Paul & Sue Hazelden
- Family News -
July to December 2000

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Sue's health | Paul's health

Sunday 31 December

We had thought of taking the boys in to Bristol to see the fireworks, and celebrate the new millennium, but the weather was too miserable. So we stayed in and worked on the jigsaw. The boys stayed up to midnight, then all to bed.

The jigsaw is worth describing. It is a drawn plan of an American city, with all the streets bar one at right angles, and almost all the blocks being filled with buildings which are repeated numerous times. So there were vast numbers of seemingly identical pieces, and you couldn't place anything bar one large building in the right area of the jigsaw until you managed to tie it in to something else. Fiendish!

Monday 25 December

Not quite the day we had anticipated. I left the alarm set, assuming that we would be woken much earlier. But it went off before any of the boys were moving - the excitement of the previous night must have caught up on them after all. Had an unexpectedly quiet breakfast with my Bible and reading notes before anyone else came down to join me. In the end, it was quarter past ten before the boys had finished breakfast, and half past before we settled down to open the presents. We usually go to Church on Christmas Day, but the late start rather scuppered it this year. I briefly contemplated hauling them out of the house before opening their presents, but it really would not have been fair.

The rest of the day was quiet. I managed at long last to watch 'High Noon' - part of an ongoing attempt to catch up on some popular culture. I have still not managed to see 'The Wizard of Oz' or various other classics, but all in good time. We snacked in the afternoon, and Sue produced a magnificent Christmas Dinner with all the trimmings, with a reasonable amount of cooperation from the rest of the family.

Thursday 21 December

A couple of Police Officers came round to talk with Alan after school. Overall, I was not too impressed. They were pleasant enough, and fairly sympathetic, but gave the impression that it was all being done because that's what the procedures said. They gave the impression that they were looking for reasons not to do anything more - as opposed to the Community Police Officer I spoke to after Philip was attacked, who was actually trying to do what she could. But she has moved on.

Monday 18 December

Got back from the Crisis Centre in time to go round with Alan for the first half of his paper round. It looks like we will be doing this for a bit.

At lunchtime, Sue and I took her tapestry from Durham and the picture we bought while staying at Brunel Manor round the corner and ordered frames for them both - the first lunchtime for two or three weeks we have had free to do this.

It seems Christmas is finally settled - we will stay in Bristol, and Paul's parents and brother will come and stay the first weekend in January. The Missing Peace - the Coffee Shop at the Crisis Centre - will not open on the Monday and Tuesday of Christmas and the New Year, but will open for at least the normal hours on the other days. People keep asking if we are opening specially over Christmas, but the homeless are better looked after at this time of year than any other. We need to be there when the Christmas parties are over.

Saturday 16 December

Lunch with Sue's family at a pub in Newbury. Let it go on record that we were not only the first people to arrive, but we were also early! This may never happen again.

After the meal, I drove Alan back to Bristol while Sue and the other two socialised with the rest of the family at the Peackocks' house - Alan had not managed to arrange a replacement for his paper round. We arrived back just after 5, and Alan sorted the papers and then went straight out. About half past, he came back into the house in a dreadful state. He had been attacked by a group of boys. One had pushed him off his bike and started to punch and kick him.

The attack was almost a direct repeat of the one on Philip a couple of months ago. It is hard to maintain a Christian attitude at times like this.

I calmed Alan and settled him down, then went out and delivered his papers myself. At one point, I got talking with a couple of lads from Philip and Ian's school, one of who was drunk. maybe 10 or 11 years old. What sort of life do these kids have?

Friday 15 December

9 am, meeting about the Crisis Centre Homegroup. Very successful and encouiraging: dave and Kim have been thinking long the same lines as Andy, Trudie and myself.

Back to the office, and have a chat with another chap who wants to become the Coffee Shop Manager: a good background, and lots of relevant detail on the application form and CV.

