Paul & Sue Hazelden
- Family News -
October to December 1999
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(Mostly typed by Paul)
31 December 1999
Paul's parents and brother came down to spend the new year with
us. They live in Greenwich, and we didn't think that
trying to drive into Greenwich on New Year's Eve was a bright
move, so they came down to us instead.
We drove down into Bristol and saw the early evening fireworks
at 9 o'clock. Very spectacular. Massive
crowds, but very well behaved. Then home, and at
midnight Sue, Paul, Ian and Riger - Paul's brother - went out to
look at the fireworks.
They were all aroound us. We must have been able to
see four or five major displays, plus numerous smaller shows, and
they went on for twenty minutes or so - a long time at that late
hour. We thought we could see a bonfire on the banmks
of the Trym, further down stream. But when we got
closer, it turned out to be a car on fire - which explained the
sudden appearance of the fire engine.
26 December 1999
Steve went on Wednesday to spend Christmas with his parents, so
we were left alone in the house. The Snowball
students (the three who didn't go home for Christmas) has been
invited to a local family, so we didn't have anyone with us on
On Christmas Eve, Paul and the boys walked round to the two
Slovak students with a couple of boxes of chocolates for them -
it was the best excuse to get them out of the house to let off
some energy. The rain came down in torrents, and by
the time we got home we were as wet as I have ever been outside a
swimming pool. Still, it encouraged the boys to
On Boxing Day, Sue's sister Pip and her family came round after
lunch, and we all had an enjoyable and varied time
together. the boys enjoyed showing their cousins how
to build a 'droid' on the latest computer game they had received
for Christmas, and the guitar even came out for a little
20 December 1999
The news from the Crisis Centre as of Friday is that the man I
prayed for the previous week is still off the drink, and going on
with the Lord. Please keep praying for him.
Thinking about it, there are a few other things to say
about that evening. I took the two students out on
the street after praying for this chap. It was cold
and wet, and we didn't find anyone to give any tracts to, apart
from the couple who we brought back to the Centre. I
chatted to them a bit, and in the breaks in the conversation
prayed for them and the first man.
Two or three times that evening, he looked across to me, and
said, "You're praying for me again - I can feel it."
That was good - a nice, gentle, ongoing confirmation of what our
Father had started to do in his life.
Less easy to cope with was the way he said, "You must be a
really holy person." Simply denying it didn't make
any difference, but it was a useful open door to explaining
that God answers our prayers because He loves us, not because we
are very good. The wonder is that God uses really
ordinary people - we know this in our heads, but there is nothing
like wonderfully answered prayer to help us feel how totally
unworthy we are.
16 December 1999
Our car, stolen at the end of November, was returned by the
garage today. We had been trying to contact them for
most of this week, to find out when it was due to be fixed, so
this came as a pleasant surprise. Very little has
been stolen from the car, which is also a very nice surprise -
the road atlas, sunglasses and jump leads were all still
there. So were a number of items in the glove
compartment, including a pound coin. It could have
been much worse, and we are very grateful for that.
10 December 1999
I (Paul) took two of the students to the Bristol Crisis Centre
tonight, as part of their 'work experience'. We went
out into Bristol and brought a homeless couple back to the Centre
for the first hot meal they have had since arriving in Bristol
several days ago.
Earlier in the evening, I had started talking with another man,
about my age, in the Centre. It
turned out he was an alcoholic (no surprise there) wanting to
get his life together again. I won't go into all his
personal details, but it wasn't good. His sister, a
worked at the Centre, and he had arranged to stay with her and
her husband from tonight. One of the staff who knew
him a bit asked if he would like us to pray for him.
He agreed, and three of us went downstairs to pray.
I was asked to pray for this man, and as I prayed the Holy
Spirit came upon him. As he described it afterwards,
he felt a strange tingling sensation come down on him, and he
opened his life up to God. Tears were running down
his cheeks. We talked and prayed a bit
more. He was so overjoyed to discover that God is
real, that God loves him, and was present in his life.
We discovered that one of the other men present happens to live
man's sister, so he arranged for the pair of them to go to church
together on Sunday.
I don't want to make too much of this. I didn't
explain the gospel to him as fully as I would have wished, and
while he was not drunk, some, maybe most of the emotion will have
been produced by the alcohol he has been living on for too
long. But despite that, I know that God stepped into
his life and experience and did something - whether he
was fully born again, or just brought much closer to the Kingdom,
only time will tell. But please pray for
him. Whatever happened, his life is not going to be
easy over the next few months.
