Sunday, June 03, 2007

Family Update

On the 8 of June I will be moving to America, with my family following a few months later after I’ve found a house, car, etc.

I have been praying about moving my family to America ever since January of this year, at which time I also began applying for various American jobs. After that things began happening so quickly that before I knew it, I had been offered a position as full time history teacher at the Classical Christian Academy in Post Falls Idaho. We’re all very excited about it.

There are a number of reasons why I decided to take the plunge and move my family to the States. When I moved to England from America to marry Esther in 1997, I was quite happy to settle down in England. I really like this country, and my friends often tell me that I fit in so well I don’t even seem like an American to them (I always take that as a compliment). I never thought I would want to go back to America. But, like many things in life, having children changes your perspective.

As the children have grown older, I have increasingly longed to give them sustained companionship with other believers roughly their own age. I believe this is especially important when the children become marriageable, so they can meet prospective mates. So for a long time I have been praying that the Lord would put us in a church with other young families.

I’ve been praying for increased fellowship and friendship opportunities for a good 8 or 9 years, but it only recently dawned on me that it’s no good sitting back praying for a thing if I’m not willing to do something about it myself. That is when I realised that the obvious solution was to get out of Lincolnshire. Referred to as the spiritual wasteland of Britain, Lincolnshire not only has a deficit of family-friendly churches, but you will be hard pressed to find evangelical churches that are not plagued by feminine leadership, compromise, etc. Further, we are about the only Christian homeschooling family in the whole county, so unless we are prepared for the expense of frequent long-distance travel, it is very difficult to meet like-minded families.

At this point, a practical problem presented itself. With a family of 7 and a job little more than minimum wage, Lincolnshire is about the only place we could afford housing, unless we relocated to some of the few places even more desolate. That’s when I realised that I needed to find a better paid job which would enable us to move near a good church and other Christian families. However, prior to getting my present job, I had applied for over a hundred positions throughout England, and it was clear that there was very little available for someone with my skill-set. Not wanting to go down that road again, the only option left was to look for work abroad. The United States certainly held no lack of good churches, many of which we made contact with earlier this year as soon we began considering a move. The job market also seemed to hold more potential for someone with my background.

Another reason why it seemed sensible to move to America was the children’s education. As the children have grown older, Esther and I have become increasingly conscious of the limitations of homeschooling. One reason for this is simply financial: the cost of buying material and the loss of income the more I help with the schooling has created an enormous financial burden. But even apart from this, it is particularly difficult to do the classical method properly in a home environment, as Doug Wilson has pointed out. In England there are no classical Christian schools, whereas in America there are good classical Christian schools in every state (see HERE). Many of these schools are near or connected to churches that we would be particular keen to be part of.

So these are some of the reasons why I decided to start applying for jobs in America, leading to my employment by Classical Christian Academy as a full time history teacher. One of the good things about this school is that the children of all the teachers get to attend free, so not only will our children get a rich education but it won't cost us anything.
It’s an exciting venture and has happened so quickly that I’m still trying to acclimatise to the idea. I was only offered the job on the 25 of May and they’re flying me out on the 8 of June.

One final hurdle that needs to be overcome before the rest of my family will be able to come and join me. I need to find a sponsor for the two older children since they don’t have American passports. The sponsor promises to support them if, for some reason, I am not able to. It’s the government’s way to assure that they will not be a drain on public money, and the agreement expires after three years when they can become US citizens. After the Lord has so effectively answered our earlier prayers, I am not worried about this, but it is a matter that requires further prayer.
When I get to America I'm going to be pretty busy, so this blog will probably be quiet for a while.

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