Grab a quick lunch to celebrate Trudie's birthday, then back to the office for Valerie Davis, our MP. We described the work we do, then asked her a few questions and she replied and talked with us for an hour. I was very impressed with both her understanding of the issues and personal experience. She helped us understand Government policy a bit better, and gave some useful advice. All in all, a very worthwhile experience. The only fly in the ointment - I forgot to take a photograph of her with us for the next newsletter.

Wednesday 13 December

Philip's birthday. After school, I took him and Ian into Bristol for him to open a bank account, then we went over the road and they bought a Gameboy and two games with their own money. They have bought it together, and are sharing it well - Sue and I are very impressed. We'll make human beings of them yet! So, a very happy and successful birthday for Philip.

In the evening, I went out for a drink with a few chaps from Highgrove. Very enjoyable and enlightening. Got to know some folk better in one evening than in a whole year of chatting politely after Sunday services.

Tuesday 12 December

Last minute changes to the Management Report for tonight's meeting. It's still difficult to know just how much they want to know about the day-to-day work at CCM.

Sit down with Trudie and go through the papers she has received for the CNHC meeting in London tomorrow. CNHC are promoting the 'Megabite' initiative - a nationwide meal voucher scheme. We don't yet know why they want to do this, or what they hope to achieve, or how it is to be organised or funded, or even what the 'Operational Cycle' they have given us actually means. The cycle, we are told, will be 'deconstructed' in the meeting. This may well prove to be the case.

Very productive meeting with the Council of Management this evening. They responded well to the ideas and plans I put forward in draft, and promised to read and consider them in detail later. And while the Management were considering other matters, I had a useful conversation with Paul Griffiths about his involvement in the ministry, and what we could do with the basement.

Monday 11 December

Keeping a record of what we are doing is getting increasingly difficult. Running with both Europe Now and the Crisis Centre is 'challenging'. There has been hardly a spare moment once the absolute minimum has been done for both groups. And when I do find a minute or two, it is increasingly difficult to know what to say.

Some of the stuff I'm doing is fairly standard: answering letters and emails, telling people about the work each group does, meeting with the other staff and working through the action lists.

But a large amount of my time is spent talking with people. It is often a mixture of medium-term strategic planning with short-term crisis management and long-term dreams. A mixture of envisioning, goal-setting and counselling.

In short, it is proving almost impossible to say anything honest and useful about most days: I can say I completed a report to the Council of Management, or arranged for a plumber to sort out the leaking pipes at the rear of the building, but almost nothing about any of the conversations. In the long-term, we are talking about building the Kingdom of God, in the medium-term, we are talking about plans which ought to be distributed and discussed by the relevant people before I describe them here, and most of the short-term details are either too trivial or too personal to put down.

So what can I say? One thing I'm working on is a more detailed review of all CCM acivities - building on a review undertaken by the Management over the Summer. Paul Thaxter, from the Shaftesbury Society, is helping me to ask the appropriate questions and draft the report. It is exciting, on several levels.

Firstly, on a personal level, it is great to be able to do something significant and have someone who knows what they are doing to help me. I know it sounds a bit selfish, but most of the time in the past any help I've had has generally been from people as ignorant and inexperienced as me, so this is a wonderfully refreshing experience.

Secondly, I believe we are tapping into something that is very close to God's heart. Holding the gospel and social concern close together is an incredibly powerful experience. Another reason why it has been so difficult to write anything is that I am so excited by this work.

And, thirdly, it is such a privilege to be able to play a part in shaping this ministry, which holds such a strategic place in the city of Bristol.

Friday 10 November

Join Alan on the 8 o'clock bus into town this morning, as I have a 9 o'clock meeting with Andy, Jill and Trudie about the Crisis Centre Homegroup. At 11 o'clock, just about to sit down with Trudie and talk about staff contracts when Sue rings: Philip has had an accident at school, and cut his lip quite badly. It seems it was a pure accident, knocking heads with one of his friends.

