I apologise whole-heartedly for the absence. My college account which this blog is run off was closed and the blog went with it. I was actually pretty devastated- 11 months of my carefully documented life was lost forever.
But I got it back momentarily.
Hopefully this blog will remain visible long after they shut down my college account once more, as I have linked a hotmail email address to it in the hope that they will not remove it entirely. However, it turns out that the setting that college have put in place are such that I cannot change email ownership and after about a week I will not be able to access this blog any longer.
This makes me really sad, guys.
I was hoping to revamp it and give it a new life that seems to be lacking at the moment. I was hoping to change the direction it was going in, make it better, but keep you guys as my awesome followers. Now I'm going to have to do something brand new and that really scares me.
But I built this little blog to what it is now and hopefully I can do the same with my new blog. Hopefully some of you guys will visit me over at my new URL (when I have it!) and stick around a bit longer.
I love you guys and thankyou for putting up with my erratic posting, long trips away this summer and my general ramble!
You helped me through rough times, and I know that some of you guys have prayed for me when things have been hard; I cannot thank you enough.
Keep in touch!
If you want me to email you my new blog details when I sort it out, just give me a shout on my alternative (non-college related) email; firstname.lastname@example.org
I'd love to hear from you :)
All the best,
1. Teaching the young people of South Sudan biblical truths and to inspire them to minister in their own churches. The youth conference had around 50 delegates and they were all so eager to learn more about their faith- once we managed to get a translator!
2. Engaging with the young people through sport and craft, building relationships and getting to know one another. It was exciting to build relationships with brothers and sisters across the world!
3. Going to the working prison, the barracks, the police and fire service to teach them about the love of God. I was so worried that we would be unwelcome, as we would be if we had taught about Jesus in British police stations or barracks but they genuinely wanted us there, many of them asking for bibles and prayer!
4. Using drama to make the young people smile but also to get across serious fundamental messages. They absolutely loved seeing us look stupid, so they particularly loved one where we all got soaked! The picture of me in the wedding veil was a drama illustrating sexual purity :)
5. Showing love to the street children who wandered onto our site whenever anything interesting was going on! They were in various states of undress and had no english whatsoever but they loved learning basketball and painting rainbows and cars (arrabia in their local language!)
6. Ok, so this one isn't strictly why we were there, but I thought it deserved a mention! In the middle of the compound there was this huge cosco container which apparently had been left there after shipping medicines and is now used as a storage unit because it is waterproof. One day after some of us leading an evening bible session, we came back to the central "eating" area and Matt was standing on top of it! So of course we all climbed up! Later, when this picture was taken, we went up one evening and ate a random bag of dried apricots- kind of random! It was just a cool place to chill :)
7. This last picture is one of my favourites from the trip. It is of one of the ladies who attended the conference, Florence, doing prayer ministry with someone whilst we were on outreach at the local churches! Putting into practice what she learnt! It was pretty awesome.
So yeah... just one last post about mission I promise! But tomorrow I'm linking up with Frills 4 Thrills for CopyCat Friday so you'll have to wait until Saturday!
Not that anyone reads them anyway :(
On that positive note,
The natural beauty, God's glory displayed for all to see, really just kept us going.
Even at our lowest, when we were struggling with tiredness or illness, we could look up and see just how big our God is. He put the stars in the sky but still knows us by name. And if he is for us, then who can stand against us?
Just a thought,
Uganda was our halfway house between the UK and South Sudan; both physically and mentally. We flew into Entebbe and stayed there for two days, sorting out visas and filling the time by swimming in one of the posh expensive hotel's pools for $4! It is an odd, hybrid country, half full of rich African culture, and half westernised. There are shops which could be on the high street back in England alongside tiny market stalls set up in disused corrugated iron containers. People wear anything from the traditional patterned dress to smart suits to jeans and scrappy tshirts. It is different from anything I have ever experienced before!
Everyone seems to think that because we were white that we had money. The child beggars on the street harassed us every time we went to buy water, the budha-budha (motorbike taxi) owners harassed us every time we so much as looked at them and even the hotel staff came into our rooms, pleading money off us for medicine, with a well-rehearsed (or maybe real, I couldn't work out) list of ailments.
It is a beautiful country, even if we only got to see the main road from Entebbe to Kampala and the inside of our horrible, cheap motel! The weather, too, was lovely, though we did get caught in a rain storm on the first day!
Personally I preferred South Sudan- you'll see why tomorrow! But it was great to experience another culture :) Plus, I got several cool stamps in my passport ;P
THE MISSION TRIP WAS ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!! (just had to put that out there!)
