Thursday, 29 December 2011

for angels to fly...

...and yes, I am listening to Ed Sheeran as I type. 

So this is just a quick update because i've got access to the internet and can let people know what's going on. And because it's an excuse to trawl youtube for 'inspiring' tracks. 

Baby is big and she's fun - kicky and wriggly and still firmly ensconced right where she wants to be. I'm due in 5 days but from what I can sift out of the midwife/doctors/family/friends advice deluge is that she probably won't turn up any time soon. We're having a lovely time organising tiny clothes and making vast lists of everything that she 'needs'. Like baby Vans. The hospital bag is packed and my husband is somewhat hyper about the whole thing, he keeps shouting at my belly to 'come out now'. I love him a lot. 

Lewes is a big blessing - our flat is nice and John's bedecked all available space in bunting and fairy lights, to make me feel at home. Apparently he feels I belong in a Christmas Circus Cath Kidson Narnia Mashup. He is correct. 

Every day here is lovely because we're surrounded by people who care deeply about us. Despite our year of comings and goings, and our inability to return borrowed DVDs or remember social engagements accurately, our friends and family are beautiful humans without whom we would be screwed.

At the risk of seeming a little needy, i'm going to write a list of stuff we'd love you to pray for because quite frankly without God's hands on us we fall into tiny pieces.
1) Ahem, CHILDBIRTH. Some help with that would be good.
2) That we'll be able to give baby girl bump human everything she needs.
3) That in all the baby fun we won't forget Ukraine or to make the preparations we have to make. There's a lot to get ready. And I seem to mainly be thinking about pink outfits for a miniature person.  
4) John's arm: he's waiting for an operation to remove the plates so they can do an MRI scan. Then they will probably do at least one more operation to potentially re break it. This is all NHS and we're on a deadline so prayer for that to go quickly, smoothly and with minimum trauma would be lovely.
5) Income: with me about to bursty and John signed off and waiting for ops, any way of using our lives constructively would be good. 

right, going now. Love. xxxxxxxx

Sunday, 23 October 2011

What life looks like

Howdy y’all,

I’m painfully aware that this blog entry has been a long time coming. Every time I’ve sat down to write anything my mind has gone completely blank because there’s always so much to say and a blog does not do the job of an actual conversation. So when we get back, let’s have a cup of tea. 

Today we went to church. It was even longer than usual; the sermon alone lasted enough time for me to learn the entire Cyrillic alphabet. Lots of people told their testimonies and cried and it was probably all great, but it was all in Russian so we were just bewildered for hours. Oh well, we made some new friends and the worship was still good.
Have any of you got any links to decent online sermons? If so, please facebook us because we’re needing some teaching… 

Life here has finally settled into a bit of a routine – our week generally looks something like this:
Monday: Team meeting where we eat whatever westernized food we can get our hands on, (peanut butter costs $20 a jar! Madness!) and talk about what’s coming up in the week. Then we have a proper old pray about the week and also about the future. Then we do whatever tasks need to be done for the week coming up.
This week, this involved traipsing around Vinnitsa for hours putting up posters for a concert a local church was putting on, that we were helping to organize. The Police shouted at Andrew and Daniel, but John and I got away with it.

Tuesday: This involves me and John panicking in the morning, because in the afternoon we have to lead ‘English Club’. So we google ideas, pick the good ones and then meet with the team to outline the plan. Then we go hang out with Ukrainian students and try to help them learn.
This week we were in the medical school where we thought their English would be good because med students are clever. It wasn’t. We hurriedly adapted the games.

Wednesday: It’s Bible teaching day! Genuinely, this excites us because we’re Jesus geeks. Daniel and Tetyana are amazing teachers who teach on SBS (stupidly intense YWAM Bible course) and they are also Jesus geeks and we get to learn from their brains. For free. And Oksana always makes cakes. This week we looked at Titus, or ‘Teetoo’ in Russian.

