That was the End of 2012, Happy New Year!

Since I have done so many frequent updates, I thought I could do another one totalling a grand total of 20 posts for the year – almost 2 a month… Not great but I’ve been busy.

I’ve had another year of University, I’ve made it through the exams and got into my second year of a part time law degree and enjoying greatly although still not quite enjoying the amount of reading that goes along side it all.

I don’t know how or if I did anything when I was a full time student. I seem to get a lot more work done and to a much higher standard now while trying to manage multiple jobs and other comitments. I honestly don’t know what I did when a student first time round.

This year has been the year that has had me starting Trampoline Coaching again at Billingham Trampoline Club – I qualified years ago and have been on the refresher courses but never used it as didn’t have the time. Now I do that Monday nights – the only night I didn’t have something already on.

I don’t feel I have acheived much this past year but most of it has been concentrated on university. I did manage to visit London during the olympics and see a few things that were in free areas and the weather was awesome and I was glad to be a part of that. Other things: I did Spring Harvest again in Easter and plan to do it again next year, saw some friends get married and attend many parties and made lots of new friends (and met some old ones too)

For the next year… I don’t really have any big plans. There are many things I would like to happen, one being getting through University but nothing that I wish to share. I hope that you have had a great year and the next year will be so much more amazing for you.

Day 18 – My Beliefs

I became a Christian in 1988 or 1989 – I was about 10 years old, and felt in my heart and soul it was the right thing to do – it just made sense even at 10 years of age. Since then I’ve re-dedicated my life to Christ multiple times.

When in youth sunday school at the tab church I often felt the power of God in my life, often when we went away and life was away from school, and home life – where I could be free to believe and know that those around me didn’t judge me. I would be a lot more faithful then.

In February 1992 I started to go to an event named “Crucible” where a lot of youth groups met together and worshipped God together. There was around 200 people there when I started and the event had to move to different locations as it had around 400 people going each month – always based in the Tees Valley.

In 1994 I went to a youth camp named Harvest – The theme was “Everybody needs somebody” and was using music from the Blues Brothers theme tune. I went with The Tab Youth group.

While at school I discovered that many schools had a Christian union, but mine did not – myself and a group of others tried to set one up and had a small group of students meeting together once a week. It didn’t really work out – we didn’t know what was to happen just that there should be one. So without a real plan we went out and tried. Now they have one thats going well at the school but that many years since.

In 1995 I stopped going to church, I didn’t see the point anymore.. The sermons seemed to be repeated and the information stale. I’d been told I had to go into the main church now and youth church was no longer an option. I found the services tedious and quite boring so stopped going. I continued going to the crucible events each month and Harvest but otherwise church was out.

In 1997 I started University and was determined that I would not let people dis me for my beliefs – I would not make friends for them to throw religion at me..

So I introduced myself with “Hello my name is J… and I am a Christian” – It totally terrified me of the response and was so glad to find the first person I asked replied with.. “Hello my name is T… and so am I” which was a relief. I was later to find that no-one else in the class felt the same way so wow, I think that was a good sign and is still a great friendship.

We joined the Christian union of the University and were members throughout the time of University. At one point for a year I was involved in running part of the group which was an honour.

Uni was a suprise to me at how people seemed to look at people and the world, it was more of an accepting place of “oh, you believe that… thats nice” and not such ridicule for believing in God.

I found friends from all over the country and world that also believed as I did and were supportive and helping althou we were all doing totally different things in life, we are all following the same Christ.

It got me thinking as to why people from different denominations didn’t work together – always confused me – people asked me what my denomination was – I’d say “Christian” and they’d ask which type… I thought “There’s only one” and reply “Christian, Were all in this together”

In 1999 I joined a church named “Riverside” – I went after a friend bugged me continually about going for several weeks from the Christian Union [CU] – the services were quite long but enjoyable. They had a youth church on a friday night – around 20+ went which was nice. We would sing, and worship, games, pray and learn together support whatever any of us were going through.

In 2000, we heard about a mission event that was going to happen in Manchester at summer time – something that hadn’t happened before named “Message 2000” – two weeks of working in the area supporting the people there though running youth/children groups, clearing gardens and decorating homes and speaking to people about God. There was invitation to events on the night where bands would play in the areana and got around 14,000+ people turning up.

We went for week 2 of the project, where we camped out in groups in a park in manchester and worked on different teams in the area. I was working on a kids group team. Over the 2 weeks around 10,000 Christians joined together and helped out.

