What Happens at Gaines Manor in the Winter?!

Well quite a lot actually – even without many groups! Read on to find out what we’ve been up to here at Gaines Manor and how you can be praying. If you feel able to financially support me, you can do so here.

Verse for January

Job 38v4: “Where were you when I established the earth?”

This verse is so great because it reminds us that it is GOD who created everything we see; it humbles us to remember the Creator of the universe when we think we can o things in our own strength – God is so much bigger than we can imagine.

Day 351

conference

As a team, we enjoyed the chance to go away to the Growing Young Disciples Conference in Swanwick, Derbyshire along with around 200 other youth and children’s workers from across the country. We had some great teaching from Sam Allberry on identity, from Andy Prime on 2 Corinthians 5 & 6, as well as the doctrine of sin with Chris Stead in the Theology stream, and various seminars! So it was a pretty full-on time, but definitely helpful, challenging and encouraging.

It was also great to meet those from Yorkshire Camps (we visited them back in May – check it out here) and The Oakes, who are doing very similar gospel ministry in different parts of the country. And we even got to the opportunity to give those at the conference a chance to try out our newest activity: combat archery!

Day 359

washing

The boys have been busy clearing, prepping, cleaning and painting the new washing room, which is underneath the kitchen and will be great to start using over the coming season of groups.

Day 365

girls floor

They’ve also been renovating the Girls Floor – to open up the corridor; this has involved knocking down some walls and straightening them, before they’re re-plastered, repainted and re-carpeted. We’re looking forward to some beautiful fresh new rooms very soon!

I’ve been at Gaines for a whole year! While the boys have been getting dusty I’ve been busy doing lots of admin for the groups we have coming to us in the next few months, as well as doing some planning for our summer camps, and finding volunteers!

And our weekly visits to Birmingham for MMTC (Midlands Ministry Training Course) have also been continuing; recently we’ve been looking at Genesis, sex and sexuality, as well as continuing with 1 Thessalonians in our teaching practice groups.

Day 369

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It was great to be able to welcome the Students and Twenties group from Woodgreen for their weekend away. We had teaching on hope and holiness from Romans 5 and 6, which was really helpful, encouraging and challenging! There was also plenty of time for food, fellowship and fun, including a walk in the countryside.

Day 374

sgh

A couple of us took a road trip down to North Devon to see our friends at St George’s House (remember Neil and I visiting there in November? If not, see this blog post), as we’re running one of our summer camps: ‘The Beach’ there in the summer. And we also got to enjoy God’s creation at it’s best: the stunning Devon countryside and coastline in the sun.

Day 379

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Very excitingly, the coving (the bit that goes at the top of the wall between the wall and the ceiling) in Room 2 has started to go up. After that it should just be painting and carpeting before it’s a finished studio flat! Check back next time to see what it looks like.

wash up

I’m sure lots of our groups will be thrilled to know that we’ve now got an industrial dishwasher! But we just needed to have a wall knocked down first before the dishwasher and counter tops can be installed in the new wash up room. More photos to follow in my next blog.

Coming up…

Lots of maintenance: finishing the Girls Floor, installing the dishwasher and counter tops in the new wash up area, finishing off Room 2 all before our next group in 2 and a half weeks! And then we have another two groups in the following weeks in March.

A few of us are helping out with the mission week that the Christian Union at Worcester Uni are putting on; with the theme of ‘Satisfied?’ There are lunchbars most days with a talk on how Jesus brings true satisfaction to different areas of our lives, as well as evening events.

Please Pray!

  • Praise God for so many groups in the coming months, pray that we would have enough volunteers to be able to give every group a great time away enjoying God’s creation and His Word
  • For safety for the many maintenance projects we have going on, and that there wouldn’t be any hold ups to getting the work done before our next group comes
  • Worcester Uni’s mission week: that many students would hear how God brings them the satisfaction they long for
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Did Someone Say New Year?!

Just in case you’d missed it, we’re into 2018! Which for us at Gaines Manor has meant our annual New Year House Party, maintenance, admin and more – read on to see.

You can find out what we get up to day-to-day by following us on facebooktwitter or instagram.

Thank you so much to those of you who support me in various ways, from reading these updates, to praying, and giving to me financially. If you would like to financially support me, you can do so here.

Verse for December

Matthew 1v21: “She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save the people from their sins.”

This is probably my favourite Christmas verse, as it sums up the true reason for the season – Jesus came to save us from our sin. It’s completely mind-blowing that the creator of the entire universe would choose to humble himself to such an extent that he would become a vulnerable baby, dependent on his mother. But it’s not just a verse for Christmas, as it points to Jesus’ mission of coming to earth: saving people from their sins – something of eternal significance to be forever grateful for.

Day 316

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December brought loads of snow here at Gaines Manor and therefore the perfect opportunity for our annual Christmas card shoot, to wish our supporters a Merry Christmas.

