Thursday, 29 November 2007


N.B. A quote from Rev Peter Thomas (MA MA) - "You don't have to have a great faith, just faith in a great God!"

We had a church meeting tonight. And to tell the honest truth - it was dead exciting! The church really knows how to get a church meeting going - coffee and cakes at the beginning, and everyone sitting around little tables in groups. We started off with worship and praying with our group. And then we launched into the agenda.

Phil spoke for a few minutes about how even faith as small as a mustard seed can be used to do great things (can move mountains...) The church is moving forward, and how we cannot expect people to come to us, we must be prepared to go out to those who need our presence, especially among the local communities and wards to whom we are appointed. Part of that is the idea that we employ a second part-time minister(s) who are focussed on the pastoral care of the community. And so came the financial report.

It was positive! As always, it is concluded that we all need to up our giving. [Always true.] The treasurer also concluded with a final choice that each person must decide - are we a church that does things, or aren't we? (I think we are) And then we launched into discussion. This bit was the most exciting! How revolutionary and reassuring is it, when 98% of the members are completely confident in the church leaders visions and decisions! Comments were made about how we must take risks, in order for us to go anywhere. About how in the past, God has provided for the church when they most needed it. About how the generosity of people is not to be disvalued. About how we must believe that God will provide because God has called the church into this decision. About how if we ask Jesus for blessing on the money the church receives, then he will multiply it.

And so the church members voted... (unanimously) for Rev Jim and Rev Juliet Kilpin to come and start working part time with Avenue. Upping our community care levels. Setting up something for people to come to who may not be part of the Sunday morning crowd. Getting stuck in to the local community work and caring for people one-on-one, investigating new possibilites about how we can take care of those who need our help. Is that an exciting church meeting or what! =]

During the notices at the end of the meeting, it was mentioned about how discussions have been had with the local Costa Coffee, and they have agreed to let us in one evening to sing carols in the corner, and lead a time of worship. The church often talks about its plans to set up a service in the other ward to service the local community - which is run down and in desperate need of being shown the love of Jesus. There is a mission team going the Philippines in April, and another one to Romania the year after that. This is what I became a Christian for. Not to hide in a church building planning bible studies and youth clubs. (Although that is an important part of my job) But to get my hands dirty - to reach out to those who are searching in all the wrong places for God. To talk and love and care for those society rejects. This is not just me dreaming. This is reality. This is this church, at this time, going places. And I am so pleased to be a part of it. =]

"The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches."
Matthew 13: 31-32 (NIV)

Wednesday, 28 November 2007


I felt reassured this week. I felt that yet again, God was letting me know that He does know where I am, and its just where He wants me. But he didn't do that by some massive miracle or by sending me a letter/text/email or facebook message. Instead, He sent me two angels to be with me when I felt really; almost unexplainably; upset.

At the beginning of this week, I was feeling pretty low. I was tired, ill, cranky, stressed, lonely, and just really wanting to crawl into a ball and sleep forever. However, I was never given that option. (Or the chance - Its understandable to say that things have been pretty hectic around here lately. I work for a church. And in just 28 days, its Christmas. Its finally crept up on us, and I'm not ready at ALL.)

So yeah. I had a pretty busy week coming up. I had loads of things to do. I wasn't feeling up to any of it. And yet the only thing that made me feel better, was just being with these two people. (Who know full well who they are.) I've had some other things that on my mind lately, which I didn't tell anyone about. Things that were actually really getting to me, and yet I never had the opportunity to share. Maybe things that I were trying to deny, in the hope that if I never thought about them, they might go away.

However, any mood other than happy never seems to surpass Rachel, who seemed to know immediately something was up, even though I never said anything. We talked for a bit, and with each thing that she said, it almost seemed as though she was reaching into the knot in my stomach and ripping it out of me. It hurt. But I needed it. Because I find it so extremely difficult to talk to people. So much of my life is still very raw on my heart, and whenever I get into a situation where I have to talk about it I normally clam up, get embarrassed, or change the subject. But I couldn't with Rachel. She was there, and she knew I needed to talk about it. And so she prodded. And she poked. And then she just hugged me until I just couldn't hold on to it anymore. And it just all came tumbling out. (Amidst more tears... they must think I'm such a crybaby.) And yeah, after it all, I was still tired, ill, stressed, and had loads of things to do and plan. But I also knew I had discovered a very special friend. Someone who wasn't going to let me go because of all the things that had happened in my past. Someone who wasn't afraid to share in my sufferings. Someone that extra bit special. And that, for me, this week, is something I could have only dreamed of.

So Rachel, if you ever read this. Don't ever change. You are completely special and wonderful just how you are, and you are and will be used for even greater things than these.
All my love.
Ami. xXx

Monday, 19 November 2007


N.B. God's been nagging at me to write this blog for a good few weeks, so here it goes. Please be patient with me, I am very tired.

So it just so happens that I've been thinking about this topic ever since I found the picture of the hour glass, and picked the bible verse below because I felt it fitted with what I wanted to say - and it just so happens that the below verse was the core of Sunday evening's sermon, so I thought I had better get me skates on and publish this.