We also went out in small groups of 2 or 3 and spoke to people about out beliefs. This terrified me and on the first day when I tried to speak no sound came out – I was embarrased, and scared but nothing bad came from it… The next day, we went out again and spoke to people successfully.

Many people didn’t want to know and shrugged us off, but there were a lot of people willing to talk and convesations would go on and it was good. A lot of oposing ideas but people were listening and responding – something I was not expecting and felt blessed for it.

Around 2001 I went and got baptised – this isn’t the same as a Christening, this is showing people that I do believe in Christ and want God in my life – a public demonstration where I had many friends and family attend and see me leave one life and come into another.

I have continued to go to Harvest althou not as a patron any more, since around 2000, I helped with stewarding which helps keep the place running safely. In 2009 I tried a spot on the Ministry team which allowed me to pray with others – not that they couldn’t pray themselves – more as a faciliatator helping when stuck. In 2010 I am not doing stewarding – but intend to help with the ministry team as this is where I feel I am directed now.

In 2006 an event named NE1 was ran where several churches all from the North East of England met up in chester-le-street and spent a week going out helping people in the area. From Clearing gardens, and painting to spending time with people and running childrens groups.

NE1 reminded me of the Message 2000 event but was local to the North East where I am instead of another part of the country.

I helped with stewarding and anything else I could help with there. A fun time, great hot dry weather and wonderful friendships made aswell as seeing so many peoples lives changed through Christ.

In Late 2006 I moved back to the church I started at – The Tab where I attended and could get involved with things. They had a 20s to 30s group that met each week on a friday at Borders on Teesside Park at 7pm ish til closing. A time to chill out and be with other Christians not in a church setting – Not sure its still on since Borders closed but there are many coffee shops around there now.

Over the what been 23 years since becoming a Christian, I’ve fell away from God and the Faith many times but always have came back. If I look at all the times when I’ve been truely happy there has always been A God aspect to it all so that where my focus should be.

I don’t know what to expect from life in the future, or even in the present really but think that its going to be an amazing adventure.

A few bible verses come to mind:

Jeremiah 29:11: For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

– I had always read that passage and missed the point of future – I’ve always looked at what NOW, and not future but to know that there is going to be a future and I will be looked after – I like that.

Psalm 139:1-3: O LORD, you have searched me and you know me.You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.You discern my going out and my lying down;you are familiar with all my ways.

– To know that God knows everything is amazing and scary at the same time, but to know that someone is in control is a great thing to realise. Especially when they know what you are able to do and give you the power to do it.

In mid 2008, and spread over 10 weeks there has been a local event named Just 10, I’ve wrote about it here but its been a truelly local opertunity to see around 5,000+ people coming together and worship God together.

Lots has happened since then but I’ve not quite worked out how to put it into words that I can share yet, but it will come in time.

I currently (when I go) attend a church in Stockton named The Vine. Its a small church but its where I feel I fit in. I’ve many friends there and discovered that many of the friends I made in different churches over the years before getting here have also settled here too. Services are around 1.5 hours, and the sermon times are closer to 20 minutes. The regular sweet things after such as donuts, and cakes are a bonus and give people a time to chat afterwards.

We have small groups that meet once a month, and more through virtual online groups where we chat on whats been spoken about in church, eat together and support one another through whatever is happening in life. When I’ve not been to the actual church and groups I often get emails asking how I am and how is life which is great but not so many that is seems like pressure. A nice balance.

I don’t think that a belief is something that is static, I think it can grow with time and more understanding comes with it all. Its something you learn about, even when you don’t want too and can shape your life or at least, it has shaped mine.

My SH2011 Journey – Arrived

I packed this morning after sorting most of my stuff out last night. Finished all the work I could do at around 23:45 before I started organising what to pack. Wrote some functions on websites so I could monitor them from my phone and set off around 11:30am.

The journey was okay, I made good time – or so it seemed until about 50 miles from skegness where the traffic just seemed to slow down so much. It took about an hour for about 20 miles then the sat nav took me down a side road and the trip was a lot faster again. Took about 4 hours and then I arrived.

I’ve done second week starts at spring harvest once before and packed accordingly. Two bags – one for the general stay and one for the first night as when not doing it from the start you end up staying one night one place, before moving to the other main residence.

I arrived, and signed in and right away saw a few I knew. For the rest of the day, I’ve bumped into people I know and many of them I’ll be working with for the rest of the week.

We’ve had team meetings, played a version of pool which was basically take a turn, next person – no such thing as a foul as there was about 8 to 9 of us playing and just having fun. The night was brought to an end by a get together in the pub – We don’t drink while the stewarding is on but the night before – well.. thats different 🙂

We headed back to our rooms, my key card didn’t work – thankfully someone was around to help me. Went to main gate and got it re-coded to allow me to access my residence for the night. Not sure why it lost its information but I’ve been full of static all day. Can’t see it affecting a magnetic charged card much but its working now.

