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
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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

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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

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

Day minus 13

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‘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

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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

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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

Twixmas – Getting That New Year Feeling

Whatever you want to call the time between Christmas and New Year: Christmas Limbo, Twixmas etc. It definitely gives time for reflection (along with all the food of course).

So my reflecting has been on New Year’s Resolutions…
Should we make them? Why should we make them? What’s the point of them? (especially when many of them last only a few weeks at best)

Christmas is all about Christ (it’s in the name…) so surely the rest of the year should also be all about Jesus. And that includes our New Year’s Resolutions.

Maybe the reason many of our New Year’s resolutions never seem to last very long is because we’re often doing them in our own strength and not God’s strength.

I’ve been challenged to pray and seek God’s guidance before making any resolutions for 2017. Let’s look first to God, and not to ourselves. Philippians 4v13 says “I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.” It’s in God’s strength that we do his will.

Adam and Eve are evidence that when we try to do things in our own strength we fail. In fact take a look at most of the Old Testament and you’ll see that that’s the case. It’s the reason the world was in need of a Saviour that first Christmas.

When our lives are founded on Jesus, our New Year resolutions won’t be based on being a ‘better’ version of ourselves. Because God has already made us the best through Jesus.

So this New Year’s don’t make resolutions you know you won’t be able to keep; make resolutions you will only be able to keep with God at your side, living and working in you every day. And remember there’s grace for when we rely on our own strength and not God’s.