28 Sept 2011

Gangster ways

I'm sorry I'm pretty terrible at writing here consistently. At the moment this is because I have no internet at home...something that I'm hoping to change pretty quick. 

Anyway I thought this would be a good time to catch up up on all the excitement that has gone on in my life over the last few weeks. Just going to bullet point as otherwise this post will be massive.

> I bought new "gangster" trainers. I actually had two pics of different shoes I had seen and asked some of the kids which ones they preferred....these are the ones they chose that I now own.

It's crazy how just having cool shoes does change how the young people relate to you...and I wouldn't necessarily say it's all a good thing. Like I don't ever want to change who I am to fit in, or conform to what is "cool", but then I do want to make real effort to connect with the young people I am working with. It is interesting that most of the kids I work with will be lucky to get a new pair of shoes this year...some of them wear shoes that literally have and continue to fall apart. Poverty isn't just in Africa.

> I made some friends! YAY! Its been so cool to actually have made some friends who live here and who I can hang out with. Luckily I have quite a few people I already know who aren't too far away but just through those friends I have been able to make new ones and feel a lot more settled here. It's so hard to move to a new place and not have deep friendships around...I'm trying to work on that pronto.

> I got a team! So my job in XLP is to lead a team of gap year/degree students in practical youth work. I have 2 degree students who have just started a degree in Theology and Youth Ministry they study 2 days a week and then work with me the rest of the time. I then have 3 other gap yearers who study 1 day a week with XLP and then are with me for the rest of the week. So my team consists of 4 girls and 1 guy (poor dude) and age spans from 18-22. We are all totally different, have different gifts, personalities and methods, but we are praying that God would bind us together as an effective and holy team. We really want to see God move this year.

> I got business cards - possibly the most exciting thing

I feel so ridiculously official now. 

> I went to the Dentist....for the first time since leaving school. Yes 5 years on and my teeth are still fine...yay. Although they did this horrible scrapy thing where they get everything out from between your teeth and it wasn't nice. My teeth has felt pretty sensitive ever since. It's ok though -I've got some Listerine to fight away the plague.

I've been really challenged over the past week to love the place I live. I mean I am here indefinitely and if I am going to be speaking with young people about respecting where they live and getting involved, so I need to love this place first. 

Question - What do you love about where you live?

14 Sept 2011

Living in the city

So over one week into the job and just about getting to grips with various policies, systems, responsibilities etc. I think this week I have really been struck by 2 things. 

Firstly, I actually LOVE the people I work with. They are fantastic at making me feel welcome and helping me when I need them. It's so cool to be able to work with Christians who even though we all go to completely different churches and are from various church backgrounds and areas of the country, we all get on and love each other. It's so cool to see this in practise. 

Secondly, its really weird but kids here actually think I'm cool! Like I always joke that I'm quite cool but really I know I'm quite a geek...but honestly kids genuinely WANT to talk to me and hang out with me. I find this a bit mental, I thought I was going to have to work really hard to build relationships and get teenagers to interact with me...however, it seems they are more than willing to talk to me, its more me actually making sure what I talk about it useful, positive and relevant. 

You might remember me saying I'm reading through Proverbs this month and I've been struck by how much there is about speech and its power. 

"When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise." Prov 10:19

"He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin." Prov 13:3

"A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." Prov 15:1

So much of the time I react and speak before I have fully thought through what I am saying. I don't want my words to inflict unnecessary pain or judgement on people. I want to be someone who builds people up and can speak the truth of Christ' love. Especially in this job, I have been given such good opportunities...I don't want to waste them.

Anyone else got any thoughts on Proverbs?

7 Sept 2011

It's so on!

Sorry for my neglect in letting you know that I'm still alive and relishing in London life. Thanks for the many of you who have text/facebooked to see if I am, in fact, surviving in Lewisham. You will be happy to know that I am!

So I started on Monday in my official capacity as Lewisham Borough Leader for the charity XLP (www.xlp.org.uk) and it got off to a fantastic start as on Monday mornings all of the people who are employed by XLP meet together to share and pray. It was such an ace time to hear about things that have been going on over the summer with all the mayhem that's been going on. Since then I have been issued with some official XLP clothing...for those of you who mock me for only wearing Aberystwyth merchandise you will be happy to know I'm really branching out...a different brand! I've been going through files, learning strategy, meeting influential people and Church youth workers and doing lots of officey things. This afternoon I get to do my first lot of actual youth work as I'm going to help run the Abbey Wood bus session. I'm excited for 2 reasons. 1- When I did my gap year here I used to work in Greenwich on this estate and used to love spending time with kids on the bus. 2- This is a fantastic opportunity to watch and see how XLP has evolved since I've been gone and to watch how different Borough Leaders do things...hoping to absorb as much as possible.

All in all things are GREAT! Really loving the work and being back in London.

I was also a bridesmaid on Saturday...pics below....more later.