Living in a Field of Hats

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

Summarising June 21, 2012

Filed under: Christian Life — Sarah @ 8:42 am
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I may be late to the game, but I’ve just discovered Wordle. It summarises a piece of text with putting words that are mentioned most in a larger font. Below is my blog’s wordle. There are some real suprises there. ‘Forms’ is a strange one (though maybe not with our visa applications last week!), as is ‘photo’. But the one that really stood out, was ‘lonely’. I blogged on Tuesday about this, and I think it is true that ‘lonely’ really does sum up the last few weeks. But the real encouragement is that there are other words large as well…’God’ and ‘praying’. No matter how I feel, the fact that I can pray to my heavenly Father never changes. Amen!

Wordle: Untitled

 

God’s Good Gifts – 10th June June 10, 2012

Filed under: Mission Trips — Sarah @ 2:36 pm
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Photo: I do love summer teams but love late night form filling for visas less! Thursday evening found me sat on my living room floor surrounded by forms, passports, photos and a million other things. Emily and I were finalising the application forms for our summer team’s visas. It didn’t take long (approx 3 seconds) for Emily’s head to drop onto the coffee table as we realised the task we had before us. And so we prayed. We prayed specifically that there would be no issues in submitting our forms, that we have wisdom as to what to write for certain sections, and above all we prayed for joy in doing it.

It was a long evening, with many repetitive tasks (there’s only so many times you can write in insurance details without going cross eyed) And yet there was real and genuine joy … even when we discovered that one application was missing a photo (mine!). It resulted in a late night trip to Tesco’s photo booth- but alas it’s switched off overnight! Luckily, even though Hatfield only has a population of around 18,000, we have two 24hour supermarkets, so the ASDA photo booth saved the day (well night)!

Friday morning saw us on an early train bound for London. We prayed again at the tube station – this time for there to be no issue with the invitation letters and that we’d have submitted the forms by 10.30am. Roll on to 10.31am – Emily’s happy dance (well out of the way of the embassy’s CCTV!) in celebration of having had submitted all of the forms with no bureaucratic issues. Amazing.

This is this week’s God’s Good Gifts – each and every thing we asked for was granted to us. And more besides. We were dealt with by the most lovely helpful embassy worker ever (in stark contrast to last year!), we got to spend sometime together rejoicing in what God had done, we had members of this summers team, and last summers team praying for us whilst we were in the office, desperate to know what had happened. Those twelve hours this week had their stresses, but they were the clearest demonstration of the gospel and unity. I’ve literally been left astounded by God’s great kindness!

We’re praying for the visas all to be granted this week – if you pray we’d love you to pray for us! If you want to find out more about our trip then leave your email in the comments and I’ll send you the updates!

 

A Prayer Answering God February 2, 2011

Filed under: Christian Life — Sarah @ 7:55 pm
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posting twice on one day kinda makes up for not posting a couple times in the last few days right…!?

As previous posts on this blog will point out, I have a teensy weensy bit of love for the little known yet beautiful country of Moldova (shock for many of you I know 😉 ). A friend of mine from Moldova has been through the visa application process – a long one that includes much paperwork, and interview and a long wait. And very regularly (in my previous experience of trying to help people get visas) they get rejected for no obvious reason. To be honest I expected the same this time, but I prayed that God would do his will and that Albina could come somehow. But everything seemed to go against us. The official invite letter I posted before Christmas hadn’t turned up, the original letter had been lost on a bus in America (a whole seperate story!) so an emailed letter with no signature had to do instead. We hadn’t quite sorted the finances until the evening before Albina’s meeting so that was again a emailed letter with no signature. I was praying that the letters would turn up so that the embassy could see that Albina’s request was genuine – but they didn’t. So we were left to wait the five working days minimum to fourteen working days for an answer. And then three working days later the embassy rang to see Albina again . . . that didn’t bode well but we continued to pray to our God of miracles and … Albina’s visa was granted! Albina said: “[the lady] didn’t tell me anything, just asked me to sign a paper and gave me the passport, it was open at the visa page, but first i didn’t realize that, I thought it was my Romanian visa somehow, well, i was so scared…it was after I left the room that i started realizing it was my visa“. So so exciting. But for me the most exciting thing was what Albina told me later – that she was praying that the letters wouldn’t arrive . . . here’s why!

