Day 350 – Sat 20 Aug – We gave them a lie in till 8.30 and then got them out for a walk round Swansea city centre, in years gone by I’ve taken them to the old Vetch where the Swans used to play not that they were that bothered. This year we went round the Marina and were back for 11am service. I was leading and preaching and dealt with ‘Why does God allow us to suffer?’ from 2 Corinthians 1. I felt people listened and it’s a joy each year to see folk I grew up with and they love having our young people.
Claire and the kids have been staying with my mum and it was so good to see them. Claire went back with Phoebs after a magnificent lunch, my mam, No and Els stayed with us. It was a total wash out so the leaders did a great job with the kids indoors all day. There was a remarkable game of human hungry hippos.
Graham John was preaching in the evening on Psalm 90 and it was good to hear him. It was a joy to see our folk talking to people in Ebenezer and making the effort. The young people watched the Princess Bride later on and we had a good day all round. Rainy days on camp can be really tricky but we have much to thank God for.
Day 349 – Sat 19 Aug – Everyone slept well, and we got the whole lot of them to the Swansea Park Run along the front, fair play they all did it. I managed to jog the whole way round but somehow had a slower time. I had on opportunity to speak about the gospel and invite a guy to church who I was running with. We were back for 10.30 and then I did my second talk from Mark 2 on ‘Can I be forgiven?’, the kids listened well and there was some good comeback from the kids.
In the afternoon we got them down to Caswell Bay and most went into the sea, I think the general consensus was that is was freezing, beach games and then back for supper. Everyone was pretty exhausted but one final trip out to Bracelet Bay, as one leader put it there’s a fine line between getting them tired enough to go to bed and clinical exhaustion. They went down like lights!!
Day 348 – Fri 18 Aug – We got away from IPC at 9.40, Jono did the most remarkable job in packing the minibuses, I thought we were done for with some of our girls bringing enough luggage for a month but he got it all in. We stopped in Leigh Delamere on the way and our bus was pretty calm all the way. Both minibuses got here for mid afternoon and we went straight down to the Mumbles for games on the beach and a bit of fresh air. There was a torrential downpour that soaked everyone but we were back for tea. Our first meeting went off ok I spoke on ‘What’s wrong with the world/me?’ I don’t think I communicated that well and so need to change things for the rest of the talks.
Ebenezer has a leaky roof in the middle hall so we’ve got our students and a couple of leaders staying over at Elim which is a brilliant provision. The kids are doing really well, Jono did a fantastic job doing the bedtime story telling the first part of Martin Luther’s life. Kids went off to sleep well and I think by 11.15 there was quiet. Lots to be encouraged about and praying for.
It will be wonderful if you could pray for a number of things, the camp started today and goes till next Wednesday:
- The talks – we’re going to be looking at big questions. I’ll be doing the 5 talks and preaching at Ebenezer Sunday morning
- There’s a number of seminars, a daily bedtime story on Martin Luther, and small groups where the young people get to discuss where they’re at personally
- One of the joys of going away together is having lots more time, so please pray for good conversations for the young people and that friendships would be formed and strengthened
- Pray for safety and for good sleep for all so that we can make the most of the time
- Good weather – we do have a wet weather plan, but it makes such a difference to be able to be outside and out on the beach.
- There’s a good group of leaders – pray we would work well together and have servant hearts
- Give thanks for the cooks who come with us.
- We’ve got 7 students coming who are going to be serving alongside us, pray that they get a lot out of the week and we get the opportunity to encourage them
- Give thanks for Ebenezer Baptist, hosting us again, for their partnership in the gospel
- For great fun and that there would be children and young people who come to faith and who grow in their faith during this holiday.
- That this camp would lead to our young people being more involved in the life of the church.
Day 347 – Fri 17 Aug – I had a good day, doing some reading and prep ahead. I worked on Psalm 16, I’ve not preached it before and found it full of hope and the gospel. I’m really enjoying Jason Helapoulis’ “New Pastor’s Handbook” it really encouraged me, short little chapters, common sense, good insight into the work. I watched a session of the Aber conference online but it felt slightly bizarre and is no substitute at all for being there. There were lots of bits and bobs to get ready for the Camp in Swansea, the weather isn’t looking too good so please do pray for good weather. I met with Donald who is back for another year and then with Jess to do some more admin. Ellie and Noah flew back into Gatwick and got in at 10pm so I met them and Claire’s dad at the airport and wasn’t back till late.
Day 346 – Wed 16 Aug – Well the kitchen is finally finished but we’ve discovered we can’t lay the floor in the kitchen and the utility room for another 6 weeks until the concrete has completely dried, however they are making good progress. I’m back in my study working and trying to think through preaching Matthew. We had to pick up two Minibuses from Twickenham Prep school who generously lend them to us for the camp in Swansea. I then met with one of our young men for lunch who is was very encouraging and desiring to grow, a good and heartening conversation. In the afternoon one of our other young men popped in which was great, we had a good and honest time. It wasn’t an easy conversation but I think we both appreciated it. I’m such a people pleaser and find actually having honest conversations with folk sometimes really hard.
Chris Cradock one of our elders led the prayer gathering in the evening and took us round the IPC churches and after the meeting I popped in on one of our couples for an hour which was encouraging.
Day 345 – Tue 15 Aug – I looked through my material for the kids camp and have made a switch from Isa 55 to the Questions series I preached earlier in the year on Sunday nights. In the rest of the morning I tried to do some work on Acts 6 which I hope to preach on this autumn as a one off.
Rob Ilderton took ELT on 2 Chronicles and did a good job, we caught up afterwards before I went to Turnham Green to hook up with Alun Ebenezer. I had a quick pastoral visit to do in the evening but was really tired so turned in very early.