It’s all about the Camps

We’ve been in full-on summer camp mode here at Gaines and elsewhere (read on to find out where!) If you feel able you can support me here.

Camp XL (the overall charity that Gaines is part of) run three summer camps at Gaines: Escape, Breakout and Ignition – read on to find out how they went! You can also see more photos on Camp XL’s facebook and twitter, as I couldn’t put them all on here!

The summer camps are such a great opportunity to share our hope of God’s great gospel with children and young people from across the country – that’s why we spend so long planning and preparing for them!

Day 182

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Escape was the first camp we ran and Cap’n Joe was leading the ship – although he seems to have lost his pirates in the above photo! Activities throughout the week included air rifle shooting, paracord keyrings, rafting, a trip to Drayton Manor, wide games, woodwork, combat archery, treasure chests, tie-dye t-shirts and pirate-themed baking among others!

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The teaching on both Escape and Breakout was on Judges and Ruth: there were small group Bible studies in dorm groups in the mornings, and evening teaching meetings altogether with games, singing, interviews and a talk. It was such a privilege to delve into God’s word with the young people and help them understand it better.

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‘Late Night’ was a big hit, which included lots of silly games: pop-up pirate extreme, a mass game of rock, paper, scissors (above), Davy Jones’ Locker, 100 metre mermaid, walk the plank, and lots of other food related games too!

Day 189

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I was Cap’n Rachel for our second camp: Breakout. But you’ll be glad to know I didn’t wear those glasses all week!

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Everything was pirate themed for every camp, and the campers were in dorm groups for each week: Blackbeards, Davy Jones’, Jolly Rogers and Long John Silvers. Above, the Long John Silvers are taking part in one of the games in Captain Hook’s Training Circuit! Other activities throughout the week included: tie-dye t-shirts, air rifle shooting, pirate-themed baking, combat archery, wide games in the woods, rafting, bushcraft, a pirate murder mystery, archery, graffiti, a trip to Drayton Manor and more!

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There was lots of time to get alongside the young people, due to the small numbers, and even despite some illness going round! Small groups were again a great place to open up God’s Word with the young people, pray that God would bring fruit and we’d see them in glory.

Day 196

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I got the opportunity to go on one of Camp XL’s other camps: Waverider, a surf Camp in (mostly) sunny Polzeath in Cornwall; although it did mean I missed being part of Ignition back at Gaines. But I love the sea and (almost) anything to do with water, so it was a great way to round off the summer!

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Days were filled with surfing, coasteering, kayaking, Bible studies, BBQs, competition games, cake, evening teaching meetings and cream teas. Numbers are deliberately kept small on surf camp, which creates a real family feel. The teaching was a Bible overview, which was a really helpful way for the campers to better understand the Bible, the gospel and how that should affect the way they live their lives. They were all really open to talking about the Bible and had lots of questions, which was such an encouragement to witness.

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Meanwhile on Ignition… the re-enactment of King Eglon! There were nearly 30 kids aged 8 to 11 who enjoyed activities from air rifle shooting to team games, and rafting to combat archery. But most importantly they got to hear God’s Word from Joshua, Judges and Ruth.

Day 200

Wasn’t actually spent at Gaines, but was filled with kayaking, time on the beach and a walk with the campers to the cove on the last full day of Waverider!

Day 203

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Time to say goodbye to Bethany and Sally who have been on the gap year: the time has flown by, but it’s been so great to have them here at Gaines, seeing them grow and develop in their faith and leadership has been a joy and a blessing to witness – they will definitely be missed! They’re both off to uni in September – wishing them the best of luck, but I’m sure they’ll be back before we know it!

Coming up…

Rest and time off! I also have my kayaking assessment on Monday, which if I pass will mean we can do kayaking on the lake with groups. Then I’m straight off to Forum (UCCF’s annual conference for CU leaders) after that, as part of my role as Associate Staff Worker with Worcester Christian Union. And we’re all back in the office in September, with several groups coming to us in October.

Please Pray!

  • For all the kids that heard God’s Word over the summer – pray that they wouldn’t just remember the activities they did on camp, but they’d remember something of God’s great gospel
  • Thank you for all the volunteers who have (often sacrificially) helped us over the summer at Gaines, particularly on the camps
  • For good rest as the Gaines team have some time off
  • For my kayaking assessment
  • To be encouraged and spurred on for the year ahead by the teaching at Forum
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Summer Craziness!

