It’s now been three years since I left ChristChurch London and life in London to live in the Philippines. I specialise in sustainable agriculture and climate change and had been doing consultancy in the UK but finally got the opportunity to put that research into use in developing countries. I now live in the largest agricultural research community in Asia, just south of Manila.
There have been ups and downs inherent in moving to a new country, but seeing how I had been so clearly led by God encouraged me to keep going. The first few months of 2015 have been the most spiritually significant of my life, as I’ve felt God help me to see how through my work I would be a blessing to the Muslim world through agriculture, which was my main purpose in going.
Still, there were some things I felt God was asking me to do that seemed like odd pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. I recently wrote them all down and just prayed: “Lord, I’m not smart enough to figure this out. Please show me how all these things fit together in your plan for me.” Over the next 18 hours God really answered that prayer! I felt like I received new ideas and insights and I kept stopping what I was doing to make note of them. Even through the night, I was waking up with fresh insights, as if God had put new glasses on me to see the whole picture so clearly. I began to see how the concepts I had been working on for the past ten years could even cancel out the greenhouse gas emissions from air travel. I shared them with a leading researcher in my field, who initially thought I was crazy but – after an hour of explaining to him – eventually said the ideas could be very significant. Those insights were mostly technical in nature, but I also felt that God gave me guidance about the people and structures needed to make it happen.
Recently, an international team visited our church and, to my surprise, came to see me at work. They squeezed into my little office and briefly heard what I was doing. Then they began to share some insights that they felt God had given to them, and to my surprise they were the same things I had heard myself. It felt like an amazing time of affirmation that God loves the nations and He loves His creation. I felt encouraged that He has been the one leading me all this time, giving me the ideas – even in the night – which I’m trusting will make a significant difference in the world. It’s such a thrilling adventure.
Crucially in all of this, I’m learning that my identity is not as a scientist, environmental entrepreneur or as a white British man in the Philippines, but as a child of God. Whether I hit highs or lows, knowing that I am His son is the unshakable basis for my security and my joy.