Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage . . . They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion.
~Psalm 84:5

Saturday, July 24, 2004

Follow up email...

Here's the email I just sent out; it's the follow-up from the one I posted July 14th:

Wow, your prayers have definitely been heard!  The sun appeared yesterday and chased away all the clouds.  Now we're enjoying beautiful *sunny* weather.  Children are riding their bikes through the streets, celebrating the start of summer vacation.  The joyful tune of the ice cream truck beacons to young and old alike, promising a cool release from the heat.  And hot it is! or at least, in English standards.  We probably broke 80 F.  Proof that I've been here too long:  I actually thought it was HOT as I walked to work yesterday.  It may not have even been 85 F.  I dread returning to Texas, where temperatures are trying to push past the 100 mark.

However, it looks like I may beat the heat this summer.  My August 11th departure has been pushed back to September 30th!!!  I wanted to stay longer but I just didn't have the finances.  I resigned myself to returning Aug. 11, after giving up hope of remaining until the end of Aug.  When I communicated this to Nilesh, the Night Shelter manager, he talked to Mike, the Project manager, and they were able to "work something out."  So here I am, with two full months ahead of me!  Yay!

I am excited about staying longer but there are moments I miss home and want to be back with my family and friends.  There are also the moments I panic and question whether this is what I should be doing.  I figure God has lead me this far and will be faithful to lead me the rest of the way, whether it's staying through September or returning earlier.  I'm also trusting that He will provide for all my needs - this is a *huge* step of faith for me because I didn't even think my finances would last until August 11th.  Now we'll have to see if they last 'til September 30th!  Please pray that I would have peace and trust that the Lord will provide for all my needs.

I may have mentioned this in a previous email, but I absolutely *LOVE* the staff here!  They are amazing men and women of God who daily lay their lives down to love those which society has rejected.  And they're so much FUN!  We had the Project summer social Wednesday.  All the staff from the Night Shelter, Barton House, and the offices got together.  In the morning we went to the cinema and watched Spiderman II.  It's such a great movie!  One realizes just how American it is when one is seated in a cinema in an English town, surrounded by English people who don't even laugh at the funny parts!  That evening we went to the Bishop's House ((it's literally the house that belongs to the Bishop of Bedfordshire -- his daughter, Ali, works for the Project)).  PK, the assistant manager/administrator for the Project, organized a night full of giant Jenga, life-sized snakes and ladders, skittle (9-pin bowling), and giant connect-four.  It was so much fun!!  My favorite part was when we took the giant dice from the snakes and ladders game and threw them at each other, chasing each other around the yard.  We had a blast and were all absolutely winded at the end of it!

This week, I'd like to ask you to pray for the staff.  Many are burning out from their work.  It's hard to love and serve people who take everything you do for granted.  It's also hard to sit back and watch them destroy their lives with drugs and alcohol.  Some on staff or becoming jaded.  They need encouragement and refreshing from God.  There are a few whose time here on Project is coming to a close.  They need direction for the future.
Here's a list of the staff from the Night Shelter:
Mike M. - the King's Arms Project manager
PK (Paul K.) - the KAP assistant manager/administrator
Nilesh - the NS manager
Hannah - the NS assistant manager; she will be leaving project at the end of August
Heather - does lots of NS administration; been here for 1 year
Jez & Justyna - been here for 1.5 yrs
Chris - been here 4 months
Nesta - been here 2 yrs
Fiona - been here 7 months; although she *loves* the NS, she's looking for new job b/c w/ 3 children at home, the work is too demanding/time consuming; also, she's getting married Aug 14!!!
Sarah H. - her year-long commitment is up in one day! she'll be joining a KA church plant in Leeds in September
Ewelyna - from Poland, here working for the summer (until Sept 5)
Micah - been here almost 2 yrs??  just got married on June 26th!!
Carl - been here abt 10 months
Amy - another American! been here 11 months, her year commitment is up in August
Please pray that the remaining staff members would not be spread too thin; losing 4 permanent staff members in less that two months is massive!

Thanks again for the prayers and encouraging emails!  They are greatly appreciated and needed!

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