“A very busy term…”

Photo of Jill EdgingtonWe are coming towards the end of a very busy term during which we have been studying ‘Ephesians’ on Friday afternoons. Several new wives have come to join us, and gatherings always seem to be cheerful and all-inclusive! Mel and Gill continue to lead most of the studies.

Please pray for them in this leadership role. It is not always easy! ‘Wives’ seem to be encouraging and very open. Some have difficult problems that need careful, sympathetic listening and much prayer. Often heart-felt problems lie dormant until suddenly there is an opening up that can reveal so much heartache and need.

Please pray that we leaders have compassion and wisdom, as well as strength. Next term will begin on 6th January 2017. We are still deciding what we should study!

Pray that the strong sense of fellowship and friendship may continue to be the hallmark of this very lively group and may continue to draw others. We are so grateful for all the blessing that we see week by week. Please pray that this might continue.

An award from West Midlands Police…

Jo JowettSince Jo’s last input into Living Stones Prayer News, she has had a very busy summer season of events. Christian Vocations now runs SERVICEstation, an advice service for large Christian events, to help visitors seeking assistance with vocational issues and service opportunities.

“The new look was well received and we had the highest ever volume of people coming through at all the events we served. Pray for the many people we spoke to, that they will be released into new avenues of service.”

Jo chairs a partnership of mission agencies that run GOfest, a movement of mission-focused agencies and churches who together want to see UK Christians fully engaged in the great commission.

“With a new strategy in place, the first of a number of proposed regional events will take place at Moorlands College on Saturday 13th May 2017, with additional events in local churches the following day. Pray for wisdom in planning this, and future GOfest events, particularly as we listen to, and serve local churches.”

The 2017 edition of SERVEshort-term will just have been completed as this prayer news is released. Jo edits and oversees production of this publication. Pray that it will point many to a life-changing mission experience.

Jo and Mark continue to take forward the work of City Pastors in Birmingham. A dozen new recruits are currently in training and will join the team in the New Year. Pray that each one will get to grips with the role quickly and prove to be effective in this important ministry.

They give thanks for an award from West Midlands Police for their services to the city. Jo comments, “We don’t seek recognition, but it’s a great encouragement when it comes!” Pray that the whole team can continue to make a positive impact on the night-time economy in our city.

A ‘pointless’ hug

Picture4The trip to Iraq earlier this year was heart breaking. It is horrifying and beyond imagination to witness what the war has done to the country and its people.

Recently Agapé collected winter clothes and women’s care packs to send to Iraq. We were amazed by all the donated gifts, and were able to fill and send 687 boxes that will help keep lots of people warm and clean this winter.

At the End of November I went with a team to help in a refugee camp in Greece. On our first day in Oriocastro Camp, we met a lady who was travelling alone from Syria. Her daughter and son-in-law had been killed by a car bomb, the day after their wedding. Immediately following this, her husband and three sons were murdered. She now has nothing, no family and no home.

Picture3I have no words and I don’t know what to feel. I keep wondering how someone can live after all that. Do they really have a life? All I could offer was just another pointless hug while she cried her heart out.

We went back to see this lady the following day. Her face lit up as we entered the tent and she started smiling. She kept hugging us all,  especially the two younger girls in my team. After praying for her again, she said that although she had lost her only daughter, she now has four! She said she loves us all and she is so thankful for the visit and prayers. She said “Please pray for me every day’’.

Pray for healing for her: that she may find favour in the eyes of the officials, and that she might quickly move on from the tent.

Please pray for the refugee situation, and for wisdom to know how to help and give unconditional love. Pray that we will know where to concentrate our help, and when to say no. Most of the time I feel so useless and small as I face the overwhelming needs and devastation.  Please pray for protection from fatigue and tiredness.

Personal financial support continues to be a big challenge. Please pray for God’s provision for me.

‘We have just launched our new church plant’

Hoult family 2016

Hoult Family

We have just launched our new church plant into Hawkesley Church Primary Academy! We are in and we love it!

Our little team of 25 people grew to around 40 over the few months in the chapel in our basement and so we were most definitely ready to move into a larger space. Having said that, we now ‘rattle around’ in a huge hall – we can’t wait to fill it
with tons of new believers! Meanwhile, Southgate Greaves Hall (the original plant) is growing again and filling the ‘gap’ left by those who left to serve the new mission. It’s a truly exciting time and we are seeing the Lord moving in beautiful ways with
regular salvations, healings and moving stories of transformation.

Thank you again for your prayers – we lean on them heavily as we know that ‘unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labour in vain’. Please pray for wisdom for us (and for our leadership team) and also that those who are coming to know Jesus will put down roots quickly and that they will truly
become disciples (rather than just believers). Thank you again for your love, support and kindness over many years now.

