romans 12:12


An Early Loss

This is only blog Post Number Three and I’m already about too tell the toughest story of my mission experience so far. I arrived in Manila In September 2012 and by the first week of October we had started two programmes for Children in the Local area. One of these was with the Children of an area called Dona Isidora’. This community all live in very close proximity too each other, in mostly makeshift housing and an some families even sharing communal bathrooms. As you can imagine the children of this area have strong bonds with each other some being almost like siblings.

During our sessions we would always learn a bible verse a week and there would be prize for who could remember the most. There was always one boy who won, he had an amazing memory and could recite without fail every verse we had learnt. He even won the big prize of a large transformer toy at the Christmas Party for reciting them in order at the front. 

On the morning of December 23rd, I was getting ready to do the laundry before Christmas when several Children burst through the garden gate and started yelling that there had been an accident…He’d been hit by car and was critically ill in hospital. He had been coming home at 5am from the traditional Christmas ‘night mass’ with his family and a friend. It was dark and seemed quiet, he released his friends hand and ran into the road. He was hit by a reckless underage driver going 120mph believing there would be no one on the road. His body was dragged along the road, he suffered extensive internal injuries and trauma to the skull. The young man who hit him thankfully did not run but drove him to the nearest hospital.

I threw on some clothes called Gibs and we rushed to the hospital. When I arrived I was shown to the emergency room and what I found there broke my heart. He was lying motionless on the bed with a nurse manually pumping air into his lungs. I asked the nurse what the prognosis was and she said his heart was working, but his brain was so damaged he could no longer breathe for himself. I sat in the chair next to his bed, took his hand, told him we were there and began too pray. As I was praying someone behind me exclaimed ‘he’s crying! Look!’. As I looked up I saw tears streaming from his eyes, and realised he could hear us. We assured him we loved him and would do everything we could for him. Only three people were allowed in at one time so we left to allow other members of his  family back in. 

As I left I asked about the medical bills, which as we were in a private hospital would be very expensive, it transpired that the driver was from a very wealthy family and they had offered to cover all the costs, including the impending move to an intensive care unit. That evening he was moved to the ICU where he was placed on a ventilator. He remained there for Christmas Eve whilst they continued attempts to get him to breathe for himself. Eventually after some scans the Doctor informed the family that in his view there was no chance of recovery and that they should consider removing the life support machines. So on Christmas Morning 2012 at just 8 years old his parents lost their only son. 

In keeping with Filipino tradition his body as brought home, as their house was so small it was displayed in an open top coffin under a marquee on the street. We went daily to visit the family and held a service in which the other children sang and shared memories of their friend and brother. He was buried in the new year with his beloved transformer toy and none of us have ever quite been the same since. 

It was this experience that really solidified our determination too keep supporting families in that community, to be a light when things get dark. I remember thinking how different things might have been if they had occurred in the U.K. An ambulance would have been called and been there within minutes, to avoid having to move the body and risk worsening the injuries. Medical bills would not have been something too be concerned about, no pressure to turn off life support until you are ready to do so, because it isn’t costing a years wages everyday. I see on the news the crisis in the NHS and the reports that It might fail. We need to support our Doctors and Nurses, and continue to petition our leaders to take care of our  national health service. 


A Long Walk to Nowhere

As promised in this blog I would tell some stories of times I have made a fool of myself and got it wrong. So here we go…

A few years ago when Gibs and I first started dating, we were attending a Church that needed a new building due to a growing number of attendees. One morning I declared ‘Honey…We need to go for a walk! I think God has told me we are going to find the new Church building today…I can feel it!’

Please note this was in the hight of South East Asian summer and I was proposing we walk around in 35° heat without knowing what I was looking for, or even what it looked like! However he responded immediately with ‘okay then, let’s go!’.

So we put on some sun hats and off we went, we walked, and walked, and walked….and walked some more. I was adamant that I’d know it when I saw it! After 3 hours, Our feet were filthy with the dust, our clothes were damp with sweat & and despite buying water along the way, we felt pretty dehydrated. We finally decided it was time to turn around and go home. We caught a bus back the way we came and I felt very silly. It’s the willingness and enthusiasm that counts right?

In view of my mistake you would expect that at some point Gibs would have said too me ‘I can’t believe you made me do that for nothing’ but he never did! That day was one of the first times I really knew that this was the man I wanted to do life with. He has never doubted me, even when I have crazy ideas he’s always ready to jump into the adventure. Even though I’ve been wrong in the past, he still believes in me everytime. 

If I could give advice to anyone who’s planning to do something they feel lead to do, it would be find someone too do it with. It could be a friend, a sibling, spouse, but someone who it’s safe to get wrong with. There is a saying “If you want too go quickly go alone, if you want to go far go together”.

Despite us being 6000 miles away from each other, Gibs still supports me in everything. Today happens too be his birthday, and he deserves to celebrated. So Happy Birthday Honey! Here’s to many more failed adventures together, and a few successful ones too!

FAQs on whether or not I’m Barmy

When people find out that at 18 years old I chose to decline an offer to study at the University of Chester, to travel to the Philippines and live my life to serve people there, the most frequently ask question is ‘Are you mad?’ Second is ‘Why would you do that?’

Well okay I’ll admit, its not really the norm, but I did it because I fully believed and still do that it was my purpose. When I was 13 Years old A missionary visited my church. I listened her speak about what she does and I knew in that moment thats what I needed to do with my life. That was what I was made for! So at 18 once I’d finished my A-levels I went and I spent almost 2 years working with the same missionary I met at 13 in her Children’s home The Philippine Outreach Centre.

This is me in my first week in Philippines with a new arrival to the Centre. I was much Thinner then!

Since then I’ve gone on to set up my own initiative in Manila A Promise Of Hope. Where we do our best to work with families in the slums of the city to love families in need. We hold regular kids clubs where we provide food for Street Children.

People often also ask Do you get paid for it?  When I tell them ‘no I do notthey ask ‘Aren’t you worried about money?’  Of course I wouldn’t be human If I didn’t worry, but in the last 7 years, I have never been short, I have always had food and shelter. Sometimes it’s come from places I’d never expect, other times we have just scraped by. (I will share many of these stories in future post). For the most part I have been self funded, I have come back to the UK too work and save and then returned to Manila. The one thing I will say is that since making the decision to do what I felt called to do, it’s been tough but God has never let me down, and has always provided.

Going back to the title question?…Am I Barmy? Probably a little, but not because of the life choice I’ve made. In this blog I will be sharing my stories, the good and bad, mistakes, failures and successes. In hope that I might inspire some people who feel inadequate to step out and make a difference.