A final wee bomb Blast!

THE Big Gig for me is that I want to love people. Pass or fail on such a mission. I can’t help it. Such ‘feeling’ might not even always be obvious. It has however driven many of our choices. Too many enemies and detractors will soon rise up. However I really do desire not entirely my fault (whole explaining thing needs to go in there). I want to live doing that. Want to is not the same as succeeding- let the reader understand.

Certainly since a big event in my life that occurred around me turning 21 years old.

You can like but no comments needed unless you have some amazing revelations. i.e. no need to say nice things- it’s the wrong time!

As a passionate advocate for the simple (and I mean simple/very simple) teachings and life of Jesus Christ- of Jesus of Nazareth- to try and be somewhat clear of some 2000 years ago somehow got commissioned by the Archbishop of Canterbury and got to work in N Ireland, Luton, and Sheffield. We raised 2 girls here. Ka pow! Twas fun and v tricky. We developed some working principles which seemed to….really work, especially for so called inner city mission

Maybe they will help others; though I rather doubt anyone else will take them up much. The main issue in this context is that you don’t get paid

Hope they are helpful

Martin and Sharon, Emily and Abigail Garner

This are the practices I have learnt with Sharon and the girls over the last 30-40 years, I have learnt them in the rough and tumble of trying to pass on the most beautiful gift I have ever, ever discovered. While doing this I am trying to reach find it hard to accept and receive, worse still the religious institutions have stood in or way over and overagain.

Is now the time? I desperately hope so. To implement these pilaus, which are not new bit as old as Jesus, would make mission so easy. Ordinary people could at least have the opportunity to hear about the gift, with no junk attached. Some might receive the gift.

The world really could be a better place.

10 PILLARS of MISSION

  1. The Kingdom of God is near

 

Simple principle of faith based on Jesus’ teaching in Mark 1, but defining the mission of the church throughout Gospels and Acts. Something has changed, something has broken into our world called the Kingdom of God. For the missionary believing on that and acting on it is everything. Practically, it means that people encounter God all the time, sometimes they’re aware of it, sometimes they’re not. We often call this spiritual experiences eg.

  • Hearing God’s voice,
  • strange encounter on a mountain,
  • the coincidence of events happening,
  • answers to prayer,
  • bizarre circumstances etc etc.

Examples, there are many such examples that break through on an individual level if you’re open to listen to another persons story and take the time. Most people don’t tell of their strange experiences in case you jump on them eg.

  • Woman on a plane It was a short journey, we began to share why we were travelling. Both involved in business. Family was very important to both of us. So I took the bold step to ask if she’d ever had a spiritual experience, she surprised me by telling about a school trip to a monastery where she burst into tears and rushed into the toilets and wondered if she should become a nun. I told her that was very powerful had asked if she had any others experiences like that. She said yes 3 weeks ago she’d dreamt about Jesus. Then she took over the conversation and said ‘and now I’ve met you on the train’ and the penny dropped for her and she realised God was speaking to her. I gave what ever I had and offered to pray for her and the plane came into land.

 

  • Woman on a train. I was going to a Christian conference and the lady I met on the train just on her way home. After chatting with her I encouraged her to go.   So she did go and when I met her an hour later she’d given her life to Christ.
  • Man on the bench He was sitting on a bench outside the Anglican evangelical assembly that I’d been asked to speak at – there were lots of bishops and archdeacons and I’d been asked to speak on mission. Before it started I went outside to pray about my talk and what to say and saw a man with a dog on a bench. In my mind I thought I should go and speak to him and was actually nervous both with the talk coming up and speaking to him. By the time I decided to make a move he went off. I was kicking myself as I realized it had probably been a nudge. He came back and this time I didn’t waste any time and went to join him and spoke to him and explained about the talk at the assembly. I asked him what was going on in his life and he told me that his wife had just died and that going to church was the last thing on his mind. I prayed for him and he brought up the assembly again and turned to me at the end and he said if there churches where people came up to strangers like me and listened he’d go. I went inside afterwards and did my little talk about mission and ended with sharing about my chat with the man on the bench. I then stupidly got 5 different job offers just for being a human being. I declined all of them. There were many more stories like this including:

 

  • The man in chair doing alpha,
  • The man who gets throat cut,
  • Two men fighting at a bus stop,
  • Some words of prophecy in the café,
  • A prisoner reads book and meets his hero.

