Thursday, September 19, 2013

Meanwhile, Back in England...

Hi all,
It has been a long time since posting anything here, so here is a brief update:
Beckie has started working here which is a lovely bistro restaurant in a town that we used to live in many years ago.
Josiah (17) is now in his second year of studying BTEC Art and Design along with A2 Maths with the intention of studying Computer Game Art at degree level afterwards.
Gideon (14) has just started mainstream school into year 10 and is managing to adjust to the changes from home education very well. He wants to be a missionary in Brazil.
I (David) am working for the Congregational Federation (and have been for the last 18 months) as their Eastern Area Worker which involves supporting those churches in the Eastern Area (Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex and Cambridgeshire) and helping them reach out into their local communities.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Yesterday, Dave had the opportunity to preach in a local church. We really like the pastor of this church and his vision to reach the community and unite with other believers. He is always faithful at the pastors' breakfasts, enthusiastic about foreign teams doing mission events and came and worked with us at YWAM too. When Dave first told me about going to preach in this church I thought he must be mad to accept the invitation, when we are already somewhat overwhelmed with handing things over, clearing out our stuff and Dave dealing with leading the house issues. When would he find time to prepare a preach - especially preparing it in Portuguese (it's still tricky to prepare something of a higher level in Portuguese).

However, Dave accepted and it was really cool what he ended up speaking about. He challenged the church to reach out to the unloveable in the community. For the last few years Dave has spent many afternoons with the 'down and outs', loving them and showing them Jesus. Isn't that a great way to finish off somewhere? Passing on the vision that God gave you? I thought it was great that he had the opportunity to share this message with a local church.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Last session of group 2011
I had so much planned for this last afternoon - how can you possibly do everything? What is most important when you know you won't be spending time, investing in their lives anymore after this day?
First, we had our swimming session, very important to them. These last weeks we have been battling with an algae problem that has meant that some weeks they have been unable to swim. As you can see, the pool doesn't look very nice (green once again), but they were thrilled to be able to swim. These girls are having a go at doing somersaults in the water - one more box to put a sticker on in their swimming acheivement certificates. Somersaults were quite tricky for them, and anyone who could see me at the side of the pool giving instructions would have laughed.
Then, we went to the classroom for our bible study. I wanted to briefly recap on some of the things we had been teaching. Obedience, honesty, serving, perseverance, self control, love and courage. We talked about things that are still hard for them. Then, they had to pass certain challenges to 'earn' their party. They did quite well, 1 girl nearly managed to lick her own elbow, but of course ultimately they failed. I wanted to share with them about grace - that although we try we will fail, yet God's abundant grace means that we can have a relationship with Him, not based on what we can do, but on what He has done. The girls then wrote a bible verse in their books.
After this, Kelly led a time of worship, I love to see their passionate singing and dancing. It also gave an opportunity to get the pizzas (which they had made in the previous session) cooked.
Now, time for the pinata. I had half made it and they finished it off and decorated it. This proved somewhat tricky to break and I did wonder about the safety of a blindfolded, excited girl waving a rolling pin wildly around.
Food time! Pizzas, crisps, savoury snacks, cake and fizzy drink. Some of them brought along a contribution for our party.So, we got through the year. I loved being with them, they touched my heart and my prayer is that God touched theirs. Such a precious bunch of girls, each with their struggles, yet each totally loved and treasured by God. I am grateful for this opportunity, for who God is and what He did in our lives during this year.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Just wanted to share how God is in control (of course, we never forget that do we?) and how He doesn't always resolve things how we expect Him to. As I have already written, the situation with the house finances has been difficult. Expenses are very high and it has seemed impossible to be able to cover them. Each month I have been thinking that it will be the last that we can pay the bills. I have wanted to have faith and trust it totally in God's hands, knowing this is His work. I have been able to do this to an extent, but still found myself wondering how we would get through this year.

I also had 2 situations with the money that were annoying me. The first was a wrong payment that we made in January, meaning that we had overpaid our water bill by about £275. Every time we had contacted them they made excuses and said we would recieve the discount sometime in the next few months. We almost forgot about this money and then decided to phone again, this time we were told they could only do something if we visited in person - which we did. The second thing was a delayed payment, we were expecting to recieve it in July, they had deposited the money, but as we didn't have it. We contacted many people to try to find out where the money was (sometimes a bit tricky with money that comes from one country to another). This remained an annoying mystery for a few months.

This last month has been even more difficult financially, yet I've managed not to worry. I had a collection of bills to pay and wondered how it would happen. I was also awaiting the dreaded water bill, whenever this comes we know that it will clear us out. However, the payment finally came through and the water bill with the discount only cost £24 (normally it can be up to £1000). How amazing is our God? It felt like He held onto this money until we really needed it. Why do I feel the need to try to work out how He will do it? It is good for me to learn this lesson. He IS faithful.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

This week and next we my group is having an art focus. We have a visiting artist from UK who has planned all sorts of activities to get them expressing how they feel about their environment. It is great for me, as she is doing most of the planning, giving me more time to get other things in order before leaving. It's also really great for the girls as they are trying out new things (scary things for some of them) and thinking about their environment. We have given them 3 specific rules for these weeks
  • respect one another (no teasing each others work)
  • there are no mistakes (therefore erasers are NOT allowed - this caused a big gasp from the girls)
  • try new things
They have already tried out different mark making ideas, including expressing emotion, sound and flavour. Then, we looked at how maps can portray many things and created works of art using old maps, they have drawn using a pencil on a stick (much frustration at the lack of precision) and we will move onto printmaking and model making. It's nice to be doing something different. It's also nice to celebrate what they can acheive - even if they are unable to draw the most beautiful flower, which is what they previously thought was most important.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Yesterday, we had an amazing day. A church brought it's youth group to do an outreach event here, after several months of construction and maintenance here. The day began with teaching for the young people, about missions and how to reach out to those around you. Followed by lunch (cooked by some members of their church) for 160 people and then preparing for the activities - different things for kids and adults all over our grounds.
The gates opened and the kids went running to find the trampoline and one eldery man ran to the jumble sale ( things were free - they just limited what each person could take). it was wonderful to see the place so full and everyone having a good time, this was followed by a service for all with dramas and a good message. Eventually, the afternoon ended with a thank you and a snack for the visitng team.
Today, I am exhausted, but it's a good kind of exhaustion, knowing you've worked hard and worked as a team. I am thankful for the church wanting to get involved, for their ideas and their heart to reach this community.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

In all the fun, difficulties, frustrations, successes, failures, hard-work, relaxation, enjoyment and impossibilities God never changes. He is always good, always faithful, perfect in every way, beyond our understanding, holy and righteous, never lying, and ever present with us through all of the above.
We are now in the process of leaving here. Yes, I know we still have many weeks until we actually, physically return to England (December 21st, we touch down) but it is a process and it has to start way before we leave because of our responsibilities to YWAM and to our family (each other).
Beckie has been writing up what she does with the money so that the next person can take it over in the beginning of December. Our 1970 VW Beetle is for sale and I will be going to sell a few other things next week. I am looking for work for next year - maybe still a little early for that at the moment, and we are praying for God to reveal what is next, in many aspects.
One challenge for me is to ensure that The Lighthouse is able to keep running into next year as financially, it is struggling and it is something that we, as a team, are working on.
So, in all of this God is there.....and will continue to be.