Drop everything and head off, pick up Philip from school and Lord of the Rings from home, and on to Southmead Hospital. We are seen by the Triage nurse soon after 12, and she isn't sure if he will need stiches: expect to wait 1½ or maybe 2 hours to see a doctor. We are called about 2:30, but then sit in the treatment room for another half hour. The doctor comes,and isn't sure, but promises to call in the expert. Philip finishes Lord of the Rings - for the second time! - and we wait a bit longer. Soon after 3:30, the expert comes. He isn't sure either, so we decide on balance to leave it. We beat a hasty retreat, and start to think about getting some lunch.

Steve Poulard is in France at the moment, so Sue has to leave work to collect Ian, and then realises that she has given her house keys to Steve Frost, the chap on the Puppet Seminar staying with us...

It all works out, and in the evening, Sue takes Ian to see the puppet show at the end of the seminar.

Thursday 9 November

Meeting arranged by Steve Abbott with Dave Bishop and some other church leaders in Bristol. This could be quite a significant meeting - or, at least, the start of something significant. It also provides a good opportunity to talk with Mike Pears, which is something I've been wanting to do for a while. Mike gives me a life to the garage, where the car is in for an MOT. £176, after work on a wheel bearing and a bit of welding: Not bad, for a vehicle that age, George says.

Friday 3 November

Europe Now staff meeting this morning - the first for three weeks, for various reasons. The Puppet Seminar next week is actually reasonably organised, as far as we can tell. It seems we are putting up one of the punters, and feeding two of them. Although, given the week we have planned, it seems that feeding them will mainly consist of pointing them to the food and saucepans. What we don't know is whether either of them can cook...

Rob can't come out tonight after all - his son Ryan has Chicken Pox (although he insists it is freckles!), so he can't use the baby-sitter they have booked. I can't get in touch with Alan Jenner, so I have to go down into Bristol to hang around to see if Alan turns up. He doesn't.

Monday 30 October

Philip and Ian have an Inset day. Philip is booked in to see the doctor at 9:20, so I take them both with the idea of taking them on to visit 'Explore @Bristol'. Somehow the doctor is running half an hour late, so you can imagine what sitting in the waiting room was like. Philip's name is called, and I pick up their coats while they race in.

As I enter the doctor's room, I hear her laughing. She has had a dreadful morning, with every patient having numerous complicated problems. Philip marches in, pulls up his trouser leg and announces "I've got ringworm." It's simple, treatable, and such a nice change. I explain to Philip that it is traditional to let the doctor make the diagnosis, but she doesn't mind in the slightest.

It turns out that what they really want to do is go home and play on the computer, so that is what we do. I catch up with some paperwork, but to be honest, not much, as I am feeling increasingly dreadful as the day goes on: headache, cold and aching, and worried that I'm going to be sick.

I head off to the Crisis Centre AGM a bit early, on the grounds that I'm not entirely convinced I should be driving, and if I leave it much later, I might become sure. Once at the venue - Etloe Evangelical - the symptoms start to improve, and the Management Council meeting and AGM are both relatively pleasant affairs.

Derek Groves manages to attend the AGM, which is quite a relief, but he looks quite ill from the Parkinsons Disease. It is good for people to be able to see him and talk with him again, even if it is only for a brief while.

Saturday 28 October

We plan to lie in, but Sue's father rings at about eight. I suppose it's a lie-in of sorts. I am absolutely shattered after last week: up at seven each morning, and not in bed most days before half past one in the morning.

We have a civilised lunch with Steve, then hunt round the electronics shops for a hinge-less personal organiser for Sue. Can't decide the best option here. Then Sue does some shopping while I sauna, and we meet up again to see Billy Elliot. Where were they going in the scene on the suspended moving bridge? And where is that bridge???

Friday 27 October

I spend the day at a 'Drugs Awareness' training seminar. The content was very basic, but it was a good chance to meet people. Sue and Sally took the kids to Bath and had a good time there, then Sally took Alan and hers back to Guildford, while Sue took Philip and Ian off to Cub Camp. We are childless for the weekend!