 

2   Jesus became a Motilone

 

 

This principle means that Jesus can enter every culture and is good enough in the culture as it is right now. People do not need to change their culture or their lifestyle in order to reach up to become more like Jesus and accept him. This is hard for those who don’t know how to do mission counter culturally, that it’s okay for Jesus to enter the culture without having to change it first. Only when Jesus and his values are in the culture, can the culture begin to change from within. It must change at this rate of the culture as the culture receives revelation, not by dictators from outside. Eg. There may be messages of unacceptable violence or strange habits that pervade the culture. These should be given time to change as the culture of Jesus invades the culture at it’s own pace.

 

3 A community leader will appear

 

 

This is a less familiar doctrine, however one we find consistently true. The missionary is like a catalyst searching for a leader or leaders from within the community who they’re reaching. That person will quite soon rise up as someone who others look to lead them, who others look to talk about. Important they may not have the same ideas as the missionary, it is the missionary’s job to pass on all that he knows about the gospel to the new leader, but then once he’s satisfied, he’s done that to let it go with the leader in his own direction and just be available for mentoring any encouragement, but in no way control the direct decisions of the new leader. Eg.

  • Billy Moore in Northern Ireland (see below in point 10)

There are plenty of other examples to include e.g. Jo Laidler at Sommeries in Luton; the Iranian community in Sheffield; 70,000 in north East Sheffield; Alice in Rwanda.

 

4 No preconceived ideas about who you will reach

 

I think of the foolishness of God and how it can surprise us.   E.G in setting up Sommeries Church I thought I was a great expert, all the theory in place, all the right practices begun and yet it was a Mentally handicapped girl called Hazel   who’s arrival brought the life and growth of the church. See more below. Similarly and counter intuitively to our culture the presence of God (the Kingdom of God) can often be found most powerfully and with the means for growth and advancing amongst those who are the poorest. Eg see James Ch 2:5 “Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?” It belongs to the poor     Its for everyone             Its good news

The unpredictable foolishness of God must be a strong awareness in a Missionary’s mind. The possibility of being lead to any group of people. Because the harvest is plentiful, the Kingdom of God is near. This could include mentally handicapped people, this could include the very poor people in the community, it doesn’t matter.

 

5   The church formation and culture belongs to them

Our job is simply to take the message of Jesus as transforming power. What kind of church forms, what kind of culture is expressed is entirely up to them. We’re not to impose our experience and culture onto them. Strangely and frequently they do a better job. Do not attempt to tell them how to run a church. This should be self-evident however chapter 6 in a book called ‘Christianity Rediscovered’ by Vincent Donavon, the opening pagers of Chapter pages 1-4 spell out in crystal detail what is meant by not imposing your church culture and ideas. To put it simply you pass on the same things that the early church had and you don’t pass on what they did not have.

 

What did they have? They had an experience of Christ and the teachings of Jesus. You pass on the teachings of Jesus well and the presence of Christ to walk in and you will have done an amazing job.

 

If you do anything else you are interfering in areas you should not go.

 

LEADER (see next paragraph – a leader will usually emerge from the culture and take forward the hows and the whys of a meeting)

 

6     The Leader must get their Get your emotional security and identity elsewhere (not from their mission work!)

It’s vital for the leader going out to sort out their emotional security and identity. It simply cannot be tied to the work. Their needs cannot be met on the success or failure of their missionary task. They must have their needs met elsewhere, through family, through God, through hobbies, through a different focus. This is absolutely vital, otherwise their motivation will be incorrect and what they produce will be a load of rubbish.

 

7   Go with nothing

Another key principle is they must not travel and they must not arrive in the culture with anything in their hands. They must only arrive needing to receive sustenance like it’s food and water and friendship at the most. They must not be ready to hand over goods and services. They must receive what they get from those they go to, this feels highly risky and dangerous, but it’s a safe place to a certain successful mission. Many examples of people need to be trained how to survive, how to look for funding, there are many examples of this in the New Testament. Time to start it again.

8   Principle of the meeting place

One of the principles for outreach which can be helpful is that God seems to provide meeting places where it’s easier to meet some folk in the initial outreach. These are found by the missionary going with nothing, looking for the Kingdom of God being near, and often finding a person or more than one person who gathers at a particular site. They recognize that this site is the place of attraction for people who are close to the Kingdom of God, and so its easy to revisit over and over again, hoping to meet others. I have found such sites to be very helpful, often in places where it is difficult to know where to go and talk to people. Eg Istanbul we found a key place within 20 minutes of looking. Good examples,

