Sunday, 29 August 2010

endings


another season has come to an end. Just had our final DNA residential up in Inverness. I have never been that far north before. It took about 17 hours from Brighton to final destination - a community hall in a very rural community about half an hour from Inverness. Most of that was spent on a megabus, attempting to sleep and mainly failing... so it definitely felt like we'd come a long way!! But it was REALLY good to be in Scotland (despite it being very definitely colder and meeting the local midge residents!) and we had a great time together, reflecting on the year and enjoying being together as a group for the last time. it's been a journey for sure, this year. and its important to remember the good things. because there have been many and it's easy to forget... easy to doubt that things have changed, that we have grown, that we have taken steps forwards.


the next steps are still quite unknown, but i'm taking one day at a time. which is totally fine. hoping for some rest in september, and time to think and pray on what's next...

feeling lost

"Jesus?" he whispered as his voice choked. "I feel so lost".

A hand reached over and squeezed his, and didn't let go. "I know. But it's not true. I am with you and I'm not lost. I'm sorry it feels that way, but hear me clearly. You are not lost".

from 'The Shack' by WM Paul Young (p.114)

Saturday, 21 August 2010

burgers, braids and bouncy castles

well it's the last weekend of the gap-year-thing i've been doing. crazy!! i can't believe it's been almost a year, well 11 months, since i started. this isn't a reflective post... no time for that yet! and no chance to really stop and ponder. hopefully in september..... yeh this summer has been very hectic, with one thing leading straight into another - actually like the whole year has been then! and there's been so many good things but hardly time to process or appreciate them. (i hate how tiredness makes me see things from a less positive perspective). i guess that's reflected in my blog, i haven't written nearly as much as i would have liked, especially as there's been plenty of things to write about. i have lists of potential posts scattered around my room, but i know realistically they are unlikely to ever come into existence.

HOWEVER, i would like to mention what i was up to last week, as it was one of the hardest things i've done this year i think (still recovering). I helped out on something called "Re:act" in Warrington (between Manchester and Liverpool for those who, like me, had no clue!) which was run by Urban Saints and the local Youth for Christ team. Add in 9 DNA-ers (myself included) and about 30 or 40 teenagers, all staying in the same church building - which used to be an old people's home!! after quite an intense weekend of training we then set out to put on a free family fun day, complete with BBQ, bouncy castles, sports, facepainting, and great live music on a big stage by people from Nexus and a hiphop group called MJK (make Jesus known). ALL FOR FREE for the local community. and not just once, but 6 days in a row, in 6 different areas of Warrington!

so a day would include:
  • setting up marquees (never want to see our disable gazebo again, which was mainly held up by gaffa tape each day)

  • manning the inflatables (which got interesting when on one day the power kept failing!)


  • painting hundreds of faces (definitely improved over the week... on the first day a few kids were traumatised by their reflections and may have wiped tiger-attempts straight off... o dear!)
  • braiding many little girls' hair (difficult in wind!)
  • eating a whole load of burgers (they were really tasty though thankfully!)
  • chatting with people and offering to pray for them
  • dancing like mad people to MJK's choons
  • then packing everything down at the end of the day!!!

so not surprisingly we were pretty tired by the end. But it was so great to put on a quality event totally for free, and to represent local churches in a range of different communities. Everyone worked really hard and it was a privilege to get to know the young people from the area as well as others who came from further afield to help out.

crazy the things i've ended up doing this year that i never would have done otherwise. but i guess that was part of the point!!!

and now to enjoy a chilled saturday :-) before the final trip next week - up to inverness, on a bus, oh yehhhh....

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

loss

my friends lost their mum this week. all of a sudden. it's such a shock. life. it's so fragile although we like to pretend it's not. pretend we'll last forever, without passing through death, without separation. death is often just a rumour in this country. a hazy thought we give little attention to. as if we have some invisible armour making us invincible. and then it rudely awakens us. to the fact that we don't know what will happen tomorrow. it's like a knife, the shock, cutting right to the heart. i know that sounds cliche but it does feel just like that. our hearts ache for our friends. and we have no words.

but here's to Mrs Josephine Tackie-Oblie. A beautiful graceful woman who always wore a smile as she welcomed us warmly into her heart and home.