Then the team grabs a sandwich and piles into a van, and off to Nemerof orphanage we trot. It’s about an hour away and it’s an orphanage where the director is a little suss and the kids are apparently ‘backwards’. The atmosphere is not the easiest and the children are sometimes a bit violent. This week the boys played football and the girls did painting. 
Thursday: It’s the nice orphanage. Well, I like it anyway. Schmerinca has a much friendlier vibe and the atmosphere is a lot more relaxed. John loves a kid called Sasha who hasn’t got any shoes (trying to work out an appropriate way to fix that) and who loves John so much he thoroughly beats the living daylights out of him whenever they hang out. We think it’s love…it might be hatred… it’s hard to tell…
This week the boys played football and the girls did painting. At this orphanage, everyone painted hearts.

Friday: This day is usually free for whatever needs doing, such as visiting a new orphanage to chat up the director, or go hang out at the methodone centre, or help with a church conference etc etc.
This week we went and handed out flyers for the concert thing, got groceries for the three men staying in our apartment, made up beds, cleaned the apartment, went to the concert, stayed for hours as everyone chatted in Ukrainian, accompanied Oksana on a 10.30pm grocery shop, narrowly avoided being accidentally solicited by a drunk guy (I am a little innocent sometimes)(and apparently he was into fat girls), got a taxi home, fed said house guests and then fell into bed and conked it.
Saturday:  Saturday is usually fun day – we hang out, get food together, have movie nights at someone’s flat or just do whatever comes up.  This week we gave our guests brekkie, said good bye, hung out with Vova and his girlfriend Steph who was visiting from Holland (this was fun. Pictionary in English against people who spoke English as a third language? Steal.) and then went for lunch with Andrew and Oksana. In the evening I made a seriously dodgy vegetarian dish and then we watched the Hurt Locker which is an amazing film and you should go watch it immediately.

Sunday: Urgh, church. I mean, yay for church! It’s good to go because it’s important to honor what people are doing in the city and all that stuff, and it’s good to make friends, but I am very excited about getting some Southover back in my life. Then we have lunch together and then do something fun in the evening.

So yeah. That’s what it looks like at the moment. Pretty relaxed sometimes and sometimes completely mental busy. In the future, add in looking after a tiny baby, running a ‘Winter adventure DTS’ and being house parents of a transition home for teenage boys. Eek.

But in the meantime, we come home next week! The inestimable Marcus and Jenni are putting us up again for 20 days and then we move into a flat that the wonderful Alison Washington has found for us. Please pray that all the paperwork and stuff goes through for that because ‘we’re missionaries with no money or income and we’re having a baby’ doesn’t tend to impress letting agents. But we think they like us so hopefully we’ll be living in Malling. Come see us!

Also, we’re bringing Andrew with us for a week or so ‘cos he’s got Visa stuff to sort out. We are going to feed him Harveys, proper sausages and he shall be taken to the castle. He’s Aussie. He needs culture.

Ok, muchos love and rising excitement about seeing everyone again,
F xxxxxxxxxxx

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

World Changer

Hello, John here this week.

So, I was not sleeping the other night and many things were running through my head as they tend to when you’re trying hard to sleep. The thoughts ranged from the new set of Vans shoes I want when I get home, to being a dad for the first time to a tiny little girl, to what sort of job I’m going to have to do for 6 months in England, to me in missions and what that means, how that is going to look for the future and how its feeling now. Normally it’s not good to trust these thoughts or even think about them too much again after the event, as they tend to be a little confused with semi sleep and also riddled with panic. Because that’s apparently where the brain goes in the middle of the night. Well that’s where my brain goes anyway! 

But one thought kept running through my brain and I wanted to write it down today.

I’m a world changer.

This has been an ongoing theme for me over the last 5 years, since doing my DTS with Ywam in America. One of the weeks of teaching that I had we had this guy talk to us about pretty much that. That we are world changers. At first I was pretty convinced that this was the most cheesy thing I’ve ever heard. But he kept telling us that this was true. And as I processed it with God I discovered that it was very much true. I’m a world changer. I have the ability to change this world, this broken and beautiful world that we all live in.
So back to the other night as I was thinking thinking panicking thinking. I felt so far from a world changer as I possibly could, I felt useless. It’s hard here. Hard because we can’t speak, read or pretty much do anything. How can I possibly be a world changer if I can’t even communicate? Thinking of moving back here full time made me worried, I know in time we can learn the language and learn to read again but that’s a long way off. Years away. Can I afford to waste years?  Could I be so much more effective where I can communicate? Maybe moving to a totally new county was a bad idea? I think I drifted off now…..
I woke up in the morning.

