‘Is’ or ‘are’?

Greetings friends,

I appreciate having some time on this wet and windy evening to sit down and reflect on the last few months, and get something down in the form of a blog post. It dawned on me the other day how easy it is for me take your support for granted, especially now that I’m back in the UK and on a part-time salary, and not really feeling like a ‘missionary’ right now. But I want to say a huge THANK YOU to those who continue to support me financially to enable me to study at CMS alongside working at Yeldall Manor – I’m trusting that this time and money are* an investment into what God has in store for me next. Thank you too for taking an interest, encouraging me and for praying – I will leave you with some points for prayer at the end of this post.

*[any grammar geeks out there feel free to comment on whether this should read ‘is’ or if you think ‘are’ is correct… a debate on my family WhatsApp group didn’t solve my conundrum!!]

I continue to be challenged on my Pioneer Mission Leadership course to make the most of opportunities to engage with people in my local community, and to look out for moments to get to know and to love others. One example (a small one, but probably an opportunity I would have overlooked had it not been for this course), was when I responded to an open invitation to a local Ramadan breaking of the fast ‘Iftar’ dinner. I stumbled across the invitation on an app called ‘Nextdoor’ which connects you to your immediate neighbours. I responded, saying that I was a Christian and would be interested in attending, to which he said he and his family would be delighted. I had a wonderful feast with this lovely and welcoming Turkish family and several other Muslim families. We exchanged numbers, and I have since met with the wife to help with some English; we’ve been to each other’s houses for meals (they even asked me to say grace for the meal at their house!); and they came along to my church fun day in the summer. We’ve had some interesting conversations around faith, life, families and culture, which has been a privilege and a pleasure. Considering mission as a context, I reflect that receiving hospitality from this family has felt as significant as (if not, more than) being able to offer my own hospitality, as it is not me ‘doing’ mission to them, rather, a mutual sharing and building of relationship.

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A further piece of news since I last wrote (which coincidently begun shortly after I wrote a theological reflection assignment about the Christian ethics of online dating!), is that I have a lovely boyfriend, Alex…  I’ll leave you to guess where we met. I hope this is a nice and exciting piece of news in itself, but I’m also mentioning it, because it leads me on to some prayer points around ministry and future. Alex and I are both seeking to practically and prayerfully live out our faith each day and to follow God’s call on our lives, especially around the area of mission. Alex’s particular interest is prison and ex-offender ministry, which significantly overlaps with my own ongoing work with addicts in recovery. Additionally, Alex has introduced me to the Young Franciscans, which is a New Monastic community where members agree to a way of life in line with Franciscan values (including having a rhythm of prayer, living simply, serving the poor, caring for creation, hospitality and living contemplatively), all of which I love! We are so excited to be on this journey together, exploring how God can bring our gifts and own senses of calling together to serve him. Alex will be joining me on a residential module called ‘Missional Entrepreneurship’ later this month, which we hope will aid us in shaping and refining some of our thoughts and dreams in this area. I understand that the module is designed to help us flesh out a ministry idea, and get support in considering how to finance it and grow it, which sounds so helpful.

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I continue to enjoy my work at Yeldall Manor, where many men are being set free from their addiction to drugs and alcohol. I’ll leave you with some of the words to a frequently requested worship song by the residents in our shared times of weekly fellowship , as well as a couple of photos of them experiencing some of the ‘freedom’ expressed in the lyrics:

Where the spirit of the Lord is
There is freedom
Where the spirit of the Lord is
There is freedom

Freedom reigns in this place
Showers of mercy and grace
Falling on every face
There is freedom

If you’re tired and thirsty
There is freedom
If you’re tired and thirsty
There is freedom

Freedom reigns in this place
Showers of mercy and grace
Falling on every face
There is freedom

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Ride for Recovery route
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Holiday in the Brecon Beacons

PRAISE AND PRAYER

  • Thanks for opportunities in my neighbourhood to meet people and gently share God’s love with them – pray for more of these, and courage to take them!
  • Please pray for guidance and wisdom for me and Alex – in our relationship and in our conversations about future ministry ideas
  • The Missional Entrepreneurship module (11-15th Nov) – for inspiration and God’s leading and equipping

 

Please feel free to comment/speak to me if you feel God is saying anything to you about any of these prayer points – thank you.

Love and blessings,

Rachel

5 Comments Add yours

  1. Anthony and Anne Titley says:

    Very good to get this news Rachel. Sounds as tho’ you have lots of e citing ideas for the future. Lovely that you can make friends with the Turkish neighbours. X

    Sent from my iPhone

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Marian Davidson says:

    Hello Rachel

    What a lovely letter! Two very exciting developments.

    You took your courage and made yourself known to your neighbours. And what a reward! I shall pray for a deepening and significant relationship with these hospitable families.

    And Alex? That sounds like God’s hand to me but don’t take that as a prophetic statement! May you both know the way to go and be in agreement.

    May God continue to bless you and all your relationships

    Love

    Marian

    P.S. Are. You are referring to two things, time and money so the plural form of the verb as in, they are, (Singular for he, she or it – is.) That’s my two penn’orth.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Gill Wardle says:

    Really encouraging news Rachel. Lots of scope for praise and prayer – exciting times! We will continue to pray for you both. Gill & Alan

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Jennie says:

    Thanks for your email Rachel. Lovely to hear that you have a comrade in arms. It’s good to have someone who you can share your ministry interests with. May God continue to bless you both. Andy and Jennie

    Like

  5. Sue Tew says:

    Hi Rachel, many years ago my Mum ‘Stella’ made friends with some Asian families near where she lived crossing the boundaries of faith and culture: it still needs to be done. Keep going on the link to people affected by drug addiction there is a lot of prejudice out there and I have come across some in Bridgnorth (moved here Dec 2019) and am trying to find ways in to help change this. Lots of prayers all round. Xx

    Like

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