Day 317

Being snowed in gave plenty of time to work on our newsletter, which went out in December: you can it view here (and if you’d like to receive the next one straight to your inbox, you can sign up here!)

Day 323

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Room 2 is almost finished: the ceiling and walls have been painted, window frames have been painted, kitchen is all fitted, and Thomas and Joe are very pleased with their tiling!

Day 325

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Just before we all had some time off over Christmas, the Gaines team went on tour to London to see a show; as well as showing Thomas, our German gap year, the sites of London – we even saw Prince Harry!

Day 335

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We had nearly 20 young people come and welcome in the New Year in style with us for our New Year House Party. We enjoyed a posh New Year’s Eve dinner, an afternoon of board games, a New Year’s Day walk, make-your-own mocktail with Joe as the barman, an all-star murder mystery, a film night (with popcorn), plenty of tea and cake, party cannons to launch 2018 with a bang, and of course lots of dancing! The teaching was on how Jesus makes all things new, even when we live in a broken and sinful world; it was so encouraging to hear the young people get excited about the new creation.

Day 344

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Moving Day! I’m still onsite, but now in a Rachel-sized place. I’m all settled in and enjoying calling it ‘home’.

Day 347

MMTC has started back again after a break over Christmas; in the next few weeks we’ll be looking at Genesis, sex and sexuality, men and women’s ministry, and leading Bible studies, as well as continuing to get to grips with 1 Thessalonians in our teaching practice groups.

The New Year has brought with it a fresh round of admin for me (which I actually quite enjoy!). Making sure we’re organised for the upcoming youth group weekends, as well as the various Gaines-run weekends we’re hosting in the coming months: Dads & Lads, Dads & Daughters, World Cup Fever and Supersize (check them out under ‘Camps & Events’ on our website).

Coming up…

We’re all heading off to the Growing Young Disciples Conference next week, along with around 200 other youth and children’s workers from across the country. After that, the boys will be continuing work on the new laundry room, and I’ll be making sure we’re organised for the coming year!

Please Pray!

  • That the conference would encourage, equip and challenge us for the coming year of Gospel ministry here at Gaines Manor
  • That as a team, we would be pointing each other to Jesus, when that’s easy and difficult
  • Thanks that Room 2 is almost finished
  • Thanks for a packed 2018 calendar of groups coming

Let it Snow!

It’s been snowing a lot here at Gaines, which means Winter is officially here! There’s still been quite a bit going on, even without any groups here – read on to find out what we’ve been up to! Thank you so much to those of you who support me; if you feel able, you can financially support me here.

snow

Verse for November

Romans 3v23-24: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”

We’re studying Romans in home groups at Church at the moment, and this verse has stuck with me a lot recently. On the one hand because it’s so HUMBLING. Paul (who wrote Romans) has just spent the whole of his letter up to this point explaining why everyone is totally undeserving of God’s grace and we all fall so far short of God’s standard because He is a holy God and we are sinful people. And secondly because it gives such HOPE. God sent Jesus to die on the cross to show his amazing grace, so we could be redeemed and brought back into perfect relationship with our Father for all eternity.

Day 285

matresses

Team bonding a few weeks ago was throwing out some of our old beds and mattresses from Little Gaines… which was actually a lot of fun!

Day 286

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I went along to Worcester CU’s Weekend Away for the day on the Saturday. It was great to be able to spend time with the members of the Christian Union, and get excited with them about sharing the Gospel with their fellow students.

Day 289

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Neil and I went down to St George’s House (SGH), a Christian outdoor centre in North Devon, for a couple of days to meet up with the teams from SGH, Fellowship Afloat and CYE (all Christian outdoor centres). We enjoyed fellowship, teaching, sharing of ideas, and of course surfing! Although you won’t spot us in the photo, as we wanted to head back to be able to go to MMTC on the Thursday.

Day 296

conservatory

The boys have been hard at work clearing and tidying where the Conservatory was, as well as painting the new lean-to, and it’s looking great!

Day 302

frozen

It’s been pretty cold here recently, including ice on the lake! While the boys have been working on the various maintenance projects around the house and grounds, I’ve been busy in the office updating activity plans, as well as getting stuck into all things housekeeping (who knew there were so many different types of light bulbs?!)

Day 305

We all went up to Nottingham for the termly meet up of the ‘West’ and ‘East’ centres for MMTC, which was ‘Book in a Day’ on the letter of James in the New Testament taught by Rupert Standring. It was such a good, helpful and challenging day for us all.

Day 311

room 2

Good progress is being made in Room 2: painting, kitchen units being fitted and electrics being sorted have all been happening since my last update. We hope and pray that this self-contained flat will be finished very soon!

Day 313

crossteach

We headed up to Nottingham to help out with two of the ‘Christmas Experiences’ Crossteach are running at various schools across the city, to teach kids about the true meaning of Christmas. (You might remember we helped out with Crossteach’s ‘Easter Experience’ in March.) The kids had three interactive stations where they had to find out the identity of the baby, then advise ‘Joe’ whether he should stay with Mary, who was having a baby that wasn’t his; Joe certainly looked the part as King Herod! It was great to see these mostly un-churched kids engage with who the Bible says Jesus is.