The thoughts were still fresh in my mind, strange. Have breakfast, spend some time with Jesus. Get reminded that it’s not by my effort not by my strength. 

Christ in Me the Hope of Glory. 

Still some of my worries are real and don’t go away. But that day we went to an orphanage and I got to play with the kids and smile at them and love them, love them, love them and then I felt God speak to me in my heart. ‘John, this is world changing’. And I felt like it was a word to be shared. That we are all world Changers. We all have the ability to shape and re mould this world wherever we are and whatever we are doing. We can change the world for good and for bad but we are always changing the world.

As a Christian I have Jesus with me wherever I go. He will be my strength and my shield. When it’s hard and when it’s fun. And I fully believe that I’m called to be his ambassador, one that changes the world, one that brings love.

I would encourage you that you too are world changers. We are nothing special quite the opposite in fact. I’m trying to get across that it’s just about saying yes to God when he says go even when it doesn’t make worldly sense like the position Fritha and me find ourselves in now.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Prophets and Poo

So this week we travelled to Lutsk to attend the YWAM Ukraine conference. This was a week of networking, worship and hearing about what the other bases are doing. We got to meet some wonderful people and followed said wonderful people around like needy puppies, because it's nice to make new friends. We're the only Brits and as such get sucked into much banter re Aussies, scones, the royal wedding and the fact that WE INVENTED THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE. 

So the conference was good. Trilingual worship sessions. Some...interesting food. 

We had an extra day in Lutsk before we had to catch our night train home, so we hung out with a missionary couple and their two adopted kids. John had possibly the best man day of his life thus far - sauna, go karts, beer marinated shashlik (BBQ) and a plunge pool in the garden. He was pink with glee the entire time. It was lovely. 
We left to catch our all night train and by this point I was feeling pretty rough, but didn't think much of it as was pregnant and tired. We got on the train and it was pretty cool - we had our own cabin thing with bunk beds. Like ex soviet harry potter. We sat around and chatted and played card games until we were randomly joined by this guy from south africa who we'd briefly met earlier that day. He just happened to be on the same train as us. I don't know his real name because everyone just refers to him as 'the prophet'. Meaning that he's got a gift of knowing what God wants to say directly to people, and he has the guts and obedience to share it with them. 

So I must confess I was pretty moody about having to make polite conversation with this guy. I was feeling hot, sicky, squashed and my back was hurting something rotten and I just wanted to go to bed. I sulked a bit and then decided to go for a lie down, but as I got up this guy grabbed my hand, looked me in the eye and asked when my baby was due. 
Well, as soon as he touched my hand I knew I wanted to stay and hear what he wanted to say. 
It was fairly epic, and was completely bang on for me. Stuff this guy could not possibly have known about my heart, my fears and my dreams all came out of his mouth and it was saturated in love, love, love. God really loves us. Enough to grab us on a train in Ukraine and prove it. (He also told us a few things about our daughter. Which is nice.)
Then the prophet guy did this to a few other people in the group - tissues got passed around - and by the time he left we all had peace and giggles coming out of our ears. 
So that was pretty epic. I love how God just springs fun stuff on us, stuff we could never have achieved for ourselves. 

We all kind of peeled off to bed, but then Daniel ran to bathroom and threw up. And then I ran to the bathroom and threw up. Then Daniel did again. Then I did again. Then Tanya followed suit. The night pretty much continued like that, with explosions from both ends. 

It's horrible having food poisoning but I would like you to picture this: You're lying in your bed which is moving about a lot because the train appears to have been built by angry monkeys. You are fighting down the yuk because you are so exhausted from running to the bathroom, but it's no good and have to make a dash for it. You make it just in time and when it's passed you realise you are in a metal, unventilated, filthy box and you're in bare feet. Which for some reason are now wet. And you have to find a flush which for some reason is on the floor (?!) and then try to turn taps on without touching anything with your hands. And you left your toothbrush somewhere in the dark. And when you get back from your cabin you are joined by a new passenger who apparently loves beer and ciggies, but not soap. So you have to run to the bathroom again. 

