Wild Rest was the name that Father God gave Norman & Sarah in 2010 to describe the journey they were travelling with Him, a journey that they had in their heart to invite others on, leading to the first Wild Rest retreat being held in northern Lapland, Finland in January 2011.
They met in Jersey in 2007 and were married 10 months later on a beautiful beach. At that time Norman was working as a lawyer but also passionately encouraging people into a burning love for Jesus, especially in the context of night and day worship & prayer. Sarah was a firey youth and young adult pastor taking young hearts into places of encounter. Sarah has known Jesus since she was a little girl and comes from a rich heritage of God and Norman met Jesus shortly after university which changed his life forever. We pick up their story one year into marriage....
"In 2009 we were led by the Father to take a faith step that became a defining point in our lives. God led us to a sabbatical season (which has not ended!) to lay down our individual ministries and careers and to allow Him to fully form us as one, a season to sow, dream and explore our 'sonship' together.
The season started with an amazing three months in Orama, Great Barrier Island, New Zealand to a community /school hosted by James and Denise Jordan of Fatherheart Ministries, deep carriers of the understanding of God as a loving Father and the life of sonship modelled by Jesus. During this season we received a deepening understanding of God's heart as a Father and started to possess more fully our identity as his children. We also started to dream deep dreams connected to our hearts.
After several more months following James around the world, we found ourselves once again in New Zealand dreaming about the coming season. Father placed Finland on our hearts. Norman's motherland.
In May 2010 we made our first foray to Finland much like a 'Caleb' style spy mission to the promised land. It was during this first short season in Finland Wild Rest was birthed, a beautiful vehicle (our hearts) to lead individuals deeper into life as sons of God, in His heart for them, learning to dream, hope and express identity in accordance with His goodness and pleasure.
Between 2010 and 2013 we led several Wild Rest retreats each year to amazing places such as Lapland in Finland, the French Alpes, the Dalmatian Islands in Croatia and the Atlantic Coast of France. These retreats were typified by excellence of hospitality, heart alive adventures and encounters with our heavenly Father. Reassuring it was to us that when we created the canvas, Father painted the beautiful pictures. We had wonderful testimonies of people connecting with their hearts in amazing ways, some going onto form new businesses and others starting non-profits, others laying down ministries and starting new journeys.
We have a passion for taking people on journeys and have come to find that natural adventures are a great catalyst for the adventure of faith. We are hugely relational and focused on living, and helping others to live, authentic lives as sons and daughters of a wonderful God.
One of the hallmarks of Wild Rest retreats is that the affirmation of the Father tends to be heard the loudest when we are doing things that deeply connect with our hearts, that is to say that when we deeply connect to who we were made to be. For example for Norman, he feels deeply connected to God and worshipful when he skiis down a hill very fast! For others it maybe that lingering moment over coffee with someone.
Since 2009 Father God has taken us on ever increasing journeys of dependency on him. The life of sonship is one of going low in order to be taken incredibly high.
Low (death) in the sense that Father invited us to start giving him all the props / 'fig leaves' / defence systems / self promotion that we used to survive in the world, in order that we could come into a greater dependency on Father's love. This laying down was multifaceted, one large area was in the area of learning to rely upon God financially (when often no one else knew our needs).
High (resurrection) in the sense that as we lay down our lives and burn our bridges, God creates amazing opportunities for us that we could never have had orchestrated in our strength. We have so many examples of how God has blessed us in this way from incredible financial favour through to our beautiful home in Finland.
With a team of prophetic intercessors behind us, we the stepped out in 2013 to base ourselves permanently in Finland that we might fully give ourselves to the expressions of the kingdom Father had purposed for us to reveal in that nation.
During these bountiful six years in Finland, our journey of sanctification continued as we learnt to receive comfort and love, often in quite hard circumstances. During this period when Oskar our son was born, Wild Rest began to take on a more local expression based around inviting people into our beautiful home, inviting them into heart relationships/family and to dream.
We hosted monthly gatherings in our home and wonderful annual lakeside retreats which were all defined by great food, fellowship, opportunities to dream and enjoy God's presence.
A transition season
In 2018 God has been preparing us for transition into something new and, although He had not revealed the ‘where’ or ‘how’, we carry a strong dream in our hearts to create a sacred place of God’s presence and outpouring in the context of thriving community and beautiful creation. A place with different layers of community, people coming in and going out but above all a family. A place that draws people in because of what God is doing.
On New Years Eve that year we felt the whisper of God to allow our hearts to dream far and wide leading us to look online for Christian ministry centres or former monasteries that might be for sale in Europe. We were looking for a place in a beautiful setting that could eventually become the confluence of God’s presence, unceasing prayer and worship, wild adventures, ministry schools, outreach and above all family.
Scotland caught our attention, and after several prophetic sign posts and receipt of plenty of God given courage, in summer 2019 we made a faith-filled journey across Europe to the highlands of Scotland with a directive from Father to plant, root, reap, sow, grow in accordance to the vision He had placed in us.
We are believing that this is a season for Wild Rest to enter a new season, to take on shape as a more intentional ministry and international community and to acquire a physical space for expression and creativity connection. A place of encounter and presence, a place of love and belonging, a people of hope and unity.
Wild Rest Refuge (location to be determined)
We believe the love of God is the most real, satisfying, transformational gift to receive freely and give freely, with this in mind we see the house of God, as a people who live in the experience and confidence of this love.
At this stage, we are uncertain as to where Father God would like us to be rooted and we are awaiting his plan to unfold around us.