Good night.


How to explain Spring Harvest this year in one word is Awesome. The weather was good – I dont think we had any rain. Lots of sunshine and a nice breeze to go along with it. I didn’t get time to see the beach – it was too busy for that option.

We were based in Skegness, the butlins resort. It was a good time and everyone was friendly. I can’t really think of a bad time throughout it all. I even slept well – to bed around 12 to 12:30 and up for around 6:30 each day. I think I get more sleep than when I’m at home there. Lots of food for breakfast and lunch. Huge variety, and overall quite healthy with the work we were doing. If not for all the activity, the food may have been too much.

Days of moving chairs was the norm and I didn’t mind it really. It is just part of the job, to help out and learn. I have made lots of new friends and re-aquanted with lots of older ones.

I got to be in Jacks again with the youth (well, 11 to 14s) group. This year there was not demand to be in there – everyone wanted centre stage as did the rest of my team so we put Centre stage as our initial choice with alternative of Jacks. Since no-one else put jacks down – we got it by default I think. It was awesome.

I was working with some of the team from the North East YFC which I get on with well. I knew some of them were working this week but I wasn’t aware of how many. More came than expected so seeing friends from where I came from was good too.

We were not a full team this year, and I think when that happens the overall experience of doing is actually better. Last year there was a full team and I didn’t feel it was as good (in team mix) as the first year which was a smaller team. I think people work better together knowing there is less of you… Help oneanother type of attitude. quite a few people dropped out at last couple of weeks due to issues and could no longer help. I really enjoyed it all.

Over the next few weeks, more will come to me and i’ll write it up but as an overview – It was Awesome.

Time Out

I’m having a little time out from normal life this month. A time of reflection and meeting with friends I’ve not seen in almost if not years.

I’ve been to Skegness for Spring Harvest stewarding and really enjoyed that – I think it has been the best year on team so far. Now I am in Northampton for the rest of the month.

The plan was to meet different friends I’ve not seen in ages, and was organised for most of this week. So far, none. I have found it odd and somewhat annoying that many have said that they would love for me to come down, but now that I am – they don’t have any free time. I let people know months in advance and it was all the “yeah, that will be great attitude” but so far it seems it was all talk. I have confirmed with several to meet next week from Sunday.

So first few days down here have been to explore and get lost successfully. The house I’m staying in has 3 other people here, all really friendly. I am staying in a rented room for a month. It worked out cheaper than trying to get a hotel for the time and there is a lot more freedom here. Plus I can do my washing so dont need to go elsewhere for it.

A home away from home. Last night I went to trampolining in Northampton, a time to wind down and relax. They made the adults class do warm up – something that is rarely done in the adults class up north although advised to do. It was a good little warm up – less than we make kids do but still energetic enough – think i’ll suggest it when I get back.

The days are hot here, well they feel hot. Apparently been around 20 to 24’C in past few days and today. Bright sunshine, lazing in a back garden in the sun reading a book. Can’t use laptop as normal – too bright but so relaxing – I could come back with a tan…. Probably not though.

Missing @springharvest Already #SH2010

I sit around here just stopped wasting time by watching entertainment on TV – time that over the past week I’ve not even missed having a TV around. Its been Amazing, Sad, Joyful and more but so much was done in the time that was there and so many new friends made there aswell.

The daily laughter and joy, the glorious weather that seems to still be here today and all that we were blessed with. There was a Lot of work to do almost all the time, but it was worth it. Felt so much, learned new things, made friends, re-connected with a lot and remembered where a joy came from I lost so long ago.

For the past week I’ve been helping steward at Spring Harvest in skegness week one. It has been an awesome week with great people coming from all walks of life together to help people as one group. A mixture of IT, Actors, Students, Builders, Teachers, doctors and more – all working together as one body.

When something went wrong, people fell in place to fill the gaps – it was brilliant. We were all tired, somewhat exhausted, by mid to end of week but the joys, the happyness around surrounded us all.

I missed it as soon as I was driving back – so quiet – nice for a bit but no laughter, just a long drive back to the northeast.

Today has felt missing, although I rested well – A whole 6 hours longer than most of the week. No huge breakfast or lunch surrounded with friends, just back to normal – not sure I like normal anymore. Wondering what I’ve learned and what is still to come.

