Sunday, December 07, 2008

Phil Leage, BA(hon) Theology

The moment we waited 11 years for ...

On 3 December Phil and I travelled to Cheltenham for this amazing ceremony that recognized all these years of study. His mum and sister, Judy, joined us to mark such a wonderful moment. Lord George Carey, the former Archbishop, is the Chancellor of the University of Gloucestershire, and he shook Phil's hand and said, "Well done, Phil" as he walked across the platform.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Beginning to look a lot like Christmas

It is the first Sunday of Advent, and we celebrated by decorating our home for Christmas.
If we waited for next weekend (6 December) Phil would already have left for his next teaching trip in Muizenburg, South Africa. He'll be teaching Matthew for the week as well as meeting with the SBS staff to encourage them and help with their development. We look forward to Phil's return home on 13 December.

Phil was in Lausanne, Switerland, the week of 17 November, teaching both Genesis and Deuteronomy. This past Friday he taught I Corinthians to our SBS here, and a Q & A session is planned tomorrow night for more input.

The calendar for 2009 teaching is filling up, including trips to Sweden, Hungary, Egypt, Switzerland, and New Zealand.

A year of something different

About 3 years ago Phil was asked to help establish another Biblical Teaching and Preaching School (BTPS). You might remember that 10 years ago we took two small children to Penang, Malaysia, to do this very thing. The BTPS is a course for SBS and Bible school graduates which trains in communicating the scripture and its truth in a variety of settings and to different audiences. It is one thing to know the Bible; another thing to know how to pass it on!

So we have thought, talked and prayed over the course of time. This month things have moved very quickly and we believe it is time to begin planning toward offering a BTPS in Kona, Hawaii, next September, 2009.

We expect to travel to Kona early September 2009 and return to The King's Lodge the end of summer 2010. While in Kona Phil hopes to train the future leader of the school so it will carry on for many years to come.

There are so many things to consider with this - the children's education, our responsibilities here, how to set up a school from a distance, and the expenses we will incur with this challenge, and so many other things. The children are looking forward to the adventure but have lots of questions as to how it will work out.

We'd value your prayers especially at this time as so many decisions are being made. We have a God who loves to speak to us, and possibly it might be through you!

Food, Glorious Food

As a mobile people, there are always people moving in and out of positions at The King's Lodge. All it took was a few leaving early for their Christmas holidays and, suddenly, our kitchen cover was all but gone.

I was asked to cover running the TKL kitchen beginning 17 November along with my other tasks. It is a job that I know how to do and in which I often find pleasure in doing. One thing that fulfills me is bringing order out of chaos, and a kitchen at a training centre can only too quickly descend into chaos! The difficult side has been the diversion it has created from my work with King's Kids and WildFire especially.

I expect it will be for just one more week. Until then, it's food, food, food I'm thinking about.

Happy birthday TKL!!

On 1 January, 1984, 13 faithful pioneers moved into what is now The King's Lodge. YWAM England saw this as a strategic location in the centre of the nation, and what a great property to train people by the thousands in their understanding of God and skills for ministry. Twenty-five years on The King's Lodge is thriving with expanding ministry and significant influence in the nations.

While Loren Cunningham and so many representatives from all of YWAM England were with us for the DNA conference, there was a special "Happy Birthday" party held for TKL and a celebration of all that God has done in these 25 years. Since Phil has been here since 1985 (arriving when the Lodge was only 18 months in YWAM's possession) he can give testimony to God's amazing faithfulness over this time.

Picture this: a birthday cake big enough for 300 with sparkler fireworks fizzing all around it, and a procession led by TKL's younger residents with party hats and horns (Elisa), some incredible beat-boxers giving the rhythm (Jonathan), and flags of the nations were waving through the air as sang, "Ask and I'll give the nations to you, Oh Lord, that's the cry of my heart ..."

An offering of £27,000 was raised on this night for our new building extension. WOW! You have to remember that nearly everyone in the tent was a YWAMer, with God as the only means of making any of this possible. WOW!

