Living in a Field of Hats

some ramblings and reflections on working with students in Herts and Beds.

The best encouragement! October 8, 2011

Filed under: Christian Life,Update — Sarah @ 9:50 am
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The last week has had more than it’s fair share of discouraging moments and so by yesterday evening I was ready to go to bed and watch West Wing, and heading to a prayer supporters evening seemed quite a lot of effort. But however much fun West Wing would have been, meeting with the local prayer supporters group was so much better!

They’re a group that have been meeting for a number of years and is mainly made up of graduates from the 1950s. It was a real great encouragemnt to share with them some of the discouraging moments and to hear their prayers. Joining to pray for the mission on campus with people who have been supporters of the work for 60 years was amazing. Their knowledge and wisdom shone through in the prayers and in our conversation.

It was great to hear of their experiences of CU as students and the way in which the Lord was working and using the CUs then. The differences beteween the student life back then and now was so evident, and yet CUs were being used by God then and now.

I cam away from the meeting being so glad that I had been there, and so thankful for all of those who faithfully pray for the work of CUs. Thank you if that’s you! It means a lot!


Ten things I learnt this weekend May 24, 2010

Filed under: Church,Random,Update — Sarah @ 11:42 pm
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I had the absolute pleasure of spending last weekend with the Juniors (8-11’s) from Belle Vue Baptist’s Brigades. Thought I’d be different and update with a list of things I learnt. So in no particular order . . . .

1) Tents don’t have to be small and cramped (one person to a four man tent is very spacious!) and camping in good weather is actually kinda fun – though only if good weather and spacious tent can be guarnteed (with showers and toilets near by!)
2) Essex has pretty parts (which I forgot to photograph but trust me they exist!)
3) The basic truth of the gospel is something that we never move past, and the wonder of the awesomeness of it never passes
4) Kids are cleverer than I sometimes give them credit for. E.g. Me: Apart from Jesus does anyone know of anyone else who ever rose from the dead? It’s impossible isn’t it? 8 year old: What about Lazarus?
5) Kids really do get a lot of pleasure from a relatively small hill and find playing on it for 5 hours over the weekend perfectly acceptable fun.
6) I love the sun!
7) I hate being woken up at 4am by teenage girls talking thus only having 3 hours sleep.
8 ) Listening outside the girls tent when they’re having their midnight feast can be very enlightening!
9) I love Top Gear so much, the basis for my three sessions was inadvertantly based on the Top Gear cool wall . . . . !
10) God really does give us what we need, even in the situations where were convinced its the last thing we need. I was so tired going into the weekend I was convinced it wasn’t the best idea, but I’ve come back feeling physically shattered but completly refreshed and recharged in many ways. It’s awsome.

All in all a great weekend!



Some news . . . or not May 5, 2010

Filed under: Christian Life,Random,Update — Sarah @ 12:03 am
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I think that most people are now aware that I’m going to be staying in the south for the next 3 – 5 years at least (if not then I’m really sorry you’ve found out this way . . .unless of course you don’t know me!).

So, I’m going to be in the south, but not in Southend so have been feeling a complete mix of emotions at leaving Essex and still being in the South when quite a large proportion of me wanted to go home (aka the North in general). It’s clearly right though as every door to jobs in the North were firmly shut and southern ones kept being opened before they were even pushed! Though its looking like leaving Essex will be harder than I ever thought possible as so many times I’ve just wanted to run away to somewhere where they understand that gravy should be thick and the plural of text is texts and not texties! Not that I’ve hated Essex anywhere near as much as that sounds! I do actually genuinely love people here and love the way in which our relationships have grown.

So, looks like I’m destined to lose whats left of my Northern accent . . . I was informed by a 8 year old that I was no longer a real Northerner because she could understand what I was saying . . . gutting!


What I’ve been doing . . . October 31, 2009

Filed under: Christian Life,Random,Update — Sarah @ 9:04 pm
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So, thought I’d update what I’ve been doing (as that was partly the aim of the blog to begin with!)

The first half term has flown by! I can not believe that it is November tomorrow!! It is madness! I’ve really been enjoying doing things for a second time though. One of the frustrations about being in Lancaster for just a year was that I felt I was just getting to build relationships and then I left.  That’s even more true in church life I’ve discovered as relationships take a lot longer to build than in the student context. If I’d left Essex after a year, I would have been really sad I think, even though staying isn’t always all that easy!

Has made me think about the importance of relationship building in churches and how they don’t just happen overnight most of the time, but really do need investing in. It’s definitely giving me food for thought in terms of thinking about next year.

