Posted by: Catherine Weston | September 9, 2013

Taking the long view

About two and a half centuries ago a wealthy banker created one of the most famous landscape gardens in Britain – Stourhead.  His father had bought the estate and built a new beautiful mansion but unfortunately died the year it was completed.  The son turned his attention to the grounds. He created a lake, built some exotic temples and grottoes and planted many trees. But as we wandered around these very same gardens a week or so back I found myself thinking – but he never saw it as it is now. Today the trees are splendid in their full maturity, more than two hundred years since they were planted.


What drove Henry Hoare II to create such a garden, when he would never see the full effect of all the trees he planted? I guess the simple answer is he took the long view.  It was beautiful enough to be impressive in his own lifetime, but ultimately he must have been thinking of the generations to come who would benefit from his foresight – as thousands of visitors to Stourhead today can attest.

Following our brief holiday in Somerset we asked ourselves “Are we also taking the long view over the things we invest in?”  International student ministry is certainly like that.  There are no quick fixes, just lots of digging and breaking up soil and planting seeds without seeing any fruit in the short term.  It’s not just planting gospel seeds in the lives of individual international students, it’s also planting seeds of a vision amongst churches who’ve never thought about the international students on their doorstep.

After four years of travelling to other countries to encourage international student ministry we find that fruit is slow in coming, but we also remember that the work in its early stages in Britain was slow.  So we keep on keeping on at what we do, knowing that the God we serve takes a longer view than any of us. What are you investing in?



  1. Thanks Catherine. Helpful thought to mull over!

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