The Last Hurrah

Here I am now in my last week of onSite and I just can’t believe it.  My room is very bare, most of my belongings packed away in suitcases, and I am experiencing what it feels like to not have to prepare, write or organize anything!  It’s interesting though, I’m starting to get excited about going home.  This wasn’t true as recently as 2 weeks ago, or even a week and a half ago. At that time I had no desire to leave England.  I was so upset that my time was coming to a rapid end here.  I will admit that feeling still is present but alongside it is an anticipation of returning to Canada and my next and final year at Ambrose.  As I write this I am hearing the bells ringing across the street in the church (the bell ringers are practicing tonight) and it saddens me and doesn’t seem real all at the same time.  In fact I am feeling a bit of de ja vu because the bells of All Saints’ was one of my first experiences here in Eastbourne.

This year has been absolutely amazing and I wouldn’t be lying to say it has been the best year of my life.  I have learned so much this year and yet I can’t pinpoint the specifics of what I have learned.  I just know that I have grown in many ways including, my faith, my ministry and my understanding of who I am.  As I prepare to leave I’m surprised to notice that I feel so much older than when I first arrived.  In reality I am only one year older, but the me that first came to England seems so young now.  I also feel like that doesn’t make any sense and I sound a bit ridiculous for saying it so I apologize.

I am extremely sad to leave the people of All Saints’.  Especially those that I have grown close to this year and particularly the children and teenagers that I have worked with.  It makes me so sad to know that I won’t get the chance to see them once, twice or three times a week and that I don’t know when I will see them again.

Canada seems so far away right now, but in one sense so does England.  I think it is because my thoughts are turning back to Canada and the life that I am returning to there.  I am so excited to see my family and friends who I have not seen for over a year, but I wasn’t as sad to leave them all because I knew that I would be returning and when it would be.  I don’t know when I will get the opportunity to return to England but I do hope that it is sooner than later.

God knows what he is doing with me and where he is taking me in my life, even though I don’t and I need to trust in that knowledge and willingly be led.  I know that whatever he has planned for me will blow anything I could dream up out of the water and so for now, I just wait and listen.

See you all in a couple weeks Canada!

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What’s Been Happening?

Hi all!  Here’s a short blurb about what’s been going on:

Bible by the Beach came and went in a whirlwind weekend of crafts, songs, small groups and a visit or two from the Doctor and yours truly.   Although the weekend was a long one with very full days, I really enjoyed it a lot!  I was working with the Rock Solid group which were kids aged 10-13.  We had a small group, only around 25 of them but it was a good group.  The theme of the weekend was ‘Christ in the Scriptures’ and we looked at the stories of Adam, Noah, Moses and King Solomon and it was really encouraging to hear about what the kids learned as we got together in small groups after the talks.  I also learned a few things that I didn’t know about these stories which was really great as well.

Easter at All Saints’ went really well also, but it seems like it was such a long time ago!   We did a semi-flash mob in the morning service.  A bunch of us jumped up and performed Joyful Joyful, with a little traditional, a little jazzy and a little rap.  It was a lot of fun!  You can see a video below.  Easter morning with the kids was also a lot of fun.  We did a puppet show for the kids and there was a lot of singing, games and biscuits!

This weekend is the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and people all over the country are celebrating.  You can’t turn the corner here without seeing a Union Jack or the Queen’s face, it’s crazy but really exciting too!  We at All Saints’ are having a little shindig of our own.  We are starting it off with a lunch after the morning service and entertainment including music provided by members of our congregation, dancers and a bouncy castle for the kids!  Later in the afternoon we are having a bit of a tea party and to finish it all off at 5:30 we are having a celebration service.  I am really looking forward to it and praying that the rain will keep away!  Please if you think of it, pray for no rain as that would mean we have to cancel our street party which would be a shame.

May has just flown by and I can’t believe that it is over!  I have one month left here and I wonder to myself, “Where has the year gone?”  It doesn’t feel that long ago that I arrived in England and started learning the ropes at All Saints’.  I am going to miss this place immensely but I am also really excited to come home and see everyone I have missed.

Please be praying for me in this last month and a half.  There is still so much I want to get done and that I have to do.  Please be praying for me as I am leading groups and giving talks.  Thanks for reading!