Coming up…

Continuing work in Room 2, New Year House Party (including planning and decorating the house) and time off over the Christmas period.

Please Pray!

  • That we would all be keeping our eyes, hearts and minds fixed on the Gospel, especially as there are fewer groups and people around on site
  • Thanks for all the maintenance and admin work we’ve managed to get done; in order to improve the fabric of the building and the running of things, so that more young people can hear the Gospel
  • That the students at Worcester CU would be excited about sharing the Gospel with others and would actually go and do it!
  • Thanks for the 60-70 people who attended the CU Carol Service this week, pray that they would consider the true meaning of Christmas
  • For the young people who will come on New Year House Party; that they would have a good time, but more importantly hear and respond to God’s Word

Farewell Groups: Hello Winter!

We’ve had our last weekend groups of 2017 (well it’s a bit cold for rafting now!), so we’re into a period of maintenance and development – read on to see what we’ve been up to. Thank you to those of you who support and partner with me – in prayer, relationally and financially – it’s hugely appreciated. If you feel able, you can financially support me here.

Verse for October

Hebrews 12v1b-2: “And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.”

When we fix our eyes on Jesus, running the race he has given us becomes so much easier; something it’s often easy to forget, and yet makes all the difference in ministry!

Day 250

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At the beginning of October, we welcomed the youth group from St Stephen’s church, Birmingham (the same church where we have MMTC). The teaching was on understanding the gospel and being equipped to share it with friends – practical and helpful for everyone! Highlights of the weekend included: the usual Friday night bonfire (complete with smores!), craft, combat archery, air rifles, a walk in the countryside and a murder mystery.

Day 253

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A few weeks ago, the drive looked like this…

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…but it now looks like this; nice and level and without any potholes: a smoother ride for those visiting Gaines!

Day 257

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Our final weekend group of 2017 was the youth from Kensington Baptist, Bristol; we enjoyed a packed out meeting room, with around 50 of them staying with us. It was a pretty full on weekend with so many people onsite (and to cook for!). But it was a joy, as always, to open up God’s Word with the young people, which was ancient wisdom from the book of Proverbs – still relevant to us today. We were thankful to be blessed with great weather, meaning we could spend time outside, and highlights included: combat archery, a bonfire, crocker, ice skating, lacrosse and a walk in the beautiful surrounding countryside!

Day 269

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Several of us from the Gaines team were involved in the Holiday Bible Club that Woodgreen Church ran over half term. If you can’t tell from the photo, the church was transformed to be ‘Under the Sea’! We were looking at the life of Jonah, and how we similarly run away from God and what he commands us to do, but thankfully Jesus came as the better Jonah to free us from our sin – and didn’t run away, but faithfully obeyed God.

Emily and Chris were our hosts (complete with wetsuits, swimming hats, life jackets and nose pegs!) and there was even a lobster costume involved as well! It was great to be involved in leading a small group and seeing the children better understand what Jesus has done for them.

Day 276

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The boys have been busy taking the conservatory down, so that the building can be better weather-proofed over the winter.

Meanwhile in the office I’ve been busy with lots of admin, including looking at several of the different aspects involved with the activities we run, as well as various housekeeping tasks and bookings for the coming year.

Day 280

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I’ve loved being involved at Woodgreen since I’ve arrived at Gaines, so have now become a Church member. Part of this involvement has been with After Eights: the students and 20s group, which has seen a lot of growth over the last year – so encouraging! You can see the excited bunch we are in the photo on the first session of term!

I’ve been settling into MMTC (Midlands Ministry Training Course) which has been continuing on Thursdays. We’ve now finished going through John’s gospel, and we’re just starting to put into practice some of the things we’ve been learning as we look at how to teach 1 Thessalonians to others.

Student work with the Christian Union at Worcester is also going well: they had their first session of the Alpha course this week, with many non-Christians attending – praise God! And pray He would be at work in their lives to bring them to Himself.

Day 282

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In my last update, the plaster board in Room 2 had gone up, and now it’s plastered! The boys have also been busy sanding, before it’s painted and the kitchen appliances go in.

Coming up…

Planning for New Year House Party, lots of maintenance around the house, and various admin tasks.

Please Pray!

  • To remember that the Gospel is great news and fix our eyes on Jesus, even when we have fewer groups coming through the doors
  • Praise God for gap years already interested for September 2018 (and some girls!)
  • Praise God for the provision of a woman at church to do a one to one Bible study with
  • To use the time we have over this winter period well: for maintenance projects and planning for the year ahead (bookings, activities and Bible teaching)
  • Praise God for over 100 children hearing about Jesus during Holiday Bible Club at church
  • For God to be at work in the lives of those who have attended the Alpha course run by the CU

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