Change… it’s enough to make even the most reasonable person break out in a cold sweat! Whether it be walking into church to find someone sitting in your pew, picking a new car insurance company as the latest renewal quotes are excessive or changing jobs or schools, we all face a variety of change in our everyday lives. Change is one of those things that seems to have become a big business. There are various models you can use, rationales for doing it and tips and advice for ‘bringing people with you’! What I find fascinating about the first disciples is that as Jesus walks alongside the Sea of Galilee he simply says to them ‘Come, follow me… and I will send you out to fish for people.’ (Matthew 4:19 – NIV) There wasn’t a dedicated business plan or rationale for them to follow, but rather a man. A man who they had absolute faith and trust in.
east to west is going through a season of change with people moving into different roles and responsibilities. We know that this means that there will be some bumps along the road as we get used to new things and people step up, but ultimately, this change means one thing… ‘bringing more hope to more young lives’.
Maybe changes isn’t all bad?
My friend once told me this joke: ‘So what if I don’t know what Armageddon is… it’s not like it’s the end of the world or anything…!’ It felt like the perfect segue into this month’s wePRAY reflection!!
I wonder how many of us look up into the night sky and wonder what it’s like up there? Ever since the late 19th Century, authors have written about adventures in space (Edward Hale’s 1869 novel, ‘The Brick Moon’ is credited as the first sci-fi story about space). Ever since, it’s launched(!) a fascination and wonder, dialing into our psyche the ideas of adventure, exploration and excitement, which has exceeded books to take over our radios (Orson Welles causing mass hysteria with The War of the Worlds springs to mind), our TVs (Star Trek) or our Movies (Alien) to name just a few.
Somehow, we are also drawn to the concept of little green Martians, strange civilisations and the fact that in space, no-one can hear you scream!!
As fascinating and exciting it might be, it also holds inherent risks and dangers. In the case of the movie, Armageddon, the threat humanity faces is from a giant asteroid on a collision course with earth! Who would you send to save the planet? If you suggested astronauts, military or the Thunderbirds, you’d be wrong… if you said a group of oil workers (drillers), you can have a gold star!
The joy of this film is that it’s 2½ hrs of mindless nonsense (it’s much better to watch it in this mindset rather than constantly questioning the realities and practical impossibilities – you’d get far too frustrated!!). The basic premise is that this group of oil workers will land a space craft on this asteroid (with the help of NASA), drill several deep holes, drop nuclear weapons into them, fly off and detonate them remotely, splitting the asteroid which will then split either side of the planet, thus saving the world! Our heroes will then return to earth and receiving the acclaim of the entire population!
As with all these things, it doesn’t quite go to plan.
I won’t spoil it (if you’ve not seen it), but eventually they are able to drill a hole and drop a nuke down it! The only remaining problem is that the remote won’t work – someone will have to stay behind to detonate the bomb. The person randomly chosen? The fiancée of our hero’s daughter! It’s like every adventure film cliché rolled into one moment! As you might expect, our hero decides to sacrifice his own life to save that of his future son-in-law, therefore saving the world, and his offspring’s future happiness!
And there it is… the link to this month’s theme… selflessness!
Except, it’s not a great link… not really. As far as I’m aware, no Relational Support Worker in east to west’s 25 year history has chosen to sacrifice themselves for someone else? I’m sure I’d remember if David had scheduled oil drilling 101 for our next Development Day training and Ian hasn’t got an Amazon Prime delivery planned with our collective spacesuits!
So maybe selflessness is something slightly less dramatic than sacrificing your own life for the betterment of others?
Philippians 2:1-4 says: Imitating Christ’s Humility
2 Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
Verse 4 sums up what it means to be selfless – ‘not looking to your own interests, but each of you to the interests of the others.’ As we work with children, young people and families across each of our projects, for the time we’re in sessions with them, that’s what we do. We’re not focused on having our own needs met, but rather putting that person or group at the heart of our focus and attention. For that moment, they, and their interests outweigh our own. This is what selflessness means…
Right, Armageddon out of this analogy now!!!
December Prayer Update
Please pray for Year 13 as they will be undertaking their mock exams Friday 3rd – Thursday 16th December 2021. Thank you for praying – for some students this was really useful and encouraging. For others it was an eye opener, helping them to understand how much they need to do. Please pray for them as they approach the ‘real’ thing in the next few weeks.
For all the school Staff (and their families), students and families to enjoy a very special, safe holiday season this Christmastime. Amen!!
As school communities embark on the final stretch of the Autumn term, a rejuvenating covering of strength, high energy and zeal. Amen x2!!
Please pray for Alisa as she begins her new role as EIC at Thamesmead (adding a day here, with her commitments in Windsor First Schools) Alisa has settled into her role at Thamesmead. Please continue to pray for her as she serves the young people in school.
A family at Thamesmead who have their first Christmas without their mum. She was such a major party organiser, going all out at Christmas, and has left a big hole. Thank you for praying for this family – it was a tough time for them, but they continue to be supported and are taking one day at a time as they continue to understand this loss.
Thamesmead students who’ve got their ‘Mocks One’ results day – they do an envelope like the real GCSE results students been waiting sat mocks first two weeks after half term. Tends to be quite hard if you don’t get the results you expected. Students can be very upset / emotional / disappointed in themselves etc… Please continue to pray for them as they prepare for their GCSEs starting later this month.
For those who struggle with Christmas to find comfort and Joy in Jesus.
Caz’s maternity cover. Caz (and Matt) welcomed Theo into the world in March and the family are doing well. Please continue to pray for them.
For the team at east to west who have worked so hard over this long term, may they find rest over the Christmas break.
For our school’s leadership and teachers to also get a chance of rest, equally after a longer term and as things are feeling less certain around COVID. Thank you for your prayers in this area. Whilst COVID hasn’t gone away, there is a growing confidence in how each school is approaching this challenging area. Please continue to pray for health, safety and wisdom for our school leaders.
Please pray for Irum’s (Bishop Wand) daughter who had an accident at the end of November. Please pray for complete healing and for there to be no long-term damage to her hand. Also pray for the family as they recover from this horrible accident. The family continue to recover and Irum’s daughter is making positive steps in her recovery. Please continue to pray for Irum, Rix (husband) and the family.
For all the students at schools we support to have a deep sense of how much their loved and valued. Amen x3!!!
For our relationships at schools to continue to deepen into the New Year. These have continued to grow and develop – we are so grateful for God’s provision in growing our work across new schools and areas.
May Prayer Requests
This month we’ve asked Irum, our other east to west’s Head of Schools (along with Clare S) and Relational Support Worker at Bishop Wand to share some prayer pointers about the work across the schools and team she supports.
Please pray for all those students about to face exams – particularly those doing SATS at the beginning of May, as well as GCSEs and ‘A’ Levels later this month.
Give thanks for the new team joining east to west as we grow and expand. It’s great to have new voices, experiences and wisdom added to our team and we look forward to learning with them as we move ahead.
Please pray for our recruitment of new team members. This time of year is always one of change as people move roles, schools and even move away. Please pray for this process as we head into the second half of the summer term.
Give thanks for our school partners who are doing a great job. Pray that they’d be sustained heading into the last part of the school year.
Pray for our 25th Anniversary, happening on Saturday 11th June. There is still time to join us!