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Surfing the Wave

Celebrating mums' bible studies at Rosedale

Nervously I paced up and down our church lounge. The sofa and chairs were arranged in a nice horseshoe shape around the baby mat. In the corner the kettle was freshly boiled and the fruit loaf spread with butter. Another playmat had a scattering of toddler toys and the little wooden kitchen was accessorised with a small selection of toy fruit and veg. Piled up next to the coffee table was the stack of Bibles. I was all ready for our very first Mum’s Bible Study. But would anyone come?

The success of that first Butterfly Babes parent and toddler group at the beginning of January 2019 had continued. After a few weeks we realised that for safety reasons we were going to have to limit number to the first 25 families that came through the door, although turning people away was heartbreaking. There was no doubt that the Lord was guiding us to be more accessible to the families in our community and we felt that this was a current ‘wave’ that God intended us to catch*. Our Easter Workshop was full, our Sunday School numbers had increased. And now, at the beginning of the new summer term, I was about to offer a Monday morning Bible study and prayer for mums. They could bring their pre-school aged children, have coffee and cake and we would look at scripture together and pray. This had been a dream of mine since my children were toddlers, but was it God’s plan? Was this really His wave? And was this the way we were to surf it? 

The minute hand ticked on… 9.23, 9.24, 9.25… and Laura walked through the door with baby Summer. Followed by Christina and young Theo a minute later! I breathed a “Thank you, Lord!” and began serving coffee and cake. 

The group has now been running for three months and for the regular eight of us who gather it is the highlight of our week. The discussions range high and low. Scriptures are considered, debated and applied. Prayer requests are shared and answers noted in our little green prayer diary. The cake is incredibly important, but even more valuable are the friendships that are forming. Between us we have mums, grandma’s, and a nanny. Occasionally sisters or teenage daughters join us. Not all those who come on a Monday attend Sunday worship and, as is common at Rosedale, we have Greek, Italian, Caribbean, Brazilian, Zimbabwe and English ethnic backgrounds. We have formed a WhatsApp group and support each other through the week in prayer and encouragement. 

It is hard to put into words what the group has come to mean to us. It is a safe place where our real troubles and heartache can be shared and joys celebrated. Yes, it is chaos and the one time we tried a Bible meditation it failed because of chasing after the toddlers! But we are growing in Christ together, encountering the Lord and discovering more about ourselves. In September Laura returns to work, but she has changed her days so that she can continue to attend the Bible study. Our prayer is that more women (men are welcome too!) will join us.

Perhaps Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3:14 is most applicable. “For this reason I kneel before the Father from whom his whole family in have and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your heard through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep it the love of Christ.” 

Bethany Green

Rosedale Community Church

 

*A term Rick Warren from Saddleback Church coined to identify a local move of God

Prayers for Albania Trip

Please pray for Becky, Esther, Stephanie and Bethany from Rosedale Church in Cheshunt. Suggested prayers are featured on the illustrated Albania Prayer Diary.

The girls will be travelling to Albania from Saturday 27 July to Saturday 10 August to support the Youth With A Mission (YWAM) base in their summer mission to Durres, a port city on the Adriatic Sea, west of the capital, Tirana.

albania-trip

News from Sierra Leone visit

Janet O’Shea, from Zion Community Church in St Ives, returned from her trip to Sierra Leone in July. During her visit to support schools and the local communities, Janet was accompanied by her 14 year-old granddaughter Nina and Tino, aged 19, who has previously done an amazing job working with children and teenagers at Zion.

Short report from Janet

We had an amazing visit!

At first, the teaching was an uphill struggle at Brama School, but by the end of the stay we had finally reached the mountaintop. We taught the Brama children for eight days from 8am until 2pm, before taking a rest, then returned to the school to paint and decorate the classrooms from 4pm until 7pm.

During the evening Magnus Bendu often took us to meet folk from the local communities, and one night we helped to feed the street children. 

I led a Sunday School training course on the first Saturday morning of our trip and also attended a ministers fraternal on the following Saturday. 