Loren describes YWAM's DNA

The first week of November The King's Lodge hosed a DNA conference with Loren Cunningham, the founder of YWAM. He is 73 and so full of faith and vision, humour and passion for completing the Great Commission. His wife Darlene had to cancel at the last moment to be with her sick mother. However David Hamilton, a vice-president of YWAM’s University of the Nations, was superb! YWAM Denver provided the worship band.

The value of a looking at the DNA of YWAM -- the unique traits that God put into the mission at the beginning and what we must stay true to -- is that it keeps us on track in the ways we live, make decisions, and the goals we set. Loren and David reminded us of the roots of YWAM, which are complete dependence on listening to the voice of God and learning His ways.

The conference was held here at the Lodge in a Marquee (in November - we must be full of faith!!). There were about 275 participants from all around YWAM England and Scotland. The DTS teams from around the nation were sleeping on church hall floors in Nuneaton and Hinckley, and the rest of us held our breath to fit another 60 or so into the building. We catered for everyone from Sunday night to Friday lunch. To be able to pull off this feat we invited our friend, Trish Dobson, to return to from South Africa to England for a "holiday" and cook for us this week. She loved it and, because she is so good, we were able to serve 2,500 meals from our modest TKL kitchen with flair.

If anyone would like a CD full of 16 messages in MP3 format please let us know.

Linda's WildFire catch-up - October Camp

At the end of October, WildFire held a 4-day camp during half-term at The King's Lodge for 60+ young people and families. This served as a launch into our third year of local WildFire teams. These are teams of young people and families who meet together for one weekend a month to do outreach in their local community. They serve in practical ways, raise the joy level through arts and music, and connect with people who don’t know Jesus. We have a Nuneaton team, a London team, and a team that has just started in Harpenden.

Our camp had "Freedom" as its theme; we were looking at who God has made us to be, stepping out in His power to do what He’s called us to do, and getting rid of all the stuff that gets in the way! We had a fantastic time going deeper with God, allowing Him to minister to us, and ministering to each other. We were also being equipped for the rest of the year as well, so each day there were workshops designed to get us prepared for outreach - dance, drama, magic and circus skills, percussion, choir singing, acro-balance, and others.

One highlight for us was seeing many of the young people sign up to be prayed for. Ministry teams would pray with them in pairs and receive words, pictures and scriptures for them, particularly concerning how God sees them. This was enormously encouraging for the young people, and many shared with us all the things God had said and done through these times.

Other highlights were great times of fun and freedom in worship (led by the young people), and a wonderful "Concert to the Lord" at the end, offering all our dances, drama, percussion, circus, songs, tricks and (Jonathan-led) beat-boxing back to the Lord!

We have had some great feedback from young people and parents since the camp. One Mum told us how, since the camp, one of her daughters had really broken through in letting go of a grudge she had held against her sister for a long time. Another Mum told us how her son was really impacted by the things God had shown him during his prayer slot, that he kept them by his bed for close reference!
Elisa and Jonathan are building powerful friendships through WildFire, and we can see them growing spiritually through their involvement. My perspective comes from both the organizer's and parent's perspective, and from both angles I am sold on WildFire.

Linda's WildFire catch-up - June football tournament

England somehow failed to be a part of the European Cup this year, but Jonathan and I loved our taste of the KKi Euro-Cup.

Four years ago a Europe-wide King’s Kids football tournament hosted teams from just two nations, Sweden and England! This year, on a sunny June weekend, we built on that foundation with teams from Holland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Wales, all over England and even South America (via London!). The idea was for football-mad young people (boys and girls) to get together with their non-Christian friends and enter a team. The weekend was mostly about the matches but with added bonfires, camping, devotionals, barbeques and chill-out late nights. The tournament was a collaboration between different KKi and YWAM leaders around Europe, and came together very smoothly in Harpenden, just north of London.

We are excited about the massive potential of reaching and discipling young people through sport – it speaks a language that captivates and resonates with so many. We are looking forward to seeing more of the same happen on a local and international level. In March 2009 we plan to take our Team to Edinburgh and in May to Malaga, Spain.

Oh, by the way, our WildFire Nuneaton team won the 9-13 age group in the tournament (Jonathan was a great defender), which made us all happy!

