Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Arrived home

Just to let you know we have all arrived home safe.
In some ways the times has went so quickly and yet as we look back on the trip it seems so long since the first blog about Brazil.
Will try to process some of my thoughts and maybe get some down on the blog.
thanks for your prayers and support,

Saturday, 12 July 2008

The journey

We begin our journey home tomo afternoon. Unto the boat for 24 hours then we stop in manaus and then fly to london via Sau Paulo.

Today was a good day. We split into three teams and worked on houses- mainly timber work. One team worked on a house that s back yard is literally a swamp during the rainy season. They put decking down so that the back door did not open into the water. Also had a great water fight with the kids here. The other two teams repannelled a house each. It was hard work today as the guys have given so muchs and are tired. They all put the extra effort in, right until the end.

What we have done here is so small and compared to the great need that has surrounded us. toucking only a few families in the 45000 people that live here- all of them within 5000 buildings. You could spend a life time serving just one street. Yet we hope that in some small way what we have done makes a diifference to someone. Tonight we went to the house that had the floor put in. That the 8 kids that live there now have a proper floor to sleep on- i hope that in some small way we have given a little glimpse of God. A God who cares about real people. Who moves into the neighbourhood, draws close and embraces people in the highs and lows of life. We trust we have done what we were meant to do and served where we where meant to serve. Not entering this beautiful place claiming to have all the answers, but doing what we can- hoping that if one day that if we were in the same position they would do the same. There is a part of me that is frightened of my fingerprint upon this place. With my longing to help and to provide for people that our in need, believing that God wants us to reach out to those who are in need whatever that need may be. And there is no doubt that there is a need in this place- there is poverty, there are kids that are not getting the attention they need, ther is hoplessness and a sense that that peoples lives are passing buy without purpose. The tension is trying to figure out who we meet these needs and and bring hope to people, without bringing our own pollution. A pollution that corrupts the simplicity and beauty of this place- that when familes are given more that maybe the kids won´t play in the puddles in the streets anymore because they are sitting in their room playing their PS3; that people wont have time to stop and talk and listen because they are rushing to meet the next deadline. We need to be careful of what our solutions are and what our best is. I believe that God is able to bring hope to these people, to bring purpose, real life; but maybe God looks at this place and sees yes the need and hurt, but in it He also sees the beauty more clearly. A place where time looses some of its significance. I am frightened that in throwing my answers to this place- i miss what God is painting here.

We leave maues tomorrow- dont think that has really hit me. Will miss this place and the big brown eyes of the kids that we have been spending our days with.

Friday, 11 July 2008

Sorry for delay

Sorry i havent been able to keep this up dated the last few days...no internet.
Here is the brief run down-
On tuesday we were back at the house finishing the house that we were puttying the floor in- finished putting the wall around it as well. Guys worked really hard at it all days and a local guys finished the floor off witrh a red dye that they use. Amazing contrast. Some of the guys also gave out hampers and were inviting some of the kids to the kids club.
wednesday- was dedictaed over to getting ready for kids club. Which started that afternoon- around 150 kids turned up. Then last night we slept out in the jungle hut- amazing experince and we are staying ther tonight again. Then today we were working on a house in the morning. Clearing all of the area around his house. He had been working on the new house for around 3 years so far and can only do more to it as he gets the money. In the mean time they share a house with another family. Then some of the guys were at kids club and the rest went to collçect wood for our work tomorrow.

Just wantied to let you know we´re all keeping well incase any1 in worrying. Guys are tired but good, r

Tuesday, 8 July 2008


Today we went to work on houses in Maues. The guys split into three teams, lee and jones headed back to the jungle retreat to finish off the electric- and find a few more spiders lol. The other two teams we working on houses. One team worked on the house ry and jonny were at on sat, continuing to put the foundation wall around the house so that they will be able to put in a concrete floor. The other team were helping to repair a house. Removing all of the rotten wooden boards from one side of it and replacing them- surprisng how quickly the guys pick up the required skills.