Sue came out with os on the Open Air tonight. Alan Jenner joined us again, as did two lads from the Navigators: a team of six. Brilliant! Evven before we started painting up, two bouncers came up to us. I spent between ten and fifteen minutes talking with one, Matt, while Rob spoke with the other. The conversation with Matt was reasonably representative of the sorts of conversations we have...

Matt was baptised a Catholic, but turned his back on them because they are 'hypocrites' - I didn't explore that one. He talked about the Jews and Arabs fighting in the Middle East, so I outlined the teaching of the three religions about war and killing. He wanted to believe that all religions teach the same thing 'really', but it was a difficult one to maintain given his opening point. I then started to focus on the questions of a relationship with God and a changed life - we need His help, guidance and strength to live the way He wants. He thought I had a point, but it is hard to know 'which of them is Up There' - presumably, which religion's God is real. I pointed out that, whichever God is Up There, if He just waits for us to become good, we don't have much chance, but if he wants to communicate with us and reveal Himself to us and help us, our only hope is to respond to Him and accept His offers. At this point Matt moved on, thanking me sincerely for being willing to come out and talk with people about our faith.

Alan did the first message. up to twenty people watching at a time. Nobody responded to the invitation, but one navigator got into a conversation with one man, and Alan talked with two others, eventually praying for one to receive physical healing. There way another conversation after then next message, and after the third, a yound lad maybe ten or twelve years old responded to the invitation. He had to dash away with his group at the end, but I managed to give him the version of 'Return to God' designed for young people.

Thursday 26 October

Staff meeting at the Crisis Centre. We end up talking all morning. It is not what I had intended, but Andy and Trudie seem to appreciate the opportunity.

Sally Pryde and her kids come to stay for the night. Sue and Sally have a wonderful time catching up, and I go out with Paul Price to the Woodlands Discipleship meeting.

Monday 23 October

Rob drives me down to Kensington Baptist, where he is running the Children's Club every morning this week. I am helping him Monday to Wednesday, but have to be elsewhere on Thursday and Friday. There are 48 kids the first day, enthusuastic and not too badly behaved.

Saturday 21 October

The 'France Day'. Not as many people as we had hoped, but very interested and enthusiastic. I do ten minutes introducing Europe Now and Open Air campaigners, then Mark takes ten minutes to cover French history and culture. He skipped a bit.

In the afternoon, we split into four groups for the first two sessions - a new development for the France Day, which seems to work well. In the first session after lunch, Mark leads one group on Short Term Missions, then in the second Mark and I cover On-Line evangelism. Mark does his introduction to postmodernism, and I describe the web site and the philosophy behind it. Very good feedback on this.

Friday 20 October

We collect Mark from Val's house, then go back and spend the morning talking about working with OAC, and some of the issues we have identified over the years. Talk a bit about the possible new evangelism training course we are thinking of developing together.

Thursday 19 October

First thing, I am at St Michael on the Mount for their school Harvest Festival, speaking about the work of the Crisis Centre. This goes well, although the invitation said 'ten minutes' but the Head Teacher insisted on keeping to five. Collect up all the food the children have given, and take it back to the Crisis Centre. Interestingly, there were more parents persent than the Head had ever seen before - nearly 40 of them, sitting behind the 200 children.

A busy day at the Crisis Centre, then dash home, finish packing, and Rob drives me to the airport, from where I fly to Newcastle. Meet Mark Howe at the other end, then we are picked up by Dave Glover, the new National Director of OAC GB.

Dave drives us to Val Cowan's house, where we introduce the pair of them, leave Mark, and then I go back with Dave to stay at his home. Meet Sue, his wife.

Friday 13 October

Fame! Sue and some of the other folk at Knightstone were interviewed by Radio Bristol yesterday, and the interviews were broadcast at around 7:30 this morning. The item was about teddy bears bungee jumping, so the whole thing was treated with great solemnity. Sue came across really well on air - she ought to do more radio work.

Saturday 7 October

Sue goes out to take Philip and Ian to the Saturday Club at Portway School, and discovers the car is leaking petrol. It turns out that the fuel line has been cut. We seem to be fortunate the car was not set on fire at the same time.