Yeah. Not funsies. But mercifully, John escaped the bug of horrid and was able to get me home, feed me tiny sips of water and stroke my head as I whimpered pitifully. (This is also nice for him just because i'm glad he didn't get ill. Am not completely selfish human. Sometimes.)
Then commenced 24 hours of sleeeeeeep and toilet, but this morning woke up feeling much better. Can handle toast. Nice toast, nice comforting toast with your crusty goodness. Toasty friend. 

So it was the best of times and the worst of times. And you have not truly experienced Dickens until you have heard Vova reading this passage out loud. Complete genius. 

Other thoughts:
- Have got some contacts now of people looking after girls trapped in the sex industry, we might be going to Kiev on the way home to do some research into that. It's not an easy thing to get into here because the church are apparently in some denial (translator at the conference wouldn't even translate the word 'prostitute') because of the shame culture here. I like being YWAM. We have no shame/ social boundaries. Bit like Jesus. Hopefully.
- First English club went well, I was at home poorly sick but John said it was great. We didn't have permission (i.e. annoying paper work) to do it so the boys snuck into the uni and did it anyway. The students themselves had requested the club so...
- Orphanages stuff is developing well, and we've got loads of ideas to bring home to church. The problems are overwhelming but with God 'impossible is nothing'. I think I just crowbarred a Nike advert into the Bible. 
- Andrew, having got to know us, for some reason still thinks we'd be good as house parents for the home for graduated orphans so we need to do some serious praying about this. 
K John is home and I must go because he's rather interesting as a human. 
p.s. Oksana just told me that one of the girls at the orphanage is pregnant. She's about 14. 

Tuesday, 20 September 2011


I wish there was a way to paint with words, to show you everything here in a way you could actually feel/ smell/ taste. But this is quite difficult, so I’ll just tell you as best as I can and you can engage your imagination…if facebook hasn’t killed it…

Where to start? With three hours of church in Russian, because the service got somewhat hijacked by a blind group telling their testimonies and singing Ukrainian songs on the accordian. For an hour. Southover would have had a siezure, collectively. 

Or we could discuss at length the first orphanage we visited – and are going back to tomorrow – where the kids were so excited to just play games for ten minutes before they were called away to do more work. And the director said we can visit every Wednesday, as long as we pay to get some of their windows fixed. Which is kind of normal for getting into state run institutions here, you make it worth their while and they’ll let you do their job for them. 

Hmmm, I think I’ll focus more on the disabled orphanage we went to yesterday. First, some background: Stalin’s perfect society did not have any room for anybody with any kind of disability, so they built ‘orphanages’ miles away from anywhere and put all the ‘unhealthy’ people in them. Twenty years after Ukraine gained it’s independence, these places are still the main destination where people send their disabled family members.

On arriving our OM friends Gert and Ira took us into the new room of the orphanage that their Dutch church had paid for, a space big enough for ten people to play and learn in. When we walked in the children were beside themselves with wanting to hug and play. I just said ‘da’ to everything they said to me, so apparently I have agreed to buy one of the girls a doggy. And they have a ball pit.
The second part we visited was the section that had been rennovated by an American church, for the children who had been rated ‘the best’. They were seen as able to learn and they had their own classroom. Then we went through to the main area where the rest of the 90 children hung out all day.
As a team we just discussed how on earth I’m going to communicate this over a blog, and we’re all bewildered by the weight of it all. So I’m just going to tell you some facts;
-          The ‘kids’ ages range from about 7 to 30 ish years old.
-          There were 3 staff for around 50 disabled ‘children’.
-          They all just mill around all day in the concrete yard.
-          Nobody knows what disablities people have, they’re just classified as ‘unhealthy’ or ‘autistic’.
-          Nobody is separated from anybody else, regardless of age or gender or disablity.
-          One young woman doesn’t like clothes so she wasn’t wearing any.
-          There was a lot of rocking, screaming and shouting. The staff were concerned about me being there because of my bump and the unpredictable violence that can happen there. Many children had bruises and scratches on their faces. (I was fine, they were all very gentle and loving towards me and bump.)
-          At night the staff lock the residents in their bedrooms, which we weren’t shown, and go home. There’s one person around in case anything kicks off. Did I mention this is all age groups together?

