Friday, 31 August 2012


Its time for a new chapter......

Since I wrote this post here I've been in 5 different places doing at least 3 different jobs.
 Its been an incredible season where God has taught me loads about trust and the joy which comes from throwing doors wide open and seeing where they lead on to.

I've met amazing people and been surprised by the christian communities who seem to pop up wherever he's taken me. I've also some phenomenal experiences working with teenagers at The Challenge and Lee Abbey.

In fact the only thing really missing in this past season was Roots, Church and my boyfriend.

So I am moving back to Sheffield where these things are in abundance! I'll be living in a new area which I honestly know very little about right now! I feel called to live there with a precious community of friends who go to my church. Learning how to practice a wider missional community with the people around us.

Shane Claibourne in his book 'The Irresistible Revolution' writes this;

'It is a beautiful thing when folks in poverty are no longer a missions project but become genuine friends and family with whom we laugh cry, dream and struggle.'

This is what's on my heart for the next season, its a massive change and adventure. I'm ready to commit to Sheffield in a new way, particularly as my parents have sold the family home so there will be no more skipping off to Sussex when it all gets a bit too real!

Some graffiti art in Pitsmore by a guy called kid.acne, love it!

Sunday, 5 August 2012

The Challenge

Over the past month I have been a senior mentor on a summer youth program called 'The Challenge', and it has been the best job i've ever had. The teenagers under my care were as varied as they were interesting but without exception each of them taught me something and brought something amazing to the team. To see a group of 16 year olds go from an awkward initial meeting of 11 strangers, all from impossibly different backgrounds, to a tight knit family who both know and celebrate each others uniqueness was incredible.

To see them learn to support each other, encourage and rely on each others strengths whilst compensating for the inevitable weaknesses, was nothing short of an incredible privilege. In fact, the more time I spend with teenagers, the more convinced I become that I can learn an inexhaustible amount from their openness to share, not only their struggles and their hearts, but crucially their amazing supply of reach for the sky dreams.

It was incredibly humbling way that they allowed themselves to be corrected and were so open to learning new things, something I want to mirror in my own life. I'd previously thought myself to be quite a non-judgmental person but seeing the acceptance these guys showed has caused me to reassess.

I was deeply moved by a story one of my boys had to share. Often judged on his skin colour and clothing, he is arrested constantly for no good reason. Since people obviously have this expectation of him, I think its nothing short of miraculous that he's fully committed to a crime and drug free path. Having got to know him its obvious that he has a massive heart and is both incredibly laid-back, and a natural leader, a rare combination.

I was constantly astonished by the maturity I found in these teenagers, and the wealth of experiences they have to share already. They fully embraced learning about each others cultures, quickly showing great understanding and respect to a Muslim member of our team whose commitment to prayer and fasting was admirable.

Conquering fear is a daily accomplishment for the challengers, whether it be abseiling, public speaking,  or spending time with an Alzheimer's patient. Without exception I saw each of them rise to the expectation to challenge yourself.

This has been an incredible experience for me and I hope for the teenagers as well. I know that what I've learned this summer will stick with me and most of all I want to take away the openness to embrace people whatever and the clear truth that life is not a decided thing! So much is yet unwritten and its not to late to change attitudes or expectations.