On Sunday our first camp starts and I’ll have also been at Gaines for 6 months – time flies! Thank you so much for taking time reading this. If you feel able to support me, you can do so here. And don’t forget to check out Gaines on facebooktwitter and instagram!

Day 159

beacon

Our fourth weekend group in a row was a new group to us from a church in Stafford, and it was great to have them with us! The teaching was from Colossians – The Greatest Ever King; looking at Jesus is always encouraging and challenging – no matter how many times we hear it! Activities included the usual Friday night bonfire with marshmallows, rafting (it got competitive with boys vs girls!), air rifles (which became equally competitive), murder mystery evening, mug decorating in the sun, and combat archery (pictured above).

Day 162

joe slide

39 girls and their teachers from Lady Margaret School in London enjoyed a full on pirate-themed week. It kicked off with an afternoon of inflatables, which were a lot of fun – and yes Joe did dress like that for the whole week!

The teaching took a slightly different form to normal: we had small groups in the mornings with a mixture of upfront and discussion time, looking at ‘The World We All Want’ – how the world is not as it should be, why that is, that Jesus came to fix it, and by trusting in what Jesus has done we can look forward to being in the New Creation with Him as King. It was incredible to see how open the girls were to God’s word.

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We did lots of activities with the girls, including rafting, tie dye t-shirts, combat archery, graffiti, air rifles, a trip to Drayton Manor and much more! It was also great to have a couple of last year’s gap team back to help out.

It was a tiring week (as you can see from the team photo above!) but it was so amazing to be able to share the gospel with mostly un-churched girls.

Day 170

canoeing

Bethany and Sally enjoyed the two canoeing sessions we did on a lake the other side of Worcester. I’ve now finished all of my canoeing and kayaking sessions – so I’m now almost ready to go for assessment!

Day 174

st georges

St George’s, another new group to us, enjoyed a Bible and activity-filled few days with us. We did an extended teaching programme in Ephesians, looking at God’s big plan to unite all things under Christ, as well as Paul’s 2 prayers. It was great to see the kids in my small group engaging with and thinking about what the Bible says, which produced lots of questions towards the end of their time with us! There was lots of time to do activities with them as well, which included: wide games, graffiti, rafting, mug decorating, combat archery, film night, ultimate Frisbee, team games, combat archery and more!

In our spare (?!) moments between groups we’ve been doing the very final preparations for summer camps: decorations are up, programmes are finished, Bible talks are written, all we need now are the kids!

Coming up…

Summer camps! Escape starts on Sunday, Breakout the following Sunday, and Ignition the Sunday after that!

Please Pray!

  • For all the kids coming on summer camps, that they would engage with God’s Word (we’re looking at Judges and Ruth), be challenged and transformed by it
  • That all of the leaders: Gaines team and those coming to help over the summer, would model the gospel to the kids on camps. Pray for us to be gracious, loving and patient towards each other and the kids
  • For all of the those who have heard the gospel at Gaines over the past month or so, that God’s word would be continuing to impact, challenge and change their lives

Summer is in Swing

We’ve been busy! The sun’s been shining here at Gaines and we’ve welcomed several groups since my last update, as well as a new team member! We’ve also been finishing off some maintenance projects and doing final preparations for summer camps. And you can support me here.

Day 138

malverns

We welcomed St John’s Knutsford – the first of four weekend groups in a row. The teaching was on Colossians, and it was so encouraging to be able to open up the Bible with some of the girls and them wanting to do the same when they got home. Other highlights included: the hottest weekend so far; water games; toasting marshmallows on the bonfire while enjoying a beautiful sunset; rafting on the lake (only most people fell in…); and enjoying God’s creation from the top of the Malverns.

Day 144

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More painting! Up on the scaffold to paint the top half of the the PA room and the ceiling.

Day 145

A regular occurrence in our calendar is the youth group from St Botolphs, Barton Seagrave. I was mostly helping out in the kitchen, but another weekend of warm weather was enjoyed – rafting on the lake was a definite highlight, as was the murder mystery. The teaching was on Proverbs: seeing how God’s wisdom written through Solomon 3000 years ago is still relevant to us today. And combat archery was a great way to finish off their time with us!

Day 149

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My labour of love: now all painted and ready for the shelves to go in!

