Saturday, 29 January 2011

Week three. Or four?

Hello one and all. So we have been so busy that it feels like we've been here a few months but apparently it's only just three weeks, which is confusing. What to tell you?

Well we've all settled into the routine now. This is actually great because it makes the days a bit more peaceful! So the regular things are:
6am workouts Tues and Thurs and running through the forest on Tuesdays.
Breakfast at 6.45am
Bible reading every other day at 7.40am
Lectures every day from 8.30am onwards
Practical ministry from 1.30 til when it's finished
And then more learning/ small groups/ time with our mentors etc until dinner at 6pm.
On Wednesdays we do local outreach in Lausanne in the evening. On thursdays we have Community meeting which is basically a church service for people on the base. The other evenings are meant for studying and assignments but we tend to do fun things like go into town for ice cream. Team bonding is important.

This week's teaching was a three day Bible overview and two days on worship. We especially loved the Bible teaching - our school leader Jordan did it and he gets so excited about it that you get excited too. I couldn't believe how much more there is to the Old Testament than I knew before, it's probably been my favorite week of teaching so far. Plus, we got to do timelines like in school and draw fun pictures.

Ok so there are two bits of news:
1) We're going to Egypt on outreach. Must confess initial anger and sadness, as we both really don't like Egypt or want to be called to North Africa. But we've all been praying about it as a group as well as looking at what's going on there at them moment, and that has been really helpful. It's nice because the other students are so very very excited because for most of them this is their first overseas mission trip, so we get to be a part of that journey with them. Plus, we think God's got stuff for us up his sleeve as well... Will keep you posted on plans. Obviously cannot write too much about our proposed activities out there!
2) Next week we're going up to the mountains to live in a chalet. There's been no snow so we're going higher up - we'll be snowboarding every day. Our teacher for the week will, I think, be living with us and the topic is 'the Father heart of God'. We're both so excited, it's like a mini DTS within a DTS! I'm nervous about chucking myself down a hill on a plank of wood so please pray...

OK so we love you and miss you, but we're also learning more than I thought I could and growing up a lot as well. And having fun!
Will leave you with some cool pictures John's taken:
This is Roman sitting on a lamp post...and this is Allie in a fleamarket...

ok love you bye xxxxxxxx

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Blog a Doodle Do.

Hi friends,

so as we don't have a lot of spare time around here (but many spare tyres as Swiss chocolate and cheese are plentiful and tempting), I shall keep this one brief.

Today we went to Bern - fun because it's fun but sad because it means no slopes again. The town is stunning, especially covered in snow. Things here are so expensive that shopping in town is liberating as we couldn't buy things anyway!  The highlight of the day for John was the Bear Pit, containing a real life bear to whom John preached the gospel and everyone agreed the bear responded.

On a more serious note, this week's teaching was even more epic than the week before. Officially it was all about 'The nature and character of God' which i'd love to sum up for you, but it turns out one of the main things about God is that he can't be boxed. Our brains went a bit melty halfway through the first session...the speaker was a guy called Paul Hawkins who is actually kind of a legend.

In other news, this Wednesday we did our first local outreach. We got to give out hot chocolate to random people while trying to explain in french that God loves them. We do not speak french. I think God likes that we tried! We also got to look after some homeless people a little bit, and there are quite a few in Lausanne. Switzerland is very wealthy in itself but I don't think it always that easy for the less fortunate people here.

We also spent a lot of time praying for Sudan, and a lot of time praying for each other and practising recognising God's voice. It's been an intense week. And tomorrow we have to write book reports and journals about the week.

Right i'm late for dinner so i'll leave you. Please pray that we'll be able to keep up with all the new info, and that we can be a blessing to our staff and fellow students.

Love J and F xxxxxxx

Sunday, 16 January 2011

YWAM Lausanne

Greetings from sunny Switzerland, and from my husband too who is currently up in the roof. Which is the prayer room.

We have ever so much to tell everyone so i'll start, Southover style, with a visual aid:

This is the YWAM base where we're staying - it's an old hotel they've had for about forty years. Our view is the french Alps across lake Geneva, and we're in the middle of a forest. Some trivia for you - the 'U of N' stands for 'University of the Nations' and I am not yet convinced it's a proper university. But don't tell anyone.

Where to start? I'll find it easier if I put things into categories, but i'm not a preacher so they won't all start with the same letter and may not lead to a rousing altar call...

People: Everyone here is actually amazing, particularly our leaders and fellow students. John and I spent the first few days mourning our friends in England - we left in such a busy way that we didn't stop to realise quite how hard life would feel without the homes and hearts of people who know us well. But then we heard testimonies and have realised that it is a priviledge to share this time with these people - all so different and all so inspiring.
God's image is throughout these people and it's beautiful to be part of this.

Teaching: This first week of teaching has been on 'How to hear God's voice'. Our initial thoughts of smugness on this subject have been blown out of the water - older than the others we may be but wiser we are not. Next week is 'The nature and character of God', which I think may reduce us to gibbering, wide eyed wrecks. Looking forward to it!

Our home for the next 3 months: It's not snowing! We managed one day of snowboarding but this week all the resorts had to shut due to the worst conditions our leaders have ever seen - I had my first every snowboarding session on sheer ice. It was difficult. I did not evangelise effectively. Hopefully this DTS won't lack the snowboarding element John was so excited about...
That aside, this place is just gorgeous - the base is lovely, the people are kind, there's a lot to do *including 6am workouts*, the city of Lausanne is the prettiest place i've ever been to and there's still so much to see.

Must go now so much love and keep in touch. xxxx

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Four sleeps to go

First things first: Hi there 2011, nice to meet you.

As the title suggests, its four sleeps until we go. Suitcases are packed, John is happy on his iphone ('i alone') and the evening lends itself to reflection, at least until Come Fly With Me is on telly...
The last month or so has been more fun than I thought would be allowed this side of heaven. We got to hang out with some YWAM types in the run up to Christmas - they all seem to have hairy beards and a horizontally laid back approach to life. But they'll roar like lions to give the voiceless a voice. We'd love to be like that (but i'm a girl and I don't want a hairy beard).

We're only going for a five month DTS but as everyone knows we hope this to be the first step of a lifelong road trip for Jesus ("people write their addresses in pencil and wonder at their strange existence"), the farewells are getting pretty teary. I love this town. We love our church and our friends and the lessons we've learnt here. If it wasn't for the way the internet makes distances tiny I don't think i'd handle leaving people at all.

At the same time, I know we're created for something different than this 9-5 (not that we've ever done 9-5 but I think we're a bit odd like that) (I like it). It's time to get out into that big wide world and start shaking the dead awake...

Things to nag God about:
- Our rest, especially John who keeps waking in the early hours to think about what to pack and how to get everything done etc etc.
- Getting all the thank yous and goodbyes done as well as possible
- Getting on the plane etc
- Not scaring our new friends in Switzerland and that they'll like us
- um, that my suitcase will miraculously float above the scales and they won't notice i've completely exceeded the weight limit through my obsession with garments.

To end, here's a quote from the song i'm listening to as I type:
'He'll break open the skies to save those who cry out his name'

Oh yeah, and we got all the money! God is a funny Father who likes us lots. :-)