Swatted by various journalists and articles online as Britain's 'most unsafe place' to live, there's no wonder the number one question remains "...But why Bradford!?".
Three years on and this is the most requested and repeated question I get. These are golden opportunities to give much needed perspective and I hope I never grow tired of answering.
I moved from the Limestone Coast of South Australia to characterful England to none other than Bradford located in the heart of the thickened accents of West Yorkshire. I remember the feeling of an impending cross road in my life where I either committed deeper into the rank system as a metropolitan firefighter of which I loved, while plugging further into my church and community, of which I also loved – OR to take a nagging urge to chance my future in another country with only one holiday abroad as the operating system of experience to go off. I am obviously here today to point out I took the latter option.
The stories and experience I have gained in this trio of years has been innumerable and there will be future articles yet to come that may help if you ever thought of investing the risk into long-term international travelling or doing what I did and move for good. We can all agree a holiday is different from a complete move and I am only happy to share my list of do’s and don’t’s along with the emotional rides that crop up expectantly because you’ve left everything you knew for the unknown. And COLD because England is pretty cold…
But first things first…
You may know of somebody who has done a working visa stint in another country, exchange student program or a ‘tour around the world’! But Aussie country boys don’t come to Bradford to settle down and live. I was used to wide open property spaces, family cuppa tea visits , leisurely drives with beautiful evening sunsets, keeping up with the cricket score and then balanced with the excitement and sense of duty with my job.
We’ve heard the stories of people moving to London for it’s corporate exciting city life for the motivated individual, perhaps the Oxford student to study for a PhD carried by the blessing of smarts, or maybe that friend of a friend that picked Liverpool with it’s rich history of the Beetles and iconic football team, living along the coast life with a chip butty in hand which sufficed for them a worthy change of pace but… Bradford!?
Swatted by various journalists and articles online as Britain’s ‘most unsafe place’ to live, there’s no wonder the number one question remains
“…But why Bradford!?”
Because why should that stop me?
I think this bothers the questioner because they want a more complicated or intelligent answer like I was dragged here against my will or something. Britons in particular paint Australia with a kind of paradise coloured brush I find odd.
Now I am neither overly ambitious, crazy or bored. I really loved my life back home and I left at a time where the height of building some solid friendships and job prospects were encouragingly in motion but those are all comfortable “cushy” circumstances that we all pretend we have more control over then what we do. I was also surrounded by a loving family of which I owe a huge credit to my Mother and Father and older sisters for their many forms of support to get me to where I am today.
So to you now reader, I pose this question. Does it matter where you currently live?
Egypt, Rome, Corinth, Jerusalem to name a few were dangerous places to ‘live’ but God used both the mighty and the lowly to bring about his church. He used people in power and people of no status to reveal Himself. I am encouraged by this. Western world lifestyle colours our expectations with a kind of false sense of security that leaves us seriously wanting. I am reminded that God is fully and absolutely in control at all times. His total sovereignty surpasses my understanding of how things ‘ought to be’ in the now of time and space but that collides to pieces when I worship a God who is outside of time and space yet cares for little me.
And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last shall be first.
Matthew 19: 29-30 ESV
I love Bradford, but not for the traditional reasons one may assume when considering what makes a great place to live. Many here that speak against it’s glum mug also refuse to do anything about it or themselves which is a disservice to the entire community. There is room for humour about the irony of wherever you are located because that is healthy but it’s time to change your attitude more then likely.
And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepard. Then he said to his disciples, The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.
Matthew 9:35-38 ESV
Where is your Bradford? Are you a laborer for the right reasons?