Day 151

kayak

I’ve been busy working on my kayaking qualification (Level 2) so we can get kayaking up and running on the lake with groups. Part of it includes doing some coaching sessions – Bethany and Sally have been my participants, and we even had an audience for the second session in the rain!

Day 152

dads & lads

A slightly different weekend to normal as we welcomed 8 fathers with their sons for our very first Dads & Lads weekend! Activities included archery, smores round the bonfire, sport, air rifles, combat archery and bushcraft in the woods (more fires); which enabled the dads to spend time with their lads doing things that boys like to do! The teaching was on father and son relationships in the Bible: Solomon, Abraham and Noah, as well as looking at the Biblical roles of fathers and sons from Ephesians 6. Small groups were the dads reading the Bible together with their lads – pray that this has continued after the weekend. We were also blessed to have some lovely volunteers come and run the kitchen for us for the weekend!

Our team selfie shows that at least the girls are enjoying the bonfire…! And you can even spot Neil in the back left: he’s our newest full time member of staff!

Day 156

shelving

Our new activity storage is all finished and in use!

In between making shelves, painting, kayaking and welcoming groups onsite, we’ve been finishing up preparations for our summer camps: decorations, teaching programmes, wide games etc.

Days off have included relaxing at Droitwich Lido on the hottest day of the year, going to see the tennis at Wimbledon, seeing friends and catching up on sleep!

Coming up…

We’ve got a youth group coming this weekend, before 42 girls from a girls school in London come for the week on their school residential; then a youth group from London are coming for 4 days, before we’re into our 3 summer camps in a row: Escape, Breakout and Ignition!

Please Pray!

  • For us to remember we’re serving God and sharing HIS Gospel
  • For us to continue to grow in unity as a team as we share the gospel with well over 150 kids in the next six weeks
  • For us not to get caught up in the business of preparation and groups, but to fix our eyes on what is ahead: eternity spent with the King – as we’ve been reminded of as a team by studying Philippians together in devotions
  • Thank you for the team God has provided us over the summer, with lots of volunteers coming to help on camps
  • Energy!

Ready, Steady, Paint!

We’re into June now and it’s starting to get busy here at Gaines – please continue to pray for us. Thank you for your ongoing support, it really is appreciated! You can support me here. And don’t forget you can also follow Gaines on facebook and twitter!

Day 116

pa room cupboards out

The last few weeks have been filled with lots of maintenance, so that we can better serve the groups that come to us, enabling more people to hear the Gospel. One of the big projects we’ve been focusing on has been the PA room – the cupboards are out (thanks to Nunns guns) and it’s nearly ready to paint.

Day 120

I had a productive and quiet week while most of the team were enjoying some well earned time off over half term; involving the likes of tidying the linen cupboard, preparing wide games for the summer camps, restocking our archery supplies and finding new homes for some of the furniture we don’t need any more.

Day 125

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Not Gaines related, but I got to take part in the Three Rivers Race: a 24 hour sailing race, covering nearly 50 miles, on the Norfolk Broads. We had amazing weather and overall, came 10th out of about 90 other boats!

Day 129

From sailing to kayaking… there seems to be a theme! I passed my kayak assessment – 3 star touring kayak. Which means we’re one step closer to getting kayaking up and running on the lake with groups.

Day 132

Sally’s back! She started her gap year at Gaines in September, then went off on a mission trip to Kenya, but now she’s back with us for the summer.

Day 135

pa room prep

Back in the PA room: the partition is down and the walls are prepped and ready to be painted by Sally and I… you can even spot Sally mixing some paint!

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First coat is on! Nearly ready to be our new and improved activity storage. Check back next time to see what it looks like.

Day 136

As part of my Associate Staff Worker role, I met with the committee of Worcester Christian Union to help them think through their vision and to do some planning for the year ahead. It was so encouraging to see their passion for the gospel and their plans for sharing it with their fellow students!

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And more painting has been happening… Alice, Bethany and Sally have been painting Room 3, ready for new staff starting.

Coming up…

Groups, groups, groups! The calendar is pretty full (praise God!) from now until the end of the summer. Which includes our normal weekend groups, Dads & Lads weekend, a school group, as well as our summer camps! Check back next time to hear how they’ve gone.

Please Pray!