” last thursday when I applied and asked them if it’s possible to bring the letters if they come and the lady told me if I manage to bring them before they make the decision…well, I prayed that they might not come:) I knew God could make a miracle and it was not in vain that the letters didn’t come, almost 3 months passed and all people could do was done…so, I knew God had a plan. But i know myself, and knew i could later on think it might have been a coincidence or “luck”, whatever…so, i wanted a real miracle”

And a real miracle is what she got! And a challenge for me. So often I think that God can only work out situations in a certain way so I  pray for that to happen. I so often don’t pray that God would turn the sitatuion round but that he would do it my way. But he’s God and always does things his way in his perfect timing and it always works!

So… in just a few weeks we’ll be reunited! Praise the Lord!

 

Living on a prayer December 2, 2009

Filed under: Christian Life — Sarah @ 4:03 pm
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So last night I was driving to Ferndales prayer meeting (which took a record 20 minutes! the joy of living next door to a football ground!) and Bon Jovi’s “Living on a Prayer” came on the radio.

The last time I remember listening to this song (because I’m sure I’ve listened to it hundreds of times in between!) was driving back from a Relay Training Day in Manchester. It was memorable because it was about five months into relay and therefore halfway through! But, also one of the things that Relay really taught me was to rely on God for everything . . . literally “living on a prayer”!

It was slightly bizarre, but great to be reminded of this in a secular song that really isn’t about relying on the amazing God of the universe for all things!

 

Moldova Week Two Prayer Requests July 6, 2009

Filed under: Mission Trips — Sarah @ 9:30 am
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Here’s week twos prayer requests. Thanks for praying guys!

7th July
Today is the first full day at camp and so our first bible study. Here is a brief look at how most days on camp will look:

Morning: UK team meeting, followed by breakfast. After a short introduction to the theme of the Bible study, we’ll split into Bible study groups. These are one hour long and will have about 10 people in them. After a short tea break, there will be English conversation classes for 90 minutes before lunch.
Afternoon: Begins with sport activities, free time or an excursion. Often there are team activities in later afternoon, or preparation time for English night!
Evening: After dinner, there are various forms of entertainment – including team presentations, English Night, Moldovan Night, a film, the banquet … etc.! Then off to bed after a busy day!
Please pray that we would be able to get to know our roommates (there is normally two English team in a room of 4-6 Moldovans). Please pray for the first study, that the English team wouldn’t be nervous and would be trusting in the power of the gospel and that the gospel would attract the non Christian Moldovans. Please also pray especially for the two male leaders, Peter and Matt today.
8th July
Today is the second bible study, so all those students who didn’t lead one yesterday will be doing so today. Please pray that there is no comparison going on within the team that could cause feelings of inadequacy. Please pray that the Holy Spirit will be working in the hearts of the non Christian on camp to be the receptive to the gospel. Please pray especially today for Sarah, the female leader and Rebekah (Ebek).
9th July
Camp continues! By now it will be becoming the norm for us all! Please pray the Bible studies taking place that the language difference would not be a barrier to the gospel. Also, pray for Andrew W and Emma, two British team students.
10th July
Please pray for the Bible study groups taking place, that they would bond with one another and feel able to be themselves around each other. Pray especially for Toby and Nicole, two British team students. Please also pray for the CSC staff team which is depleted this year due to staff leaving and no suitable having yet been found – Albina, Rodica, Slavic and Tania.
11th July
Please pray for the Bible studies, that the Christian Moldova students would grow and learn more about Christ throughout camp. Please pray for the whole team, that even in our tiredness we would love one another. Pray for Hannah H and Jon, two British team members especially today.
12th July
Pray for the ongoing Bible studies, that the Moldovan students who are not Christians would understand more about Jesus and why he came. Please pray especially for Andy J, UCCF Relay Worker and Sally a British team member today.
13th July
Pray for the bible studies taking place, that the English students leading the studies would grow in knowledge and understanding of Christ as they seek to tell the Moldovans about Jesus. Today please pray especially for Shaun and Hannah R and Lisa, three British team members.