Please also see below for various video and pictures including some from my trip to Northern Ireland and Scotland.

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The Daffodils are Smiling at the Sun

Spring has indeed sprung and is in full bloom here in England.  The Daffodils have been up for a few weeks and the bluebells will be soon to follow.  The past week has seen beautiful weather and today we reached a high of 19 degrees!  It was amazing!

Carol has jetted off to India with her husband, parents and sister and so this past week has been a bit hectic.  It’s the last week before Easter break that all the clubs are on.  On Monday and Tuesday morning I headed up Panda which was quite busy as we had an Easter egg hunt both days.  The kids seemed to really enjoy running around the church and finding the eggs and it was great fun to watch them squeal with delight when they found an egg.

I also headed up JAM club at St John’s on Monday and we went over the Easter story and did an Easter themed craft and all in all it went well.  On Tuesday night myself, Elaine, Ben and another leader named Hev headed this up.  We did a craft, had a treasure hunt in the church and finished the evening off with getting a little messy while making a snack based on Hev’s talk about substitution.  It was a lot of fun!

This week is also the week that Ask Eastbourne is on.  This is the event in which we asked many people in Eastbourne what their one question for God was.  On Tuesday evening we looked at the question, What are you really like?  This evening explored how we can know what God is like, how we can be sure that he exists and how God fits with science.  On Wednesday we looked at What happens when we die?  This explored the reality of heaven and hell, why we should believe in the first place and what the meaning of life is.  Both evenings have been great!  The speakers really knew how to handle answering the questions with truth and clarity.  The venue about ¾ of the way full on both evenings, however I do not know how many of those were non-Christians.  Tonight’s topic was the top question asked, Why is the world full of suffering?  The speakers will also address the questions, Can you make things better? and Where do I stand with you?  We are expecting for this to be the most attended of the three evenings.  Thank you to all of you who have been praying for this event!

Please keep me in your prayers as the reality of how little time I have left here is starting to set in and I am getting sad about leaving all the wonderful people I have met here.  I love working at All Saints’ and the kids here make me smile so much.  Please also pray that I will not become too stressed with the events that are coming up soon.  Easter will be busy, and we have a conference called Bible By the Beach coming up in May that we are doing a lot of the leadership for.  Thank you once again for all your prayers.  They are much appreciated. I wish you all a very happy Easter!  It is so amazing to remember the unconditional, sacrificial love that God has for us.  🙂

Just a Quick Note

Hello Everyone!

Well tomorrow marks the first day of Lent and for the past week or so I have been racking my brain trying to figure out what I am going to give up.  In the past I haven’t really given anything up for Lent.  Unfortunately my self-discipline is not where it should be.  So this past week I have been going through various possibilities of things I could give up.  At first I thought I could be rather cheeky and say I’m giving up caffeine (which I am deathly allergic to and can’t have anyway) or smoking (which I have never done) but that’s just unhelpful and silly.  Then I thought I could give up junk food but that seemed too vague.  Then I thought I could give up specifically crisps, or fast food, or sweets, or cake or something like that, but then I thought how is that going to help my relationship with God?  And I couldn’t think of any reason so I scrapped that.  I then thought of giving up Facebook which I admit is a distraction sometimes but this year it is my main means of communication between me and home and I am not on it enough to be a significant distraction.  I haven’t chosen spending time on Facebook over spending time with God (although I have occasionally chosen it over spending time writing a paper…).  Then I had an idea.  I was thinking so hard about what I thought I could give up, I didn’t think about what God wanted me to give up.  So after praying and careful consideration, I have decided that this year for Lent I am going to give up my life to God.  Now I know what you’re thinking, Lesly, didn’t you already do that when you became a Christian?  Well, yes, I did, but I often find that no matter how much I am reminded that it is better for God to be in control of my life, I keep trying to take it back and run it my way.  It’s something that I really need to stop so this year I am giving up my life.  I know it will not be easy at all, but I am going to try and if and when I stumble and get all pouty and demanding like a spoiled 4 year old I am hoping that God will remind me of my promise this Lent season.  I hope that Lent is a time for reflection and growing in your relationship with God for all of you.  May you be blessed this Lent season!