PICT5513So, this week has been half term and for one reason and another I’ve been able to spend it withPICT5539 people I’ve not seen in varying lengths of time which was such a blessing! I managed to explore a bit of Southend that I hadn’t been to before and  found the most amazing independent coffee shop – I’ve been feeling for a while that Southend is missing one! What made it so amazing was partially the old fashioned amazing room it’s in and partially (possibly more so . . ) was tea from a proper old fashioned tea pot with loose tea leaves! Awesome! Also, tried cockles for the first time (well they are a local delicacy . . . ) but I didn’t actually try them . . the reactions of my friends who did was enough to put me off! Touching them was bad enough!

I discovered that Canvey Island (known locally for not being the best place) is quite pretty at sunset and that some shop names in Leigh try to sum up stereotypical Essex (see below)!!


PICT5585The end of the week, I got to travel North (though that meant too much time on the M1 with a sign telling me there was a queue caution 45 minutes after I had been in it and gone 3 miles! Ironic!), sadly not as north as I would have like but to Leicester to see my lovely school friends 🙂


Next week, I’m off the Lindisfarne with the leadership team at church which I’m really looking forward to . . . will update after that!


A long awaited update! May 22, 2009

Filed under: Update — Sarah @ 10:02 pm
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So, it’s been nearly a month since I actually posted anything on here . . . . that doesn’t mean that I haven’t been doing anything! There’s been a few things I’ve thought I should blog about but it’s never happened!! but here’s a few . . .

1) the Church cafe in Cluny Square has finally been opened which has been brilliant and has very much changed what my “average” day looks like! Carolyne has been doing most of the work but I’ve been able to help a bit over busy periods (time at McDonald’s really has equipped me for something!! woop!) but actually it’s been really easy to just chat to people and get to know them a bit, especially the regulars, some of who are being really open and friendly o talk to someone which is great – – feeling like I’m actually becoming part of the community!

2) Schools . . . . I had the “I don’t want to go to school” Monday Morning feeling this week! I started as a performance coach (encouraging year 10 students to stay on at school and acheive what they can) at a local high school to a 14 year old. Walking in the school gates was terrifing! I had forgotten what it was like!! Walking into a room of 14 year olds is not high on my list of fun things to do – secondary teachers  . . . . i don’t know how you do it! I’ve also been helping out the Mumfords and picked Daniel and Hannah up a couple of times the last few weeks . . .  playground mums is nearly as bad as 14 yeasr olds! Think I’m just going to stay as far a way from schools as possible!

3) Old friends . . . I got the chance to spend a weekend with some friends from uni who were a couple of years older than me that I’ve not seen inPICT3517ages. Was brilliant to catch up, and encouraging to see how some of them are clearly following Jesus more and more each day 🙂 Although really interesting to see all the different places that God has brought us over the last few years since uni. Have also had the chance to see some Relay friends which has been ace as well a fried who’s been off travelling who I really missed! I am very much loving the invention of the train network at the mo (as well as Young Person Railcard!) As much as I feel a million miles away from people, actually there are people who know me really well who are not that far away really.

4) Moldova . . . the moldova fundraising went into overdrive this last month and I’m nearing my total now – woo! See here for more 190details of why I am going. I’m really excited, especially when I consider that a year ago I’d barely heard of this little country in the middle of Eastern Europe, and yet today I have such love for the people and the country. It’s great to see God changing my heart in this way! Facebook has been brilliant to keep in touch with Moldovan friends as well and hear how things are for them in Moldova.I’m also going to be a bridesmaid for a Moldovan friend in September which is very exiting!  Though, being involved in the organisation this year has shown me just how much goes into it! But, so worth it to share the gospel with people who  have never heard it before and see God work in them! That makes all the ‘hardships’ not seem to matter. I love it (although not airline booking lines!)!

5) Scaffolding . . . . I have it over the front of my house because they are apparently going to fix my roof . . only problem is the things I thought were wrong with it are at the back . .  watch this space!

This bank holiday my mum and stepdad are coming to visit which will be lovely although a little weird for them to be in ‘my area’! Looking forward to shoiwing them around though, as well as seeing the ‘Festival of the Air‘ which looks like it’ll be good . . . as well has the fact its set to 23 degrees over the weekend! woop!!! And the fact that we have an evangelical Georgian Archbishop at church . .  should be fun!


Where is the weatherman? February 12, 2009

Filed under: Update — Sarah @ 10:48 pm

So, this post is going to sound very British as it is all about the weather! But, I am confused about what the weatherman has been doing this week in Southend! Tuesday morning I awoke to reports that Southend was flooded but actually I saw nothing between my house, church, waitrose and so on . . . it turns about that Chelmsford was the flooded area not Southend.

And tonight, I have just watched the weatherman tell me its going to be cold but dry whilst watching snow fall quite heavily through the window!!!

