Day 351 – Mon Aug – I gave my third talk to start the day on Luke 18 – the Pharisee and the Tax Collector – What do you want from God? – I struggled to speak as I should and it just felt hard work. The young people are listening and so it’s very difficult to guage how much they are taking in. We had two seminars later in the morning one on the gospel using Glen Scrivener’s 321 outline and another on ‘Instagram and Union with Christ’, I tried to sleep at the back of the room of the latter and the young people seemed very engaged.
After a good lunch we headed out to Oxwich and spent a wonderful afternoon on the beach. I made it into the sea which was very enjoyable. We’ve been blessed with a really great team of leaders and task force who has given themselves selflessly to the kids.
In the night was the camp quiz which went down well, despite losing to Olly Mallett at Basketball it was another good day.
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.
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 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.
Day 343 – Sun 13 Aug – It was nice to have a Sabbath from house renovations. It was lovely to be back at IPC, we had a number of visitors which swelled out numbers. I was leading and Rich Woolfe who is a Minister at Village Seven Presbyterian Church in Colorado Springs preached helpfully for us from Ephesians 4. I’d not met Rich before but that church has been a great supporter of Missionaries who’ve served with us so it was good to have him. My dad had a long chat with his wife and found out that Village 7 was the church Jerry Bridges attended, my father knew him when they were in Amsterdam together in 50’s.
We were at Daphne’s for lunch with the Little’s which was lovely. In the evening Paul Meiners preached warmly to us from Philippians 4. There was a good number out for August and it was good to see folk again. I’m away now for the next 3 Sundays again, I’m looking forward to getting back to normality in September.