I’ve been a little slack in writing recently, and I really ought to have kept up with the magical case entries. I shall endeavour to do some more of them in the near future.
As for right now, I’m back working at AVS during the Easter break which is great. Work has been a little slow recently but I’m assured it will pick up in the next week or so, although next week when the conference work is a little heavier I’m actually going to be away in Wales for New Word Alive, which is very exciting! I shall be spending the week in a caravan with 5 other guys from Leicester and getting some excellent teaching from the likes of Terry Virgo, Don Carson and John Piper.
In my last entry I talked about my new guitar, and I’ve been spending a bit of time learning to play worship music with it. It’s rather odd having to learn to play music in a completely different style, having learnt to play classical piano I’m quite good at sight reading and tend to rely on having music in front of me when I’m playing anything. Playing the guitar for worship is very different! I have a few chords and that’s about it, working out exactly where the chord changes come and how the strumming should sound is entirely up to me, and it is rather tricky sometimes. I have a lot to thank my Mum for though, she gave me a couple of really useful pointers which have made things much easier.
In other news, Jon has come back to Leicester so I’m not on my own in the house anymore which is nice. I also managed to muster up enough energy and motivation to actually cook some proper food last night too, so I have a tub of lovely stuff in the fridge ready to eat up, yum! I really need to get back into the habit of cooking regularly. I really enjoy cooking and eating, and even more so when I have friends round, so if you want some munch then drop by my house one evening!
One last note; on Saturday my dear friends Mark and Susanna are getting married! I’m very excited, and will almost certainly write something about it at the weekend when I get home.
Term ended last week and since then I was supposed to do 4 days of work, unfortunately I wasn’t very well during the week so I missed two days. Thankfully I’m feeling much better now having had a few days to rest and recover.
Yesterday I went to see my Grandparents in Melton, we sat in their lounge for the afternoon chatting about all sorts of things which is always rather good fun! We had lunch and tea there before heading up to Nottingham for about 6pm. Today we went to the farmers market in the morning and I bought Chris his birthday present (only a month late!), which consisted of a tea egg and two types of tea, some russian caravan and some green tea which looked interesting. We also picked up some blue cheese, some fair trade olive oil, a selection of fancy olives and 6 duck eggs. The farmers market in West Bridgford is very posh!
After the market I went into town with my Mum and we spent a little while looking at guitars. Initially I wasn’t planning on buying one at easter, this was just a chance to go and try some out and get some idea of prices and all that jazz. What happened though was we went to a shop called The Music Inn and there was a very helpful guy in there who told me a little about the guitars they had and pointed me to some good ones to try. I played a couple and we decided that one of them was really good, but the guy told us to sit down, relax, and play lots of them and generally take our time. We spent probably half an hour just messing around on all sorts of guitars from all price ranges (I even played on one worth over £1000) and decided that the one I had liked initially was the best. It was so good in fact that I bought it, so now I own a really nice guitar! Because I love big willy so much, and he has named his guitar Jade, I feel I must also give me guitar an appropriately obvious name, and so I shall refer to it as Faith from now on. It even has it’s name emblazoned on the head so I won’t forget!
Now I can finally give Jon his guitar back, and I suppose I ought to start learning to play some sensible music instead of just messing around like I normally do.
On Saturday I went to Word Plus, a theology course that New Frontiers runs. It’s spread over 10 core modules which take up a day each, those days are spread over 2 years, and this was module number 7 on the New Testament. Word Plus has been really good, I’ve learnt an awful lot about a huge variety of subjects, some of which I’d never really considered, and some of which I thought I knew about (in most cases I was very wrong!). In studying the New Testament we looked briefly at the gap between the Old and New Testaments and what was going on during that time. We spent a fair bit of time thinking about the situation the Jews were in during the New Testament as well, a lot of things came up which I didn’t know, and had never really thought about.
I already knew that many of the Jews at the time would have been expecting a messiah to come and liberate them from their Roman oppressors and set up Israel as a mighty nation again. What didn’t really occur to me was just how bad a situation the Jews were in at the time, and how confusing and disappointing it would have been to be told that their messiah wasn’t actually there to liberate them at all, but rather to save their oppressors as well!
It’s hard to imagine what it must have been like to be living under Roman rule, but to set the scene, when the Romans siezed control of Palestine in 63BC they lay siege to the temple area for three months, during which time they killed many priests whilst they were performing their daily duties and entered the Most Holy Place. There was a great deal of unrest during the Roman rule, which led to a number of uprisings, all of which resulted in the Romans killing a lot of Jews. This conflict was present for the duration of Jesus’ life, and in fact came to a head a few years after his death in 66AD when the Great Jewish Revolt began. As a result in 70AD the Romans layed siege to Jerusalem, and when they took it they destroyed the temple completely. During the siege over 100,000 Jews were killed, and nearly 100,000 more were taken to be Roman slaves.
It’s so easy to read the New Testament and imagine it to be a peaceful place where everyone was content with their situation, we throw our western lives into the Bible without even thinking about it! But when you realise just how serious the Roman occupation was to the Jews at the time, and how much tension there was between them, it throws a new light on so many of the events in the Gospels. I rather feel like I need to read all of it again with this new viewpoint and find out what I’ve been missing the whole time!
Last time I wrote about the journey to Moldova and our adventures at the border. This time I’m going to explain a little of what we did there, and I’m going to cheat a little by including some photos from our time there not just stuff from the case (I believe I’m allowed to break the rules if I made them myself right?).
The main bulk of the work we did out there was in two villages near where we were staying. Since there were two places to work we split into two groups of I believe 8 people each plus a couple of locals. We were sent out to work with a group of about 30 children in each of the two villages, giving them some very practical help in the form of teaching them english, and some very important help in the form of giving them the gospel! This amounted to playing lots of silly games with them to teach them english, and telling them stories (usually through the medium of drama) from the Bible to teach them the gospel.
The time spent with the children was fantastic and it was really amazing how eager they were to learn from us. It was also really great to see the other guys from my youth group getting excited about working with the children and sharing the gospel with them! Apart from the work in the two villages, we also did a bunch of stuff with the Church we were in contact with in Tintareni, they had some youth meetings in the evenings and we also took part in their main Church service. For the youth stuff we did a short drama for them and one of the youth did a short talk. Once again it was great to see them using their gifts to share something of their faith with others, very exciting stuff! I have to say, it was one of the strangest parts of the week being involved in the worship during the youth and main services. Worshipping in english whilst everyone around you is singing in a different language but to the same tune is a very weird experience!
As well as all the seriousness of the work we were doing, we had a great deal of fun together during our time there. There was an incident one night which I still laugh out loud at occasionally when I remember it; I was staying in a house with Ian, and he needed the loo in the night. There are no street lights in Moldova, so in the night you rely totally on torches. On top of that the toilets are continental, which means they are holes in the ground over which you crouch. Ian popped outside with his torch and loo roll in hand, and somehow (the details are unknown to me) managed to drop his torch down the hole. Apparently his torch was made of stern stuff, and didn’t die immediately, thus emitting a faint glow from the inside of the loo. Embarrassed, Ian attempted to cover up his mistake with some carefully placed loo roll. Unfortunately it wasn’t thick enough, so all this did was change the faint glow into a faint coloured glow. Thankfully the torch had died by the next day, but that image will be with me for some time!