Who knows what is going on . . .it’s probably going to be blamed on climate change! 044


It’s been a while . . . February 11, 2009

Filed under: Update — Sarah @ 9:00 pm
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So, been a while since I wrote anything apart from my blog ‘boast’ about lots of snow!!

What have I been doing? Well I had the joy (suprising joy at that!) of attending the Girls Brigade Leaders Rededication Meal where we were told about all theFerndales GB team work that has been going on acoss South East Essex which was so encouraging. It was also great to stand with all the other leaders and commit ourselves to serving the girls and being a witness to them. It made me realise that GB is so much more about the gospel than being a youth group. Also, I’ve been realising that the time we spend doing devotions is worth it. Although it appears sometime (well all the times!) that the girls aren’t really listening, I’ve had some really good conversations recently about things they have learnt and one girl is weighing up the truth of the gospel – what an encouragment!

However, it’s been a hard few weeks. I’ve been hit again and again with just how broken this world is. This world is completly broken and people are hurting all over.

I was reminded yesterday of a conversation I had with Pete during Lancaster Mission Week about this world and praying for Jesus to come back. I had thought for so long that God couldn’t be loving if Jesus came back before everyone I knew was saved!! And, the truth that not everyone I know will necessarily be saved is still hard but especially after being exposed again to the pain of this world I can truly say “Come Lord Jesus” but pray more earnestly for those I love and seek to tell them of the gospel.


Let it snow! February 2, 2009

Filed under: Update — Sarah @ 5:19 pm

It has been a while since I updated my blog . . .not quite sure where the time has gone though. It doesn’t feel two minutes since I got back to the lovely south from Lancasters Mission week. Coming straight back like that really showed me the differences in student and church work with the issues that are faced – not making one better or worse than the other but that they both have difficulties and different pressures.

Anyway, as the whole country appears to be snowbound today thought I’d celebrate by showing you all some lovely photos of snowy Southend! And I will write properly again soon!!

Who has seen heavenly storehouses laden with snow”






The far far north! January 22, 2009

So, I have been in the far north for a week now which has flown by that is for sure!imag0246

First few days were a great chance to relax and see northern friends and family (as well as loosing a wisdom tooth 😦 ) But, sunday saw the start of the main reason for my northern trip – Lancaster University Mission Week!

This is my second mission week this year (both in Lancaster but at different Universities). Read about my first one here.

I planning on heading to bed soonish so this is going to be short but here is a brief update so far . . .

This is week one of a two week mission so it is less intense that the one at University of Cumbria in November but an average day is prayer with the whole CU at 9, CUG (Christian Union Guest) meeting and breakfast at 10. 11-1 is the main time for doign flyers and questionnaires which usually absolutly petrify me and the whole time I was a relay worker in Lancaster I hated it- the whole idea of stopping someone in the street to tell them what I believe is so so scary!! But this week I am loving it. It’s still difficult and still have to remind myself why I ‘m doing it but being able to get alongside the students and see them gain in confidence in doing them for the first time has been fantastic. Evenings are dinner parties with small group members and their friends and small group events including things like text a toastie.

The lunchbars so far have been really well attending with numbers starting at 75 on monday and reaching 111 today! They are being held in a marquee quite central to campus (which is pictured with the signs and me and Alex a student, showing off the FREE hoodies). I do still find it miraculous that people will come and listen to a 20 minute talk about the gospel and even ask questions! It’s just so bizarre (to my mind!) but it just shows how powerful the gospel is. I’ve been reminded over and over this week to not judge people in terms of who will and who won’t be interested in finding out more about it. There is no one too cool or sorted. So many people are willing to take FREE gospels as well which is amazing. Michael Ots, the speaker has been keeping his blog up to date with more info on lunchbars.

Being a CUG on this mission has been great (so far and don’t think it’ll change!) for seeing God work, having a bit more time to spend with individuals, but also to spend time with the other CUGs, a lot of whom I know but some I don’t and just talking honestly with them about living as a Christian is so encouraging.

Tomorrow night is my small group event which is free cocktails and a quiz at which I’m giving talk on ‘is the gospel relevant to me’ so watch this space  . . .


Time for home . . . December 19, 2008

Filed under: Update — Sarah @ 10:13 pm

So, I am now completly stuffed with turkey after an amazing church Christmas dinner (which now I’m in the south happens in an evening . . . weird!) but we’ve also had the last nativity rehearsal (mayhem) which means that I go home very soon! 2 days and counting!! It will be really nice to be home for just over a week and just relax.

Although I must admit that I think I will miss Southend people! Who’d’ve thought I’d say that when I was stressing about coming down here in August!