If you’d like to pray for the work of east to west then here are all our latest prayer requests and things we’re keen to thank God for.
During the last week of May, our family took what is fast becoming a now annual holiday with Nanny and Grandad. In the past few years we’ve visited Marizion in Cornwall, Lee Abbey in Devon and Tenby in Wales. In fact, Tenby proved such a hit with my children, we returned there this year. Along with the large sandy beaches, copious amounts of ice-cream and the excitement of watching the Life Boat launch, we experienced something new. We took a boat trip around Caldey Island (an island 0.6 miles off the coast and home to Cistercian Monks, amazing chocolate and delicious fudge). During our trip we laughed as the swell moved the boat in various directions and marvelled as the waves crashed into the bow creating spray-bows (rainbows created in the spray). Whilst these were all noteworthy parts of our trip, the highlight was undoubtedly seeing seals in a quiet cove. One in particular was lying on a rock, clearly digesting a mammoth lunch (apparently, they eat up to 25kg of fish a day!) unable or unwilling to move as the tide rose around her. The joy on Millie and Joe’s faces when the seal was eventually carried off the rock by a wave and dumped into the sea was almost worth the price of the tickets!
The consequence of going on holiday is that it gives you a journey home – in this case a 230-mile drive. As I drove (and everyone else either napped or engaged with computer tablets), I pondered June’s wePRAY reflection. Knowing that this month we’re thinking about our volunteers, I began to think about what motivates people to engage with east to west by giving their time and skills.
What struck me was the similarities between our family boat trip and east to west’s team of volunteers. As a family, we’d gone with the hope of seeing seals in the wild and what we got was so much more than we’d hoped for or expected. We got a rollercoaster of a ride, saw spray-bows, spied jellyfish in the sea and counted Cormorants and Guillemots in the air. We made memories and had a great time. For our volunteers, they come with their own expectations of what it means to ‘bring hope to young lives’. They bring their God-given skills and talents to directly or indirectly support our work and they make a real difference across east to west. And what they get is so much more. They get to make a difference in the lives of those they work with, they support the wider families and schools or hospital; they build relationships with professionals empathising, caring and responding compassionately and they experience the realities of having made a real, tangible impact... and yes, I’m certain it feels like a rollercoaster at times too!
TIME TO PRAY
This month we’re asking you to pray with thanks for our team of volunteers, praying for them as they head into the projects their involved in – whether school, hospital or office and asking for God’s blessing and protection as they serve within the community.
Nicola Ashby: I joined east to west as a Relational Support Volunteer in September at Thomas Knyvett College in Ashford. I've been journeying with one student on a weekly basis during that time. It's been an amazing experience to see the areas of improvement in their life. Last week we had our last session together! Whilst it's sad to see them go, it's incredible to know that they feel equipped with the skills and are ready for their next season ahead.
I’m getting married in June and am so excited for the next stage of life that God is taking me on. Please pray that my new husband and I will have the best start to married life, and that we’ll enjoy every moment!
east to west: I'm believing that every conversation and session with a student will make a positive difference in their lives. Please pray that I will know the right words to say, experiences to share and encouragement to give to best support these young people. Please also pray for the students, that they will be surrounded by positive relationships and friendships that seek to nurture, care and build them up.
Phil Beal: I retired from the police in August 2018 and started volunteering in several schools. Since then, I’ve now become a mini bus driver for one school, do lunchtime supervisions in another and exam invigilation in a third! I also run 2 Cub packs, so all in all quite busy, not sure where I fitted my old job in, but enjoying every minute of it!
Please pray that I’d be blessed with good health allowing me to keep doing all the things I love and with thanks for my family.
east to west:
I hope that what we do helps in a small way to work out some of the issues the young people face. Please pray for those students we work with, especially those facing really difficult and challenging situations.
Joanne Jones: Please pray for Jo as she continues to support the work at Thamesmead. Pray that God would continue to use her during her conversations with young people and that she’d be a light in the dark situation young people are facing.
Ulla Joseph (2nd from the right): I would like prayer as we interact with staff and listen/talk to the young people at St. Peter’s (Emerge) Please pray for sensitivity, wisdom and guidance at an often-stressful time.
Liz Gallagher (far right): I would echo Ulla’s prayers – also pray for more volunteers so that we’re always able to have 2 team in hospital for each evening. From a personal perspective, pray that I would rely on God more and trust Him in every situation – I am prone to forget and try to do things in my own strength
Joy Wright (second from the left): Please pray for Joy as she head’s up Emerge Advocacy, based at Royal Surrey, Guildford. Thank God for her willingness to share her experiences and skills in helping east to west start Emerge at St. Peters. Pray that God would continue to bless her ministry.
Trish Duan (left): My job as a volunteer is data input. I have the great job of recording all the amazing outcomes that are achieved through the work of east to west across its projects. Sometimes this means checking the notes our team make and allocating outcomes. At other points, I need to work through the files to highlight the impact that’s been made.
This data is then inputted into a spreadsheet which allows us to see the overall impact being had across each project and the whole of east to west.
I love the opportunity I have to read how the lives of young people are transformed by the patient listening and caring of the Relational Support Worker, Family Link Worker or Counsellor and feel incredibly privileged because I get to see and share the end result!
My personal prayer is that I may continue to “run the race” even if I have to hobble to the finish line!! Please pray for my sister Sylvia who is in poor health and whose elder daughter Kim died last year. Her younger daughter Dawn has been diagnosed with breast cancer and has had a mastectomy but no chemo as a follow up. Dawn also broke a vertebra in her back the day before she was due to move house and 4 years ago had a botched operation on her face to remove a benign tumour which means she can no longer smile and has to drink from a straw. How to tell them that God loves them is extremely challenging, but I continue to pray that they may turn to Jesus for comfort and strength.