Apologies for not posting a blog in such a long time. The weeks since the turn of the year have been somewhat manic, but we have really known God's blessing in various locations, and have had wonderfully diverse opportunities to share the gospel.
After a great week of teaching and spiritual refreshment at YFC conference, it was straight to Crawley for the first mission of the calendar year. We had a brilliant week, based in Holy Trinity school, which was only slightly disrupted by the heavy snowfall. A highlight of this mission was its’ variety. As well as taking PE lessons with the football cage about ‘living life to the full’, we also took part in classroom RE teaching, three youth clubs, a school music group, assemblies and a youth event called 'Ignite’. It was a privilege to work with the Street 360 team at YFC Crawley and we pray that God will enable us to develop the relationships built there when we return for another week at the end of March.
An exciting new opportunity presented itself in our base town of Lichfield from January 21-25 as we were invited to take RE lessons in NetherStoweHigh School. We were integrated into the teaching syllabus, and took classes on the themes of ‘The Power and Influence of Jesus’ and ‘Religious Tolerance’. Through this, and particularly the question times at the end of the lessons, we had some great conversations about what it means to be a Christian. Please pray for ex-Nomad Anthony Narain (the youth worker at our base church in Lichfield) who has established good links in the school, and will return to take more RE lessons in the near future – an exciting development!
During the last week of January, ThomasAquinasSchool in Birmingham were having a mission week on the theme of ‘Encountering Jesus’, and invited Nomad, Stance (YFC’s street dance team) and Guvna B (YFC’s rap ambassador) to participate. We took over 300 pupils for lessons with the cage on the theme of ‘Sacrifice’ and told of how Jesus’ sacrifice can make all the difference in our lives. Some in depth conversations took place with older students around the cage during the course of the week. Please pray for the students we spoke to, that God would show them the need for a personal relationship with Him.
We continued our travels into February by heading down to Oxfordshire for a week’s mission partnering with AbingdonCommunityChurch. We saw the benefit of going into the same school (Larkmead High) each day, as we built up a great rapport with the pupils and teachers, who really interacted with our lessons. A particular highlight was taking a full school assembly about Christ’s sacrifice to over 1000 people, where we felt a clear sense of God’s presence with us. This opened the door for many excellent conversations and around fifty teenagers came along to a football tournament on the Friday night. They listened intently as Jenna and James shared their testimonies – please pray that God would use the ‘Desire’ group of youth workers in their planned follow-up activities.
After Abingdon, we made our way to York, where we worked in conjunction with the Elim church. We went into Archbishop Holgate’s CoE school each day and took classroom RE lessons on ‘Life to the full’ and ‘Morality’, assemblies and lunchtime and after school cage sessions. In addition, we took the cage along to two youth events. A real highlight of the week was seeing eight of the boys we met at the school at church on Sunday morning. York Elim have a great relationship with unchurched teenagers at their youth club – please pray that God would water this seed and encourage the workers there, including Nomad legend Rob Newton.
We have also had the opportunity to take part in some one-off events. On Monday 18th February, we ran a half-term sports event in Walsall, while last Sunday David and Erik had the opportunity to return to Abingdon. There, they spoke about 'the vine and the branches' at a 'Desire' event for the combined youth groups of Abingdon.
So, there's been a blog drought followed by the longest one in history! Thanks again so much for all your prayers, we continue to cherish them, particularly as we head on the road for four weeks straight in March. We will be going to Dundee, Queensferry, Crawley and Spring Harvest at Skegness.
Joke of the week: My doctor told me recently that I should watch what I eat. So I've bought a ticket to the Grand National!