I phone the Fire Brigade, and they come and hose the road and make the area safe. Try several garages, who don't appear to work on a Saturday morning, then the Fire Brigade remind me that we are covered by the AA, and they promise to come out.

Steve and I leave for Nottingham, leaving Sue with the car waiting for the AA. It is the OAC GB AGM, and David Fanstone is standing down after 32 years - very emotional for all concerned.

Tuesday 3 October

Second day at the Crisis Centre. One of the highlights of the day is coping with a very distressed man who was raped on Friday last week, mugged yesterday, and thrown out of his accommodation today. What can you say? And, of course, the reasons why he has nowhere to live are very much his own fault.

Back home, the computer has suddenly decided it only has 16Mb memory, instead of the 32Mb the BIOS recognises (it's really 80Mb, but the BIOS can't see more than 32 for some reason). So Windows won't load. Open the box up, pull out and plug in the memory cards, and suddenly the 32Mb is back. I really don't like this.

Monday 2 October

First day at the Crisis Centre. Lots of reading, talking with people, trying to get up to speed with all the different issues and concerns they all have. One staffing crisis, as the Coffee Shop Manager left on Friday, and another looming when all the regular Team Leaders are due to be away for a week...

One good aspect of this new work - the Crisis Centre is just round the corner from Sue's work, so when I work in the morning (most days during the first two weeks!) we can drive in to Bristol together, and we can meet up some lunchtimes.

The computer at home is really sick. Backup the key files, format c: (never done that before!) and install windows. It all seems to work.

Sunday 1 October

Sue is not feeling well, and sleeps all morning. She recovered a bit after lunch, and we take Philip and Ian over the road to play with their new flying ring and the 'stomp rocket' - still wonderful fun. In the evening, to the Celebration in the Council House, with Jeff Lucas speaking.

The computer has been going slower and slower over the past few weeks. Something is clearly not right. Try and reboot, and the boot up sequence grinds to a halt before it is complete. Aargh!

Saturday 30 September

With Steve to Bletchley Park, where we meet my parents and Roger. What a wonderful place! We were shown round by a Mr (maybe Dr) Jarvis, who is a sort of Korky character. Only managed to see a fraction of what they have, and we want to go back and see the rest.

Sue spent the day looking after the boys, but not doing much with them as she doesn't feel too well.

Friday 22 September

Interview for the job with the Crisis Centre today. We talk for a couple of hours, and then they formally offer me the job. This makes Sue - as one of the trustees - my boss now.

Friday 15 September

Back from Alessandria. A dreadful journey, from beginning to end! Still, it is good to be home. You can read the 'official' Alessandria Ministry Report on the trip, and I might manage to fill in some of the gaps when things settle down.

While I was away, Christian Herald ran the article which Paul Alkazraji wrote on the Slovak sisters and the Snowball course. It's nice to be in print! Two of the pictures had their descriptions swopped, but at least they got the email address and telephone number right.

Thursday 24 August

Took the boys to the dentist this morning. Check-ups for them - discovered that Philip needs a filling, the first for any of them. I needed a filling - turned out to be a large hole in one of my wisdom teeth. Not a pleasant experience.

Went into Bristol and met Sue for lunch, then Alan went off home on the bus while I took Philip and Ian to 'Explore at Bristol'. We stayed until past seven, and still did not get to look at everything. It was tremendous. The boys especially enjoyed playing virtual volleyball, and the tornados were a real hit, too. As was the treadmill and the water feature. I wish we had spent all day there, now.

Tuesday 22 August

The BGA Newsletter arrived today, and there was a reference to the Bristol club. Sue realised that I don't have Team Supper on Tuesday evenings at present, and suggested I phone up to check they were meeting tonight. They were, and off I went to the Polish ex-service men's club in Clifton.

Eventually found the club, then found the room used by the Bristol go club. Fourteen people, quiet as mice, all playing go. Watched a game for 45 minutes, then invited to play someone who has just been promoted to 7 kyu. I was 8 kyu 18 months ago, so took black. Eventually won by 64 - 5, a much larger margin than I expected. Played again as white, and won by resignation. Gosh - it must be beginners' luck, or something.

