So it’s nearly Christmas and I thought I’d better write another quick little (more like an essay) blogpost to let you guys know what I have been up to on the past month and to assure you that I actually am doing some work this year…
So the last month or so has been yet another good one, with not so many missions and traveling as such, but a lot has still managed to come of it!
Having returned from a very successful Swansea mission at the end of October the start of November saw us with a few days off to rest and recuperate before our next item on the agenda. For Ed and Jonny this involved several days of travelling to Solihull to take part in training for their FA Level 1 Coaching Badge (something myself and James have already obtained previously) before taking part in an assessment and completing the qualification the next week. Whilst the boys were spending their time going over numerous coaching drills and getting soaked in the unfortunate weather storms, on the Wednesday of that week, myself, James, Jack and Anthony (two former Nomads who we managed to draft in!) were invited to Beaudesert Forest to set up the cage for the local Scouts Firework display and to indulge in some free hotdogs (which of course clinched the deal…) It was a great evening and although set up of the cage proved a little tricky, hard work and persistence prevailed and we were able watch some incredible fireworks as well as play some good, albeit slightly muddy and slippery, football at the same time!
The next week was again, a little more relaxed, with Hub Training taking place alongside Stance one of the days in which we we looked at how to get more from Youthwork and some of the things to take into consideration when planning a session, as well as doing a lot of planning and preparation for the future. Our next brief Nomad mission happened at the end of this week, with a two day stay over in Carshalton for some more Sports Ministry Training, this time with Football Ambassadors and Onside Soccer at the local Baptist Church. We looked at how best to plan sessions as well as being able to get out into the local park (in the ‘lovely’ British weather…) and practice some drills and sessions that we could then take back with us and use with some of the young people that we meet. It was a great two days, in which we not only met some great people, but also enhanced our practical knowledge and football skills as well as our spiritual knowledge.
Following this, the weekend saw a brief break for me up in Scarborough with some of the family for one of my nephews’ dedication service. It was a truly blessed weekend for the whole family, in which we were able to see just how Little Welford had impacted my eldest brother and sister-in-law and to have a little break from the Nomad lifestyle! The Sunday of this weekend saw the team reunited in good old Nottingham in which we attended Trent Vineyard for their evening service before heading back to Lichfield.
The next day saw us as a team put through our paces both physically and spiritually by Anthony, the youth worker at Wade Street and former Nomad at the local park, in which we not only played football, but looked at how we as a team could support each other throughout the year and how we can look to God when we are struggling. Although chilly and fairly muddy, it was a great team day that saw us work together and help each other out! We spent the rest of the week very similarly to the last, with a lot of planning and reflecting over the year so far and preparing for the next week.
Following our week of planning, we spent the weekend in London, having managed to get some tickets to watch the England Womens game on the Sunday. It was actually mine and Jonny’s first proper experience of London and so we headed up on the Saturday before spending the evening/early hours of the morning Boris Biking around the city and taking in all the typical touristy sights! As if this wasn’t magical enough, we then topped off the weekend with a trip to Wembley the next day to watch England Women play Germany and although the result was sadly not all that great, it was definitely a great experience for all of us, especially for Jonny and myself – the London Rookies!
Our next date in the diary took us to the Grace Academy in Darlaston and was the first official joint mission week of the year in which us, Stance and Happi – one of YFCs new artists – took lessons and assemblies based around the theme of Superheroes. We took around 20 lessons during the week, ranging from Year 7 to Sixth Form, PE to Music, boys, girls and mixed lessons as well as helping to run an event on the Friday evening, including a cage football tournament. It was a really great week in which, as aforementioned, we looked at the theme of Superheroes and Sacrifice and how ultimately, Jesus sacrificed his life on the cross to forgive our sins. We were able to meet some really great kids throughout the week as well as teachers and build some strong relationships with the school, as well as working alongside the fantastic Pais team and getting across the gospel message in a way that the kids enjoyed. Ultimately, the lessons that we took all week, led up to the event on the Friday evening, or Friday Night Live, in which the students were able to come along and find out a little bit more about what we as YFC artists and missions teams do as well as giving them a chance to finish off the week in one big event. For me, this was definitely one of my favourite weeks of the year so far, as we were not only able to spend the week telling the students about Jesus, but we were able to see how they had been impacted through the work that us, Stance and Happi were doing and get to see the familiar faces that kept coming back to find out more. Another great thing to come from the week was the fact that we were really able to get to know some of the staff as well and it reminded us that although we work predominantly with young people, the work that we do as a team can also impact on others around us at the same time.
The next week saw the start of the Lichfield Schools Week; a week in which several of the local Primary schools are invited to Wade Street to experience a little of the Christmas story through a short drama and workstations that help them to experience what actually happened. For us as Nomad, we were given a slightly different task to normal, in which we were required to play several roles in the Christmas Story; as the only girl on team I was landed with the role of Mary, Ed was given Joseph, James was Micah and Jonny carried on the tradition of a Northern Irish Angel Gabriel! Although slightly different to our normal work, it was another great week, in which were able to see the kids and their teachers blessed through us a church and learn a little bit more about the true meaning of Christmas.
For me, the weekend was another incredibly busy one! Alongside Selina – another youth worker from Wade Street Church, we took 5 of the girls from the youth to Whitemoor Lakes for Shine; an all girls weekend away run by Urban Saints. It was a really great weekend in which the girls were able to be honest with themselves and overcome some of their struggles and challenges through several different sessions as well as putting their talents and skills on show through some streams such as Dance, Drama, Creative Arts, Worship and Media. It was great to see girls from all over the country be able to connect with God (some for the first time) and be able to see themselves as great women and daughters of God! It’s something that shall stay with me for a long time and if you have girls in your youth group, I really recommend booking them in for it in 2015!
So I’ve finally come to the end of my ramblings for this month, and yet again, apologies for it being so long – it appears that even when it doesn’t seem to have been a busy month, God has been at work and I write a lot anyway! Well, you did all tell me to keep you up to date! It feels incredibly strange that Christmas is already upon us and that the first term of my gap year is already about to come to an end; the time really has flown incredibly quickly and as much as I am looking forward to going back to the Ford, its a shame how quickly the time has passed!
For those of you who have the pleasure of living near me back in Hereford, I shall be returning home on the 18th December and shall be around until the 4th January and would love to catch up with you and let you know more in depth (as if my ramblings weren’t enough!) about the work I’ve been doing this year!
A massive, massive thank you as well to all those of you who have supported me already in my year out, both through finances and prayer, it is all massively appreciated and I couldn’t have done it without you all! (Granted some people gave me money to get rid of me, but thank you especially, I really am loving the work that I am doing and only hope it continues to go so well!)
I hope you all have a great Christmas and New Year and again, many thanks for those of you who actually take the time to read my blog, I really do appreciate every single one of you!
Beaudesert Firework Display!
Nomad Church at Beacon Park.
Boris Bikes and Tower Bridge!
Lichfield Schools Week get up! Micah, Mary, Angel Gabriel and Joseph!
Nomad getting into the spirit of Christmas!