Apologies for this late post! I realised after a complaint from Grandad that I haven’t written any blogs since LAST YEAR, how outrageous! Lots has been happening since my last post, so I will try and keep this one relatively brief, but also keep you as informed as possible!
My Christmas was brilliant, to be able to go home and spend 2 weeks with my amazing family in Lowestoft was great. Didn’t really appreciate the operation I had on 22nd December (yes, it went ahead, thanks for your prayers!!!) as it was difficult to eat etc for a little while, but slowly and surely I was back as my normal self! I really enjoyed singing at Cliff Park Community Church the Sunday before Christmas, and even was able to share testimonies as part of my mums talk that morning, followed by performing the song ‘Heaven To Earth’, a Taste song. I loved that opportunity to share and encourage those of you who were at that service. I love being back at home!
However, the time did come for me to be back on route to Essex and so shortly after New Years I travelled back to sunny Benfleet which is where I’m still living this year, and had a quick turn around before we begun our new adventure with Youth For Christ! As of the 1st January THIS year, we have joined Youth For Christ and it’s an absolute privilege to be part of this bigger organisation where we all have the same passion, and I have been able to meet so many lovely people already during the short time I have spent with the people from YFC.
Monday 5th Jan we headed up to Manchester where we spent a week at the Youth For Christ National Conference. Not only was this a chance to meet new people and make friends with the others on the gap years, but also to hear from God, receive ministry and worship him!!! All parts were incredible. We stayed in a beautiful hotel all together, and were very well looked after. It was a week I will not forget!
Some of the seminars I went to over the course of the week were; Sharing our faith, Safeguarding and Social Media and Marriage Myth Busters. We also had a whole day on the Wednesday dedicated to us on the YFC One Gap Year (which we are now part of ) where some of the lecturers from Moorlands College came and spent some time teaching and training us which was brilliant.
Every morning we had the same speaker in the main meeting; Dr Wes Stafford who is the former President of Compassion International spoke to us about his life experiences and shared both testimony and teaching on the bible and God’s heart towards children and young people. He was a great guy who really helped us to connect with him and his stories were very moving. We also received a copy of his book ‘Just a Minute’ which looks at some of the stories we heard about.
Each evening we also had a meeting, and for every meeting the worship was led by worship leader and songwriter, Pete James, who was brilliant at leading us into Gods presence. The final evening we had a big party! The speakers for these sessions were Gavin Calver on Monday; he shared about his vision and his story about deciding to leave YFC. Tuesday night was Gerard Kelly who is based in France and directs the ‘Bless’ Network and he spoke about the Love of God, which really touched me!! Wednesday night we had Rachel Gardner who looked at the fact we are on a battlefield and we can stand up to what battles are thrown at us through our ministry but also in our personal life.
All of the meetings were brilliant and not forgetting, the social side of meeting so many amazing people who are on a similar gap year to me! I am really excited about the rest of the year and the opportunities we will have to be together and learning and sharing together!
I did discover some horrible news on the journey up to Manchester on the Monday; Reece’s mum who had been battling with cancer for a few years sadly passed away and went to be with Jesus that day. Andy, Joy, Josh and I managed to go and support the family at the funeral on the 15th last week, and they are doing well and are looking to the Lord for their strength and comfort, but I would appreciate your prayers for them as a family but also in particular, the amazing Reece who I know and love very much!