 

Moldova Prayer Requests! June 28, 2009

Filed under: Mission Trips — Sarah @ 8:43 pm
Tags: , , ,

So, I’m off to Moldova tomorrow with the UCCF summer team. I’m really excited to be going back and to see friends that were made last year. There’s some daily prayer points below for the first week (i’ve set it so that they come up weekly as a reminder!) Your prayers will be very much appreciated and I’ll try and update my blog if I get chance 🙂

29th June
The team is meeting in Luton tonight at 6pm where we’ll be sleeping on a church floor before our early flight tomorrow. Please pray for the team to get to know each other a bit better, rest and a good night’s sleep.
30th June
Our flight is at 8am from Luton this morning, and arrives in Bucharest at 1315 (local time) and then catching the overnight train into Moldova at 8pm this evening. Please pray for safety for the whole team (and luggage!) whilst travelling and for ease of buying train tickets as the language barrier can cause problems. Also, all the team will be getting tired so please pray for continued good team relations.
1st July
We should arrive in Chisinau at 8am after a very disturbed night’s sleep of passport checks and immigration etc! There’s time for some rest and relaxation, but orientation starts fully today. So, please pray for energy and concentration for all as we look in detail at “What is the gospel”. Please also pray for the team to quickly embrace and adapt to Moldovan culture.
2nd July
Today we are looking an entire overview of the Bible as part of our preparations for camp. We’re also having a seminar on prayer and our first set of Romanian lessons! Today will be our first proper chance to see Chisinau as well. Please pray equipping of the English team with the topics being looked at today and that the Romanian lessons will be practically helpful
3rd July
We start our preparations on the Bible studies we’re doing on camp today. We’ll also be thinking about how to practically teach English as a second language. Please pray that students will get to grips with the studies as Peter, Matt and Sarah lead them through them and the students will feel more equipped to be able to teach English.
4th July
as well as bible studies for camp, we’ll also be looking at How to Lead an Evangelistic Bible Study which focuses on God’s sovereignty in Evangelism. We’ll be putting out Romanian into practice by going on a scavenger hunt to buy the things that we need to get for camp! Please pray continued group bonding especially with the CSC staff we will be going on the scavenger hunt with.
5th July
Peter is leading a study on “the gospel and wholeness” today. We’ll also be prepping studies 5 and 6 for camp and thinking about how to get alongside non Christians on camp. Please pray that we learn and are equipped to sensitively get to know and get alongside Moldovan Students and point them towards Christ.
6th July
Today we head to camp! We’ll be preparing bible studies 7 and 8 in the morning, but then we set off. Please pray that we would all be confident in the gospel alone, as we set off to camp (and what may feel for some the scary unknown!)

Thanks 🙂 another update next week!

 

Build This House January 8, 2009

Was searching on youtube for a song that we are adding to the Ferndale Song Supplement, and came across this song . It’s by Lou Fellingham (from her album Treasure) and I heard her singing it when she was lauching her album at Forum 06(?) and loved it then. But, today listening to the lyrics was a bit of a challenge. I’ve pasted them below:lou-fellingham

All I am and all I have is yours
There’s nothing that I have on earth
that doesn’t come from you
I lay aside my pride and worldly wealth
To serve You is the greatest thing
that I could ever do

For unless you build this house
I am building it in vain
Unless the work is yours
There is nothing to be gained
I want something that will stand
When your Holy fire comes
Something that will last
And to hear you say well done
Giving glory to you Lord
Glory to you Lord

So easy to desire what others have
Instead of seeing all the gifts that
You have given me
So help me fan the flame
which you began
And burn in me a love for you
that all will clearly see

(c) 2005 Thankyou Music/The Livingstone Collective

The first verse was particulary apt for me today. Had an interesting meeting with the Council earlier this week and was trying to explain what I did and how payment worked (which is slightly weird to be fair) but they just couldn’t work it out at all. They didn’t get (and I quote) why someone with a University degree would choose to work for no money.  The only way in which what I am doing makes any sense whatsoever is in the gospel. Laying down everything that I have and acknowledging that however I earn money “there’s nothing that I have on earth that doesn’t come from  [God]” and knowing that “To serve [God] is the greatest thing that I could ever do”. Now I’ve learnt that that is so much easier to say than do over the past eighteen months or so especially! But I remain completly convinced that it is the truth and that there is nothing is on this earth that I want more than my relationship with God.

The chorus, was what initially struck me today though.” For unless you build this house I am building it in vain, Unless the work is yours, There is nothing to be gained” Now, I am quite convinced that  this isn’t actually about house building . . . but that actually unless God is in the work that we all do as Christians,  then it is being built in vain. It won’t last. This is such a challenge for me. I know intellectually that we need to pray to ask God to work and that he is majestic and powerful and he will work for his glory in so many situations where we think it is impossible, yet time after time after time, I don’t pray and think  (very mistakenly) that I can do things without him! But the bible teaches, as this song reflects, that  things done in our lives on earth will be destroyed by God’s holy fire unless done with and for him.

Therefore, I want God to help me build this house, my life, my ministry, my everything so that glory is given to him and that one day I will hear him say “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:23)