In 1977 and 78, we had narrowboat holidays and Henry said that he would love to live on a narrow boat! However, the thought tended to 'evaporate' once he was back at work! Having 2 young children and one on the way, plus a mortgage made it impractical.
In 1985, we became Christians and in 2001, God put the idea of living on a narrowboat back on our agenda. After we had been to a boat show in Crick to get ideas, we decided go down to the canal to a cafe and to our amazement we saw a narrowboat on the opposite side of the canal with a large sign, which said : "Boaters Christian Fellowship - come and visit our boat".
We went straight round and met a lovely couple who told us about Boaters Christian Fellowship (BCF). This is a group of over 600 Christians that own a boat or live on one. We joined BCF, and were given a church directory of all the churches near the towns and villages that we could walk or cycle to from the boat. We were also given tracts which were written especially for boaters with a lovely message about the tranquillity of boating and had a Christian message on the back.
Meeting this couple was definitely a 'God incident', because beforehand we wondered how we would be able to attend a church while travelling along the Waterways.
In 2002, we purchased a narrowboat and in March 2005, we gave up our jobs, let out our house and moved onto our boat. Six months later, BCF organized a boat mission which started in Nottingham. We joined 15 or so other boats for this mission which was a great success.
Following this mission, the Pastor of the waterways asked us if we would like to join "Canal Ministries". This is a smaller group of live-aboard boaters (about 12 boats) who would evangelize and help boaters in need. We joined of course and have many stories about boaters we have helped and witnessed to. Both Canal ministries and BCF have organised missions every other year and we have been involved in all but one.
The Web-sites are: www.canalministries.org.uk
ITK: Make sure you ask Henry and Linda to share some of their stories about boaters they have spoken to.