So that was the disabled orphanage. They’re not orphans, but they may as well be.
And if we didn’t have a heart for this country, we do now. 
I think we're convinced that this is where we are meant to be based for the forseeable future. Our brains have already adapted into 'when we come back to live here' mode, and i'm sad about having to leave our friends here for six months. But i'm also very excited to come home because I miss everyone and cannot wait to meet our daughter! Hurry up January...
Here are some photos for your eyes

This is a fire upon which we cooked Shashlik (Ukrainian BBQ) at a rehab centre in the country.

 And this is Senya and Vova pretending to kill a chicken. They did not actually kill it. 

ok, lots of love, byeeee xxxxx


Monday, 12 September 2011

We are not epic like proper missionaries.

"Other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring"
           - Jesus
 So many stories already to tell you, but i'll try to focus because one must not ramble.

So we got to drive into the country to visit a rehab project run by an American couple called Mark and Laura. Mark and Laura are large, solid and hard as nails. You would not mess with either of them - he was an addict for thirteen years before becoming a pastor, and she has been in the army and also a guard in prisons.
We arrive and they bring out their clients to say hi, one of whom has the worst burn scars i've ever seen. I don't know why. He was nice, and had already been there for a year. Most clients stay at the centre for two years. When I say 'centre' I mean 'farm' because that's what it is; a few ramshackle concrete buildings, pigs and chickens everywhere, an outside shower, no running water, a drop off loo (think slumdog) and a cellar full of suspicious looking pickled goods. We got the full tour of the yard, John got to chase a chicken with a stick and I got to hear all about how Mark artificially inseminated a pig by hand. 
Did I mention the toilet and shower are outside, in wooden shacks? In Ukraine. Where winters would cause the average brit to panic buy tinned goods and start shrieking about the state of the roads. The sheer grit of these people was...humbling. I stopped my yuppie worries about how I was going to raise our daughter in Ukraine - at least we'll have running water!
To illustrate the balls of this couple, i'll just let you know that the Police turned up drunk one night to cause trouble. After trying some intimidation tactics (Laura found this hilarious), and generally poking about, the Police demanded the van. Just 'cos.
Mark said 'fine, as long as I can breathalise you first'. When the Police failed the breathaliser test they were told that no, they may not nick the van. So they left.

I'm glad we're living in the city. It's grey and grim and a bit different to Lewes, but we are in community and I don't have to face down scary officials in uniform.

Corruption is a huge problem here. When we come back, renting an apartment is a scary concept because a contract doesn't mean much, so after you've fixed it up (and they need fixing up) the landlord can decide he likes it and just kick you out. You have no rights, and to involve the Police can be a bit counterproductive. We've heard quite a few stories about dodgy stuff happening with landlords, but we've got our Ukrainian friends to help us navigate all this. And for now our biggest worry is how to read the labels on food packaging.

On a nicer note, the team here are fantastic. Our main prayer was that in these two months we'd be able to tell if we fit in and if this could work interpersonally, and I know it's only week two but I think we can say that yes yes yes this is good. We ate as a team last night and laughed a lot. My kitchen was described as 'better than Disneyland' and I shall be embroidering this on a cushion. Andrew said that we're 'his kind of normal' i.e. not at all sane but in a good way. The team are genuinely lovely, and we feel like we have proper friends already even with the occasional language barrier.

Other info:
We have been dubbed the John and Fritha Show. Again. Why does this keep happening?
People here speak Ukrainian and Russian mixed up, so i'm not sure what language i'm learning words in. Occasionally lapsing into Arabic.
We did some stuff with homeless people and addicts this week. It was fairly harrowing. Will be reporting back on ministry stuff properly when we're back at church - can't fit it all into a silly blog. I'll just say that the needs are immense and it's not like being homeless in England.
Pregnancy is, as far as I can tell, going well. I am a bit useless to the team as we're doing a lot of practical stuff involving heavy lifting, and I have to sit on a cushion and watch. My feminist pride is vexed. But at the same time, it's nice cos people bring me cake and juice.

Right, going to go now. Thank you so much for all the praying - we need it! Love. xxxx

Monday, 5 September 2011

This is quite a long entry.

Greetings from quite near Russia...

So we’re in Vinnitysa, Ukraine. Not sure where to start so I’ll start at the beginning, which is unusually logical and I’m sure will quickly descend into confused nonsense. 