Developing a culture of prayer

Beth shares her thoughts on her new role…

Beth Whitehouse

Beth Whitehouse

I took up my post as National Prayer Coordinator for Youth for Christ in April 2016. This is a brand new role based at the National Office in Halesowen.

‘To develop a culture of Prayer’ is one of five new key strategic areas brought in by our new National Director, Neil O’Boyle. Neil and his family have spent 17 years working with YFC all over the world so bring much insight and vision to British Youth for Christ.

We have 72 Youth Centres throughout the UK, around 400 paid staff and approximately 10,000 volunteers. The centres do a phenomenal job working in schools, prisons, tough communities and churches all over the UK and their primary aim is to tell young people about Jesus!

There are around 50 of us in the national team and we resource, support and work with centres to input into their work.

My role as Prayer Coordinator is to look at how we can grow and deepen our prayer lives, knowing that prayer ultimately is relationship with Jesus. We are first connected to Jesus ourselves (John 15:5) – this always has to be our starting place.

The day to day work of deepening a prayer culture starts with us – National regional centres role modelling what a total reliance upon Jesus looks like through His word and through prayer.

This January we begin #Pray365 – a whole year of prayer – where we, as the British YFC family, commit to interceding before God for young people in this nation each day, and growing in the discipline of prayer and fasting.

It brings collaborative focus and unity of mind as we make an intentional choice to ‘Seek God’ with all we are and have, nothing held back, everything surrendered. As YFC, we are intentionally going on a journey to grow a culture of prayer and to deepen our relationship with Jesus!

In the Bible, God says ‘If my people, who are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.’ 2 Chronicles 7:14.

The context here is that the Israelites had forgotten their covenant before God and left behind their part in His story, resting in His faithful protection. It’s a reminder that today, in a country so filled with possibilities and access to knowledge in the ‘google era’, it is easy to forget God’s faithfulness and favour.

As a movement we long to see and experience God move by His spirit and ‘heal our land’. A land filled with 13 million young people (under 18 yrs – 2011 census). Pursuit of the presence of Christ through the word and in prayer is vital.

Exciting times ahead!

Mark and Ruth Cuthbert

Ruth and Mark Cuthbert

Thank you so much for your ongoing support that makes what we do possible. 30th September brings me to a time of reflection as it marks two years working with Betel, and Mark has been with Betel for 11.5 years.

We’ve been married two years and are expecting our first baby on 9th October- so exciting times ahead! Please pray for us in this time of change.

The last few months have seen times of great joy and celebration, particularly as four of the men chose to be baptised as a public declaration of their faith in Jesus, and other men have left Betel restored. What a celebration when we think of the darkness and despair each came from. Praise the Lord!

Coupled with the joy have been times of frustration and sadness. We’ve had a number of men choose to leave us in a bad way, and we’ve also received tragic news of previous residents’ deaths due to overdoses.

It really puts into perspective the devastation that can come from giving the devil a foothold, and how important it is to share Jesus’ hope and healing power. Please pray that those men currently with us would know Jesus’ love and hope, and would want to change and stick at the programme rather than run when times get difficult.

Pray also for the house leaders and leadership team as we deal with difficult situations daily; that we’d show Jesus’ love and patience.

Your prayers would be much appreciated…

Patty McCulloch

Patty McCulloch

Please pray for newly arrived internationals to find their way to the social events like the Harborne International Café, and the Globe Café in Selly Oak. Pray that some will be interested to join the Bible Study groups set up for enquirers.

The two CAMEO groups at St John’s and in Selly Oak, plus Jill Edgington’s Friday Bible Study groups provide opportunities for the wives of international students to meet others, enjoy social activities and look at the Bible together. A good mix of Nationalities is always helpful at these activities.

Pray for a training event for volunteers on 15th October which will look at how to make the most of our conversations.

The Centre Leader position for Friends International Birmingham has been re-advertised. Pray for the right person to be appointed and hopefully in place by January 2017 to allow for some overlap with me as I prepare to retire at the end of March.

Meanwhile, in my role as Head of Learning & Development, I continue to focus on plans for the FI January Conference which will be attended by approximately 150 staff, affiliates and interns, with the theme of ‘The power of God in the unseen world’, an important area for all of us in ministry.

‘A new season of ministry’

L-R Daniella, Hikmat, Krista, Betine and Marcus Kashouh

L-R Daniella, Hikmat, Krista, Betine and Marcus Kashouh

One of our focuses in ministry in Lebanon is helping underprivileged families. Every family  has a unique story but they all have something in common- all these families have gone through pain, lost their loved ones and have left their homes behind, family and culture. Many have used their savings to travel to Lebanon.

Pray for these families who face humiliation and stress every day as they struggle to survive.