I'm afraid I am going to bombard you guys with many different posts about my mission trip to South Sudan! And this one is just to introduce the amazing team! One of my prayers for the trip was for team unity and God definitely answered it- there were no real conflicts or problems, we just worked together for the glory of God :)
So this was my beautiful room mate and fellow female, Beth. She is seriously so lovely! Together we coordinated the crafts for the youth conference and braved the long-drops! I was so glad to become friends with someone so on fire for God :) She has an amazing testimony and went on the craziest gap year last year to an extreme adventure bible school in New Zealand.
On the left Dan is surrounded by a bunch of South Sudanese village children who absolutely loved having their picture taken! He is an awesome guy who went with me to preach in a church in Kimu. He is so gifted at preaching and he really helped me work through some of my own problems too. He has a great heart and I was so blessed to work alongside him!
On the right Josh is dressed up in his church outfit- looking like he is about to go door knocking! Not only does he have the craziest eyes, but he is so lovely! He is really gentle at heart and was so good with the children, especially this one boy who had special needs called Bosco.
Then this is Mark deep in thought at one of the outreach events. It kind of sums him up really! He is such a deep thinker and has such a passion and thirst for Jesus. He only became a Christian in February and is so eager to fall deeper in love with God! It was awesome to have him on the team because he is really enthusiastic :)
And last but not least we have Matt, wearing Beth's grandma's sun hat to stop his scalp burning! He has an awesome sense of humour and a million different stories- each one more unbelievable than the next, though all true!
So yeah... that is all the young people I worked with over the last two weeks. We also had a team leader called Val, but she wasn't quite so keen on having her picture taken!
Next up, all about Uganda and South Sudan :)
Tune in tomorrow, y'all!
I have managed to raise over £2000 to cover flights, injections, malaria tablets and all the craft supplies needed to make these gorgeous finger puppet sets with the young people in South Sudan!
So whilst everyone else is adding layers, my wardrobe consists solely of t shirts with high necklines and skirts to the knee or below to be respectful to the people of South Sudan. Here is a glimpse of some of my outfits.
You didn't honestly think I'd give up and look completely hideous for two weeks, did you? :P
Though with no mirror, no shower I doubt I will look my best! Luckily God doesn't care, looking not at my outward appearance but instead at my heart :P
It's going to be an awesome and hopefully life changing and inspirational two weeks and I will tell you all about it when I get back- hopefully free of cholera, yellow fever and the ebola virus!
Ta-ta for now,
ps. If you wanted to check out the organisation I am going with, the website can be found here :)
Seeing as I haven't done an outfit post for ages, I thought I'd show you guys what I was wearing on my date tonight! It's pretty low key, just eating out and then perhaps going on to this comedy club, but I'm kind of excited. I get a chance to wear this Taylor Swift-style dress that I got for a late birthday present! It has a petticoat and sticks out a bit so I can't really wear it in normal life!
And I'm not actually wearing the hat or the cowboy boots, more likely these pumps:
It's nice to be able to go out and have a relaxed evening in the midst of all this crazy planning and preparation for South Sudan. Only two days now!
You know when you get to that stage where everything is wrong. Where you hate your entire wardrobe and your skin. Where you forget one arrangement and double book yourself and just want to cry. Where you compare yourself to everyone and nothing you do seems good enough. Where you just don't see how there are enough hours in the week to get everything done.
We've all been there.
In fact, I was there last night. (sincere apologies to a certain someone who had to put up with me)
And I just couldn't see how any of the pictures I had taken in the day (from the couple shoot with a close friend of mine and her boyfriend before he goes to university) were good enough. In comparison to the other pictures that Oliver took, mine are awful.
So I got stressed and upset and suddenly everything seemed to be awful.
I cried to God for a bit then went straight to bed.
And then this morning I turned on my phone, still feeling slightly sorry for myself, and checked my emails and I had one from justgiving. Someone had donated £150 to my South Sudan page when I only needed £50 to reach my goal. I started smiling, started feeling a little bit better. Then I went downstairs and on the kitchen table there was an envelope which read 'for your South Sudan trip'. I picked it up and opened it to find another £90!
I was so worried when I started to fundraise for my trip that I wouldn't be able to raise enough money, that I would end up having to pay for it all. To be fair, I even considered just paying for it all myself a better alternative to asking people for money. I really hate bugging people to give me money. And yet... God has provided. In fact, he has given me everything I need and more. Enough money so that the organisation I am going with can cover a couple more of there costs, enough money so that I can buy the materials I need to make puppets with the young people of South Sudan.
And suddenly I don't feel so bad.
God knows exactly what we need.
ps. Well done to anyone who actually read my rambling!
So for this months Copycat Friday hosted once again by the lovely Sarah from Frills 4 Thrills, I thought I'd copy a more autumnal look. I forgot my sunglasses which is annoying, because they are actually identical! Proof here.
And here is my interpretation:
(I apologise for my odd profile!)