Monday 21 August

In the evening, there is a steering group for the Woodlands missionary work. It's probably a typical Woodlands meeting: there is no agenda, no written purpose, no previous minutes, and everybody thinks we are there for a different reason. But still, it's a useful meeting to get to know some of the other folk at Woodlands.

At the end, as I get out of Tanya's sofa, my knee twinges again. It's been much better for the past few days, and I thought I had recovered.

Thursday 17 August

Halfway through grace at Brunel Manor, the phone goes. Steve rining to tell us that Philip and Ian need to be picked up from camp. They have a bug going round, and everyone is being sent home a day early. So much for the leisurely journey and siteseeing on the way home.

We pack up and leave. Dash up the motorway, and arrive at the campsite at 12 noon. There is one lad left, apart from our boys. Still, it seems that they behaved themselves well, and had a good time. Ian missed his Mummy a bit, but coped.

Wednesday 16 August

In the morning, we do the Model Village at Babbacombe - it's the sort of thing our boys would hate, but full of delightful little details, and understated humour.

Then down to Brixham, where William of Orange landed in 1688, and spend an hour or so going over the replican of the Golden Hind - Francis Drake's ship - moored in the harbour. Lots of history. Then another exhibition of local artists.

Tuesday 15 August

I hobble down to the swimming pool before breakfast, but nobody else comes, so I can't swim. Thought it might do the knee some good. Do the Woodland Walk and Morning Meditation instead.

We take the shortest route down to the nearest beach, where we eat our sandwiches. It's a delightful little cove. Take the scenic route back, and get fairly wet, but enjoy the beautiful scenery.

The staff do a concert in the evening. Some of the items are quite hilarious - they have some very talented people working there.

Monday 14 August

The weather is still wet, so we visit Kent's Cavern. Very impressive, and a good tour. Afterwards, it has cleared up a bit, so we walk down a footpath and I slip and twist my right knee. Very painful. I spend the rest of our time at Brunel Manor hobbling around with a walking stick.

On the way back, we stop at an exhibition of local artists. Some of the pieces are very good, and we end up buying one very reasonable unframed work.

Sunday 13 August

Church in the morning, a quick lunch, then goodbye to Alan and we set off with Philip and Ian. Deposit them at the Cub campsite at Almondsbury, then off down the motorway to Brunel Manor. The weather is foul - really wet - but we arrive just in time for the cream tea - an important objective achieved! Hope the boys will be okay at their camp. We plan to join them for the Camp Fire on Friday evening, and take them home after that.

After tea we unpack, then join in the evening service. We have found our spiritual home! We knew every song they sang - apart from one, which was taught to us all.

Friday 4 August

Six people in the Open Air team tonight! And more people around the Hippodrome. Rob went first, and we got two good conversations afterwards - one with a family who stayed and listed right through. I went next, and almost from the very start was heckled by a lady and gentleman, but mostly the lady. It was quite a challenge, but I'm sure she helped to draw the crowd, and she was so awkward everyone else was on my side and wanting to hear the message. She was the only one present who wanted me to define precisely what 'social justice' means, and to explain the relationship between the Old and New Testaments - just two of the many side tracks she attempted to draw us down.

The message over, I went and talked with her as I had promised, and we kept talking on and off for the next fifty minutes. Steve, one of the team members, came over and helped. Everyone else was in conversations, and people kept on coming up and asking what the picture was about, so I talked through the message another three or four times. Some of these folk were really open, but they all heard something of God's love for them.

Among the people who came up were Dave and Len, two faces from the meetings we did before Easter. Dave says he is now a 'born-again Christian' but I couldn't find out much more about him before he launched into our antagonistic lady. He has a new flat, which seems to be a step in the right direction for him. Dave and this lady had a fairly intensive interchange for a short while, then he and Len had to leave.