  • Lydia by the shoreline –
  • Saint Antony’s in Istanbul – this was a fun example, arriving in Istanbul – a strange city for me, having been asked to mentor a leader there, I took all the basic principles, go empty handed, the kingdom of God is near etc and we just walked down what translated as ‘Freedom Street’. A very famous wide pedestrianized road. I was inadvertently drawn to visit a Chapel offset called St. Anthony’s. We went in, there were lots of tourists nipping in and out and within a few moments I was drawn quite unexpectantly in my spirit to a woman who was visiting. Now it was a very strong and unusual impression I assumed I should try and speak to her. Now I felt frightened, nevertheless I managed to pluck up the courage and we began to talk and pray which led to a marvelous conversation. It turns out about half of the group were all Muslims who were following Isa (Jesus) and at sometime had gone exploring at St Anthonys because it felt a safe place with lots of literature for potential to follow Isa more. It meant that Muslims could come and read and think and feel part of the tourist crowd. St. Anthony’s was therefore a meeting place, an easy place to come.
  • Botanical Gardens in Sheffield – this was a simple not even specially marked out location but it soon became apparent that at lunch time many folks rested and had their sandwiches. It was an easy place to strike up conversation to explore spiritual things further.

 

9   No preconceived idea

This is just throwing off any idea from the missionary about who they’re going to reach and how they’re going to reach them. Could be one-footed, blue-faced Iranians with blonde hair, and that would be fine. Lets revisit again that the Kingdom of God is near, that the harvest is plentiful and that God can surprise us. Therefore never plan in advance, who it is that you’re going to connect with. This message is for everyone and it’s good news. Be prepared to be surprised!

 

10   Look for individuals and myths within the culture

Look for individuals that God has spoken to. And especially look for myths within the culture. Search for those that God has already drawn near and spoken to, individuals aware of God’s presence, something’s happened to them. Listen hard and hear their stories. There are also frequently myths and stories and legends within the culture, that God has placed in, and just need listening to and translating. It’s as if they are long standing prophecies waiting to be unfolded, once they’re unfolded you can open up the community to the fullest revelation of God. These are the stories and the legends that are repeated about the culture of tribe. They can sound like common sense, or utterly bizarre. Often God has revealed himself to the culture through these myths. The astute missionary will be aware of them, and aware of the possibility that however the bizarre the story, they may be the doorway to the gospel. So as you enter a culture beware of the first pillar that God has already spoken to people. The second major feature is that a whole culture may have myths or legends within the culture. People will be unaware that these myths or legends maybe about God and about them and they are the doorway into the spreading of the Gospel. E.g. the Motilomi had a legend about a blond man visiting them and that God would appear out of a banana stalk. (You need to read the story in Bruchko ) it took Olsen 5 years to realize the meaning of the legend. Once the penny dropped that the legend was a revelation about God himself it was easy to tell the Motilomi the Gospel.   There are other stories in other cultures very similar to this.

 

A Story to End

 

N Ireland and Billy Moore

I want to finish with this story. It covers several bases. Sharon and I came to Northern Ireland with the desire to bring this message of good news to the people of Hillhall. It’s for everyone, and it’s good news. In Northern Ireland people are so hardened by the message they hear over and over again. And yet these principals stay the same. So we did our best to pass on the message against opposition from the church and even the paramilitaries themselves who were deeply suspicious I suppose of our different methods. I think I would have done the same if I were in their position. Still the principals work and as we persevered a leader rose up. His name was Billy Moore. At first he didn’t want anyone to speak to him about Jesus and he didn’t want to do anything. He sat at the back of the cathedral and was invited to come over and see what we were doing. The connection was obvious, his first home had been on our estate and he knew the community. He began to attend and slowly but surely Sharon and I encouraged him in participating and in his following of Christ and what it meant to follow Jesus. He never stopped coming.

A tipping point was when one of the locals went and killed the landlord of the local pub with a machete. Two things here – the landlord of the pub was the landlord of the pub where the paramilitaries met. Billy knew the landlord and his bereft family – wife and 3 children joined us at our meetings. At this point Billy said ‘I should have done something years ago’. It seemed that very quietly God had been speaking to Billy to rise up and lead and become the spiritual leader of this community and from this day forward that’s exactly what he did.

As I write he recently held a meeting in Lisburn Cathedral attended by all the local paramilitaries now reformed and wanting to transform their community. A model is to attach young men who have a skill with other men who can train them. It’s all about being believed in. When the young men are believed in, believe that others love them and that Jesus loves them, they start to believe in themselves.

