Although born and raised a Methodist, in hindsight (and with the sort of honesty that comes as only the Truth becomes more important) I pretty much abandoned the ‘real’ church other than on ceremonial occasionals or baptisms, weddings and funerals shortly after joining the navy. I played at it, of course,when it suited me or impressed others or pleased the family. And so it went on until I was in my mid-forties, when I was brought into the Kingdom in 2004, by my youngest son, while we were in Cairo. Three years later I went through a very dark period, facing a huge mental, emotional and spiritual challenge that threatened to destroy my family and everything that I held dear. But by God’s grace and with the help and support of an amazing small-group family and a very (very!) biblical recovery process, I have been restored in my faith and my entire life (and marriage and family and fatherhood) has been strengthened and blessed beyond my wildest imaginings (Ephesians 3:20).
I left school at 16 and joined the Royal Navy, then when I left in 1982 I went to Saudi Arabia. Five years later I went back to the UK, did a few years of ‘house-husbanding’ (which was wonderful) and a variety of jobs in the UK and overseas. In 1994 I went to Egypt to work with the peacekeeping force on the border between Egypt and Israel. This was a single status job in the middle of nowhere, living in a container on a military camp (and my adopted dog, Lil!). It was hard but it was good – but in 1996 Jane had had enough of the UK and one day asked me how easy it was to get an apartment in Cairo. I asked her why and she told me “because I’ve got a job in Cairo, the house is sold and we arrive on 24 July“. And so she did, with three kids and 17 pieces of luggage. Thus began what has come to be known as the Great Egyptian Adventure. In 1998 I started working for an international school in Cairo and four years later I moved on and did some consultancy work for one of Egypt’s largest printing houses – I then went on to partner in a graphic design and advertising studio in Heliopolis.
I was unemployed when I came to Christ, and then worked for Maadi Community Church until spring of 2007. For the rest of that year, until I moved to Dubai, I worked as a project manager for a multi-faith NGO working in media, communications and inter-cultural relationships. After coming to the UAE I combined being a Business Analyst and Applications Developer for Dubai Kennels & Cattery (Dubai’s most established pet boarding and relocation company) and working in my spare (LOL) time for Cells-church Consultants International (a church development ministry based in Australia) as their Senior Associate Director as well as starting up this Small Beginnings ministry. Since the end of 2012 I have been concentrating on Small Beginnings and CCI, while planning our move to Bulgaria which is due to happen in 2015.
Any couples NOT faced crises in their relationships? Any parents NOT had problems raising their kids? Any kids, not been totally fed up with their parents at one (or more) times in your lives. Well, we are no different – but I have been truly blessed with a wife who has stuck by me through thick and thin and now after almost 30 years of marriage (and nearly 40 together – we started going out together when she was 12 and I was 14) our love for each other is stronger than ever, as is our desire to walk with the Lord!
Having grown up in Egypt our three children (Ben, Toby and Ashleigh) have a wonderfully wide view of the world which is helping them tremendously as they have each stepped out on their own in life. We also have a wonderful daughter-in-law (Cass) and a terrific grandson called Joshua. And I know that God is working his own miracles in each of their lives.
Originally born in Canterbury, Kent in the UK, I’ve lived overseas most of my life – and in the Middle East or North Africa for most of the last 28 years, including almost 15 years in Egypt. We’ve lived in the UAE since 2007 – the first three years in Dubai and since August 2010 on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi and now it is just Jane and I, empty nesting until we move to Bulgaria.
I give thanks to Jesus every day, that I am one of God’s ‘small beginnings’ – truly a work in progress – and holding on steadfastly to God’s promise that “He who began a good work in you (me) will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6.