Also here’s a little bit of some info on what church life is looking like right now.  It’s pretty much the same as always.  I am busy with preparing talks for the various groups I help lead.  I had another All Age Spot earlier this month which I think went really well.  I introduced my puppet, Scoodles the Skunk and I think the kids really liked him.  I also headed off to a conference at the end of January with Ben, Josh and Lydia. It was a youth workers conference in London and was a really great 4 days.  For me it was a time to just be fed and have the opportunity to interact with other people who have a passion for children and youth.  It was a really encouraging week.

I had the realization that I only have just over 4 months left here in England and it made me sad that the time had gone by so fast here.  I am loving England and I feel so at home.  Don’t get me wrong, I am missing Canada and all the lovely people I left behind there, but England will always hold a special place in my heart and I will be very sad to leave here.

Please pray that these last 4 months will be all that they can be and that I will continue to learn and be encouraged by what God is doing in my life.  Please also pray for my health as I have had a couple weeks of being really sick and a trip to the hospital and the doctor’s clinic.  I am okay now, but please pray that good health will continue.  Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers.  God bless!

An English Christmas

It’s now well into 2012 and I have once again become busy with work at the church.  This week was our first full week back at work with clubs and groups starting again.

The last time I wrote to all of you we were just gearing up for the Christmas season and now it seems as though it happened months and months ago!

As it promised to be, Christmas was busy at All Saints’.  I had a lot of fun though and thoroughly enjoyed my first ever English Christmas.  I was involved in the planning and executing of many of the events at All Saints’ including carol services (a video of the choir of which I was a part singing a song written by our youth worker Ben and his brother Josh can be seen at the end of this post), crib service, which is a children’s service on Christmas Eve, Christmas parties in Panda and Explorers, and of course, the Pantomime!  It was all so much fun and I can’t even begin to write about every event as it would go on forever and I would bore you my lovely readers.  I will post pictures and videos though which may help you understand a bit more about my Christmas here.

On Christmas Eve I was invited round to the Down’s house and spent the evening and Christmas morning with Janet, Andrew, Cate, Johnny, and Ian.  We opened a couple gifts and stockings (one of which was mine that they lovingly prepared for me), ate a lovely Christmas breakfast and all around had a wonderful Christmas Eve/Christmas morning.

On Christmas Day in England we went to church as the English do which was a new experience for me but a wonderful one as you are able to see friends that you wouldn’t otherwise see during the holidays and wish them a Merry/Happy Christmas!  It was really lovely!  I then spent the day with Helen and Nick Deane, their daughters Sophie and Hollie and both Helen and Nick’s parents so we had a full house come Christmas night!  It was really hard being away from my family on Christmas but the Deane clan surrounded me with love and a lot of fun which made my Christmas exceptional!

I also was able to spend time visiting some family and friends around England including meeting my great aunt Monica for the first time.  All in all the holidays were very enjoyable.

Well now it is back to work and this term I get the chance to be more involved in teaching the various groups I help out in which I am excited for.  I did teach last term but I get to do a bit more of it now.  I also am attending a youth leaders’ conference at the end of January here with Ben, Josh and Lydia. Please pray that these four days will be time for those of us attending to grow and learn more about ministering to youth.  Pray that God uses these days to shape my approach to ministry and that he will speak to me through the various sessions.

Please also pray for me as I prepare another talk for SMTC and various talks for Explorers and Discovery Team.  Pray that God will give me the right words to say to the kids listening and the confidence to speak.  Pray also that God will give me boldness in speaking to those I don’t know in the church so that I can get to know more people and I can be a witness to those who attend that are non-Christians.

We also have a large event coming up in March here in Eastbourne that is headed up by my friend and local street pastor Glen Scrivener called Ask Eastbourne.  The premise of this event is that the churches in Eastbourne are asking those in the town one question: If you could ask God anything, what would it be?  Anyone who wants to ask can ask via Facebook, Twitter or at the website http://www.askeastbourne.com. Please pray that this event gets a large turn out and that it can be used as a way to get more people thinking about God and who he really is.  Pray for all those involved in putting on this event and pray for those who will be answering the most asked questions.  You can find out more about it by watching this:

I want to thank all of you again for taking the time to read my blog, and for keeping me in your prayers.  I appreciate the love and support you send my way so much!  Bye for now!

