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Archive for July, 2006

Ahem

Yesterday we went on a two hour boat trip to another seaside town, we played cards, drank beer in the sunshine and ate some good Bulgarian food. Later on we introduced Bulgarians and Americans to the ancient art of enjoying a children’s party. We played musical Statues, musical bumps and fruit salad, we ate dolly mixtures. Hmmm. Mission eh, it’s not so bad after all.

That’s the sublime stuff, the rest is harder, focus through tiredness and continuing to try and bridge the cultural divide is less easy to produce. In short, life remains the same whether you are one side of Europe or the other. It’s as difficult and as wonderful as ever. It is good to escape everything though, being with one group of people for 2 weeks is remarkably freeing. Somewhat more disconcerting is my overwhelming need to speak very slowly, point, make extravagant hand gestures and completely fail to construct sentences. Still on a positive note, I learnt what an antonym is today. The Bulgarians are teaching us lots of English.

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Live from Bulgaria

I would write that in Bulgarian, but that would require me to be able to write Bulgarian. It’s day 6 and I still haven’t managed that yet. Well I’ve found an internet cafe, and an afternoon off and so it’s time for some updates from the adventures in Bulgaria. Well, a very brief update. All is good here, I think we’ve all adjusted to life here now and today is the first day I haven’t felt really tired which is a good thing!

Actually I have no idea what to write here that isn’t over long or platitudes. So erm, it’s great to talk about Jesus with people, pray for more of that, it’s great to do cross cultural stuff, so pray for more understanding and willingness to be understanding across the three cultures here. It’s tiring, so pray for energy, more awareness of what God is doing and trust in Him to work through his body here. It’s easy to compare how we are doing with the American team so pray we wouldn’t! Pray that we all chill, do the job of loving each other that God gives us each moment and rejoice together in His work.

Last night we introduced people to Marmite and Scones, they were less impressed with the former! But one person liked it, my job here is done! Right, time is running out. Pray hard for the rest of camp and for safety in getting home.

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Dear Diary

Well, the Bluefish has been at work again, proving that all he does all day is play around on the internet. Seriously though, thanks go to him for not sticking with UCCF colours and making things look better around these blogs.

And so it is that I leave these screens once more, head off to the other side of Europe and attempt to tell people about the true nature of reality. I’m going to Bulgaria with a lovely team at stupid o’clock tomorrow morning. If you pray, pray for us, for safety, good travel, good relationships with each other and the Bulgarians, and for more delight in the works and ways of the Maker himself. I’ve been reminded today that He’s working for Good in this world, and is a God who delights in using the weak and foolish things to shame the wise and to demonstrate His power. I get to be a part of that everyday, and on this summer trip which is a very Good Thing.

Right, I have some more of my Birthday to enjoy, a friend to hang out with this afternoon and a long long journey to look forward to tomorrow. If I get near an internet cafe I’ll post something interesting up here, but until then, go and read a book, it’s so much more worthwhile.

Oh and just to reassure some of you, and disturb others, the flame for Neighbours hasn’t yet died, Karl is back, Susan has a family around her again and is doing her Julie Andrews act again, it’s all going to be ok.

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Are you branded?

A year ago, before work discovered the wonder of UCCF colours and way before the Bluefish branded himself I bought these chairs. It turns out that my cheapo garden chairs are the colours of UCCF. Here they are in all their glory, Pod if you use this I want payment!

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As if the love couldn’t get any better.
We looked at Romans 8:31-39 today in church. Wow.

This is what our Vicar told us about God.
1. He’s on our side.
2. He gave us Jesus.
3. He chose me.
4. He died and rose and intercedes for me.
5. He loves me.

Nothing can frustrate his purposes, and Paul throws out some challenging questions to echo around the universe and, by the lack of response, prove whose really in charge of this world.

Some questions: If God is on our side who can be against us? If God gave us Jesus what will he not give us? Because Jesus has chosen us who can bring any charge against us? Because Jesus died to take our punishment who can condemn us? And finally who or what can separate us from God’s love? The world remains silent nothing or no-one remains the answer to each of these questions. Whatever happens. Whatever rubbish this world throws at us, whatever suffering we go through, however dark it gets. God remains who he is, on our side, giving us everything and we can never escape his love for us. Feast on that for a bit.

