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

up high.JPG

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

finished

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

3rr

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!

painted pa room

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!

room3

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

asw

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

pa

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

quiz sm

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

days off sm

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

crossteach2 sm

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

lliswerry bonfire sm

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

study day sm

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

woodgreen malverns sm

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

It’s All Fun and Gaines

It’s now Day 38 – read on to find out what I’ve been up to! And don’t forget, you can still support me at give.net/20216952

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Day 16

ww kayaking

Not strictly Gaines related… but I had a few days off and went white water kayaking in Devon, which was a lot of fun!

Day 23

paint

We got donated over 1000 litres of paint by a local company, which was really exciting and generous of them. The photo above probably shows only about half of it!

Day 25

pool session

I got the opportunity to go on a rolling course – fortunately in a swimming pool and not the river!

Day 26

lake

The lake has been looking beautiful in the sunshine, hopefully they’ll be groups paddling on it soon when the weather warms up!

Day 30

Pancake day was celebrated in style, but unfortunately no photos!

In between eating pancakes and enjoying the sunshine, we’ve been preparing for a 5-week run of weekend groups; which has included preparing Bible studies and talks, sorting programmes, cutting the grass, fixing all things activity-related and cooking lots of yummy food.

Day 33

walk

Our first of 5 weekend groups in March: the Christian Union from the King’s School, Worcester. The weekend included: teaching on Ephesians, table tennis, archery (it got VERY competitive), food (lots of it), quiz of the year, craft, prayer stations, walks, football, murder mystery and a game of signs that seemed to last the whole weekend.

I got the opportunity to do one of the talks over the weekend: a little nerve-racking but exciting too, and it’s good to be pushed outside your comfort zone every now and again..!

The photo above shows the view from the final stretch of our afternoon walk back to Gaines on the Saturday – you can just about see the house in the distance! It’s a privilege to be living in such a beautiful part of God’s creation.

Coming up…

More groups! And preparing for our summer camps too -if you know someone who’d like to come along as a camper or a leader check out www.campxl.org

Please Pray!

  • For us to faithfully teach the Gospel to all the groups that come through our doors as well as showing it in the way we live and work as a team
  • For the generosity of those who support Gaines: prayer/financially/volunteering/paint donation etc.

Time for a New Adventure!

I’ve recently started working at Gaines (this is Day 20), a residential Christian Youth Centre near Worcester (check out gaines.org.uk, and if you’d like to support me, here’s how: give.net/20216952). I’m SO excited to be serving God here – this is what I’ve been up to so far!

Day minus 30

nyhp-group

New Year House Party = dressing up, amazing food, banagrams, ballroom dancing, mask making, relaxing round the fire, glow stick party, and great teaching on God being the top priority in our lives.

Day minus 18

letter-post

Letter writing for support, posting and delivering: over 100 of them!

Day minus 13

gyd-group

‘Growing Young Disciples’ conference with approx. 300 people from around the UK and Europe who are also involved in children and young people’s ministry. It was such a great time to be equipped for the work I’m now doing at Gaines, as well as getting to know the team better (pictured above, with Christopher Ash – the main speaker) and being encouraged about how good God is and what great news the Gospel is!

Day 0

Moving day!

Day 1

Time to get stuck in! One of my main responsibilities is looking after all things activity related, whether it be rafting, archery, murder mysteries or bushcraft (and much more!), so familiarising myself with these was the order of the day. As well as learning how everything works and where everything lives in the big house.

Day 5

first-wkend-mtg

First group! A youth group from Newbury. A packed weekend included: a very competitive game of crocker, good food (there were pancakes), a walk in the sunshine and games in the woods, a murder mystery set on a cruise ship in 1914, a cracking game of signs, an archery session in the sunshine, chats by the fire in the lounge, a massive game of perudo, and teaching on wisdom from Proverbs – I was leading one of the small group discussions, a definite highlight!

Day 8

cu-freedom

The Gaines team were helping out with Worcester CU’s Mission. The theme for the week was: Satisfied? The lunch bar talks (with free lunch!) were on – Satisfied with suffering? Satisfied with sex? Satisfied with fake news? Satisfied with freedom? Then a quiz night with a Gospel talk on the Thursday. There was a great turn out of between 10 and 20 non-CU members at each event – Praise God!

Day 13

Word Alive training day in preparation for most of the Gaines team helping on the 8s to 11s team at Easter – lots to get excited about as we prepare to teach the kids about Jesus and all He’s done.

Coming up…

Back to back groups every weekend in March and preparation for camps in the summer (I know it’s only just stopped snowing but summer is coming!)

Please Pray!

  • To continue to settle in to life here at Gaines
  • For the students who heard the gospel during Worcester CU’s mission week: that they’d want to find out more about the One who truly satisfies
  • Preparation for the upcoming groups: that they would feel at home during their stay at Gaines, they would grasp more of who God is and grow in their walk with Him