Please enjoy various videos and pictures from the Christmas season:

 

How the English Gave Thanks – Canadian Style and Other Holiday Tales

Hello Everybody!

Well Christmas is in full swing here in England, but last weekend a few of us at All Saints’ stepped out of Christmas for an evening and into a Canadian Thanksgiving.  I had the bright idea to cook a Thanksgiving Dinner for my friends back in September but didn’t get a free weekend to do it until last weekend (the 25th of November), so it was in line with American Thanksgiving rather than Canadian but it was Canadian nonetheless. The menu consisted of turkey (duh!), stuffing, mashed potatoes, candied carrots, squash, salad, dinner rolls, and of course for dessert, pumpkin pie!  Also apple pie.  🙂

It was a lovely evening and I wouldn’t have been able to pull it off without the help of Helen Deane and Carol Strong who helped me grocery shop and cook.  It was a lot of fun and as far as I can tell everyone enjoyed themselves.  You can see a video of the event below.

The next day I was invited round to the Deane’s house for some good old fashioned Christmas decorating!  We trimmed the tree, hung the lights and made sure their house felt all around Christmas-y.  It was a lot of fun and I am blessed to have friends who so are so willing to include me in their family festivities.  There’s a video about it below as well if you wanna watch it.  🙂

I myself decorated my room for Christmas yesterday with some leftover decorations provided by Helen and a homemade advent calendar made by my mother.  I have had Christmas music playing and that along with the fast approaching Uni Carol Service at the church tomorrow night, I am finally starting to be in a Christmas mood.  I am very blessed to be surrounded by many good friends this holiday season and I am looking forward to having an “English” Christmas.

Preparation, Paris and Pantomime

Christmas time is here and I am so excited! Christmas is my favourite holiday and the time leading up to is in my opinion the best time of the whole year. With Christmas comes many, many things to do, and the church is no exception. Now I know it is only mid –November but we have already been thinking of and planning for Christmas a lot. Christmas at All Saints means carol services, crib service (a children’s Christmas service), Christmas parties and Pantomime just to name a few. A few people dread the thought of Christmas time at All Saints because of all that it entails, but I am actually really looking forward to it!

I have had a busy past few weeks. About three Sundays ago, October 23rd marked the beginning of many firsts for me at All Saints. In the 10 o’clock service I did an All Age Spot for the first time. An All Age Spot is a time in the service right before we send the kids out to Sunday School that someone, usually from the youth and children’s team, give a little talk that is meant for all ages in the church, but geared kind of towards kids. My subject was patience and kindness (we are currently going through the Fruits of the Spirits in the All Age Spots) and I had Carol helping me. I decided to explain what foods are part of a Canadian Thanksgiving Dinner. In England the thought of mashed potatoes, salad and dinner rolls being a part of a roast dinner is just absurd, not to mention having pumpkin pie for dessert (or pudding as they call it). It went really well, everyone in the congregation responded perfectly to everything I said (moaning and groaning when I suggested salad, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie) and after the service many people came up and told me how well I did and I met lots of people who I hadn’t before who wanted to come and friendly chastise me for my crazy choices for roast dinner.

The second ‘first’ I had was leading a service. This is something that I have never done before in my ministry life and I was completely out of my element. I led the 4 o’clock service which is a bit more informal that the 10 and 7 o’clock services so that was really helpful. I was nervous and I think it showed, but other than that and ending a little early, I think it went well. There were certainly things that could be improved, it was okay for my first time; even the vicar said so which was nice to hear.

My third ‘first’ was running PowerPoint in the 7 o’clock service, which may not seem like a big deal, but it was done in a program I was unfamiliar with and other than a small mistake when trying to find the right slide after the song leader started singing the wrong verse, it was good.

The week following that Sunday I had a taste of being back in school. On Tuesdays each week all 4 of us apprentices (Elaine, Josh, Lydia and myself) go to a ministry training course and for this course we had to prepare a talk. Well I needed to get mine done that week because I was going to Paris the next week, and so the stress of having a deadline and not having much time to work on the talk really set that school panic back into me which was not fun and needless to say I was very relieved when I completed preparing it.

