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Archive for the ‘The Unexpected’ Category

1

Today’s tale is this…

I’ve been raising funds to go to France (a whole other story!) for what feels like forever (and a whole other story there too!).  Today was decision day – the Irish Council were meeting to decide if I had enough support in place to get the go ahead.  Ideally, monthly support levels would be at 100% but it is a recognised fact that people often sign up once they hear news from the actual field, so it was said that if I had 85%, the director would recommend that they’d let me go, if I had 80% he recommend they’d think about letting me go.

So momentum has been gathering and prayer has been mounting etc etc.  The total on Friday was 80%, Saturday 82%, Sunday 83.5%… Creeping up, creeping up!  Friday’s prayer request was that we’d get 3 gifts of £25/month to bring us up to the desired 85%.

Then Monday came.

The discovery that some of the gifts I had counted as non-gift aided actually would receive gift aid, plus news of another few monthly gifts meant that my total shot up to 87%!!!  Incredible news… it felt like a sure thing.

Then Tuesday came.

The discovery that the monthly target was wrong and we actually needed an extra £140/month on top of what we thought.  Eugh.  Crashed right down to 82%.  Its funny how the circumstances change our perspective on a situation!!!

However… and this is the real tale… a matter of hours before the meeting began, our Friday prayer was answered – not by 3 x £25, but by 1 x £25 and 1 x £50!  The timing of receiving those forms was down to the wire but above all it was extraordinary.

God is a great story writer.

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149

A satisfyingly productive morning when a talk came together despite me thinking I had NOTHING to say!

SLOBS looked to be a difficult one, but again I was overwhelmed by the real sense that the Small Group Leaders are growing so much.  I loved their engagement with Scripture, with each other and with me – what a blessing.  I am reminded that its often in the struggle that we grow stronger.

A wee jaunt over to Derry to do an address at a ‘Lent’ service in a church – a chance to see some of the students there again and chat a little.  One man’s comment about being glad to hear that ‘students aren’t all bad’ made the CU movement all the more fresh and exciting to me too.

I called a friend I haven’t spoken to in almost a year.  It was easy – I just picked up the phone and did it!  As the phone rang I was thinking that I feel like a different person since we last spoke.  That made me nervous, but I discovered she’s been on a similar journey and that our friendship is still strong, still fresh and still organic!  Praise God for friends like that.  Praise God for growth in difficult times.

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Today was much more chilled out than I thought it would be.

An unexpected meeting with 2 Small Group Leaders who are so eager to lead their group well became not just a good study, but also a good chance to get to know them better.  Its such a privilege to do this kind of thing as a ‘job’.

Being part of a supporters’ event was harder than just attending one, but it went well (eventually – turns out I waffle for at least 3 minutes before getting over myself and starting to make sense.  Apparently it was a ‘good representation’ of what I’m like in general.  Thanks ‘smoothie’ 😉 !!!). It was great to meet a bunch of people who meet regularly in Omagh to pray for student ministry – I’m hopefully gonna get a wee jaunt down to see them all!  Also, I love to introduce ‘my’ people to each other and see them interact (a new dynamic to this is when they sheepishly admit ‘i read your blog sometimes…’!).  Good night gone well methinks.

 A got ANOTHER photo published – in a novel!  It has my name in the credits listings inside where all the publisher details and all are!!!! How COOL is THAT?!?  One day I might even profit from all these published photos…

A wee chat with my bestest friend.  I love her.

A wee chat with my bestest housemate.  I love her too.

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124

Porridge made by someone else.

Ehh… the catering staff at the conference – just to clarify!

Having my mind blown by some incredibly insightful and informed teachers… responding in awe and worship to the God I often try to put in a tiny box.

A wee boogie un-interrupted by self-consciousness.

Not one, not two, but three very different but equally incredible conversations when I thought all I wanted was bed.

Bed.

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Steak, medium-rare and a power nap in Wetherspoons!

Pottering round the shops with no pressure to hurry or buy or even look.  Just hangin out with my buddy, Hops, and dreaming dreams about a holiday in June…!

Getting to the airport, I was actually knackered, feet killing, no energy… So, a chilled mango smoothie and feet up in Costa Coffee through security was bliss.

A completely unexpected conversation on the plane.  Flew with bmi who allocate seats – someone from the year above me in school was allocated the seat next to mine.  I didn’t want to have to be sociable at all, but God had obviously ordained it, because we had such a great chat about Jesus and how his lordship is good!  The guy on the aisle was ear-y-wigging which annoyed me at first, but then I didn’t care!

My own-own bed at home-home and the prospect of a relative lie-in!

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108

Being able to sit in my living room while I work!  Not making a habit of it though – far too dangerous!

An unexpected excuse to meet a student.

Loving, loving LOVING House Season One – only 2 episodes left!

A church ‘curry night’.  A good meal with an opportunity to feel more relaxed around church people

(I’m soooooooo in denial about how much I have to do in the next three days)

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A lengthy lie-in, cosy and warm and no pressure to get up.

I was taking the service in my home church tonight.  Talking about my work with students.  Took a different slant and got people within the congregation to talk about their experiences of the CU movement.  It was magic!  Not only did they say exactly what I wanted them to, but they meant it too!!!  Reinforces the fact that actually, what I’m involved in is being used by God to bring far-reaching consequences through all generations!

I felt so blessed by the presence and support of friends and family; eager to encourage and thank me afterwards and assure me of their prayers.  Knowing that they do pray.

Supper at the Manse and an intimate performance by the husband of a couple who’ve recently taken over supporting the students of the congregation.  He sang one of his own songs – kindy folky and reminded me of Martyn Joseph (who I’m only beginning to discover).  It was just a memorable moment – perhaps made more poignant by the realisation that this couple, who were formerly on the fringes, are beginning to embrace and be embraced into the community.  Beautiful.

Not only did his singing bless me, but the reminder of Martyn Joseph prompted me to listen to some tracks on my way back home.  I love the space and privacy that driving can afford.  Tonight, through a song by MJ, I remembered that I am precious in God’s eyes.

Joy and hope restored.

Understanding why God wanted me in Ireland this weekend.  Ryanair will have other sales…

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