For the first time in a long time, I am looking forward to church and actually want to get more involved again – I’ve stood back for a while, to watch how everything goes but I dont want to watch anymore, I want an active part – some way to help and keep things going.

I hope I never forget my week, and sure I’ll be friends with many for a long time yet – The team worked – like a body of Christ in litteral meaning – we came, worked different parts and together helped.

I do not want to return to meaningless life – filling it up with technology to pass the time. It is a great connector of the world, and will help keeping connections with new friends but it also gets in the way. I hope thats not the way in the future.

Spring Harvest – Part 3

And so it starts: We are asked what event would we like to be on… think about it: Kids? Main Venue? Particular seminar? I was thinking out it – this was before teams were set out… then remembered “I am here to help” – I decided not to choose and just went where I was wanted. I asked for things that were not particulary youth related as done that every other stewarding time and would like change but would do whatever.

A typical stewarding day for me:

6:30am Up and shower
7:00am Breakfast
7:30am Team Meeting
9:00am The big start – a half hour welcome to the day [non stewarding]
9:30am to 1pm Venues
1pm til 2pm: Lunch
2pm to 4:45pm: Venues
4:45 to 6pm: Dinner
6:00 to 9pm: Venue
9:30pm to 10:40pm: Venue
10:40pm: Finish or go help with others

We were staying in shared accomodation – chalets, with a full bed and heater in room and washing facilities – Nice hot shower. Not like other harvest in a tent… Very different.

Breakfast was my favorite meal of the day: Grapefruit to start, followed by Bacon, Sausages, Fried Egg, Beans and a few other things I think. Cups of tea and fresh orange juice too.

At lunch it was a roast dinner, and tea was a packed lunch. I can honestly say I didn’t really feel like snacking during the day but think that eating more earlier would be more beneficial and easier to burn off each day – could help get my health back to how it was if not better.

Spring Harvest – Part 2

I prayed a prayer before coming – asking God to help me to serve and to show me some direction and hopefully make some good new friends along the way… He came through on this one 🙂

I went with the attitude of talk to anyone, as if they don’t like you its no loss – I didn’t know them before now. It seemed easy althou hard too – to be able to mix in with groups that came together and break up the clique area – everyone ended up in groups of their own but we also came together well and worked as a Team which was excellent.

The first night was good – we got to enjoy the final night of the last weeks event as part of the event and seeing 4 to 5 thousand people all worshiping together. There was interpretors on stage for signing and people and seats everywhere.

Music, Talk, and prayer were all there. Stories told that helped answer questions. Realisations in self that can not be put into words but an action of somethingness – a meaning within. It made sense and I know it to be right but to explain what… I can not.

I had a good night, and we went to our accomodations. I found it strange that people did tend to settle quickly. Other camps I’ve been on – the first night is when people get to know each other. I had a wonder in different events, but went to bed quite early myself – by about 11.30pm.

Spring Harvest – Part 1

I have been trying for weeks to put into words what happened at spring harvest – what I felt, how it impacted life and how if at all it all fits together.

Well, I’m still trying to work it out but will try to just tell the story I have in my head and see if that makes sense.

Spring harvest was over the easter week of 2009. It covered 3 weeks and I was helping on a stewarding team of week 2. There was meant to be around 60+ of us, there was around 48 I think.

We worked well as a team, aswell as our mini teams too.

I went to spring harvest with one thought: What next. I’ve been stuck in life for a while wondering of direction and how to “trust in God” as people put it. I’ve been stuck wondering what direction should I take and what are the options. I’ve not seen anything, and just accepted that this is life. This is where I am.

I drove down and got lost on the way, the sat nav was a little useful not so if you wanted it for directions thou – for some reason it never thought I was on the road – I was just beside the road running parallel. It liked to tell me to take the road on my left that I had just passed with no hope of turning round so easy to say I got lost easily.

I finally got to spring harvest – the weather was awsome on arrival – the drive althou getting lost a little of the time was still nice – a light breeze with a warm but not blinding sunlight. Great driving conditions.

I arrived, I didn’t know anyone and finally found the team lounge – collected a collection of keys and passes, IDs and papers and signed in.. What next – Chat to random people… What else was I to do – I came alone.

SH – Back to Real Life

I’ve returned back to work, I don’t feel anyone notices anything about me. I don’t think I’m noticed unless fixing something thats gone wrong.

I’m talking more but feel no-one is listening. I just get on and hope that while I try to help – they see something good in me.

It was very easy to drop back into “work” life. Although not sure I just want to fit drop in. It was a tiring day and I had a nap in the evening – don’t think i’ve eaten right as my energy levels were low.