Well as I said, the next week I headed off to Paris where I spent a week with my Parisian friend Elise, I had a wonderful week! Paris is such a beautiful city with so much character. The only thing I didn’t enjoy about it was not being able to understand the language which is my own fault. I did everything from viewing mass at Notre Dame, to climbing 710 stairs to the top of the Eiffel Tower, to spending two days on tour buses seeing the city, to even eating escargot (surprisingly very good!). It was such a wonderful experience to be able to visit Paris. I will post pictures and videos below for you to peruse through at your leisure.

I have been back in the UK for a week now and am continuing to get ready for Christmas. I am not ashamed to admit that Christmas music has begun pouring out the speakers of my computer. The day I returned I got a call from Julian, the director of the Pantomime, letting me know the role I got (I had auditioned on the 30th before I left for Paris). Are you ready for it? I am (drum roll please…) Big Al the Grocer! So pretty much I am the leader of a 1920/30s gang, which is awesome! I am really excited to play this role. The inspiration for my part comes from the film Bugsy Malone and myself and my 3 fellow gangsters will be singing a song from it. I am terribly excited for this! I just hope I learn all my lines on time…

I also gave my talk at SMTC this week (the one I prepared for before Paris) and It went well I thought. I was calm for the most part and got great feedback from my fellow classmates. I was a little disappointed in the response of the instructor and how he gave little to no feedback on what I said, but I will approach him with this concern and see what he says. All in all though, I was fairly pleased with my talk.

As I go into the craziness that is the Christmas season please pray that God will keep me calm and level headed. I recently prepared an Advent Reading on Psalm 46 which speaks of being calm and finding refuge in in God amidst the chaos, and I ask that you pray that God will remind me to find peace and solace in him amidst the chaos of Christmas. Also I am a little worried about the Pantomime, so please pray that I will be able to learn my lines and not be nervous during the performances. I am also starting to realize more and more that I will be spending Christmas away from family and friends and familiar surroundings and as of now I am not terribly upset about it, but I feel that it will upset me as Christmas gets closer so please pray that God will give me comfort.

Thank you again so much for your prayers, they mean the world to me!

Time

Hello Everyone,

I sit here on a beautiful, sunny Wednesday morning and realize that while I am at home (I have a morning off) I don’t really have anything that I have to do.  There are things that I could do, and that I want to do, but there are no deadlines, no papers due, no tests to study for and I feel so relaxed.  I’ve realized that although this year is a time for me to learn and grow in my leading of Children’s Ministry, God has also blessed me with time to breathe.  For so many years of my life I have been at school, involved in clubs, working, socializing, and more.  There was always something on my mind that I HAD to get done!   This year, although I am busy, I am not in that constant panic that I have felt for so long and it’s such a blessing.  Now don’t get me wrong, I have plenty to do, clubs and groups to prepare for and lead, meetings to go to, people to see and spend time with, events to plan, but when I have time off, I can enjoy it without that nagging at the back of my mind that there is something that I should be doing instead of taking time to do what I want to do.  I think that after many, many years of constantly doing, God is saying to me, “Just slow down, it’s okay to enjoy yourself and the things you like to do once in a while.”  I’ve been able to get back to drawing which I haven’t really done since I was 15 or 16, I’m writing a bit again, I’m reading so many books because I want to not because they have to be read for a class or research, I’ve gotten back into swimming which I gave up when I was 15, I’m taking walks every day.  I’m enjoying life and more importantly, I’m finding new ways to enjoy God and keep him as a part of my whole day.  I am almost dreading the time when I have to return to school because I am scared I won’t be able to manage my time in order to fit in some time to do the things I enjoy, but I guess that will come with practice.

Well we’re coming up to half term here which means that all the clubs and ministries other than Sunday School grind to a halt for a week, which I am actually looking forward to a bit because then I will have extra time at work to prepare in advance for things that are approaching, such as Christmastime.  We are also going to get a chance to do a bit of tidying in the church which, oddly, I am excited about.

I also am getting more chances to teach at the church now as well which is good.  I shared in my last post about teaching at Explorers and this past Sunday I taught Discovery Team for the first time and I was really pleased with how it went.  The kids were attentive for the most part and actually engaged with the lesson which I was very pleased about as it’s hard to get that age group (11-14 year olds) to do so.  When speaking with Ben, the youth worker who also is part of the Discovery Team leadership, he said that I did very well.  I also didn’t experience any nervousness either which I was surprised but also pleased about.  Thank you for all your prayers regarding my nervousness, they are helping!