The choir at the event that led the singing with 200 people were the women of the estate who sang ‘Be though my vision’. The preacher was the Archbishop of Armagh – Lord Robin Eames. And a whole bunch of other people visited from the wider region. These include eminent leaders such as Rev. David Jardine from Belfast Cathedral and others who now want to know how Billy Moore has had such an impact into such an estate. How can they do something similar?

The point is not the event or where it was! But that Billy has set up a unique opportunity for the Gospel to spread. He is the chosen leader – He’s leading the community his way. All the hallmarks of the pillars are present for the Gospel to spread. As with all theses kinds of examples there was great opposition to Billy’s work from those who were perhaps failing and yet still insisted that their model was the correct one.

The Last Word

 

Thought I’d say a few last words, knowing me there’s always room for a bit more waffle  :)

But running out of energy to do any more. We are starting to say goodbye to folks- aware that the old body is not performing as it should. Eyes are failing, Sleep is taking over.

So what would you say?

I just wanted to emphasise how beautiful the people are whom I’ve worked with.

I suppose partly against the grain of the modern tribal culture, I want to say it is beautiful Muslims who I’ve shared a meal and chamomile tea with, and talked about Allah and Isa. People who’ve let me into their home over and over again. A Muslim chaplain, who pulled out all the stops to get me into one of Britain’s highest security prisons, because he was so keen for me to talk about Jesus being available to prisoners on all sorts of levels.

I want to talk about the boys who I got to know who’s reputation would have put them high on this so called gang culture, yet I found great beauty and belief and affirmation for me and them, they’ve just written a card to me in the last couple of days. I’m quite sure if many of us had lived their lives, we would also find ourselves somewhat just as lost.

Yet believing in them, and them discovering the faith and learning to believe in themselves. My strongest hope is that they will be released from prison early and make a massive difference in their culture.

And the Iranians- we knocked on one door, meeting a man whose leg had been shot off in half during persecution. So we prayed for him, hoping he’d find a new way. Many years later, over 100 of his colleagues have been baptized into a new way, of love and peace.

Then there was the amazing Alice, a child parent who raised her own children from the age of 11 because all her family had been killed in the Rwandan genocide. We had the immense privilege of sponsoring her child, Mugisha through school; put more importantly something happened when I met Alice.

Alice was in a slum environment, at the bottom of a steep hill. As soon as I met her, it became apparent she was a leader of this community that needed direction and hope. She had learnt about that hope and knew how to bring it. I spent 2/3 days with her, talking through what that might mean, and she was up for it. By the time we left we had gathered around her community of over 100 people who were ready to walk with her to transform their community into one flavoured with the beautiful message of Jesus Christ. 6 months later that community continued to thrive.

Or Billy Moore in Northern Ireland. A man who rose up from the ranks of the estate in which his first house was, a known character among the paramilitaries, who wouldn’t say boo to a goose. Then when a close friend was machetied down, leaving a widow and 3 young children, the man Billy rose up, determined to lead his community in the power of the spirit, and he became a bright light. Now there are projects in these estates to free young men from the tyranny of oppression and no hope. He’s involved the local men (once toting guns in Northern Ireland), who are now filling in forms to get grants. He has the women singing in choirs over their communities, and Christmas carol services to lift up the elderly, and back in Belfast long standing estate workers are asking him, ‘what are you doing to get in these communities? Something’s changed, please help us.’

All of these are small examples of what it means to use these pillars,* (being written out separately) to say what looks impossible may indeed be be difficult, but with perseverance and the right attitude, it will be done, and the world can be changed.

Despite mush frustration.  There is is so much hope

 

and why the heads up all those years ago?

Eh?

Well I started with a question in my own mind. What is suffering? Am I suffering? No seriously. How am I coping? What do I think? Stuff like that.

As I have thought I got stuck. I could NOT easily align the word ‘suffering’ with what I am now experiencing. I realize that sounds odd. But is true. I have ‘stuf’ going on. Big Stuff. I have had to adjust. WE have had to adjust in our family. Obviously.

I do have struggles. Big ones. I have to manage pain every day. I have completely lost the use of my legs. And all function in my pelvis. I am …well… utterly dependant on others for everything below me belly button. Not great for a man’s pride!

But when I think of ‘Do I suffer’.

I hate/don’t like/ struggle most with those around me- again seriously. I watch them and see suffering- because of me. Not what I want to see.

Funny thing though

When I was about 21 years young I read the story of Joni Erickson Tada. Young women, late teen even, Dived into a lake, broke her neck. Quadriplegic from then on. It was a story I found riveting and frightening. I also read another book. It was about someone my folks knew who lived with a twisted gut syndrome and constant pain.