Linda's WildFire catch-up - May in Liverpool

We were invited to bring a team of young people to participate in this amazingly organised extravaganza on Hope Street, between Liverpool’s two Cathedrals. The churches in the city worked together to put on the event, which involved a big procession, bands, dance, youth zones, kids zones, food and arts of all kinds. Over 20,000 people walked up and down the street enjoying the atmosphere and joining in the fun during the day. The UK church has followed the theme of HOPE all year, and where better to celebrate than on Hope Street!

Two minibuses full of enthusiastic young dancers, acro-balancers and clowns headed north from Nuneaton to stay in St Helens for the weekend. On the day we set up an interactive circus area where people were welcomed to come and have a go at juggling, balancing, stilt walking etc. We also had three dance groups amongst us who performed in this space and other zones, drawing crowds and sharing about the hope they have. We had great fun dressing up in costumes to throw a bit of a Ceilidh (pronounced "KAY-lee" and similar to a barn dance or square dancing) in front of the Metropolitan Cathedral for part of the afternoon. Passers-by joined us as we danced in the sunshine. The atmosphere of the day was relaxed, fun and joyful… good conditions for hope to grow in…

Elisa loves dancing, and quickly learned some moves for the streets; Jonathan enjoyed doing football skills and magic tricks in the crowd. The Ceilidh dances were the same as Elisa and I did last year in China, and we were ablel to draw Phil and Jonathan into the circle.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

BCC consultation in Holland

This weekend (10th Oct) I leave for a conference in Holland with Bible Core Course leaders from around Europe. The purpose is to pray and plan for the future of this course within YWAM. I will be playing a key role in this.

Straight after this, on Monday, I go to Egypt to teach on the third week of their SBS and be there a week. As you will know we have been working with our staff there to see this school established and it is a thrill that we now have our very first full nine month SBS led by an Egyptian.

FBSBS launched at last

Last week I launched the Field-Based School of Biblical Studies, the e-learning SBS. I have eight students in six countries that are part of this pioneering start. So far at this early stage the results are varied, with some students steaming ahead having finished their work a week ahead of time, and others making a slower start. This school has been a dream and goal for more than a decade. These are my co-pioneers of the course!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

"Freedom and Power Camp" from 21-25 July

Some stories are best told with pictures, and losing our ability to add photos to our posts has really thrown us. We are very relieved that we have solved the problem and can now show you what we did during the school holidays.

King's Kids International (KKi) is a YWAM ministry for youth and families, and I have just completed my first year as a "King's Kid". All year we have been building toward a summer camp to train young people in discipleship and ministry skills, followed by outreaches for them to begin putting what has been learned into practice. So on the Monday after school ended we had 80 participants show up to grow in God, meet lots of people, and have lots of fun.

We set up a huge marquee to hold the meetings, and packed everyone into the main building for eating and sleeping. We even had 15 guys sleeping on a classroom floor! My responsibility was primarily on the admin side, and I was really fulfilled to be able to help the camp run well so that our gifted camp leaders could focus.

All four of us were a part of the camp, and for the first time in their lives our kids got to sleep in the main building!

The sessions taught about "loving God and hating sin", "God as a father", "Destiny", and "letting God be in control of your life". Profound sessions! The participants jumped in head first, and wanted all God had for them. It was an incredible privilege to see these young people respond to what the Holy Spirit was doing in and around them.

In between this was lots of volleyball, football, and lessons in circus skills, balloon modeling, drama, dance, internet radio. Other workshops covered hearing God better when you pray and how to share your testimony.

Camp participants were from everywhere!! We had 11 Egyptian young people and 8 from North Dakota (USA) fly in for the camp and following outreach. Many internationals who live in England (like me!) also came including 2 from Poland and 7 South Koreans.

Following the 5-day training camp we launched into outreach: 14 of us flew to Sarajevo, Bosnia for 10 days, and the remaining 60+ worked in Camphill, a local council estate in Nuneaton.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

First day back to school

Jonathan began his first day of Secondary School today!

Our dear boy is entering Year 7 with a confidence and excitement; please pray with us that this would continue! Elisa has moved into Year 9 with a new assurance in who she is in herself and, especially, who she is in God.

