Last year when we spent a week with Oak Grove Chapel in Norwich for a training week I really enjoyed my time there and really gained a lot from the things we did. I was looking forward to going back there with our new team this year!
Our time in Norwich is usually different to a typical week for Taste; Andy and Joy are usually not around as they have a personal retreat and therefore we work with the team at OG by doing various activities and events which are part of their weekly routine. Darren, the leader of OG takes us for training sessions too throughout the week and so we spend time learning as well as giving out which I love.
On Tuesday we began the day with a team prayer and devotional time. We had been asked to lead them in a song for them to get involved with and so we taught them Lighthouse, and when we were asked for another song I felt we should do How Great Is Our God and it was a time where we were really able to enter into worship.
During the morning we split up and went to help different people with their jobs. Oak Grove have a charity shop and so Simon and I went in there and helped them by dressing the mannequins which were on display! It was an interesting task; we had to think about colour schemes and how to get the mannequins apart in order to dress them! The rest of the team helped to put up the Christmas decorations in the Chapel.
After lunch Peter Young, took us for a training session/bible study along with the DNA Gap Year students Rosie and Andy who are working at the church as part of their course this year. It was brilliant to have other people who are doing similar years to us to spend time with. We looked at James chapter 1 and had a go at prayer drumming! It was an interesting experience but was really cool!
In the evening we helped at their ‘Just Us’ evening which was a foodbank where they also provide a hot meal for tea. The people who go are obviously unable to afford or prepare meals for themselves. I had a great conversation with three of them who were really interested in me and what I do; one even wanted to buy a CD! I felt really blessed by spending that time with them that evening, and hopefully I was a blessing to them too.
My previous blog post was telling you about my operation I was due to have on Wednesday 12th. However, as many of you have gathered, I received a phone call on Tuesday night to say they hadn’t got enough beds for me and therefore my operation was cancelled. I was really upset because I had psyched myself up to it and then i was disappointed. It did mean that I was able to spend the rest of the week with the Tasties in Norwich which was a good distraction for me! I would appreciate your prayers as I wait to receive another date from them, that it will be at a time which can be sorted for me to miss time from Taste and that I won’t have to wait too long.
So Wednesday looked slightly different to me than I anticipated! On Wednesday we had two training sessions with Darren looking at Missional Culture and Missional Vision in the morning and the afternoon. At lunchtime we went with Andy and Peter to the local high school where we were part of their ‘Holy Potato’ lunchtime club. We played games with the young people and Peter spoke to them about our image and how we shouldn’t strive to be the same as everyone else.
I was really blessed on Wednesday night to be able to go with the Taste guys to see Rend Collective live at the Open in Norwich. It was all last minute that we booked but there were enough tickets for us and we made our way down there for an evening of worship and fellowship with one another. It was great to see so many people I knew from my own church and various other churches and organisations that night. I want to thank God for how he provided me with that evening! It made up for feeling disappointed with missing my op!
Thursday began in a similar way to Tuesday; we all split up into different groups… Becky was in the charity shop, Paul and Simon put together a tombola for the Church and Matt and I went and helped at the toddler group. Peter led the music time and sang some nursery rhymes so I helped by doing the actions and Matt played his fife!
After lunch our next thing on the programme was to go to help at KK2 which is an after school club at a local primary school. Due to one of the leaders being ill, it left Claire doing it on her own and she was very appreciative of us stepping in and offering to do lots towards it. We taught the children ‘Let your light shine’ with the actions, and also Ten Feet Tall which they loved shouting out! As it was the last KK2 before Christmas they then acted out the nativity and got all dressed up, and we played pictionary with them and made snowflakes out of paper together. It was a brilliant evening and the children were a great bunch to work with!
Our final day in Norwich was Friday; we had been asked previously to organise a song and a testimony for their Coffee Stop Plus on the Friday morning. Usually they have a Coffee Morning on Friday mornings, but once a month it’s with a lunch and some Christian input. It was down to us! Becky sang Down and Out and then shared her testimony which was brilliant. To finish I decided to do our new song, Always, which talks about how God is always with us, even when things seem tough, he won’t leave us. It felt that morning, after our prayer meeting before hand when the woman in charge read out a poem about God always being with us, that it was a definite theme for the morning and so we really pray that it spoke to some of the people who were there.
On Friday evening our last event of the week was to help at Fresh; an evening of games, sweets, and fun for some of the youth of the area. It was great to work there and to get to know some of them. It was a good way to finish the week together!
Also during this week some thing else was happening behind the scenes. As we were in Norwich, Andy and Joy were spending a day being interviewed for a position at Youth For Christ, who were looking for a touring band to join their YFC One programme.
Here is what they have said:
“We’re really pleased that Youth For Christ have decided to take us under their wing from the new year and provide ongoing training & support for our team and development of our ministry. They see our experience as invaluable and want to take both us and the team on which will provide increased stability, security and over-sight for all of us. YFC are an organisation with a long-standing reputation and a huge vision to reach every young person in Britain with the good news of Jesus. They have 70 centres around the UK and these, alongside their national teams, reach around 250,000 young people every month. In addition to this, YFC One is their gap-year programme of training, development and discipleship which our team will tap into and greatly benefit from and which we will also have input into as we work alongside the leadership teams there. We’re very excited at this opportunity and know that God is working out His purposes in all of our lives through all that has happened to bring us to this point.”
Andy & Joy
Please continue to pray for us during this time of change and excitement! Thank you for all of your support everyone 🙂