New Year – Same God

Sorry for the long silence – never quite managed to find the time to sit down and write this until now! As we start a new academic year at Gaines, with changes in team and where my time is focused, I’m so thankful to be serving the God that doesn’t change; he’s always the same, he’s always faithful: “You are the same, and your years have no end” Psalm 102v27

We’re back into the swing of things after the summer, with several groups coming to us in the next few weeks, read on to see what we’ve been up to! Thank you for your support; if you feel able to you can support me financially here.

Verse for September:

A new slot… for a verse (or two) I’ve found particularly helpful over the past month.

1 Thessalonians 2v19-20: “For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you? For you are our glory and joy.”

Why? Our treasure in heaven is seeing those we’ve had the privilege of sharing the gospel with in glory – how exciting and incredible is that?!

Day 204

After all the craziness of camps over the summer, we all enjoyed some well deserved time off and rest; which included holidays, seeing family and visiting friends.

Day 211

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I passed my Level 2 assessment! Which means we can now offer kayaking on our lake at Gaines! On assessment day we were blessed with beautiful  sunshine and lots of willing participants to be coached – you can see me in action during the kayaking session I had to be observed coaching.

Day 212

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Forum (UCCF’s annual conference for CU leaders) was a great way to kick start the year as an Associate Staff Worker in Worcester with UCCF: four days of camping in the rolling Shropshire countryside with fantastic Bible teaching and being equipped alongside the CU leaders from across the country. You can see me and Sophie (Staff Worker for Worcester) looking so excited for the year ahead for what God is going to do at Worcester uni, but a little worse for wear after four days of camping!

Day 218

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Back to work! Which for me has mostly involved lots of admin (which I actually really enjoy…). Work has also been progressing on Room 2 – have a look back at May at Gaines! to see what it looked like a few months ago; although I can’t take any of the credit – that’s mostly been Joe. There’s now a ceiling and the walls are insulated and plaster boarded – ready to be plastered, then painted – more photos to follow in my next update!

Day 230

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Wedding time! It was a joy to be bridesmaid for my friend, and be involved in their special day.

Day 232

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As a full-time team we went away for a few days together in September; it was nice to spend time with each other away from all things Gaines-related. We then dropped Zoe (who’s been helping out at Gaines over the summer) off at Cardiff uni on the way back – it was sad to see her go, but I’m sure she’ll have a great time and be back before we know it!

Day 235

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Thursday 21st of September marked the long-awaited first day of MMTC (Midlands Ministry Training Course). Three of the other guys at Gaines are also doing the course this year, so it’s good to be able to go together. Each week we travel up to Birmingham and receive Bible teaching on books of the Bible, doctrine and other topics relevant to Christian ministry. It’s exciting to be able to join with others from across the region to be equipped to better understand and teach the Bible.

Day 239

Thomas arrived from Germany to join us for his gap year; we hope and pray he learns and grows in his Christian faith as he serves God here at Gaines over the coming year.

Day 243

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We had our first of a run of four groups in at the weekend: St John’s, Lindow from near Manchester. The teaching was from Proverbs, seeing how 3000 year old wisdom is still relevant today; as ever it was a joy to be able to open up God’s Word with the young people. Other highlights from the weekend included: combat archery (the girls were pretty happy about beating the boys!), graffiti, an afternoon of very competitive games, air rifles, and a murder mystery in which they all very much got into character! Pray for what they heard from the Bible to sink into their minds and hearts as they return home.

 

Coming up…

Three more groups over the next few weekends; and various maintenance projects, particularly Room 2.

Please Pray!

  • For us to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus and his great gospel, and not to forget that the reason we run Gaines is for God’s glory
  • For us to faithfully teach God’s Word to the groups that come
  • Thanks for MMTC: it’s such a blessing to be able to receive faithful Bible teaching each week and to meet people of a similar age who also want to learn and grow in their walk with God
  • Safety for all the maintenance work taking place
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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

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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!

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

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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

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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.