We have seen so many answers to prayers, and are so grateful for God's mighty work in their (and our!) lives.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Back from Bosnia

We're back from an amazing 10-day outreach in Sarajevo.

Our task was to help run a camp for 10-14 year old kids who have been in contact already with the YWAM team working in Sarajevo. It was a camp in English - a language that so many are desperate to learn - with lots of crazy games and activities, but also with quick lessons about how each one of us is unique, part of a community, we need to forgive, and that walking in intgrity and taking initiative are the ways to live. Although we were restricted from talking about Jesus in this Muslim nation, we could see that the kids "got it" in terms of the ways Jesus has taught us to live. These foundations brought through a group of people they know loves them will stay with them when making future life choices.

There were 60 kids from the local area who took part in the camp. It lasted for 5 days, and ran from 10:00-5:00. To get there and pray and set up, and then to clean up afterwards and get home on the bus meant we put in 11-hour days. Elisa taught a dance workshop, and Jonathan ran a lunch-time "beat-box" workshop that was very well attended. Both of our kids adjusted very well to the culture and the heat. It felt like wonderful Colorado sunny days, and we even had mountains to make us feel right at home.

Now that we are back we see the terrible news of the conflict between Georgia and Russia. The pictures on TV news must resemble what it was like in Sarajevo from 1992-1995 when they were under seige by the Serbian forces. The scars and pain of war still remain in Bosnia, and it was a great privilege to be a part of bringing hope.

We have lost some of the settings on our blog dashboard so can't upload any pictures right now. Hopefully soon ...

Sunday, July 20, 2008

"Songs of Praise" meets YWAM England

"Songs of Praise" is a well-established British tradition produced by the BBC. As part of its mandate to include religious programming, their team travels to different churches and meets with different people to explore aspects of their Christian faith, and participates in their worship times (often hymns). This is an American's understanding!!

Tonight the show will explore aspects of faith and finances, and a couple based in YWAM Harpenden (YWAM England's national office) is to be interviewed, and there will be scenes (we hope) of our site just north of London.

Tune in!!! See Brian and Anne Sloan, a couple who did their Crossroads DTS at The King's Lodge in the early '90's, and left their furniture for Phil and Linda (the newly-married couple) to use while they worked on the Anastasis mercy ship!

Tonight's show (Sunday, 20th) is from 4.25-5.00pm on BBC2.

For only one week the show can be seen again through BBC iPlayer. Click on and then choose BB2 and 20 July.

Well done, Jonathan!

After 7 years, Jonathan has completed his time at Milby Primary School. They concluded on Friday (18th of July) with a fantastic leavers' assembly; there was acting and singing and memories told about each of the 60+ students.

So now he gets to trade in his purple Milby sweater for a red Higham Lane Secondary School shirt and tie. We have a big transition ahead of us in September!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Launch of Phil's Field-Based SBS

Launching the Field-Based School of Biblical Studies

In September 2008 I am launching the School of Biblical Studies (SBS) in an e-learning format. This is something I have desired to do for many years and now that I have finished my degree I can finally get to it. Distance Learning Bible Study has been offered for nearly 10 years through The King’s Lodge, but ths e-learning package is accredited with YWAM’s University of the Nations and I believe will benefit those working within the mission.

The idea is to provide staff in YWAM with a way to study yet not have to leave their ministry situation. So each month of our residential SBS is being expanded into a three-month module with the expectation that the student will take about ten hours a week. Many of our staff in church planting or other ministry-type situations are not able to leave their location, but can now take the full SBS without leaving their "field". I have discovered some great e-learning software called Moodle which I am working hard to learn to use, as well as taking the SBS material and presenting it in a format that will work for this course. This is keeping me very busy, I am very excited to finally see this launched.

And don’t make the mistake others have; it is NOT called the "Phil-based SBS"!

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Creative efforts by our children

At the end of July we 4 travel to Sarajevo, Bosnia, for 10 days of outreach. It'll be so different from either the Philippines or China! It is designed for young people and families, and these 2-1/2 weeks of the training camp and outreach will be milestone marks in our kids' walk with God and love for other people (please pray with us for that!!!)

