Wednesday, September 12, 2012

New Term

Oh where did the summer go? We had some glorious weather, some not so much fun weather and some really brilliant situations. 2012's Summer of Sport has ended, with a red card and some bad football, and I'm ill. Oh well, enough about how the football team are ruining everything...

The start of term, the academic year has been a lot of fun! Considering the last time I posted was 01/09/12, a lot has happened in the last 12 days! A crazy amount.

Firstly, I visited London, twice in 3 days, once for the excellent Sweeney Todd, which is about to finish it's run at the Adelphi, Michael Ball being one of my favourite people in musicals, and Imelda Staunton being an unknown, I sort of knew what I was getting myself in for. I didn't realise HOW GOOD they are together! Wow, I would see it again, them particularly, if I could. I'm pleased I have seen it, and at the end of its run. Good cast, brilliantly funny for something so dark and much better than the movie. The girls I was sat next to were at the start of a week of musicals - well chosen for their first one, they had Wicked on their list as well. And last week, Chicago said goodbye to the West End, which is a shame, because that is an excellent musical too, but things must come to an end.

My second visit was to here

This my friends, is London in full Paralympic swing! Pretty impressive eh? We didn't pay very much to be on site and sit in premium seats to see David Smith. He eventually won a silver in Boccia (pronounced Bot-cha ), a brilliant athlete. You can see how dedicated they are and how much effort it takes to play. We also saw some table tennis (I will challenge my young people to play one-handed this week when youth group starts!) and as much as we wanted to see sitting volleyball, it was getting late, so we headed home. I'm a little disappointed that we didn't get into the Paralympic stadium, or to Tower Bridge, like my mum wanted to, it was all a bit chaotic, really, but we both enjoyed it and we're fans of Boccia now, so I will be keeping track of Canada (who seem to do really well) and Team GB!

So Wednesday was sandwiched by two work days and Friday I was back to Brownies, with more names to put to faces, and thinking back now, I can't remember any of them... oh, this week should be interesting!

Saturday was the County Show at Barleylands - which was too early for a Saturday, especially for grating cheese, but I met new friends and got a free lunch out of it! I saw the monster trucks, the CTB Essex tent and the most magical (and slow moving) carousel ever! It was a really good day, full of memories of being there ten years ago and a few odd moments, nice to have some new memories as well though and I will offer to help again next year!

Sunday was church, leading on the fruits of the Spirit, which is different from the gifts of the Spirit, which was a lot of fun, eating fruit we'd never had before. I had a little help from my twitter friends (thank you) and Biblegateway! It was good, we're slightly down on numbers now, so we'll be looking at quality of relationships and the knowledge that they have.

Monday was the first proper day back, with early prayers, and school. (And I think I caught the lurgy!) It was a really good day though, lovely to be bombarded by staff as we sat down for lunch, I still have one or two teachers to catch up properly with in the next week or so. I do really enjoy going into school. Monday night was spent on the tv and tennis. A late end for us in England as we watched Murray win a Grand Slam! (maybe why my lurgy got worse!)

Tuesday will hopefully become fuller as the term goes on. Some lessons to put in and meetings as well. In the evening we met as The Living Room for the first time since the day before my birthday. We were still talking about my epic cake and what we'd all done over the summer. I really don't feel like the two terms have been separate for me in any way, which is a shame. I have not really been away (one weekend in Cowfold and less than 24hrs in Manchester) and I do think that makes a lot of difference. Normally being in a field for 5 days feels like a holiday - but even youth camp felt too comfortable. Maybe I need to get out of the country.

Today was an early start with the teachers at Mayflower, lovely to meet and pray with old and new faces and talk about ex-church members, exciting projects and new developments for all. I think it's going to be a really good term for everyone, in Billericay. That's what I am praying at the moment. I have 25 mins until some of my scout leaders turn up to have a look at church for Parade on Sunday, and then I need to go home and wash my uniform!

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Youth Camp 2012

From 26th to 31st August, 20 young people and a few leaders (5 then 6 later on in the week) were at Eaton Vale in Norfolk, with the purpose of being away, being with each other and being with God.

The process for this began months and months ago, when we spoke to the young people about whether they wanted to go to a Soul Survivor festival, it turned out that this year was an important time for a lot of them, so the decision was taken to skip the festival and take everyone away.

Over the last 5 weeks, I have heard a lot about different festivals going on, a was disappointed that I had missed a lot of awesome things going on whilst waiting for youth camp to begin. Three weeks between two camps is a long time when all you are doing is prep work!!

Sunday morning arrived, I packed almost everything (forgot the brownies I'd made and my board shorts) and headed to meet everyone for the trip to Eaton Vale Camp. We had a good journey up and arrived in one piece. And so did God.

I can't say much for anyone else's time away, but God definitely spoke to me and through me to others, which was a great experience and I had forgotten how it feels to be soaked in the Spirit and not swept away with loud music and lots of singing. Big worship sessions can be so distracting some times, I think I am coming to that conclusion, but it is quite a new thought, so let me ponder it a while.

The conversations we've had, the prayer times and wisdom that we have shared have been so important, and it showed me that I appreciate the young people that I work with, so much more than I ever thought I did. They are brilliant, they work so hard for the whole of the academic year and then some, and after a long summer of waiting and the panic of results day, they still manage to find time to throw themselves into everything we had planned for them, team work, activities, worship, talent show, a day at the beach, you name it, they still worked hard and enjoyed themselves. They are a bunch of really talented, well versed, delightful young people, who will change their world as they continue to grow in the love of Christ, and now they have the knowledge that they are being spiritually gifted in a lot of different areas, the group can only get stronger. And I pray that they do, get stronger, have more understanding of the Bible and of what God can do for them and will do through them.

So young people, wherever you are, whatever you've planned for today, know that God is by your side, looking out for you, looking after you and going through everything with you.

As for me, I am asking questions, I am joyful in prayer and praise and I am grateful that I could have so much time sitting with God. During the meditation we did, which was lead by Gary, we were lead to seeing a picture of Christ sitting in front of us, handing us a gift. My gift was a bright red, glass heart. When I asked the question about what it meant, I found myself thinking about love, in abundance, for me to share with those around me, and as I sat afterwards, I was lead to Moses and the burning bush, where God says, loudly and clearly, 'I AM WHO I AM'. I can imagine that deep down in Moses was a sense of peace, a steady hand, holding firm to him, through the madness of a bush that was burning without being burnt. I know that through all the panic that can come (and may come, depending on the result of some letter I have to write) that God will be holding on to me.