Patience is one of those things that is so hard to have, and yet, demonstrates a love and a trusting for what God is doing in one's life. I've often thought about this when praying for things, wanting to say 'If it is your will' afterwards, to reinstate to myself that I cannot control what happens, but must wait for the Will of God to take its course. About five years ago, I was given a small piece of card at Christian Union with the following words on it:

"In your way and in your time, thats how it's going to be in my life.
And though some prayers I've prayed, may seem unanswered yet,
I will wait, and I will not regret the time, because in your time there is rest."

I have always remembered those words, and have tried, to the best of my ability to apply them to my life. When trying to decide what to do on my Gap Year, I waited an awful long time for God to tell me where to go. And He left it pretty late, but it was the right time. I arrived at the placement church I was supposed to be placed at.

I love the scene in Evan Almighty where God (Morgan Freeman) is talking to Evan's wife about what God does when people pray for things:
"If someone prays for patience, you think God gives them patience? Or does he give them the opportunity to be patient? If he prayed for courage, does God give him courage, or does he give him opportunities to be courageous? If someone prayed for the family to be closer, do you think God zaps them with warm fuzzy feelings, or does he give them opportunities to love each other? "

At Youth Group on Saturday night, the youth were being pretty rowdy and rude to me, and instead of demonstrating a cool, christian adult-ness and keeping cool, I lost my temper after about twenty minutes. (I'm suprised I lasted that long...) In hindsight, I can see that that may not have been the best way to handle the situation, and it reminds me that although it takes a lot to get me angry these days, I am still susceptible to losing my temper, and that I need to practice my patience more readily. God brought that situation to me to allow me a chance to demonstrate Christian patience, but boy, did I blow it.

The sermon was talking about how as Christians, we must strive to go that extra mile to live a life that is humble, and forever demonstrates patience. If there is someone we do not like, or get on with, not only must strive to get on with them, but we must demonstrate our love for them as best we can. There are a few people that God has put on my heart tonight, and throughout this week whom I have been trying to avoid because I know I don't get on with them very well. This passage reminds me that being a Christian means going the extra mile for our neighbours, but most importantly, being loving and humble about it.

I pray tonight that God will bring more situations into my life that will allow me to practice my understanding of the ineffable love that is ours through Jesus Christ.

"Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace."
Ephesians 4:2-3

Sunday, 11 November 2007


N.B. I've actually got an awesome blog I am writing about Patience, its sitting half written as a draft at the minute, but it'll be coming soon.

For some reason, this evening I have felt very emotional. And not even the entire of this evening, just these last two hours really. I feel like something awful has happened, and I'm still in shock mode, and then any minute now it will finally hit me and I will begin to cry like a baby.

I guess its times like this when I really begin to miss being close to my friends and family. I mean, yeah, I'm half an hour away. But there's no chance of me getting on a train to Brentwood at 11:40pm and turning up at a friends house unannounced at midnight. I really don't think they will appreciate it.

And now a song has just started playing on my iTunes that seems like God slapping me in the face: You Raise Me Up. The children did a dance with sticks to that song this morning in the church service - God knew I was gona feel like this and wanted to remind me He was there. And then when I sat here feeling ultra-rubbish He thought He'd give me a nudge. Well spoken God - I get the picture. Unfortunately, its not making me feel any better.

Thinking about it, Phil actually read a wonderful passage from Ecclesiastes (brilliant book) in the Evening Service. It would probably fit really well with my blog on Patience, but I'm going to end this blog with it instead; because it reminds me that sometimes, I am going to feel like crying, and being emotional. But that's ok; because in every moment God is there. And I can share my sorrows with Him.

"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace."
Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8 (NIV)

Thursday, 8 November 2007


It is often said that we live in a world where everything is about the here and now, we need immediate gratification for things, if we want something, we want it NOW. And to some degree, that is true. The main reason being because when people want things, they nearly always have the capacity to GET things - the increase in bank loans, credit card usage, and as a result, debt, is a constant reminder of that. You only have to be watching the TV for ten seconds before an advert about 'reducing your credit card payments' or 'one easy loan to pay back other loans' comes on.

I'm pretty easy-going when it comes to money. What I have, I generally share. I very rarely manage to save up for things. My general motto is, if I have the money, I'll use it, if I don't, I won't. That may be due to my upbringing; we never had money to throw around, and if we didn't have the money to buy something, we generally didn't buy it. We made do with what we had. But I don't feel that I was ever deprived of anything. As long as you have a roof over your head, clothes on your back and food on the table, you're richer than about 90% of the world's population.

Saying that, the one thing that initially held me back about doing this year was the worry that I would not be able to afford it. £2950 is more money that I had ever dreamed about. But what I didn't take into account, was the wonderful generosity of the people around me, and the faithful nature of God, who makes things possible. Since deciding to do Optimum, God has provided for me, when I learnt to trust in him. Whilst I was worrying about getting the money, and panicking about whether or not I would get on with the people at the church, I had nothing. As soon as I trusted that God would provide, I got everything. The money, a wonderful host church, a wonderful host family, and people who care and support me in my work. What else could I need?

The one thing I have always wanted to do is work abroad with children, in a country where the people are not rich with money, but instead, rich with love and kindness. It's my dream. If an opportunity arises to do that, I'm going to take it. And I'm going to trust that God will provide the resources for me to do so.

"The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song."
Psalm 28: 7