  • For many of the young people who come to Gaines to know God’s grace for themselves by having saving faith in what Jesus has done for them – this is what we’re all about!
  • Thank you that God graciously uses our ministry (even with all its flaws and sinful people!) for Him to save souls
  • Thank you for the students from City Church Birmingham who have come over the last 2 weeks to use Gaines for their retreats; pray that it was a spiritually beneficial time for them
  • Energy for the coming months!

May at Gaines!

Thank you so much for partnering with me in this gospel ministry at Gaines; even if just reading this blog, it’s hugely appreciated! I feel extremely blessed and humbled by the support I’ve received over the past few weeks, so thank you. If you feel at all able you can support me here.

Day 100

gaines road

I can’t quite believe I’ve been at Gaines for 100 days already! What better way to enjoy the beautiful evening sunshine than with a walk to the postbox?!

In between enjoying the sun, summer camp prep is well under way; decorations are starting to go up, programmes are being sorted, costumes are being sourced, teaching programmes are being finalised, and wide games are being planned among other things!

Day 102

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EXCITING NEWS! I’m now the Associate Staff Worker with UCCF (who work with University Christian Unions across the country) in Worcester. I’ll be doing this alongside my work at Gaines. I joined with the Midlands team for one of their team days; we were looking at the Doctrine of Creation and how that should affect our ministry to students. I’m really looking forward to being able to support particularly the committee of the CU as they share the gospel with students at Worcester Uni.

Day 106

clear out

Time for a clear out! I’ve been finding new homes for some of our unwanted items around the main house.

Day 108

yorkshire

Those of us who well enough headed up to Yorkshire Camps – they run a very similar ministry to Gaines, just in a different part of the country – so it was great to be able to encourage, support and share with the team there. As well as being shown around their amazing site, we got stuck in with helping out with a Year 3 school group they had in, which of course involved having a go on their ‘Adventure Trail’ – their newest activity. It was great to be in the teaching meetings too, which were based on the unique birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus.

Day 113

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Bethany and I finished emptying the PA room; it involved moving a (very heavy) piano, as well as a wardrobe, which proved to be somewhat comedic when it came to getting it up our stairs! Watch this space for what’s coming next!

Day 114

room two

Yesterday we all got VERY dusty! We were taking (smashing) down the walls and ceiling in one of the rooms, so that it can be renovated.

Coming up…

Maintenance projects mentioned above, finishing off preparation for the summer camps, and groups are back in June!

Please Pray!

  • Thanks for 1 John and the encouragement it has been to study together in morning devotions as a team – having fellowship with one another because of our fellowship with God
  • Safety for the various maintenance projects happening
  • Wisdom in how best to support the Christian Union at Worcester
  • To clearly communicate the gospel to the groups that come to us in June

Time Flies!

Sorry for the long silence… life has been busy! Find out what’s been happening below, and you can support me here. You can also follow us on facebook and twitter!

Day 62

cruise

Not Gaines related… but I headed off on a Christian sailing camp I’ve led on for many years on the Norfolk Broads, along with about 100 other young people and leaders. Days involved sailing on the rivers and broads along with the 15 other yachts, with evenings involving the infamous ‘Logs and Shanties’, our evening meeting. It included lots of competitions, silly songs (shanties), stories from the day (logs), along with the teaching slot, which this year was on Luke: ‘#followme’ in the mornings and ‘Convinced about Jesus’ in the evenings. It was a great week: good God, good weather, good people.

Day 69

wa heroes

I headed straight from my camp to Word Alive (yes I know I’m crazy) to be on the Heroes team: three hundred 8 to 11 year olds for the week! We did team challenges, Bible talks on Galatians, gunging, songs, crazy games, quizzes, small group Bible studies, team chants, dramas, memory verses and much more!

We were also able to go to the later evening meeting: it was great to be fed on some really good Bible teaching on the Suffering Servant from Isaiah 41 to 55, as well as learning more about the Reformation.

Day 81

kayaks

The day to head down to Carroty Wood: Rock UK’s centre in Kent to pick up some kayaks they have very kindly donated to us. Hopefully they’ll be on the lake soon – watch this space!

Day 88

mgp set up

Time to set up for MGP Junior camp… Bethany had a fight with the massive net in the Dive! And it’s safe to say the house became very pirate-y: palm trees, treasure maps, treasure chests and parrots!