Now that they are getting a little older, Elisa and Jonathan have taken initiative to raise money to cover their outreach expenses. We have already purchased the flights, so the remaining costs are £220/person.

Elisa and her friend / Bosnia outreach teammate had the unique idea of doing a sponsored midnight walk on the Malvern Hills, which is about an hour's drive from here. This last Friday they bundled up after youth group and headed out with their dads for a 2-hour hike through this beauty spot. Although they were rained on and got a little lost, it was a lot of fun ... especially arriving back home at 3:44am!

Jonathan appealed to the sweet-tooth of our friends at church today by selling brownies, chocolate chip cookies and carrot cake cup cakes which we made this morning. He was well supported and the goodies were appreciated. If you would like to make a donation to Jonathan for a virtual tasty treat, he'd be honoured to send you a picture of one!!

Friday, July 04, 2008

What a week!

We knew it would be a busy one, with over half of our annual family celebrations over the course of just 5 days! Alongside of that, it happens to be the busiest week of the year at The King's Lodge. We really did have quite a week.

June 20 (Friday) was the January Discipleship Training School (DTS) graduation. After 12 weeks of training in the classroom they have been out on the field, working 2 weeks with children at "Spring Harvest" (a large Christian camp) and 9 weeks working in Turkey. They told us stories about all they had experienced and how God had changed them while they were sharing him with others. We worshiped God together for what he has done in these past 6 months.

June 23 (Monday) was Elisa's 13th birthday! We decided to make a special fuss over this special birthday, including take two of her best friends out to dinner with our family and a special affirmation around the meal table. The next weekend included two back-to-back sleepovers!

This day we also sent 20 from our Crossroads DTS (students, children and school staff) to South Africa on outreach.

June 25 (Wednesday) was Phil's birthday! We have conveniently forgotten how many years ... His request was a special dinner of "Toad in the Hole" made by his American wife, and carrot cake. Another group of about 10 left that morning for South Africa.

June 26 (Thursday) we were able to celebrate two graduations: The Bible Core Course (BBC - a 12-week course which uses the inductive approach to study portions of the Bible representing the different kinds of literature) and the School of Biblical Studies (SBS - a 9-month course which studies every book of the Bible inductively, and the students will have read the Bible minimum 5 times throughout these 36 weeks). More stories came about how the scripture has effected their own hearts and their world-view. I noticed several times that the impact our students were talking about had come through books that Phil had taught them (note from proud wife!!)

June 27 (Friday) was our 16th wedding anniversary! We spent a few minutes gazing into each other's eyes, then got off to work to see this term completed. Students and their new family at TKL were experiencing tearful goodbyes, while the Introduction to Primary Healthcare school did their final packing to leave for Uganda that night.

Elisa was off school due to a Teacher Training day, so she was off with some of her church friends celebrating her birthday. They came back to us for pizza, then we whisked them off to Youth Group for the evening, then the sleepovers began ...

The change of pace hasn't been as dramatic as we'd hoped as we came into our first week of "summer" at TKL. Cleaning up, regrouping for summer activities, and as a family preparing for our summer outreach to Bosnia are all capturing our attention.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Working hard in South Korea

Phil spent a week in Seoul, South Korea, during the middle of May. This was designed to be a three-week trip which also included New Zealand; God in his wisdom and mercy allowed the second leg to be canceled.

A ministry of YWAM South Korea offers discipleship and Bible training to businessmen and women after their working day and during their weekends. The hunger is so great in these people to grow that these courses are mushrooming all over the nation.

The Businessman’s SBS was launched two years ago to teach the New Testament over the course of one year. The Old Testament is being offered for the first time, and this course was at capacity within one week of being advertised.
Phil was invited to teach Deuteronomy, an essential book which speaks out the "constitution" God establishes in this new nation of Israel, summarizes the law, and lays out God’s covenant with His people.

He taught both a day class and then an evening class, allowing him to squeeze two teaching weeks into one calendar week. Now that he is home he is feeling the effects of the long days of concentration as well as the travel.

It’s always great to have him home!

Summer plans are set!!

Spring is in the England air, meaning decisions for our summer needed to be made. A few weeks ago The King’s Lodge hosted Dean Sherman, YWAMer for 40 years and respected Bible teacher. Dean spoke a few words to us which helped us discern that it would be really good for us as a family to go on a summer outreach with a team going to Bosnia.

You might be thinking that that’s a long way from China which we had been talking about! We personally could not get a full "yes" in our hearts about China, and now the opportunity we were looking at has been cancelled. Since we do know we are called to GO, that left the whole world before us!

In 2007 The King’s Lodge hosted the YWAM Sarajevo (Bosnia) team, as 6 of them came to train in children and youth work. They have now returned to Sarajevo with their new skills to work with young people and families who are still recovering from the years of war experienced during the 90's. I’m told that the effects of the battle are scarred on every hill, building, and on the hearts of the people.

We will be a part of a YWAM Wildfire outreach, geared toward youth and families taking part, and a huge emphasis is for us as a team to bring joy - to those we work with and especially to bring joy to God’s heart through how we live and what we do. Our interaction with Bosnians will include teaching English in pre-schools, community centres, and a blind school. We will also join an ongoing YWAM ministry there of rebuilding playgrounds for the children, and teaching them how to play again after all the stifling years of war.

Rejoice with us that we were able to book our flight reservations for 4 to Bosnia! God has generously provided for us and we want to tell of what He is doing. Please pray with us as we continue to prepare. The dates including our training camp are 21 July - 5 August 2008.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Sunny Hawaii and LA

I am home resting after a very full two weeks away. This past month I have been able to teach on four different Bible schools in three different continents, three in person and one virtually!
I had the opportunity to explore the up-to-date relevance of the book of Deuteronomy with our School of Biblical Studies (SBS) here at The King’s Lodge, and then the wisdom of God’s Wisdom with our shorter Bible school (BCC) that is also currently happening here. I then spent six hours with our SBS in Manila, the Philippines, via Skype and web cam. We had a few interruptions but it was a lot of fun and the book of Psalms lived for us during this time.

I am now resting after two weeks away in the USA. I joined our base director at an international YWAM leaders conference in Kona, Hawaii. Yes, it is beautiful and sunny but, alas, most of the time was spent inside and in meetings. These are always such vision-giving times and this is a very significant moment for us as a mission. I was also able to re-visit with an number of colleagues and friends from around the world, which was a blessing.

We have a newly-established SBS at our training facility in Los Angeles, one which I taught over the internet through Skype and a web cam last year. It was a delight to stop off on the home and meet the students face to face. I was able to start their third and final term by teaching the book of Matthew. The eagerness and excitement that the students express in their study of the scriptures is very motivating for a teacher.

I am home now for a good few weeks and my desk is calling for my urgent attention, as well as teaching again on our SBS here at The King’s Lodge.
A view of the YWAM base in Hawaii, and the Student in the School in LA

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

BBC NEWS | In Pictures | In pictures: UK earthquake

BBC NEWS In Pictures In pictures: UK earthquake

Earth-shaking News

Just before 1:00am this morning we woke up to a roar ... no, a shaking ... no, both. EARTHQUAKE! We learned later that the epicenter was in Lincolnshire (northeast of us) about 150 miles away. It measured 5.2 and the 10-second event was felt all over the nation. The experience is hard to explain, but as we spoke to people today we discovered it was very frightening for many. Only one major injury has been reported and many chimneys have collapsed, but that seems to be the extent of the damage. It was odd hearing the hangers in the closet rocking back and forth after all else was silent.

Oh, but THAT isn't the big news in the Leage family. Today Phil completed the final adjustments to his dissertation and put it in the mail to the University for grading. Everything is done now apart from donning his cap and gown next November to receive his Bachelor of Arts in Theology diploma.


Investing in Westerm Europe

It was great to have Phil home for a week after his trip to Israel. After flying in Sunday night he began teaching the book of Genesis on our SBS here at at TKL. It was a week of unfolding "in the beginning ..." -- not simply creation but how God spoke into the world from the beginning and his heart for all. This was Phil's first teaching slot with this class and they all loved it.

February half-term (which included Valentine's Day) was spent with his brother in Spain. No, they were not sunning themselves as it seems Phil has the ability to attract unseasonably cold weather on these teaching trips. D and R have relocated to the Costa del Sol to reestablish the DTS program there, and Phil traveled to teach on their first North Africa-focused DTS. This week he covered "Inductive Bible Study". In the students' words, it was "amazing", "exciting", "inspiring", and "brilliant". Great comments, and not said often enough when talking about studying the Bible!

Following a weekend at home, Phil jetted over to Hurlach, Germany to teach Deuteronomy on their SBS. I'm observing a deep fulfillment in him as he pours through the books with these students and helps them understand God's word. There seems to be a fresh anointing on his teaching, and we pray there will be great fruit.

Slumming it

Ever wonder how the "other half" live? Too often our thoughts tell us that we might be the ones without or having to do with less. Our dear Elisa signed up for an experience to find out what life is like to live in poverty.

For three days of her February half-term, Elisa and 16 others from their youth group took part in SLUM SURVIVOR It is a simulation experience designed by TearFund and hosted locally of living in a slum in make-shift housing, given two meals a day, having to work for materials needed to live, and experiencing lots of injustice along the way.

She came home very cold, dirty, extremely tired, hungry and newly aware of the pain that others feel on a daily basis. We noticed that she has begun to say "thank you" much more than before!

Monday, February 04, 2008

It was cold in Jerusalem

I have just returned from a busy teaching trip to Israel. The school is an 18 month track training the students in the skills of digital photography. They are focussing on issues of injustice, a subject that will take them to many countries. As part of the course they are having a biblical studies element which I was helping with. It was a full week, where I taught an overview of the Old Testament history from Joshua to Solomon, Psalms, Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Song of Solomon. We had a wonderful time. It was also a very cold week with snow for a couple of days which severely hampered normal life. The small café just next door to the hostel we stayed in remained shut so I was not able to get my morning Turkish coffee!

We were staying in a hostel just outside the Damascus Gate of the old city of Jerusalem, and one street away from the Garden Tomb. Saturday was the time I could explore the area. I began with the Mount of Olives, which should now be called the Mount of grave yards and churches! I did find a couple of olive trees though. Then on to the Wailing Wall, the Old City, David’s city just south of the present Old City and the Garden Tomb. Being the Sabbath some things were closed but there was still much to see. It was a very wonderful experience for which I am most thankful.
On Sunday I returned to my wonderful family and am now catching up with life here. Tuesday - Friday of this week I will be in the SBS classroom here at The King's Lodge, teaching Genesis.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Colorado Memories

We started out by thinking three weeks was a very long time; suddenly it was over and seems a distant memory. But the time in Colorado to visit family and friends was wonderful.

As mentioned it snowed ... and snowed ... I left England boasting at how much sunshine Colorado gets, even during the winter. I longed for the crisp air with the clear blue sky and warm sunshine, but we got very little of that. I think we were all surprised that the sun kept itself hidden for so long. Great weather for skiing and snowboarding, which Phil and the kids thoroughly enjoyed with my sister's family (she and I had to have coffee and do some shopping).

When we see each other only a few days every two years, time together is really precious. Family celebrations included my parent's 49th wedding anniversary and my birthday along with a special Christmas being home with my parents. We were fussed over and made to feel really welcome, and that was very special to us and to me. It was great Elisa and Jonathan got so much time with cousins.

Our church families showed great interest and care, and we were able to meet some new faces as well as greet the old friends. One disappointment was the limited time and not being able to spend time with many we would have like to. We had some fantastic times together with people -- just not enough or with enough of you.

Coming back was a very smooth journey but also very tiring. We sent the children to school the next day (after having already missed one week) and it was a pretty tough re-entry into the time zone for all of us. It took nearly 10 days to be fully adjusted, and Phil and I could still drop off to sleep at any given moment!

The term at TKL was in full swing upon our return, so there have been 20+ new people to meet and stories to hear. Our DTS outreach team in Albania is having a great time, and the SBS just completed the New Testament yesterday with an Oral Examination over every NT book.

After only being home 2 weeks, Phil left last Sunday for Jerusalem to teach on a mobile YWAM course that is currently in the Middle East. He text me tonight to say it is SNOWING! He can't get away fom it!