Please also pray for me as I am experiencing extreme exhaustion.  Tiredness is something I have always dealt with my whole life.  I seem to always be tired no matter how much or little sleep I get, but I have learned to just ignore it and go about my days, but recently this exhaustion has intensified and I don’t know why so please pray that God will grant me relief from this and that it won’t hinder my ministry here.

Thank you all for your prayers and love that you are sending my way.  I appreciate it more than I can express!

I’ll leave you with a video that I made a while back because it was requested that I do so.  Enjoy!

A Clever Title

This past weekend was Harvest here in England, which is a bit like Thanksgiving but without the Turkey, mash potatoes, stuffing and pumpkin pie.  So really, not much like it at all…  But the same in that we give thanks for what God has provided for us.  I celebrated Harvest in a variety of ways.  First I assisted Carol in the leading of a Harvest service at St. Andrew’s, one of the local private schools here in Eastbourne.  I’m not going to lie, I did get a little gushy over how adorable all the English children were in their school uniforms, especially when they started to sing.  Secondly, on Saturday evening I went to the seaside for a parade, a bonfire and fireworks, which was one of the best displays I have seen in my life.  It was really enjoyable.  Lastly, on Sunday after the morning service a Harvest luncheon was provided and was prepared by two of our church members who are gourmet cooks, so needless to say, we were fed very well!

This past week also marked a milestone for me here at All Saints’, on Tuesday, October 4th I got my first experience of teaching the children here in the Explorers group (see Autumn at All Saints’ post to read about the different groups I work with).  It was a bit nerve wracking and I was nervous as I find I often am when I teach and because of this I didn’t think that I did very well, but the kids did seem to grasp what I was teaching them and Carol told me afterwards that I had done well, so I guess I was alright.

This past Monday night also marked the beginning of a new ministry for me, Pantomime!  For those of you who don’t know (all you Canadians out there) Pantomime is a very popular English tradition at Christmastime.  It is a play of sorts with songs, jokes and a whole host of crazy characters.  There are many rules by which a Pantomime (or Panto as it is informally known as) must follow, including a female actor playing the role of the boy hero, a man playing the role of the older woman character (the dame ie: fairy godmother, evil stepmother, etc.), audience participation and the inclusion of an animal character of some sort usually a horse or a cow but it varies.  You can read more about Pantomimes here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pantomime

All Saints regularly does a Panto every year and this year we were fortunate enough to have one of our church members write a fresh never-before-seen Panto and on Monday a read-through was held.  From the read through it looks like it will be tremendous fun and I can’t wait to be a part of it!  Auditions are held at the beginning of November and rehearsals start not too soon after that. Pantomime is a great ministry for the church as we get a lot of non-Christians coming to the performances and with the script being written this year, we are able to incorporate the Christmas story without it being to overbearing.  All in all I am terribly excited to be a part of this English tradition!

This coming Sunday I am teaching Discovery Team Sunday School and I am a bit nervous about it because I haven’t really had much experience teaching this age group so please pray for me as I am preparing the talk.  Pray that God will give me the right words to say and that I will not be nervous about teaching but instead be able to communicate the talk in a way that really sticks with the kids.  Thank you everyone for your prayers!

Autumn at All Saints’

Hello Everyone!

I have now completed a month of ministry at All Saints’ Church here in Eastbourne and I have come here to share with you today a bit about what I am actually doing there.

I figure I will give you a layout of my weekly schedule and then go into a bit more detail about each ministry I am involved in.

This past week was actually my first week being involved in every ministry throughout the week that I am involved in due to late starting times, time off, etc.