I remember very clearly thinking:  How do you do that? Something went IN me. Strangely I thought I might have to do that… one day. A strange thought, but one which has never left me

So here I am. The pain thing is there- annoying, frustrating, yes upsetting sometimes.

Anyhow- I have tried to waffle about it. Emily filming, with the girls permission for all here- some thoughts on suffering There might be some more.

Post Filming

Not wanting to present sugar-coated day. Post filming I did get distressed with pain and it took about three hours to sort me out a bunch if stuff related to me/ Sharon and one of the girls again. Suffering.

It’s all a little Weird. That’s the word.

No what though. We are perplexed but not crushed.

and I want to finish the race… well.

 

The Real Version

 

Today

The poorest communities in the world don’t have a shed or stable for animals.

The animals sleep with them. For warmth and to stop them being stolen!

Unless you are in Rwanda.

Unless you are part of the refugee camp in east Rwanda we visited and supported (a tiny amount).

Hippos are the extra dimensions! They come into homes at night.

g hippo

Here they are nearby- this are the very same dudes. They bath on road side pond by day. Enter homes by night. Unbelievable

Anyway welcome to subsistence living.

New and Old homes in refugees camp at Kajeyo, Rwanda which we visited
New and Old homes in refugees camp at Kajeyo, Rwanda which we visited

 

Jesus was most likely born in a house– with the animals at one end for warmth and to stop them being stolen.

Not sure if they had Hippos.

This 7 minute podcast explain why I think that…  click to listen:

Animal feeding troughs (mangers) carved from stone separated the animal quarters from the communal living room. Warmth, Mary and Joseph. A baby wrapped in swaddling cloths.

 

(ABOVE) ILLUSTRATION FROM ' JESUS THROUGH MIDDLE EASTERN EYES'
(ABOVE) ILLUSTRATION FROM ‘ JESUS THROUGH MIDDLE EASTERN EYES’

 

He (Jesus) would most likely have been placed in one of the mangers.

The word stable is never mentioned in the New Testament. Not once honey. The word ‘inn’ is mentioned. It has two versions. The ‘inn’ of the Good Samaritan (with spaghetti western style sign swinging if you like. You can just hear the rusty hinges).

 

And another word that mean a guest room in a home.

 

Joseph- of the Royal line, with Mary, about to give birth would NOT have been refused hospitality in homes in the Middle East- the thought is crazy!!!. It’s middle easterners. Their middle name is hospitality! – Never mind that this is Joseph’s own home town. He would have been known. He is with a woman about to give birth- come on! get a grip! There was no room in the guest room/ upper room etc (it’s a different word – ‘katalyma’.)

Most likely he, Jesus was born in the living room of the family. If you are looking at the ‘incarnation’; that’s is what followers believe marks the point where God enters our world.

Then where did it happen?

Right slap bang in the middle of the family living room- the most obvious place. Not in some stable as an extra curricular event.

For ALL THE PEOPLE

It bothers me so very very much that the voice- whatever happened in the moment- that spoke to the Shepherds used the phrase:

“This is for everyone. Do not be afraid, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for ALL THE PEOPLE”

For ‘all the people’ really bothers me

He has been snaffled by religion. Flippin’ religion. From religious groups to religious leaders  all declare- they have hi- Jese- wrapped up.  And the ‘everyone’ is lost. What would it be like to reclaim that ‘everyone’? Might be the last thing I ever explore. Might be the most important and fun thing I ever do. NO walls, no meetings, no clubs to join. Your terms, my terms. Everyone.

I wonder and have for 30 years what it would be like if he was really (accessed) for all the people. You could follow him on whatever terms you wanted, I am soooo keen to explore that further.

The Refugee camp on the hillside at Kajeyo. we learnt so much from them
The Refugee camp on the hillside at Kajeyo. we learnt so much from them
a small amount of help in form of food and seeds
a small amount of help in form of food and seeds

Should be Blomin’ Obvious!

But it’s not always. In fact Sharon and I were remembering when the girls were very young – and I was driven. Trying to ‘prove’ myself I guess. I can remember how insecure I was, but to the extent I wasn’t the greatest Dad. Staying away, too many nights when I should have been at home.

Thankfully, I managed to get more time with them as they grew up.

So, a little reflection from today.

Has been a crappy last week or two I guess. Stomach bug and not getting out and it getting harder to do certain things. I have been a right pain for those caring for me. They (SJG) have been awesome.

