Posted by: Simon & Becci | June 29, 2016

Reflections on returning

As I look out of the window upon a typically rainy British summer’s day, I am in a reflective mood.  Amazingly it is approaching 9 months since our last blog post, and therefore nearly 9 months since we left Cambodia. How did that happen!?! I therefore thought it might be interesting to give you a bit of a flavour of what it is like to come back.

Firstly, its been wonderful to have an extended time to reconnect with family and friends, not just a for a snatched afternoon or day, but to be able to properly rebuild relationships and forge new ones. England, and even Coventry, is also a lot greener than I remember!

With Becci's growing family!

With Becci’s growing family!

It has also been really encouraging to hear stories from Cambodia about how the church, and our friends there are doing. We miss them all dearly but are so proud to hear of their hard work, continued faithfulness, and dreams and plans for the future.

Leaving them and returning to the UK has certainly been weird. Somehow it has been possible to simultaneously feel both totally at home, and yet totally lost and disconnected at the same time. Its like putting on an old pair of slippers that you know and love, and yet finding that your feet do not quite fit anymore, and that the slippers themselves have changed colour and shape.


In Bourton-on-the-water a couple of weeks ago

Coupled with this, I think it would be safe to say that the past few months have not quite progressed as we had thought they might. Unexpected family news, changes in our family of churches, and our own decision to push ahead with fertility treatment have meant that our anticipated short-term return has gradually evolved into a long-term one. We feel a mix of emotions about this – sometimes peaceful, sometimes excited, sometimes uncertain, sometimes sad. Sometimes a bizarre concoction of all four at once, which means my own emotional state has been somewhat turbulent and unpredictable.

With our new Japanese friend, Yoshi

With our new Japanese friend, Yoshi

This week I have been studying the wonderful, inspiring book of Ruth in the Bible. Ruth is a childless widow, who chooses to leave her country and family out of love and devotion to Naomi, her similarly widowed, but bitter, mother-in-law who bemoans what she has lost.

As we continue to reflect on the past and make decisions about the future, including applying for jobs, beginning IVF treatment and searching for houses to buy, like Naomi I have found a surprising and unwelcome visitor want to come and fellowship with me: regret.

Regret is not a pleasant companion. She has whispered to me that I made a mistake in giving up my HR career to work for the church in 2007, saying that my CV is now undesirable to potential employers. She has bemoaned the day that I gave up the security of my job, salary and leadership role in Coventry to move to Cambodia. She has shaken her head at our financial choices including selling our house before we left. She has even urged me to curse the choice to step back from pushing for fertility treatment several years ago, so that we could move to Cambodia, as our chances of starting a family have now deteriorated. And day-by-day she comes knocking at my door at regular intervals seeking fellowship.

But whilst Naomi bemoans her loss, Ruth faithfully sets to work where she comes to the attention of the heroic Boaz. Others see Ruth as a risk – a barren woman who might “impair my own inheritance” as a potential wife (Ruth 4v6) – but Boaz chooses to marry her, a child is born to them and they go down in history as the great-grandparents of King David, and in the royal line and genealogy of Jesus (Matthew 1v5).

I am reminded today that faithfully following Jesus, and walking step-by-step with him, even taking risks against the logic and expectations of the world around us will never lead to us “impairing our inheritance”. Far from it. Every sacrifice we made to go to Cambodia has been worth it. Our dear friends in Phnom Penh were worth it. Jesus is, and will always be, worth it.

As we face the future I do so choosing to shut the door on regret and instead to take refuge in an all together better place. As Boaz himself says to Ruth:

“All that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband has been told to me, how you left your father and mother and your native land and came to a people that you did not know before. The Lord repay you for what you have done, and a full reward be given you by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge” (Ruth 2v11-12)


Dressing appropriately for the British summer….




  1. Such honesty, you lovely people.

    I remind you of something a wise man once said in his final preach to Jubilee Church Coventry in 2011…

    For the sake of His glory and advancing His Kingdom, off we go.

    Praying for you as ever

    R x

  2. Your honesty inspires me … Thank you … Keep singing and dancing in the rainxxxIf you would like a break in Porlock let us know love Melody and David xx

  3. Simon and Becci, that is a moving, encouraging and honest sharing of your feelings. Reading through the story of Ruth, we are not told how she felt, but she was a real woman, with regrets and hopes of her own. She was a beautiful young woman, and loved her mother in law. She set aside her own needs to get Naomi home, and worked to feed them both. It must have been scary going to glean in those fields. Ruth had declared her trust in Naomi’s God, and walked in that trust. God repaid her faith and obedience by placing His mighty hand over her and answering her and Naomi’s needs. I know Father God will meet your needs as you walk in obedience and love. Praying on!

    • That is great, thanks for sharing it!

  4. Thanks Simon, Very moving and inspiring. You have a great ability to express yourself! You are both constantly in our thoughts and prayers, Love you lots, Yola

  5. If you hadn’t gone to Cambodia, you wouldn’t have come to Australia, and the thought of possibly never having met you makes me very sad! One can’t help but be tempted by regret from time to time, but it’s a very unsatisfying and futile state of mind. Thanks for the post 🙂

  6. ‎Hi Simon and BecciJust wanted to say hi and how great to get this blog and find out more about how you guys are. Thanks for your honesty and candidly sharing about life’s hopes and regrets. Your encouragement to trust in God is powerful and we pray you will know God’s abundant blessings in this life aswell as the next…God blessIan and Caroline Walker From: Simon & Beccis blogSent: Wednesday, 29 June 2016 22:57To: ianwalker75@gmail.comReply To: Simon & Becci’s blogSubject: [New post] Reflections on returning

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    Simon & Becci posted: “As I look out of the window upon a typically rainy British summer’s day, I am in a reflective mood.  Amazingly it is approaching 9 months since our last blog post, and therefore nearly 9 months since we left Cambodia. How did that happen!?! I therefore th”

  7. Simon,

    Thank-you so much for your latest post and for your openness and vulnerability. I know from personal experience that there is real power in vulnerability as it allows God and others to connect with you where you are at and it also gives others the ability to express what is truly going on with them.

    What you describe makes sense, particularly in light of the unsettling and uncertain time that you have had since you returned from Cambodia. As you know, I have walked through some (sometimes long) seasons where I felt I could only see my hand in front of me. It is amazing and special to meet God in that place though and to see how He works all things for your good. I have discovered that God is very comfortable with the different emotions that we experience and that He loves to respond to, connect with and renew authentic hearts.

    I am praying that you know your Father carrying you during this season and that the difficulties you have been facing turn into good things for you and Becci. Papa loves how you have been willing to make significant sacrifices to follow Him and serve those He loves. You will be blessed.

    I look forward to seeing you both again soon,

    With much love, Tim

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