Here we are. The start of a new blog, to technically syncopate with a new life in Southend. The first week was good, got really homesick at first, missed all my wonderful friends in Brentwood, and the comfort of my own bedroom, but with a bit of time and prayer, things got a bit better. And then along came the training week.
First day, was challenged to speak out whilst in a group situation. Now, those who don't know me that well will be very suprised to think that I'm quite shy. But I am. Takes me a while to get used to new people, and when I am embarrassed or nervous I will either become very loud and outspoken, or very shy and withdrawn. Not a problem generally, but as a youth worker, you can't really be the one that is shy, as its kind of your job to encourage everyone else to participate in the group discussion or whatever (a hard job if you are being mute.) So yeah, the first day of training was hard, lots of group discussion and getting to know people, (which requires speech.) But I perked up after a bit, and the first night of worship God moved through the group and it definately challenged me to be more assertive, and have faith in the power that is Gods!
Another that I was challenged about was the early morning prayer sessions. Before September, I hardly ever prayed! Let me rephrase that - I never prayed! I never sat down and said, right, now I am going to pray! But each morning we were encouraged to be in the chapel from 7am - 8am to pray and read the Bible. After the worship the previous night I felt really challenged to sacrifice my sleep to pray, so I did! Tuesday morning, at the nice early time of 6.30am, I was in the shower, all clean and prepared for an hours prayer in the chapel. Everyone else took Bible's and cushions with them, but I was so determined to spend the hour in prayer I took nothing, and just sat, staring at the wooden cross on the altar, and PRAYED for an hour! Me and God had a lot to catch up on. It was an excellent time for me spiritually, throughout the hour I gave to God all the things I was worried or scared or nervous about, and He calmed me. :)
The rest of the day, I wasn't nearly as silent during discussions, I spoke up, contributed to the group, and had loads of fun in the process. But the challenges didn't stop there! We had to share our testimonies, and I did, (after much emotional turmoil) and I am so glad I did! I even did the unedited version, (my baptism day one was very very edited) and it was good not only for me, but for the whole group as we learned about each others struggles and victories. The Optimum people are all so cool, and we've all bonded so much through the last week. Training week was excellent in that way, it brought us together as friends and fellow followers of Christ. Having the group there is a major sense of comfort for me, I know that the friendships I build with each of the other volunteers will be strong and beneficial to my spiritual and emotional wellbeing.
The last evening of training a group of us sat in the chapel singing and playing guitar, ukelele (Capon) and drums (Dale) and it was such a great time for me. Just to sit down with 15 other people and having meaningful worship time with people that were as passionate about God as I was, it wasn't really something I've had before. In Brentwood, my friends are all at different stages of their faith, which is great, but it never challenges me to grow more. Training week I was stretched further that I had been in the last 4 years of my Christian faith, and I'm glad I was, cause now I am on a learning thirst that will power me through the next few months of being in Southend. God is SO amazing. Its time people started to realise that. Peace out. xXx
"I can do all things through He who gives me strength."