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Birthday Surprises

This post is so exciting, that, as in the cross over nature of Casualty and Holby City, my blogs shall overlap and coincide and other things like that. This post shall appear on them both as a testament to the many wonderful friends who turned up on my doorstep this evening.

The day started as any other day with me feeling slightly morose at being on my own again for another day of work. I pottered around town doing last minute shopping for my trip to Bulgaria and attempted to battle with thoughts of being alone for the rest of my life and not having that one special person etc etc etc. I was trying to remind myself of Jesus being enough but couldn’t quite escape the nagging thought at the back of my mind of fear of being alone. I then had this conversation with the lovely Anna over text.

Anna: How r u mate? What r u up to today? Enjoy the sunshine!
Kath: Ah mate, good to hear from u, am having a fighting loneliness day, hugs to u. k
Anna: Hugs to u to, praying for God to send blessings your way.

Little did I know that God is very quick at answering prayers these days, or maybe prophecy is easier when the outcome is planned all along. At 4pm this afternoon the doorbell rang and I was very surprised to see Anna standing there in person. She managed to convince me she’d been utterly spontaneous and just popped in on her day off (she lives about a hour and a half away). I thought, hoorah another person to join me, Nay and Jon tonight at our prearranged BBQ. The afternoon took on a more surreal turn when from behind the fence Roz and Steph appeared. (from London and Leicester). I don’t think I’ve ever been more surprised. Next to join the fun was my wonderful brother Mark taking a night off from his youth group he helps run in Guildford. Nay and Jon then arrived with the Bluefish and his lovely wife Em. All to celebrate my birthday. I nearly cried. I have wonderful friends. Thanks go to Nay for her scheming ways, all my mates for being good liars and schemers, and for being willing to drive over two hours in pants Friday traffic to see me and surprise me. I’m still gobsmacked by it all.

We ate lots of food, drank beer and wine (to feel fine), visited the beach and then Brighton friends came to join in on the fun, some of my local community meeting up with my sporadic nomadic community. I got to feel very loved for an evening and smile lots at the extravagant love of my friends. I like the timing, on a day when I was feeling lonely and pants I got to see people who mean the world to me and seem to love me, enough to drive through Friday traffic just to hang out. Wow. Grace in action. I’m struck by how much I want to earn that love poured out today, but I don’t have to, and that’s really really cool.

Here’s a picture to prove I’m not lying. From the left, going around in circle, Em Bish, Bish, Jon, Phil, Katie, Me (with wine), Nay, a bit of Marks head, Steph, Roz, Susanna, Cathy and Anna. If any of you are reading this. I don’t know how to thank you enough. THANK YOU. (special mention as well to Birgette and Lizzi (my housemates), Lou, Sarah and James who couldn’t make it)

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One day…

Lord are You still coming?
This world is all in shame
Everything is broken
But You remain

Have mercy on me, Jesus
I can’t take one more step
The lights go out all around me

I want to see Your face
I want to hear Your voice
I want to lay my burden down
I want to run to You
Forever dance with You
I long for night to end
Lord let Your day begin
(Tree 63- Let your day begin)

Man, my hard heart longs for this day, when nights when I want to believe the lies won’t happen. When I’ll no longer be able to stray from my Fathers house. When I’ll know and won’t be able to unknow the love he has for me. When all this is over. The thing is: Jesus is coming back, faith is being sure of that. The battle gets harder, more boring and perseverance is the first thing to go but there is a future out there.

Watching David Walliams swim the channel tonight was awe-inspiring and made me want to get in the pool tomorrow morning and swim my wee heart out. The bit that made me cry was the point at which he was struggling and his trainer got into the water to swim with him. A simple act, and suddenly I’m undone on my sofa. Mainly because that’s what it’s about, we’re not left to struggle on alone, we have the whole company of heaven cheering us on, the saints of old lining the way and a God who gets into the water to swim with us. We also have a body here on earth to support and urge one another on in the battle, in the long swim home.

What awaits is so much better. But what is possible in this world is also so much better. Forgiveness, grace, mercy from God and the ability to act in love to each other. Right now we ache and groan, but we also get to see the shining work of God in each others lives and in our own. The mercies are new each morning and He has good works for us to do. Time to put down the wine and start believing I think.

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