Reunited

Reunited

It’s been some time since I wrote a post again. This has been due to a number of things really. Some personal challenges and changes that were quite stressful to work through, and a lot happening with people who Father has drawn.

I have to be honest and say that there have been moments in recent months that I have wondered if it is all worth the hassle and the pressures that have come to me personally, and I’ve been unsure if I can take much more. But there’s one thing that I can’t escape. It is that Jesus said “Feed my sheep.” And I know that those he has drawn he has drawn for a reason.

When I reach the point of being unsure if I can take much more, and I start to doubt myself (never Jesus), my calling etc, something happens like it has done over the last couple of days to, yet again, blow my mind and show me exactly what Father is up to and how he has been and is working, and to encourage me that he won’t fail if I remain faithful to what he has called me to.

In the post titled “Jesus Is Working On Your Behalf!”, I introduced Bill. You may need a refresher as to who Bill is and how we crossed paths, so click the link for that!

In recent months Sarah and I have been working hard to help Bill practically. It’s been a joy and we have seen him really change and blossom, and we know Father is doing so much in him. We never push talking about God with him, we’ve just let things unfold and built relationship with him and given him the space to trust us.

So this is where things really take off.

A few weeks ago, following some good news for Bill relating to finances, we were discussing some things he might be able to do that he couldn’t before. One was that he was able to buy a bike that he’d had his eye on for some time which would help him getting around as he has found walking more difficult recently. So we got the bike, and on Tuesday he cycled from his home in Farnborough to meet with us at Wetherspoons in Aldershot!

As well as the bike, Bill was very clear on what else he would like to do. He said that he would like to go and visit his sister who he hadn’t seen for quite some time. We are not sure how long, but we are talking many years I think. As a small bit of background, Bill and his older sister were put in a children’s home not long after Bill was born, and he moved from one children’s home to the next throughout his childhood.

This week, through a friend who was able to search and find out a little more info, we were able to confirm Bill’s sisters name and that she was definitely his sister as she had the same birth mother. Sarah messaged me yesterday morning to tell me her name.

I don’t know why (well I do now), but I had this thought to search on Google using Bill’s sisters name and Bill’s name. I didn’t know what it would do, but just had the thought.

So I was more than a little surprised when the first website listed on the search results showed an enquiry from a lady (let’s call her Christine) trying to find Bill and his sister! The site was Genes Reunited, and the enquiry was made in 2011. I started to follow the message thread and came across a message with information confirming Bill’s mothers name (we have a copy of his birth certificate), the dates and places of Bill’s and his sisters birth, and information regarding Bill’s father who he never knew (there is no fathers name on Bill’s birth certificate.) There was no doubt that this person was searching for the Bill who Father has drawn to us!

I didn’t know if it would work, but I registered on the site, and paid for a month’s subscription to enable me to message Christine through the site and also post on the thread. I messaged to say that I was certain that the William I had been sat with in the Tilly Shilling in Farnborough the day before was the William she was looking for!

Last night I was out watching football, came home, ate something, fell asleep on the sofa watching TV and woke at around 12.45am thinking it was probably a good idea to go to bed. Having got myself ready, I thought I’d just check my e-mail, and for some reason I checked the spam folder.

I was surprised to see an e-mail from Genes Reunited saying that I had received a message from Christine who had posted the enquiry about Bill and his sister! Christine lives in Australia, and she asked me to send any information I could relating to Bill. She provided her personal e-mail address.

So I explained who I am, what I do, how Bill and I met and how we got to be where we are now. I also shared what information we have about Bill and his history, and that we are trying to make contact with his sister. By the time I finished and was happy to send it, it was 2am! I eventually got to sleep, but woke again at 6am.

I woke to find two e-mails from Australia! The first was a whole lot of information regarding Bill’s mother and father that he and we didn’t know. It is so helpful to us in what we are trying to help Bill with, and will be a real benefit in moving forward.

The second e-mail was a picture. Now I mentioned that Bill never knew his father. He didn’t know his name, or any information about him, and has no recollection of ever meeting him. Well, in this picture, Christine explained that they were 100% sure the man was Bill’s father, 99.9% sure that the woman in the picture was Bill’s mother, and also that the baby being held was Bill’s sister, and that Bill’s mother appeared pregnant, and most likely with Bill!

This was all amazing. But not half as amazing as what came next.