Here’s my week at a glance:

Monday:

8:40 am: Set up for Panda

9:00 am: Staff Prayers

9:30 am: Finish setting up for Panda

10:00 am – 11:30: Panda

11:45 am – 1:15 pm: JAM

1:30 pm – 4:30 pm: Prep Time

Tuesday:

9:00 am – 10:15 am: Drive to Haywards Heath for Sussex Ministry Training Course (SMTC)

10:30 am – 4:15 pm: SMTC

4:15 pm – 5:30 pm: Drive back to Eastbourne

5:30 pm – 6:30 pm: Explorers

Wednesday:

9:00 am: Staff Prayers

9:30 am – 1:30 pm: Prep Time

1:30 pm – 3:00 pm: Staff Meeting

Thursday:

9:00 am: Staff Prayers

9:30 am – 3:00 pm: Prep Time

7:30 pm – 9:30 pm: Various Meetings

Friday: Day Off

Saturday: Day Off (But with chance of various ministry events such as conferences, parties, etc.)

Sunday:

9:15 am – 10:00 am: Set up for Sunday School

10:00 am – 11:45 am: Discovery Team

3:30 pm – 5:30 pm: Sunday School or Creche or Alpha+

So now that you have an idea of what my week looks like, let’s examine these various ministries a little closer shall we?

Panda: Panda Club is a group for Mums and Toddlers that happens on both Monday and Tuesday mornings.  We set up the church hall with various toys and activities for the kids to play with while the mum, grandmums, dads, granddads and caregivers spend some time in fellowship with each other and with the various church leaders and volunteers.  This group caters mostly to people from the community and does not have much Christian content to it, however a Bible story is told during singing time.  It’s really just a time for people to come into a church setting that isn’t intimidating and get to know those of us who are Christians.  It’s a really fun group to be a part of.

JAM:  JAM stands for Jesus And Me and is a group that we run at St. John, a local primary school.  It is for children in years 4-6 (roughly ages 8-11).  It is run by myself and my mentor, Carol.  It’s a time for us as Christian children’s workers to go into a semi-secular environment and introduce the kids there to Christianity.  Right now we are going through an audio CD of John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress. We go through a bit of the CD each week and then there are various activities on a worksheet for the kids to do based on the story, for example a bible passage look up, or definitions to look up and read out loud.  So far I think it is going fairly well.  I have only done it once so far but the kids seemed to really respond well to the story.  They sat quietly and listened to it, and then were eager to participate in the activities afterwards.

SMTC: Sussex Ministry Training Course is just what it’s name suggests.  It is a Bible/Ministry course that is put on by the Sussex Gospel Partnership.  Every Tuesday myself and the three other apprentices from All Saints’, Elaine, Josh and Lydia, all drive to Haywards Heath for the course.  Much of it so far has been what I have learned at Ambrose in my first three years, but I am finding it really helpful to review it all.

Explorers:  On Tuesday evenings there are three youth groups, Explorers (ages 6-10), Pathfinders (ages 11-14) and CYFA (ages 14-18).  I am involved with leading the Explorers group which I am really loving!  It’s a time for kids to come and just hang out, play games, eat candy and have fun.  We also have a God spot in which a leader takes a bit if time near the end of the program to talk a bit about God.  This group is quickly becoming one of my favourite ministries at All Saints’.

Discovery Team:  This is a Sunday School group that goes on during the 10 o’clock service for 11-14 year olds.  It’s one of the two groups I am involved in that is youth rather than children.  I am excited that I have the chance to serve with youth as well as with kids.

Sunday School:  We have a 4 o’clock service at All Saints’ on Sundays and I helps sometimes with leading the Sunday School group for ages 3-10.

Creche:  This also in the 4 o’clock service.  It is the equivilent of a nursery, so I am taking care of babies when I do this group.

Alpha+: This is a group for 11-18 year olds and also takes place in the 4 o’clock service but extends to beyond that and runs to the evening on Sundays.  This is the second youth ministry I am doing.  I was not originally planned to be a leader for this but the opportunity rose for me to participate as a leader and I took it because a few of the youth girls requested that I would and I really want to try it out.  I haven’t been to it yet but I am excited to do so.

Well, that’s a look at what I am doing this year at All Saints’.  Thus far I am only helping out in most ministries because I am still learning how everything works at All Saints’ but this month I start teaching so please keep me in your prayers for that.  Pray that I will not be too nervous about speaking and teaching, but instead that God will use me to say what He needs to say to these kids.

Thank you all again for your prayers, I appreciate it more than you know!

Keep your eyes peeled for a couple videos that I will soon post and if you have any questions don’t hesitate in asking me in the comments or e-mailing me at got2-bme@hotmail.com

God Bless!

Lesly