I have just got back from holiday in the lake district, so I had to take the pictures yesterday. It was so awkward, standing in this field by this lake taking pictures of myself whilst couples and families walked past enjoying a nice evening stroll!
I thought I'd go for jeans instead of that incredibly revealing skirt :P
See y'all around,
Today I thought I'd whack out the old camera and go for a proper photography trek. I cycled to all the places that I used to take photos before I moved house, hung my camera precariously on my bike handlebars as a make-shift tripod and took a billion self portraits. I took off my shoes as soon as I reached the woods and, as you can tell from the last picture, I completely wrecked my feet. But I don't really mind!
The very last place I wound up was the aqueduct as I knew I would. I always end up there, even if I don't intend to go. I fell in love with it the very first time I biked through the woods, watching the sunset over the speckled concrete and iron beams had some sort of 21st century romance about it and I have been attracted to it ever since. Seriously, don't ask me why.
And... that's all.
Oh and I'm pretty excited to go on a photoshoot tomorrow where I get to model for someone else :P This whole self-portrait thing isn't quite as fun as when you are shooting with other people!
ps. I would still love it if any of you guys would donate to my trip to South Sudan! My justgiving page is here and I'm nearly half way!
When I first got my sewing machine I set to work on a few projects that I had wanted to do for a long time, like this one. However, when I tried to take in this massive shirt, I managed to break my sewing machine. I had had it for all of what, four weeks? So my projects were put on hold and any hope I had of finishing the Kite Project kind of went.
But at the weekend I took it to the shop I bought it from and FIXED IT! Out of celebration I made this tshirt that very same afternoon :) I love it. I used this tutorial and I thought it turned out rather well :) The material was a remnant I found in C&H fabrics a while back and it was just the right size!
I was in such a creative mood that when I asked if anyone wanted a CD of photos from Cornwall, I decided to make CD cases (I found a tutorial on youtube) and decorate them with different things. I haven't put up the pictures of the other side because the people I have sent them to haven't received them yet and I want it to be a surprise but believe me, they are awesome. I also spent ages on one of the guys from PFM's birthday card- I knew I wouldn't have time when it is actually his birthday because I am in Sudan.
It was good to feel like I did something productive with my time!
Oh and if anyone would like to donate to my trip to South Sudan, I have a justgiving page here :) Even £5 would be greatly appreciated!
I was first called to mission when I was around 8 years old. We got to write to children at a partner church in India and I knew, then and there, that one day I would be the one delivering the letters. I knew that one day I would be a missionary. Every time after that when someone in my church came back from serving abroad, I would feel the pull again, and God would tell me once again that I should do mission work. So when I gave up my law degree to go on a gap year, mission work was my first thought. But I got depressed really quickly when I realised that most of the "amazing" gap years were full and that I should have applied for the months ago.
And then God gave me Sudan.
A man came to talk at my church about Flame International, an organisation which gives not only physical aid, but spiritual aid. They hold healing conferences in war-stricken Africa and teach forgiveness. Something in his talk spoke to me and I approached him afterwards. He told me that there was a "youth" trip in September to South Sudan but that they don't really accept people under 20 and as I was only 18 I probably wouldn't be able to handle it. It wasn't a cookie-cutter mission project, a trip to do some aid work and some tourist sights; this was going to be unbelievably tough.
So I forgot about it and got on with my exams. But God didn't. Through friends and people at church, I was prompted over and over to go back to Flame and look into the trip further. I met with the man who had spoken in the service again and spoke to the lady who was running the Sudan trip (Jan) to try and ascertain whether I was really being called to go. But I was busy, crazy busy, and I didn't hear from the organisation for a week until I text Jan to explain that I was going to Cornwall the next day and that she wouldn't be able to get hold of me whilst I was there due to poor signal, I explained that I really needed to know whether I was going to Sudan. On the train down to Polzeath, she phoned me and told me that she'd love for me to join the team.
Cut to shot of me frantically trying to sort out jabs with my mother, money transfers with both my dad and Jan, trying to arrange some sort of fundraising, all from beach mission. Everyone there was great, so enthusiastic about the trip, praying for me and generally supporting me when I thought was going to go mad (mainly when I broke my phone by going into the sea and couldn't access my emails or contact either my parents or Jan).
On Monday this week I got the first two of eight jabs.
On Saturday I have a training day and I get to meet the team.
On Sunday I get to speak to my church about the trip and pray that people sponsor me.
It is all happening really fast and is kind of scary. How am I going to raise £750 by September 8th? - just one of the many questions wizzing round my head. But at the same time I know that God is at the centre of this trip and has placed me here very carefully. I can see it in the little things, like the fact that the travel nurse only had slots free when I needed them, every other time was fully booked, and the fact that our holiday is perfectly timed to be the one week when I don't need any jabs.