Shortly after I received another e-mail from Christine to say that she was searching on behalf of her cousin. Her cousin was born in 1953 to Bill’s mother, but was put up for adoption at birth, and adopted by Christine’s aunt and her husband, hence the cousin connection. Shortly after this happened, Bill’s mother married his father, and in 1954, Bill’s sister was born, and in 1955 Bill was born. It was shortly after this that Bill and his sister were taken into a children’s home.

Christine said that her cousin (let’s call the cousin Rebekah) had given permission to share her e-mail address and mobile number (she lives in the UK) with me so that I could contact her direct. I’m obviously trying to be sensitive not to share actual names etc or too much personal information, but I will share these two things from Rebekah’s e-mail to Christine.

“Well all that had me in tears not only for poor Bill but the fact there’s too many coincidences for it not to be him/them and it would all make perfect sense as to why they’ve been so hard to trace. Whilst I don’t want to get my hopes up too much this is the biggest breakthrough ever, so yes please do (share contact info).”

“This has so got to be worth a shot and if it’s him that would make my day/life complete.”

So next I e-mailed Rebekah:

Hello Rebekah

I have just replied to Christine following her sending more information and also your contact details. I was not able to say much at the start other than wow!

I could tell from your email to her how much this means to you, and I’m certain that the William I was sat with in the Tilly Shilling Wetherspoons in Farnborough yesterday is the William you have been searching for! All the information fits perfectly with the little we know so far about Bill.
My colleague Sarah and I have been trying to make contact with Bill’s sister now that we know more about her. Bill would love to see her again, that is something we will endeavour to see happen.
Sarah and I have a hospital visit in Guildford this morning, but if it’s OK with you I will call you a bit later today to make contact? My aim later today is to meet up with Bill and talk through all that we now know. As I said in my email to Christine, it was all a bit overwhelming for him yesterday (we told him that we had found messages online and that someone was looking for him and his sister), but in a good way!

I’m pleased for both you and Christine that 9 years of searching has born some fruit finally. And I hope between us we can fit together the other parts of the jigsaw and make contact with Bill’s sister too.

I look forward to speaking with you soon!
It wasn’t long before I received a reply. Rebekah told me that wow didn’t really cover it for her, because she had been searching for Bill and his sister since 1977 when she finally got her original birth certificate and found out who she ‘was’ in 1953. She also said this:

This has been, after having a good cry, a massive but brilliant surprise as I can imagine too for Bill, once it’s sunk in.

I might not have known him but I definitely loved him from afar and always hoped he was out there somewhere and doing ok.

Here is a lady who’s been searching for 43 years for a sister and brother she never knew she had till 1977!

Sometimes the question comes when we’re helping people; What is this all about? I think today that, yet again, Father is saying, “Do you trust me that I know what I’m doing, and that if you do what I asked you to do, you’ll see fruit?” Even when I have no clue what’s going on, Father knows!

I now know why I met Bill around 7 years ago. It wasn’t for the practical help that we’ve given him, although that is good and part of the plan. It is for what has happened the last two days. Because isn’t this exactly what Father is about? Restoring relationships, connecting families, and giving people a sense of identity! And answering the “prayers” of a lady who has been searching for 43 years for a sister and brother, and giving Bill a sister he never knew he had.

We sat today and talked it all through with Bill. We showed him the picture that Christine sent, and explained who was who in the picture, and for the first time (at least that he knows) he saw the face of his father. It was a lot for him to take in obviously, but he did brilliantly. Sarah cried for like the 3rd time today I think. Happy tears she explained to Bill! And yesterday and today opened up the opportunity to speak very openly but simply with Bill about what God is doing too. In a new way.

There is something about the calling of Jesus to me that I recognize is quite unique. It is that the people Father is drawing require patience, and that we have to hang in there and not let go. It’s 7 or so years since I first met Bill. And here we are 7 years later, and Father goes, “Now it’s time, see?”

To be faithful long after others may well have let go is a challenge. Sometimes my humanity kicks in and I feel like it’s enough and it’s time to let them go. But then I’m reminded that when Father draws people to me/us, I know he is saying that, just as he promises each of us “I will never leave you or forsake you,” then I/we must incarnate that very same faithfulness to others. How else will they know that he is faithful if we cannot incarnate the faithfulness of Jesus himself?

As I said to Freddie in San Francisco as I shared the whole story with him, isn’t it amazing that after the faithfulness and persistence of one lady in searching for 43 years, and another for 9 years, Father has unlocked it all and opened up everything in two days. In two days Bill’s world has changed. That’s amazing to me! And so typically Father working.

All I can say is keep going, and don’t let go.

Eat the Living Bread, drink the Living Water.