We went on DTS for 5 months in an effort to hear from God about what he wanted us to do with our lives, and we thought it would be nice if this plan could somehow include Eastern Europe, orphans, stopping people traffiking and ‘evangelism’ (whatever that word means).
So we made friends with a guy called Vova, and his parents who are pioneering a new YWAM (for explanation of all these acronyms, see earlier entries) base in Ukraine. With the following aims: to work with orphans, to show people God’s love and to build a community here in the city of Vinnitsya. It also happens that Ukraine is a massive center of sex traffikking, and is next to Moldova where the problems are even worse.

So this two month trip is to hang out with the missionaries out here and to see if we fit. If we can actually be helpful and of real use to the city, the intention is to move to Vinnitsya long term. Vova’s parents are called Andrew and Oksana – Australian and Ukrainian – and when I asked Andrew what the purpose/goal/ why we’re doing this is, he just looked at me and said ‘orphans, orphans, orphans’. 

Works for us.

We arrived here on Thursday and were greeted by Vova and Andrew holding up a sign for ‘Fernando’, or something, and giggling. We climbed into a van and they drove for about 4/5 hours on roads that were sometimes great and sometimes a little death-trappy. As the sun went down and we travelled closer to Vinnitsya, we had good times chatting and getting to know each other a bit better. Oksana met us at about midnight to let us in to our very own flat (we are a bit confused by all the personal space and keep avoiding the lounge because it scares us because it’s big and grown up), and she is really rather lovely. And I like her dress sense. And she is a qualified sewer lady. And she brought us banana and cranberry muffins the next morning, and they were still warm, and she also wants a turquoise blue VW bug same as wot I do. I like her. 

So we’ve had a brilliant first few days gradually getting our bearings. This is difficult because everything is so different, we’ve never before felt such culture shock, or felt so vulnerable. Which is weird but I think it’s to do with the following:

Language – oh my goodness, this is hard. You think you’ve grasped a word and then it turns out you are stupid and should stop trying. Having to learn new sounds like ‘dy’ and ‘svf’ makes everything so much harder, and we are realising that this is going to take some time. Also, everything is written in mystical symbols that tell me nothing – shopping for food is an exciting adventure and we haven’t yet braved public transport on our own. Did manage to get medicine from a pharmacy by ourselves! Such triumph! 

Culture stuff: There's a lot to be said about how different it is here, like how people don't stand in line (RAGE) because in Soviet times you couldn't afford to be polite. There's just a whole worldview going on here that i've never experienced before - the history of this place coupled with everything going on now makes it really interesting. Ex Soviet meets fast food and Mothercare.

But yes, we're getting the hang of everything taking longer because we don't know what we're doing. Small every day things are such a challenge! The team here have been so, so wonderful and supportive that we don't feel lonely or scared. We feel like this is a family we are already part of, and I keep finding myself looking for apartments for sale... we like it here.

Right, practical stuff. We are going to be involved in the following ministries:
- Working with homeless people, starting at 7.30am so we can talk to them while they're sober.
- Two orphanages, doing games and teaching ethics ('drugs are bad') and all that stuff.
- Helping out poorer families in the area, through contacts with Social Services.
- Rehab projects which are run out of the local church we go to. (Delirious in Russian is a fun experience and would make Chris Steynor giggle a lot.)
- We're starting English learning clubs at the local uni, which should be fun! I shall teach them the naughty words...

Other interesting things that have popped into my mind:
- Andrew has a tshirt press so we can make our own cool clothes! (John is happy)
- A couple from Kiev are moving here in two days and that's really exciting because they sound like legends.
- There are burritos here that will rock your world, but the yoghurt is weird.
- According to our friends here, there are four types of people who travel to Ukraine. These are businessmen, missionaries, men looking for Ukrainian brides and sex tourists.
- That is all. For now.


Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Tiny Human


so most of you probably know this already because I have a mouth the size of Pluto. But for those who do not, it is now the socially acceptable time to tell you that we're 12 weeks pregnant. (!!!) 

We've known for what feels like ages, so it's a relief to get to 12 weeks. Some people at church guessed because apparently I was 'glowing' i.e. 'tired and sicky'. So yes, there is a tiny human growing inside of me and yes, it's lovely and we are excited and pleased. 