I can't wait. It is going to push me to my limits and change my life.
I want to serve and to see people's lives change. I want to find a new identity solely as the child of God, founded in love. I want to put aside my own needs and comforts and just get stuck into the work of the Lord.
God has called me and I have listened. I wonder what else he has in store.
So there I was, wandering around the beautiful Surrey countryside in my straw hat and heels when I reached my field (I say "my" kind of loosely, but I think of it as mine) and it had gone yellow and been hacked down!! Autumn is definitely coming and I kind of can't wait. It is my favourite season, with the best colours and the best weather- fun to layer but not cold enough to wear a coat.
Appologies for the random shrinking Say in the collage, apparently I cropped them all different sizes!
One thing that I really appreciated at Beach Mission was the number of people who commented on my style. It was really awesome because when I set up this sort-of-not-quite fashion blog, I really wanted to develop my own personal style where I felt happy with most things in my wardrobe and where I actually liked the clothes I wore. I have felt a lot more secure in how I dress and it was really cool that other people noticed this too! You may see a bit more of this hat, too, I found it in Cornwall and bought it with my fatface vouchers. It is a good way of making an outfit look more put together and IMO it works with my hair :)
Something pretty cool to tell you guys tomorrow...
1. I should spend more time with God. On mission we were given a set period of time for a bible study, another for "quiet time" with God and we prayed at every single opportunity. It really challenged me to really look to God for everything in my life.
2. Children's work really isn't pointless. It's not that I ever really thought that it was, I just doubted how much of an effect Sunday schools and holiday clubs had on children because my experience of them has been kind of about time filling while the parents receive biblical teaching or work (in the holidays). Seeing children grow in their faith, decide to follow Jesus, pray for the first time and really seek God is just amazing. God did so much in the last fortnight.
3. When you try to explain complex ideas of heaven/hell/freewill etc. to an inquisitive, very intelligent child, you actually learn more about what you believe.
4. God answers prayer! Again, I already kind of knew this, but to really see God in action is amazing. Any small problems cleared up, it was dry enough to perform the roadshow on the beach every. single. day. and just generally you could feel that God was really working the whole week.
There are loads more things I have learnt, but these were kind of the main ones. It was an awesome two weeks with great people who were really there for me. It has given me such a peace about next year and reconfirmed that I should trust in God entirely and that he will get me where he wants me. I also think I know where I am aiming in life, where I am supposed to end up and what God wants me to do with my gifts. I don't want to share on here just yet, I will continue to test my calling, but it is pretty exciting to be given even a glimpse of the amazing plan God has for my life.
I will miss the community and the amazing people, but I am pretty sure I will keep in contact with quite a few of them :)
Sorry guys, these weeks have been kind of hectic and blogging has moved into the background of my life. I swear that after these next two weeks when I'm at home with nothing to do, I will post so much more! But with Germany last week, helping out at two different holiday clubs (morning and afternoon!) this week, I just have been too busy!
Tomorrow I'm getting the train at 8.19am to Cornwall for a beach mission trip! Totally pumped. It will be hard work and stressful, but I pray that it will be rewarding and that the kids may be inspired by our love for Jesus. I doubt the weather is going to be as good as it has been this past week (on Wednesday it was 35 degrees!), but I am hoping it shouldn't be too rainy :)
I'll see you guys when I get back!
ps. I got my "Christmas in July" package from the lovely Emma and I was actually overwhelmed by the care she put into it! I love it all, if your reading this, and I apologise that mine wasn't nearly as cool!
Things I loved in Germany:
- Currywurst. (Seriously why have I never tried this before? It was my fifth time going to Germany!)
- Watching "I am Legend" (depressing) followed by "Legally Blonde 2" (total cheese) to cheer us up whilst the boys moan about being forced to watch a girlie film- Tanja and I were fine with it!
- Photoshoots sitting on the curb barefoot as Victor tried to pull a normal face for his bike photos and laughing hysterically when he couldn't
- Running around fields. Enough said.
- Long walks through beautiful German countryside and eating bananas without a knife (don't ask.) and running round a Roman castle in the middle of the Feldberg, the boys carved spears with a pen knife whilst I made flower posies and stuck them in my hair (gender stereotypes, much?)
- Waking up at a stupidly early hour to catch the train to Frankfurt for the flea market, eating currywurst for a pre-breakfast and contracting mild food poisoning, only to have it chuck it down with rain so much so that we get absolutely soaked and have to swap into new clothes at Victor's mum's second hand designer label shop (which I got to keep!!) and then eating breakfast at a posh department store and running into the gay pride parade. This was all before lunch time.
- Staying up talking until 4.30am and then getting up for 7 for our flight.
Such an awesome week. I miss my German friends already!