Day 89

mgp

The Midlands Gospel Partnership run a junior camp for about thirty 8s to 11s at Gaines each year, the theme this year was ‘Treasure Hunters’, so of course Joe was dressed as a pirate captain all weekend! The teaching was done by Birmingham City Mission, and was on Jesus as the greatest treasure. The above photo shows Ben and Joe dropping the egg contraptions from the roof, as part of team challenges one evening! Other parts of the weekend included: making fires as part of bushcraft, pirate clothing, a (really competitive) game of 40/40 in up in the woods, film night, small groups looking at Jesus as the greatest treasure from Matthew, tankard design (mug decorating for the non-pirates out there), testimonies, graffiti, bonfire with hot dogs and marshmallows, archery tag, Bible talks, (lots of) food, dramas, and some questionable pirate accents! So it turns out 8 to 11 year olds are pretty exhausting… but you’ll be glad to know this week has been a bit quieter!

Coming Up…

Preparation for our summer camps, and various maintenance projects around the site.

Please Pray!

  • For the seeds planted on my sailing camp, at Word Alive and on MGP Junior camp to bear fruit for the Gospel
  • For good rest and preparation as we have a quieter period this month – to be a strong united team so that we can effectively share the gospel together
  • For strength and endurance to do the Gospel work God has given us to do here at Gaines

Nearly 2 months in!

Welcome back! I’m nearly 2 months in to life at Gaines, although it definitely feels like I’ve been here longer than that already! We’ve been busy… read on to find out more. You can still support me at give.net/20216952

Day 40

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Our second weekend group in March was a youth group from Holy Trinity Church, Tewkesbury. The teaching was on the ‘I am’ sayings from John’s gospel – always such a privilege to open the Bible with young people. Other highlights included: toasting marshmallows round the bonfire, ice skating, a competitive game of crocker, graffiti, quiz of the year (pictured above), good food (comes as standard), and craft in the Art Studio.

Day 43

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We’re blessed with some beautiful scenery right on our doorstep, which we try to take as much advantage of as we can on days off!

Day 44

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We all headed up to Nottingham to help out with Crossteach’s ‘Easter Experience’ (complete with outfits!), an interactive workshop to enable children to hear about the Easter story and all God has done for them on the cross. Although I was ill, so unfortunately didn’t get to take part.

Day 46

Most of us headed to Birmingham for the day for the Midlands Ministry Training Course (MMTC): Book in a Day – Judges. I will be doing MMTC from September, it’s a ministry training scheme (it’s in the name!) for one day a week run by the Midlands Gospel Partnership who are passionate about the Gospel and passionate about equipping people to share it well – so a pretty exciting thing to get to be a part of! Going to the Judges day gave me a good flavour of what it will be like, and I’m excited for September!

Day 47

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This third weekend saw us welcome a Welsh group from Lliswerry, Newport. The teaching was on Ephesians, about God’s Big Plan. Additional highlights included: archery, ice skating, walk and wide games in the woods, quiz of the year, smores round the epic bonfire (Bethany and I made it), chilled out craft, an ever competitive game of crocker, and pancakes for breakfast (always a win).

Day 53

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Thursdays have been my study days prior to starting MMTC in September. So far I have been studying Nehemiah (great book!) and have read a book on the Holy Spirit by Christopher Ash.

Day 54

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The youth from Woodgreen Evangelical Church (the church we are all part of  in Worcester) came for the weekend; despite the relatively low numbers it was a really great weekend! The teaching was from Ephesians again, familiar yet always refreshing to see all we have in Christ. Other highlights were: watching the sunset from the top of the Malverns (pictured above), a very competitive archery session, sharing communion together, film (with popcorn!), table tennis, crazy songs round the bonfire, and small groups delving into Ephesians.

Coming up…

The final March group from St Stephen’s Church in Birmingham (although I won’t be around as I’m off leading on a Christian sailing camp on the Norfolk Broads). Word Alive: we’re all on team helping with the children and youth.

Please Pray!

  • We’ve been really encouraged and challenged by reading through 1 Corinthians together in morning devotionals, about how important and absolutely central the Gospel was to Paul – pray we keep this same focus
  • Thank God for the privilege it is to be involoved in Gospel work; it’s amazing to be able to journey (even just for a weekend), read the Bible together and be encouraged by young people living for God
  • Energy! It’s been quite a long run of groups for us, with various coughs and colds, pray we’d stay healthy so we can bring the Gospel to the groups that come; and as we then all head to Word Alive in a week and a half