Over the past several years the Learning Support Project at RCB has helped to close the   widening gap in the educational needs of Syrian, Lebanese and now Iraqi children.

When the LSP first began, only supplemental help was needed. As the war rages on and children remain displaced, the issue has become more than simply incorporating children into existing school structures.

Children have grown older without a formal education, and the odds of children successfully entering a school become almost nil. In the face of the crisis of leaving a generation of refugee children without an education, the LSP staff are teaching basic literacy and numeracy to an increasing number of students.

For three days a week this summer, the LSP will be adding three more classes to the existing five, in congruence with our abilities and the increasing need for education among displaced children. Our hope in giving children the gifts of literacy and numeracy go hand-in-hand with our desire to give children a ‘love of learning’, an invaluable trait for life.

RCB Aug 2016The upcoming theme, ‘All Around the World’, will pull on the myriad members of RCB who will share with the children about the places they come from, be it Latvia, Great Britain, or Brazil!

We look forward to the opportunities to teach children about understanding, respect and love for one another, no matter where we come from or what our customs might be.

We praise God for the faithfulness of the many who have allowed the LSP to function at such a high standard up to the present. Please continue to pray for the staff and students of the Learning Support Project as we enter into a new season of ministry among an eager and needful group of children.

Hikmat and Krista have sent the following prayer requests:

Give praise to God for St John’s support
Pray for the new emerging leaders who are serving amongst their own ethnic groups
Pray for RCB as it expands its mission in the Middle East and North Africa
Pray for health and strength for the Kashouh family

Hikmat and Krista are Pastors of Resurrection Church, Beirut, Lebanon www.rcbeirut.org

 

‘Musing about my vocation and future’

Duncan Moore

Duncan Moore

Last summer Student Life finished strongly. We doubled the number of student leaders and saw people getting involved and coming to faith. We’ll start next term in the strongest place I can remember.

We have an amazing opportunity to be involved as a society welcoming new students into their accommodation, serving refreshments and introducing Student Life. This gives us the potential to meet up to 3000 students right at the start of their time on campus. Thank you Lord.

Over the last few years since our son Aidan was born, I turned forty and then my dad  suddenly died, all in a very short space of time, and I’ve began musing about my vocation and future.

A number of things came together very suddenly and unexpectedly around Easter with the result that I have now become a part time minister of a church in Gateshead.

I will now be working 3 (ish) days a week with the church and 2 (ish) days with Student Life. There’s loads of potential for overlap, and doubtless a few challenges.

My priorities for Student Life will be helping Kimberley as she takes over sole leadership of the staff team, supporting Phil and training Robbie, the other men on the team, and         developing ministry with the male students. Very exciting.

Pray for effective prioritising and balancing my different responsibilities on campus and at church.

Thank you again for being in this with me.

Duncan Moore works with Student Life, Agape in Newcastle upon Tyne

www.agape.org.uk

 

 

 

‘Reaching young people from diverse backgrounds’

Darren Richards

Darren Richards

When I joined Youth for Christ I could never have imagined almost 13 years later I’d be stepping into my fifth role here.

I started as an Assistant Fundraiser in 2003 and later became the Fundraising Senior Manager.  In 2009, I switched to the Reflex team, supporting YFC’s work with young offenders in prison as Programmes Manager.

Then, in 2011, I began a six year stint overseeing this national prison ministry as Head of Reflex. Now, here I am, stepping into another new role, with a new set of challenges and hopes to boot!

In April this year I took up a newly created post that I helped to develop and shape: Head of Diversity and Inclusion.  My remit is to research and spearhead YFC’s strategy to work with churches and local YFC Ministries in order to reach young people from diverse and marginalised backgrounds.

I’ll also be forming a strategy for partnering with others to support those with physical or intellectual disabilities.

It’s been a whirlwind few months. Much of this time has been spent travelling around the country meeting YFC youth workers, church leaders and pioneers.

As the initial research phase draws to a close, I’m delighted to have helped a YFC partner with Sanctus in Stoke on Trent, an incredible ministry working with asylum seekers and refugees.  They would like us to help them set up a youth club for the most disaffected 11-18’s who are being drawn in by gangs.

I’m also in the process of organising a symposium event, to bring together diverse church communities, in order to pray together, share ideas and talk about cross-cultural youth mission.

I’m so grateful for your prayers and gifts as I get to grips with this new undertaking.  I am currently raising my whole salary cost (rather than just 50%), as well as all of the associated project spending, pioneering this new project and doing my best to make it sustainable. It’s a big undertaking and I’ll need your wisdom, support and encouragement. https://yfc.uk/team/darrenrichards/support/

Darren Richards is Head of Diversity and Inclusion at Youth for Christ 

www.yfc.co.uk