It's difficult to summarise what she was saying. It seems that she feels God let her down in some very painful way in the past, so she doesn't believe in him, but she just did not like what we were doing. However, Steve and I managed to give her a fair amount of testimony, and explained the gospel message several times, and towards the end she thought that what we were doing was a 'good thing', and wished us well. It may have been progress. Please pray for her and all these people we contacted tonight.

Sunday 30 July

Rob and I did the family service at Ivy Pentecostal Church in St Pauls this morning. It seemed to go fairly well _ I did the sermon, and Rob did the childrens' bit with his puppet, and we both received a round of applause at the end of our slots. Not a normal experience in a church service!

Friday 28 July

Three people on the Open Air team - Alan Jenner, Rob Davis and myself. Hard work: not many people around, but a few conversations. The most memorable was with a young lady who thinks she likes Buddhism, and would like when she dies to come back as a frog. Or maybe a bee. We did not point out she clearly knows nothing about Buddhism. She used to go to a Sunday School in a good Baptist Church, but the gospel message had never registered. We talked about how to know God, and gave our testimonies, and then it was late so we drove her home.

21 July

The Open Air team tonight was just Alan Jenner and me. Again, the numbers were very low - it must be that the students have left Bristol for the Summer.

However, we did have a bunch of Italian students stop, listen and talk. A couple of them were very open to the gospel, and Alan talked with them for some time. One was very closed, but she still talked with me for twenty minutes or so. "Your answer is not good enough for me," she said at one point, to which I replied, "Fine - tell me a better answer." She couldn't, of course.

She reminded me very much of myself thirty years ago. I didn't want the gospel message to be true, but found that every other possibility I explored was even less credible. She is still looking and hoping to find another option. We talked through several of the alternatives, and I gave my testimony. Please pray that God will speak to her through this contact.

Walking back to the car at the end, we met a chap we had briefly met earlier. He wanted to know what we had been doing, so out came the picture I had painted and we talked him and his girl friend through the message, then stood and talked outside Yates's Wine Bar for another ten minutes or so. They were interested enough to take a 'Return to God' - Alan doesn't give them away unless he is sure someone is genuinely interested - and they also took the painting away.

16 July

Preaching at Westborough. Speaking on part of the sermon the mount. We have a power cut in the middle, which will make the tape interesting. Catch up on some of the church news afterwards, then Andy provides lunch, and I go and visit David Race. For someone who has recently had a relapse with his ME, he is remarkably bright.

Return home via Bracknell, where I manage a swim and sauna and catch up with some other friends, and then on to Bristol, arriving just before midnight.

14 July

The Open Air team today consisted of Alan Jenner, myself and Chris from our church - her first experience. There were fewer people around than usual, and very few stopped, but we met up with one chap - Mike - who stayed for a whole message, and invited us to come back to the bar where he worked.

When we had finished the Open Air, we went and found Mike, and ended up talking with him and some friends (Nicco, Tracy and Karl) for about an hour and a half. It was quite an experience - at one point, to emphasise something he had just said, Mike took out a hunting knife and drove it into the wooden counter between us. But he and Nicco especially were hungry to hear how God's truth could start to make sense of their lives and answer some of their basic questions. Very New Age, but also hungry and searching for truth. They need a lot of prayer.

13 July

My mother's birthday, and the final performance of 'Ocean Commotion' which I see this time. Sue is right - they have done a wonderful job.

12 July

This morning, we had a phone call from Sue Howe in France. Norman Want, one of the Festival Outreach team leaders in Avignon, died in his sleep last night. Much prayer is requested for the team and especially his wife, June and their family.

8 July

Visit the Stephensons for their Open House in Essex, and meet Peter Hooper - not Sue's university friend, but the husband (now the widower) of one of my mothers' school friends.

7 July

Stay overnight with Paul & Sue Cockburn, which is always an enjoyable experience.

3 July

The Open Air Evangelism training seminar in Nottingham begins.

2 July

Visit the Jenkins for their 'Open House' while on holiday in this country, in Oxfordshire.

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