Posted by: Catherine Weston | March 17, 2014

A Cherry Tree

In the depths of rural Hertfordshire is a beautiful place that marks the beginning of our journey amongst international students. We were back there at the weekend to erect a memorial stone to replace a no longer legible brass plaque.

Back in the mid eighties we were studying at All Nations Christian College, preparing to go to South America, but the birth of our first-born Daniel changed everything.  He had a severe form of Brittle Bone disease and it was clear we needed to stay in the UK to care for him.

However, a door opened for us to work amongst international students in Cambridge, once we finished our two-year training.  We reasoned that if we couldn’t go to the world, the world could come to us.  Cambridge, like many university cities in the UK, is a magnet for students from all over the world and something of our cross-cultural training could be put to good use there.

It was somehow ironic, then, that Daniel was taken from us just three weeks after we moved to Cambridge. Yet something about the opportunities to share our lives and love of Jesus with these bright and openly curious students gripped us in a way that we’ve never been able to shake off. In time we came to realise that God had redirected us to a life’s path that we would never otherwise have chosen.  It certainly hadn’t been our plan to stay at home.

If you should happen to visit All Nations Christian College, near Ware in Hertfordshire, you will find a cherry tree outside the dining hall with the new memorial stone next to it.  We planted it almost thirty years ago to remember Daniel, who spent much of his short life in the college nursery nearby. How fitting that Friends International, our ministry family, has recently moved its Support Centre office to some college buildings just round the corner. IMG_2039



  1. Dear Catherine and Richard,

    Thank you for sharing your calling and something of the life you had with Daniel. It is a great encouragement to know God’s kindness has been sufficient for you and Richard


  2. Dear Richard and Catherine,

    Thank you for sharing about Daniel; I can’t recall if I had heard about him nor how the Lord directed you to remain home in the U.K. and then into ISM.

    Perhaps someday I’ll get to see Daniel’s memorial stone and tree.

    In our Lord’s grace and goodness,


  3. Dear Catherine,

    Thank you for sharing a little bit about Daniel. I didn’t know all the details about his life but as I look at his new memorial stone I am moved especially as I notice that I was born the same year as him, and Danielle happens to be one of my middle names. This may sound silly but it makes me feel a tiny bit more closely connected to you all…

    I’m glad I got to meet you and Richard whilst I was living in Oxford and got to become friends with your two other sons whose friendship I really appreciate – I sort of consider them as distant cousins! You have raised them well into men seeking after God’s own heart. And you ARE playing a role in pointing all those young men and women from all over the world in the same direction.

    Thank you for welcoming me into your home and family for those 17 months we spent together – I was probably a bit less of a ‘foreigner’ than all the other students you have welcomed into your life since you started ministry in Cambridge but nonetheless I felt safe and at home whilst away from home at 72 D Rd.

    I may never get a chance to visit Daniel’s memorial and tree but I know for certain we will both one day meet in heaven where he belongs with our Lord Jesus, along I’m sure with many of those students who have crossed your path all those years.

    Lots of love

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