Today we had a scan and it was beautiful, and I don't know what else to say. We're happy. And blessed. 

So now you know, 
which is nicer than secrets.
F and J xxxxxxx

Friday, 10 June 2011

That is a massive photo of our faces.

Sorry, i'm not sure how to make it smaller. 

Moving on - hello, this is our blog and it's back up and running. I didn't think anyone read it but then lots of people have asked me where it went, so it's lovely to know i'm actually writing to our friends. Howdy, friends.

We're not in Egypt anymore. Freedom of speech ahoy. I shall exercise this fundamental human right to talk about myself, at length.

So we're back in East Sussex, and the first couple of weeks were taken up with much socialising and catching up. To come home to such love - from being pounced on at the airport, to endless cups of tea and offers of free food (always accepted) - has been a healing and restorative process for both of us. There's also been a lot of talking about the future so for those of you who are curious the keywords are: Ukraine, orphans, people who are at risk of being traffiked, and helping to start something new and beautiful.

We're in the country until September and we're only just getting the chance to sit down and look at how we're going to spend our time while we're home. The future plans are so exciting/ terrifying/ huge/ brilliant that we kind of forgot we've got three months at home... obviously, Southover teens are going to be a big part of these weeks because after DTS lecture phase we've actually got some knowledge worth sharing. (Ask me about The Trinity, if you've got four hours and a notepad and the ability to feign interest long after i've just descended into impassioned drivel.)

John's arm is still a bit wrong, in that it's very painful and he's got to have posh doctor types looking at it, so he can't go back to care work or mechanics. This is hard for him cos he hasn't been aimless since he started mechanics ten years ago, but I love it because he is very helpful and nice around the house. And I get lots of attention, which obviously makes me happy.

I am currently trying to plan how I can make money with my obsessive bag making skills - it's potentially looking like a good idea. Fair trade craft fairs, here I come. I shall dress like a hippy, and Lewes ladies shall love me and fling their cash at me.
Seeing as we're only in the country for three months, normal jobs are unlikely so we're going to have to be a bit imaginative. I like my bag idea.

In Summary, the next few months for me will be sewing and sowing. Sewing bags and sowing seeds. Geddit?

My sweet potato (not a pet name for John) is about to explode in the oven so i'm off.
love F xxxxxxxxxxx

Saturday, 9 April 2011


Right so it's about time we updated our blog. Even if that's to tell you that we can't really update our blog. 

Not helpful.

We are amazingly busy and it's good to be here. But that's about all we can say. We can't even put pictures up, which is vexing because we've been getting some sweet shots. 

So much to tell you, but we've been asked to be uber careful with regards to our internet blabbings - we need to batten down the hatches until we're home. And then we probably still won't be able to write about what we're up to, but if you would like to lets go for a coffee and a chat. 

So sorry that this is a sucky post. I suppose what we can tell you is that we're doing good - John's got an endlessly runny nose which is annoying for him. I am getting annoyed at my stupid unattractive and tiny wardrobe. Might start wearing headscarves just to mix it up a little, so desperate I am to not just rotate the same three outfits. AGH. 
But materialistic vanity aside, we're good. I made John buy a t-shirt that makes him look like a pirate. A really cool pirate. What else can I tell you about? More about clothes?

I shall spare you the boredom and you may go do something else. Like pray for us. 

Lots of love xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Friday, 25 March 2011

Pocket Watch

We had a time of sung Worship at the base here last night and they prayed for us to send us out to Egypt and it was Wonderfull!
We have been so blessed to be living in a communtiy like this over the last 3 months. Jesus love is real here, its talked about all the time, its lived out, its shown and given freely. To be arround it is just wonderfull. Something like how it must have been in the early church i suppose.
At the end of this time i get given a present by a very Jesus like man.
It was a pocket watch and there was also a poem to go with it....

Early Retirement
Today is the day you retire from sin,
Lay down your guilt and let grace enter in!
Burn all your sackcloth and toss all you ashes,
Put on your robes and bright golden sashes!
Sing from the rooftops and dance on the chimneys,
Stand like a giant amongst all the pigmies!
Rejoice and be glad, for today you retire,
From all of the muck and the sin laden mire!

 Cid Stephens

This was written for me.
God is great.