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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It’s all about the Camps

We’ve been in full-on summer camp mode here at Gaines and elsewhere (read on to find out where!) If you feel able you can support me here.

Camp XL (the overall charity that Gaines is part of) run three summer camps at Gaines: Escape, Breakout and Ignition – read on to find out how they went! You can also see more photos on Camp XL’s facebook and twitter, as I couldn’t put them all on here!

The summer camps are such a great opportunity to share our hope of God’s great gospel with children and young people from across the country – that’s why we spend so long planning and preparing for them!

Day 182

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Escape was the first camp we ran and Cap’n Joe was leading the ship – although he seems to have lost his pirates in the above photo! Activities throughout the week included air rifle shooting, paracord keyrings, rafting, a trip to Drayton Manor, wide games, woodwork, combat archery, treasure chests, tie-dye t-shirts and pirate-themed baking among others!

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The teaching on both Escape and Breakout was on Judges and Ruth: there were small group Bible studies in dorm groups in the mornings, and evening teaching meetings altogether with games, singing, interviews and a talk. It was such a privilege to delve into God’s word with the young people and help them understand it better.

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‘Late Night’ was a big hit, which included lots of silly games: pop-up pirate extreme, a mass game of rock, paper, scissors (above), Davy Jones’ Locker, 100 metre mermaid, walk the plank, and lots of other food related games too!

Day 189

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I was Cap’n Rachel for our second camp: Breakout. But you’ll be glad to know I didn’t wear those glasses all week!

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Everything was pirate themed for every camp, and the campers were in dorm groups for each week: Blackbeards, Davy Jones’, Jolly Rogers and Long John Silvers. Above, the Long John Silvers are taking part in one of the games in Captain Hook’s Training Circuit! Other activities throughout the week included: tie-dye t-shirts, air rifle shooting, pirate-themed baking, combat archery, wide games in the woods, rafting, bushcraft, a pirate murder mystery, archery, graffiti, a trip to Drayton Manor and more!

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There was lots of time to get alongside the young people, due to the small numbers, and even despite some illness going round! Small groups were again a great place to open up God’s Word with the young people, pray that God would bring fruit and we’d see them in glory.

Day 196

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I got the opportunity to go on one of Camp XL’s other camps: Waverider, a surf Camp in (mostly) sunny Polzeath in Cornwall; although it did mean I missed being part of Ignition back at Gaines. But I love the sea and (almost) anything to do with water, so it was a great way to round off the summer!

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Days were filled with surfing, coasteering, kayaking, Bible studies, BBQs, competition games, cake, evening teaching meetings and cream teas. Numbers are deliberately kept small on surf camp, which creates a real family feel. The teaching was a Bible overview, which was a really helpful way for the campers to better understand the Bible, the gospel and how that should affect the way they live their lives. They were all really open to talking about the Bible and had lots of questions, which was such an encouragement to witness.

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Meanwhile on Ignition… the re-enactment of King Eglon! There were nearly 30 kids aged 8 to 11 who enjoyed activities from air rifle shooting to team games, and rafting to combat archery. But most importantly they got to hear God’s Word from Joshua, Judges and Ruth.

Day 200

Wasn’t actually spent at Gaines, but was filled with kayaking, time on the beach and a walk with the campers to the cove on the last full day of Waverider!

Day 203

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Time to say goodbye to Bethany and Sally who have been on the gap year: the time has flown by, but it’s been so great to have them here at Gaines, seeing them grow and develop in their faith and leadership has been a joy and a blessing to witness – they will definitely be missed! They’re both off to uni in September – wishing them the best of luck, but I’m sure they’ll be back before we know it!

Coming up…

Rest and time off! I also have my kayaking assessment on Monday, which if I pass will mean we can do kayaking on the lake with groups. Then I’m straight off to Forum (UCCF’s annual conference for CU leaders) after that, as part of my role as Associate Staff Worker with Worcester Christian Union. And we’re all back in the office in September, with several groups coming to us in October.

Please Pray!

  • For all the kids that heard God’s Word over the summer – pray that they wouldn’t just remember the activities they did on camp, but they’d remember something of God’s great gospel
  • Thank you for all the volunteers who have (often sacrificially) helped us over the summer at Gaines, particularly on the camps
  • For good rest as the Gaines team have some time off
  • For my kayaking assessment
  • To be encouraged and spurred on for the year ahead by the teaching at Forum

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

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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

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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!

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

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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

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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

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Time for a clear out! I’ve been finding new homes for some of our unwanted items around the main house.

Day 108

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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

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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

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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