Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Big news

No, Rachel is not pregnant.

We are moving to Australia!!! We will be moving to Ballarat, a city just outside of Melbourne near the southern coast of Australia. Please locate it on the map below (just click on the map to enlarge it), as we are already sending out an open invitation to you to come and visit us!

Here's the story of how it all happened (in a matter of about 3 weeks, believe it or not)...

Many of you know that I was really struggling as a chiropractor here in Hull and had not made the transition from student to doctor very well. I just couldn't get my head into it. As the job I'm currently in was coming to a close I started to really search as to if I was even in the right profession. I started to look for some inspiration and confirmation that I was in the right line of work. I decided that I would find the person that I knew that was the most enthusiastic about chiropractic and see if I could get some insight from them. Immediately, my friend Neil Cox came to mind. I had run into Neil at a conference back in Oct and knew that he was practicing up in Newcastle. I phoned him up out of the blue and asked if I could come up and observe him and talk about things. He was all for it and it wasn't until I got up there that he remembered who I was! If I had said 'Canadian Mark from College' he would have known. Anyway, we went for lunch and during the course of lunch I discovered that Neil had recently become a Christian. I was quite surprised by this and asked how it all came about and he told me about how he'd been over in Australia with possibly the world's top paediatric chiropractor, Neil Davies, and how a number of things had come together and he realized that he had to make a decision about God. The rest of the afternoon I watched as Neil treated patients with a different kind of Chiropratic called Neuro Impusle Protocol, a technique developed by Neil Davies. I was really impressed. It involves checking a patients neurology, applying a specific adjustment, and rechecking the neurological involvement for changes. I determined that I would learn this protocol. As Neil and I talked over dinner that evening he told me more about this Neil Davies guy and how he was going into northern Thailand and working with a displaced people group called the Akha. They basically have had their land taken and are living in Thailand as refugees but have no rights there or even access to medical care. Check out This really sparked with me as I remembered that before I even went to chiropractic college I had a vision for working in the developing world and working with kids. My intention was that in developing countries not being able to do manual labour means that the majority of job options are unavailable to you. By helping people to move more freely, I could help them to have a better chance at a sustainable living. I went home and was encouraged. I felt that in the rush of looking for a job after graduation and the need to pay back my student loans that I had forgotten my purpose for being a chiropractor but that I had been reminded and that this was going to lead to bigger things. I have no regrets about making the decision to come to Hull, I always knew that it would only be for a season. I began to think about the Thailand thing non-stop and tried to find out all I could about this Neil Davies and the work that they were doing. In my searching I discovered that Neil was going to be in the UK in March to do a series of conferences. I emailed Neil Cox and asked if he thought I could meet up with Neil Davies to pick his brain about working in the third world. Neil (Cox) thought that if his schedule allowed, then he probably would want to meet me. I emailed Neil (Davies) and told him my story, about feeling a bit lost with chiropractic, about my vision for working with kids and the third world and told him that I had Wednesday and Saturday afternoons available and would meet him anywhere in the UK if he had the free time. Neil Cox also sent him an email to let him know who I was. Neil Davies emailed me back and said that he was arriving on the Tuesday and that Wednesday was a recovery day and probably the only free day that he would have on this trip. We set up a meeting for Wednesday, March 7, and that was it.

I need to tell you about some things from Neil Davies point of view so that the whole background meshes together. Neil has five clinics in Victoria, all basically west of Melbourne in a line. Right now they are at capacity. There is a three-week waiting list for new patients. To make matters worse, Adam, one of the chiropractors who is my age has been diagnosed with terminal bowel cancer and has had to stop working (please pray for him). See Adam's profile here Before Neil left for the trip to England, his daughter, who is one of the Chiropractors at the Ballarat clinic where I'll be working, told him "Dad, you really need to find another chiropractor, and soon! I'll pray for the Lord to provide you with one." Neil's wife said the same thing, without knowing her daughter had. The thought of going through the whole recruiting process again was not that appealing to Neil but he knew that they needed at least one new doctor soon. When Neil arrived in Oxford he went down to the Thames which was in flood to take some time to pray. He told me that he was talking to God and said, "I need a male (to keep the gender balance in the clinic), with a heart for the poor and he needs to be available at the end of the year and I want him to come and ask me for a job" At this point he had forgotten that I was coming... the guy has five clinics, a seminar series and was suffering from jetlag so when I phoned his room that afternoon it took him a few minutes to remember who I was. We got to talking and right away it became apparent that this was a God moment. Everything just fell in place. Rachel and I had previously talked and prayed about the possiblity and what if's of moving to Australia and she could tell that I was really gung-ho about this whole thing but neither of us had expected it to all fall into place like that. During my dinner Neil on the Wednesday he asked me why my wife wasn't here in the blunt sort of way that Australians do and I told him that she was working today. He asked if we could come back on Sunday afternoon and meet with him again. He asked me to go and talk to Rachel about everything and to start to pray about what we should do. I told him that we already were, about Thailand, NIP, moving to Australia and everything. I hadn't thought that when I went down there that I would be asking him for a job but when he asked me point-blank what I wanted out of this meeting it just came out. There was a little umm-ing and ahh-ing but then I just came out and said I'm here to push on doors and to see if there is any possibility of working with you in the future, either just in Thailand or even in one of your clinics.

Sunday came and we drove the 3 1/2 hours down to Oxford. In an email during the week Neil asked if there was somewhere we could go to church that evening so I found St Aldates It was a great church with a HUGE emphasis on missions, and it just so happened that they had information flyers on everyone's seats about Burma/Myanmar and the troubles going on there. The Akha that Neil works with in Thailand are from Burma/Myanmar. It was good to learn more specifics. Additioanlly, worship was great. The worship leader there is Martyn Layzell, a big name worship song writer these days. We bought his new album afterwards. Anyway, at dinner Neil asked what we had felt about the whole situation. We said that we felt peace and excitement, and it seemed to be exactly in line with my passions and visions. He then offered me a job right there at dinner! He said that he was convinced that this was of God and we felt it in our spirits too.

Steps forward now include me having to learn the NIP basic and advanced protocol which will get me ready to be able to work the way that Neil and his chiropractors do as soon as I get there. They are also paying for me to get my MSc Paediatrics which is a three year mixed mode programme that I am already starting on here. This will require 8-10 hours of studying a week. Woohoo! Actually, since studying for the american board exams I have found a new vigour for study. I am still taking the American boards this weekend because they will count towards my Australian boards. Australian board are in November and we are going two weeks before so that they can prep me for it. The local radiologist will assist me with the positioning and diagnosis exam and the rest of the staff will get me ready for the rest of it.

Logistically speaking, we will leave England at the very beginning of November, and be in Australia for all of November. I'll be taking the Australian Board Exams, and Rachel will be checking the place out, and finding a place for us to rent. Then we will fly back to North America for all of December and half of January. We plan on spending a good chunk of time with both of our families, and of course our friends! Let us know when you're free for a visit from the Colvins! We will then officially move to Ballarat mid-January, just in time for me to start work for February.

Are you suprised by this? We still are!! I'm sure that many of you will have loads of questions, so feel free to leave comments or email us directly. I have to stop now, as my eyes are bugging out. Thanks to all who have been praying for us in this time of transition.