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!

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