8 December 1999
Sue's job is proving to be as challenging as
anticipated. However, the people there are supportive
and encouraging, which helps enormously.
Paul and Steve are coping with the boys in Sue's absence, adn
the boys are coping with being looked after by Paul and
Steve. This new arrangement takes some getting used
to, by all concerned.
The Snowball puppet tour round the local schools is going well,
and proving to be very popular. Unfortunately, two of
the students have been sick since the weekend, so Rob is talking
part, and on Monday Traci joined the team to make up the
numbers. She managed this without having taken part
in any of the rehersals - a true professional! On
Monday afternoon, the show was re-worked so that it could be
performed by three people.
Please pray for the two students, that they be restored to full
29 November 1999
This morning, Sue started work at Knightstone. Very
apprehensive about what the challenge will bring.
In the afternoon, returning from St Edyths after a Snowball
training session, Paul noticed that our red Cavalier was not
outside the house. After phoning several people to
check it had not been borrowed, he notified the police, to
discover it had already been found illegally parked and taken to
the car pound.
There followed a lengthy period on the telephone talking to all
the interested parties. This was not made any easier
by the telephone company progressively disconnecting the lines to
the house in mid-conversation, so the final calls were made on
Sue reported later that having her car stolen certainly got her
the sympathy vote on her first day at work. We are
told by the people at the car pound that one door is badly
damaged and the ignition wiring has been pulled out - probably
not a surprise - but in general it had been better treated than
many they see.
28 November 1999
The men from the cable company came round today to sort out our
phones. The wrong numbers are on the wrong lines, and
they did not come prepared to install the new line we
need. Steve spends a long time explaining what we
want and what they agreed to do, in words of one
syllable. We think they understood.
27 November 1999
The computers were moved today, so we are 'here' both physically
and electronically. The boys are relieved they can
play some computer games again.
One of the telephone lines coming into the house went dead this
morning. The number is still ringing, but we don't
know where and nobody answers. The telephone men are
coming round tomorrow afternoon to sort the phones out, so this
should not be a problem for long.
25 November 1999
The Europe Now office moved from 168 today, and Paul's parents
came to stay for a few days. The idea is that Paul's
Dad will be able to dismantle the garden shed panels we moved
from Guildford, move them to Abbeywood, and put them together
again. Opinions are divided on whether the remains of
the shed are up to this treatment.
19 November 1999
The removal men and Steve's parents both came today, so it was
quite hectic. His parents very much like the house -
they are much more enthusiastic about it than Steve, who does not
get very excited about bricks and mortar.
18 November 1999
The first proper load of items from the store came last
Friday when Sue spent the day with two removal men and a
van. Since then, Paul has done several more trips
with the car. The removal men are booked again
tomorrow, and we hope to empty the store then. One
less ongoing expense!
We have worked out who will get which rooms, at least for the
next few months. Alan is not impressed at getting the
smallest bedroom, but he will be on his own, it won't be used to
store lots of other things, and it is bigger than his previous
bedroom - so we think it's a fair deal. But it looks
at the moment like we will have next to no furniture for the
family lounge. Trips to the local second-hand shops
are being planned.
10 November 1999
Sue has been offered a job. 'Team Supervisor' for
Housing Association - it seems like quite a pressured and
responsible job (not really what we were looking for) but the
hours are good, the pay is reasonable and they work
flexitime. Sue talks to Val, who says a job in the
hand is worth ten in the bush, so we decide she should accept
The job interview was in the morning, and they phoned with the
offer while Sue was taking Ian to his violin lesson in the
car. Ian answered the phone in a very professional
way - it must run in the family!
Sue is now very shell-shocked, and wondering how she will cope
with being a full time employee again.
8 November 1999
We exchanged contracts on Abbeywood! Now the fun
bit starts. We have not yet decided who will have
which rooms, apart from Steve having the attic, and Paul &
Sue having one of the two larger bedrooms. The
previous owners had a dog, so we need to clean thoroughly before
we move in, or Paul will not be able to breathe.
Paul does his first full day with Europe Now, working with the
students on the Snowball training. The subject is
'Creation' - a nice easy one to get started with...
1 November 1999
The eXchange have not found anyone to replace Paul yet - can he
work part time on a temporary basis? After
consulting and praying with the church leadership at Highgrove
and with the folk at Europe Now, it seems this is the right
thing to do. It will give us a bit longer to raise
the support we need, and the Snowball programme can be made to
fit without too much difficulty.
14 October 1999
Paul handed in his resignation to the eXchange.
Last day working in Gloucester, some time w/c 8 November.