This last month has definitely been top quality and I’m absolutely loving being a part of Nomad! We’ve already had some amazing missions and it’s great to see how we as a team have bonded, both through our work with young people and how God is using us! I still can’t believe that the time is going so fast! I hope that you enjoy my ramblings about how the year is going and I apologise for it being so long – a lot of good stuff has happened!
Having come back from Clevedon we were fortunate enough to have a few days rest before we headed back to Whitemoor Lakes (where ETC was held) to help out with a two day schools residential called Explore. Although this was unlike the work we would normally do as it didn’t involve the cage or any kind of sports ministry, it was something that provided us all with some invaluable experience of schools work and what it was like to work with young people in a different context. Our work involved helping to set up the stage and lighting and everything that was needed for the workshops as well as manning the sound desk, helping around the venue and helping to present some of the themes. Over the two days we looked at three different themes, leading a total of 6 sessions to the two groups. As aforementioned, this was something that I really enjoyed as not only did it give us, as a team, a chance to experience a different kind of work than we would normally do, but it also helped us to step out and develop our skills in areas that we weren’t as confident or experienced in.
Moving on from Explore, our next date in the diary was the ever important Photo Shoot that we (Ed especially) had all been looking forward to! This was the day in which us, Stance and a few members of the YFC staff put on our best faces and had our photos taken for the coming year so that everyone could get a opportunity to see who on earth they were booking before we turned up! It was a great day for banter within the two teams and of course, who can’t help but laugh when you’re trying to keep a straight face when the rest of the team are watching!
The next day saw the start of the first joint Nomad and Stance mission of the year in which we drove to Reigate for a churches together kids event which was held in the local Baptist Church. In addition to it being the first joint mission, the day also saw the earliest wake up of the year, with us hitting the road at the grand old time of 5:30am. Now for those of who know me well, you know that I don’t really do mornings, especially early ones and tend not to function very well until around 9am at the earliest. Needless to say, I found arising at this time a challenging task and you can only imagine the almost comatose state that I was in for the journey there, to the extent that I had to be woken up when we reached the service station. Asides from the early start, it was another great day and a brilliant experience of our first mission alongside Stance. The day had us set up the cage and throughout the day the kids (who had been assigned to three different stations) would take part in a cage session and then learning a bit about God through the story of David and Goliath.
Hub training was the next date in the diary and this involved us and several other YFC volunteers meeting up to attend a training session that helps us to focus on certain areas and develop aspects of our faith. Training tends to take place every two weeks and there are four different Hubs that take place; all split dependant on the areas – Midlands, South West, East & Touring. As we are based in Birmingham we would normally look to attend the Midlands Hub where possible, although as we tour a lot, we would attend whichever hub is closest to our current location and where neither is possible, us and Stance would meet together for the touring hub. This particular session had us looking at the idea of How to Access God and what would could do to further our relationship with him.
The rest of October was quite a quiet month in that there were no particular missions scheduled and so we spent a lot of time working at the church and planning new ideas for assemblies, lessons and 5 minute talks that we could use to interact with young people across the country. This was again, something that is invaluable to the work that we as Nomad do as it is vital for us to present fresh and current ideas to the youth of today. Alongside this, we were also given the task of leading Ignite – the youth group at Wade Street – for their Sunday evening session. We put a lot of planning into the session and it came at a great time as it allowed us to be able to practice some of the ideas we had come up with previously, as well as giving us a better opportunity to get to know the youth and build relationships.
For me, the next week was one that was incredibly relaxing and involved a lot of downtime as we were able to go home for the week! Due to the fact that we would be spending our half term in Swansea, we decided to take this week off and spend it back in our respective homes – myself back in Hereford, Ed and Jonny (who couldn’t fly back to Ireland) in Cheltenham and James in London. I think although it was incredible weird going back after just settling into a new place, it was something that we all really needed! I spent the week with the Welford fam, (helping them to remember why they let me leave for a year!) as well as spending time with friends and going back to my youth group to let them know how I was getting on.
The 18th of October was a massive date in the diary for all of YFC and was the date of the 2014 Commissioning and Showcase; the day in which all new volunteers and staff were commissioned into their roles and people were able to see some of the work that Youth for Christ do with young people all over the country. It was held at the Birmingham Christian Centre and was an amazing day, not only for all of the volunteers to see each other again, but for people to see their friends and families and watch them be commissioned for the work that they would be undertaking this year. Big thank you to Mum, Dad and John (who looked like he REALLY wanted to be there!) and Jason, Cat, Joel and Micah for coming down and supporting me – it was great to see you and I really appreciated it!
Leading on from Commissioning, we had another few days spare to look more into planning and practising talks before we spent the day at King Eddies; one of the local high schools in Lichfield, carrying out cage sessions and talking to the kids a bit about the Bible and what it was like to Live Life to the Full. Although we had spent a lot of time planning sessions, this was the first time we had delivered a session in a while and so found the first sessions a little difficult, but used the day to get alongside the young people in the school and get to know them as well as teaching them about God.
Our next cage setup had us based at another youth group in Lichfield at Emmanuel Church in which we simply put the cage up and played as many matches as people wanted! It was good for us to get experience at another youth group in Lichfield and build relationships that may help us out in further areas. We were able to get to know a whole new bunch of young people that we will hopefully be able to work with over the year.
As briefly mentioned above, we spent the Half Term week in Swansea; in a lovely place called the Mumbles. It was a week that was slightly different to our normal missions as we weren’t doing schools work due to it being half term. We were hired by the local council and linked with the Red Café; a youth community project in the area, and spent the week putting up the cage in the local church from 12-3 each day. The first day we set up we had around 4-5 kids turn up and weren’t too sure of what to expect for the rest of the week numbers wise, but as the week went on, the numbers increased and by the Wednesday we had around 15 kids! The biggest day was without doubt the Thursday as we organised and held a 5aside football tournament for the young people in the area and initially, we we’re worried how many were going to turn up, however the Lord provided and we had 10 teams turn up with around 70 kids in total! It was a great day with some excellent football played and even a showing from Angel Rangel – a current Swansea City player. The day was topped off with an awards ceremony in the evening down at the Red Café, with ex Swansea player Lee Trundle coming down to present the awards to the winning teams, as well as some live music. I think we all really enjoyed the week in Swansea as although it was a little different to a normal week, it allowed us to get to know some of the young people a lot better and help see relationships between the Young People and the Café in the area grow and strengthen and we are all hoping and praying that they continue to work together. Undoubtedly one of the best memories from the week however, had to be the discovery and experience of Joe’s ice cream. We’d been recommended by several people to try it out and decided to treat ourselves one day and I have to admit lives were changed! Definitely a strong recommendation for anyone who finds themselves in the Mumbles or Swansea!
I’d like to say a massive thanks to everyone who has continued to support me throughout this year, I’m already seeing the benefits, not only in myself, but the team and young people that we are working with also. I am absolutely loving what I am doing and still can’t believe it’s reality and I’ll keep you all updated with the work that we continue to do!
Nomad and Stance after Reigate!
Nomad and families meal after Commissioning!
Football tournament in Swansea with Angel Rangel looking on!
The team in Swansea after a great week!
Links for the Week in Mumbles: