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.