But we got out today.  I loved it! But it is a bit, well very windy. Hope you can hear OK:

 

 

Money Mini Miracle

All I know is that we were at our wits end. More than that we were in those rare states of utter powerlessness. Watching someone we loved so much. Quite unable to do anything. I mean anything. Teachers had been spoken to. School counsellor involved. Emily coached through how to respond to situations. A child had been expelled for bullying Emily. It was serious.

And then, this little thing happened:

How does that work?

Can you twist God’s arm? I don’t think I can. All I know is, it happened. And it happens. It happened more often when we have worked with the poorest people we had ever encountered in Rwanda. But sometimes it did happened to us. Just like this- our little daughter -apple of my eye- was crushed.

Why?

We’ve never gone without, but we’ve never been rich. The promise/ idea of trusting for money when you had none has certainly enabled us to make some crazy decisions. We rested on this kind of promise, we sought to serve the poor as best we could, hoping other provision would come. It doesn’t mean we didn’t struggle, panic or have to be very organised sometimes to make pennies spread. But …

 

How it seems to work

Choose life. Choose the poor. Don’t worry about your own provision.

Funny thing is, all these big mega church, big ‘Christian endevours’ thingies gather in the money. Meanwhile Jesus in the gospels – well I have never read about him doing  that. He’s on the margins, usually causing offence to the religious elite and doing beautiful stuff to the poor and marginalised. I think he still is.

Sure there are different ways of viewing what happened to us and Emily. It could be seen as just co-incidence, crazy moments or as I do- wonderful beauty and surprise coming from the same source- the same person, same phenomenon I have followed, lived with, held on to for many years. Many years ago I experienced the  most amazing feeling of being loved unconditionally. And it was the person of Jesus I recognised. Since then my ‘job’ became to love others. Whomsoever. To choose life with a bias towards the really poor, those who have the least. To Choose LIFE everytime!  And don’t worry about de money.

These words of Jesus sums it up a bit:

“So don’t be afraid, little flock. For it gives your Father great happiness to give you the Kingdom. 33 Sell what you have and give to those in need. This will fatten your purses in heaven! And the purses of heaven have no rips or holes in them. Your treasures there will never disappear; no thief can steal them; no moth can destroy them. 34 Wherever your treasure is, there your heart and thoughts will also be.”

Nick and Majorie Allan are the couple who gave the money. I thought it would be cool to ask for their recollection. Nick writes:

“Marjorie and I  had a significant inheritance and wanted to tithe it, and we gave it in a few different directions. Yours I imagine was the biggest gift. We really admired the way you lived ‘by faith’ and tried to live first in God’s way, without worrying too much about full-time jobs etc. You’d set up Free Spirit by then as I saw it to help channel funds both to you, and to other projects.

I can remember you clarifying with us whether this gift was for Free Spirit or for you personally, and you told us about Emily’s teeth. I didn’t really know the difference, so I said you can use it however you see fit.

If I’m really honest my initial reaction in my head was something like “what? We’re trying to give money to further the kingdom of God and he wants to spend it on his kid’s teeth??” But that thought lasted about a second, because when you choose to give money away to people I don’t believe it’s your right to then decide how its spent. It seems the kingdom of God really did happen for Emily – peace, self-esteem, provision, joy, inner healing etc..

At the time, your personal reaction was enough to show how significant it was. We were learning that giving money away is such a lot of fun!

I didn’t realise for a few more years what this had meant to Emily – when you told me this summer that it had enabled a life-changing experience – I was blown away. I guess it taught me how one simple act (which we enjoyed anyway!) can have such a knock-on effect, in the economy of God.”

Embarrassed adults are not nice!

They want to hear the stories! That is, my girls. The stories that make them smile. From very ordinary to some rather remarkable. We have family stories. Like every family.

Here’s one about you Abi and your personality.

Being embarrassed as a parent is a flippin’ nightmare. Truth? I never reacted well and failed many more times than succeeded. Your Mum had to teach me. She had way more grace. She did right by ya. She’s a flippin’ warrior. Always out you first. Not me…😦

Failed?

I mean my reaction- and I can remember- would have been based on worrying what other people thought of ME- not you. NUMPTY! Looking back it’s stupid. I wish there was training for parents on how to react when their kids embarrass them. Instead knee-jerk happens and the child comes off least well.

And you know what? There were very important relationship things going on in your little world. Very important. Wasn’t about me – it was you learning to work life out. Ah sheesh. Some parents need training!

You are very gracious. You say ‘I still turned out pretty good’🙂

 

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