We love that Spring is finally here! Here’s what we have been to over the Winter:
We haven’t had many groups since November, which means we’ve been getting stuck into a LOT of exciting refurbishment! We’re giving the second floor some TLC. December held a lot of preparation for the renovation: getting rid of old layers of wallpaper (which was painful!), knocking down walls, (which was a lot of fun!) and creating huge clouds of dust while sanding every available surface. Oh – and even discovering messages under the carpet! All this in preparation to split one of our biggest rooms into two, creating more flexibility for visiting groups.
And since prepping all the walls, window panes, skirting boards and door frames, we’ve now finally begun to paint! This is the exciting part; there’s a good amount of Gaines Grey paint (technically “Silver Birch” Vinyl Matt) on the walls, it’s starting to look really good! We’ve got two and a half weeks left until our next group, so please pray that this is plenty of time to get everything finished.
Camp XL’s New Year House Party was fab – lots of kids and a great opportunity to share the gospel with young people from different places in the country. We enjoyed some incredible gourmet food cooked by a few of our own, and had lots of fun! All of that, plus a chance to dive into the last few chapters of Revelation: both a challenge and an encouragement.
It’s been exciting too to get stuck back into MMTC (Midlands Ministry Training Course) after the Christmas break; we’ve been going through the gospel of Mark and learning about the purpose of his gospel and what it shows us about Jesus. We’ve also begun to do longer talks in our teaching practice groups – a great way for us to be trained in using our Bible teaching skills, as well as helping us to understand and interpret Bible passages for ourselves.
In January the whole team attended the Growing Young Disciples conference. What a brill few days! We had excellent teaching from Graham Daniels and Trevor Pearce on Matthew and Romans. So many great things to think about and praise God for, and to be reminded that Jesus is Lord of the harvest, and He chooses to use us as workers! What an absolute privilege to work for our God in this way as we seek to disciple young people for Him. We attended a range of seminars (topics ranging from Youth Evangelism to Youth Apologetics to Understanding Generation Z). We were fully and well equipped to come back with all we learned; but not only spiritually full, but physically full from the incredible array of food on offer at every meal! Praise God for this opportunity to be away together and grow more in Christ and in skills for discipling youth.
As we get closer to March, we are closer to welcoming groups back – yay! That, of course, is the reason behind all the hard work we are doing on the maintenance: to make Gaines Manor a more comfortable place for our guests, so that in turn it is easier for us to tell them about Jesus. Please pray that this continues to be our vision, and that all this work is for the growth of God’s kingdom. We are all excited to get the rooms finished and looking great, so that we can focus on teaching the Bible well to the young people.