Life at Bethesda Orphanage continues to flourish and the children there are a true testimony of the Saving Grace of Jesus. Bethesda supports a large number of children who live on the streets of Sierra Leone and provides a home for orphans whose family cannot be traced.

Janet-teaching

The main picture shows Janet decorating one of the newly painted classrooms, and her teaching one of the classes above. Below features the new reading area where the children can enjoy the many 100s of books that have been donated to the school.

reading-corner

Making a donation to The Connexion, Sierra Leone Mission

If you would like to contribute towards the important work of The Connexion’s Sierra Leone Mission, please click on the Donate button at the top of the Homepage. All donations, no matter how small, are of huge value.

The mission supports the work of our churches in Sierra Leone, contributing to ministers’ wages, providing funding for ministerial training, and building and maintaining churches. It also supports care and education through the Bethesda Orphanage and The Connexion’s schools, helping with teachers’ salaries and teacher training. When necessary the mission can also help in times of emergency or urgent need.

The Voice - Summer Edition

Huge thanks go the Sarah Waters for her amazing work as Editor of The Voice over the years. 

This edition has been put together through the efforts SLM committee, but a new Editor will be needed if the publication is to continue.

Maybe that could be you? 

Click below to read the summer edition

The Voice - Summer Edition

Hastings Exchange Trip

Sia Lovetta M'Bayo from Hastings in Sierra Leone, came on a 9-day visit to Hastings in East Sussex as part of an exchange programme between Sierra Leone and the UK.

Sia, who is married to Reverend Kelvin M’Bayo, is a Reverend and Circuit Minister for Koya in Sierra Leone. In addition Sia is Head Teacher of Allen Town Junior Secondary School, which has more than 600 pupils, and part of her trip to the UK included a period at the Claverham Community College in Battle.

On Sunday 19 June, Sia was able to visit Hailsham Gospel Mission and take part in the morning fellowship with Paul Woodbridge, before joining other visitors on the exchange programme to enjoy a picnic on Hastings Pier. The English weather, unfortunately, took a turn for the worse, so the picnic was hastily relocated to the White Rock Hotel where they were all staying.

Previously, Hastings UK and Hailsham Gospel Mission have also been pleased to welcome Esther Tommy and Reverend R.G.O Blackie as part of the exchange programme.

The picture shows Sia Lovetta with Ken Stone at Hailsham Gospel Mission.

Thanks from Sierra Leone Bishop

We are pleased to share thanks from Magnus Bendu with The Connexion Community, following his consecration as Bishop in April.

Dear Friends

Thank you so much for all the prayers and good wishes towards my consecration as Bishop. I am abundantly grateful to you all and ask that you continue to pray for me as I serve God in this capacity.

The service was very well attended by all churches in The Connexion and a lot of visitors from other churches and communities. I was so humbled with the support. God is so good to me. The Anglican Bishop, Thomas, preached and did the ceremony with a few other Heads of Churches from Baptist, Methodist, etc. Thank you so much for the support. I am grateful.

I am going to work now, and as a matter of priority I want to embark on reviving the childrens' and youth ministries in our churches and empower ministers and teachers to be effective in implementing these ministries. I will also be putting emphasis on how we can keep our schools as real church schools, decent and close to the church, as much as government rules will allow. The schools are part of our ministry. This means I will be moving around to engage, train and motivate our pastors and teachers to accomplish the needful. I will rely on your prayer in this respect.

Thank you once again, and I hope you enjoyed a wonderful conference.

Your friend and brother

Magnus

Prayers for Sierra Leone Trip

We would welcome your prayers for Janet O’Shea, from Zion Community Church in St Ives, Cornwall, who will be making a trip to Sierra Leone from 17 June to 2 July.

Janet is a valuable contributor to the work carried out by the The Connexion's Sierra Leone Mission for schools and local communities in Sierra Leone. She last travelled to the area in November 2018, accompanied by Bethany and Esther Green from Rosedale Church in Cheshunt

For this trip Janet will be taking two young and enthusiastic helpers. Her granddaughter, Nina, who is nearly 14 and Tino, aged 19. Tino, who is from St. Albans, worked at Zion Community Church from September to December last year as an apprentice to the Minister, Tim Dennick. And by all reports, she did an amazing job during her time there – particularly working with the children and teenagers.

The purpose of their visit is to provide help for the schools and community. They will be based mainly at Brama School and staying at Bethesda Orphanage. Bethesda is a centre that supports the many children who live on the streets of Sierra Leone and is home to a number of orphans whose family cannot be traced.

Please pray for Janet, Nina and Tino, that they have a safe journey to and from Sierra Leone and for their work and wellbeing during their stay.

Donating to Sierra Leone

If you would like to contribute towards the important work of The Connexion’s Sierra Leone Mission, please click on the Donate button at the top of the Homepage. All donations, no matter how small, are of huge value.

The mission supports the work of our churches in Sierra Leone, contributing to ministers’ wages, providing funding for ministerial training, and building and maintaining churches. It also supports care and education through the Bethesda Orphanage and The Connexion’s schools, helping with teachers’ salaries and teacher training. When necessary the mission can also help in times of emergency or urgent need.

Gilgal Bible College

Turners Hill Free Church began supporting Gilgal Theological Seminary in 2012 after a chance meeting between its Director, Robinson Valsalam, and Geoff Chapman, Pastor at Turners Hill. 

It was an answer to prayer.

Prior to this meeting Geoff had been considering ways to work with overseas missions that could combine financial support with greater personal contact – seeing the difference giving can make to real people known personally to the church.

The Bible College provides free undergraduate level education for up to 30 young men and women from all over India – and occasionally beyond. They benefit from free accommodation, food and teaching for up to three years, graduating with a BA Degree in Theology, with some students continuing to study for an MA.

Many of the students’ families would never be able to afford to pay for this education and a number come from areas where Christians are few and far between – plus those that do practise Christianity are often persecuted. This means that when the Bible College graduates return home, they are taking their knowledge to largely unreached regions with the intention of starting new churches and preaching the Gospel to people who have never heard it.

The work is entirely funded by Turners Hill Free Church, who also make provisions for ministers and Christians in need that are connected with Gilgal Mission India and its churches.

Achievements from missionary support of the Bible College

  • Celebration of five graduation services
  • Commission of 80 pastors and national missionaries to preach the Gospel in India
  • Building of a new kitchen and dining room, plus a flat for the cook
  • New equipment for the original library
  • Building a new library
  • Purchase of a computer, printer, lecture chairs and CCTV
  • Purchase of mattresses, a freezer, gas stove, washing machine and a cow

Turners Hill are currently fundraising to equip the new library. They are hoping to raise approximately £6,000 to cover the costs of books and other necessary equipment. 

Donations can be made through the church’s website http://thfchurch.org/gilgal/or via Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/donate/384014128995773/10157108451247246/

 

Fogbo home rebuild for Hawa

We are very glad to report that work to rebuild Hawa’s home in Fogbo, Sierra Leone, has now been completed, following a devastating fire, which resulted from an accident in the house next door.

It has been important for the community to complete the rebuilding work as quickly as possible, due to the imminent threat of seasonal heavy rains.

Repairs have been made to the roof and walls, plus new windows and doors are installed. The final steps included plastering, paving, bracing and finishing the roof with corrugated iron sheeting, to enable Hawa and her children to move back into their home and ensure the building is completely watertight.

Hawa has expressed her gratitude and happiness for the help she has received from the local church at Fogbo and the wider Connexion Community.

The Sierra Leone Mission (SLM) extended particular thanks at the Connexion Conference for the generosity of church members at Mortimer West End Chapel, who successfully managed to raise £1000 through donations and fundraising activities.

If you would like to contribute towards the important work of The Connexion’s Sierra Leone Mission, please click on the Donate button at the top of the Homepage. All donations, no matter how small, are of huge value.

The mission supports the work of our churches in Sierra Leone, contributing to ministers’ wages, providing funding for ministerial training, and building and maintaining churches. It also supports education through The Connexion’s schools, helping with teachers’ salaries and teacher training. When necessary the mission can also help in times of emergency or urgent need.

We thank you for your prayers and generosity in helping Hawa’s family and the Fogbo community as a whole.

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