Was a great day for the team- working a way at the houses while must of the neighbours come to spectate. we ara all surprised by the amount kids that are constantly about this place, was brilliant to have them running around while we worked. The girls even had a game of the old favourite duck. duck, goose on the go.

We have so many great photos- sadly the internet comnection is really slow so need time to get them uploaded. will try to get a couple up though.

As you walk around these streets and become more familiar with them, you just begin to love it all the more. Walking past street after street and seeing kids just content is teaching us a vauable lesson. To visit people who have all of their wordly possesions piled in a heap in the corner of the back yard is humbling or to view into someones house as you take the wooden boards away and in some ways you get the smallest glimpse ansd only a very small and limited glimpse into their world.

We are all good.

thanks, r

Sunday, 6 July 2008

First full day in Maues

Maues is a great place. The people are amazing and everyone we have met has been so welcoming and friendly. It is a small town, yet is very rural. There is something so beautiful about its simplicity. The way of life is much more relaxed and people seem to have more time. Since we arrived of transport has been the back of a lorry amd as we have been driving around you notice load of kids just out playing in dirt streets- some with a football, others just running araond. I cant help but feel that we and the kids back home are missing something; hidden away in front of computer screens. To see community in action; kids safe to run around has been refreshing. Today as we drove home after a down pour of rain we drove past the end of a street that had loads of kids kids just running around is a giant muddy puddle. We are missing something.

Today we went out further into the jungle to a base that the church uses for retreats etc. It is really basic and trying to make our way there a guy had to machette his way through to clear a part of the road. We just helped to tidy it up. The guys helped to make a roof for part of it with bamboo shoots, they gathered grass from a large over grown area, dug a trench to bring electricity to one of the buildings and then wired the building- mainly thanks to Lee (but doesnt want people to know it was home- they dont have the same standards of health and safety here, frightened he might loose his job).

Jonny and Ryan headed off to work on a house. In was built on stilts- leaving it open to everything- elements and animals. They build a a foundation wall right around the house- for the woman who lived in it with a squad of kids.

We then returned home a rather sweaty, dirty and wet. We had met at the church at 7 and came back after 5 so it was along enough day. We then split and went to the church small groups.

So apart from beiong a bit tired everyone is keeping well.

Thanks to all for the comments they are being picked up and passed on, r

Friday, 4 July 2008


We have arrived safely in Maues.
We had a five hour flight from Rio to Manaus stopping for a moment in Brazillia. Then had a few hours to wait to get the boat- ended up in McDonalds in the middle of the amazon. Heat in Manaus was unbearable!!! Got boat, loads of people there, all in hammocks- will get pics up as soon as can. Travelled by boat for 20 hours- lightening storm on the way down; interesting!
Martin and the family met us at the airport and travelled down in the boat with us. we have now arrived safe in Maues. Just got fed and washed (it had been a while), everyone is keeping well.
Start into work proper tomorrow, think we are meeting some people from the church tonight.
Will talk soon, there is a little internet cafe in the middle of Maues- surreal!!

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Some photos

Arrived safely

Hey this is just a quick note to let you know that we have arrived safely.
It has been a long journey over, but has been rewarded by the 2 days we have had in Rio before we head on to Maues. All of the team are keeping well and this has been a great time for everyone to get used to the culture- we get to take in a few of the sights before the work kicks in; Christ the Redeemer and Sugar Loaf. It slightly over whelming to watch the sunset from the statue and see the view of Rio by night. The stop in Rio has been amazing, however there is an anticipation within us to get to Maues, because we know there is more to our time here. Please continue to pray for us, everything has went like clock work.
The Team

Saturday, 28 June 2008

Brazil 08

Brazil 08..... Tomorrow morning 13 of us from Lurgan Elim Church will set out to Brazil for just over two weeks. We will be stopping Rio and then travelling (by slow boat 16 hours) down the Amazon to a village called Maues. Maues is a small densly populated town, with great needs. There poverty and hopelessness is evident. The team will be working along side the church there, helping in the primary school, bringing food hampers, involved in kids work and carrying out practical work in the area.
This is a great opportunity and privilege for us as a team to be heading out. All of the guys have worked hard at raising funds for this trip. A big thankyou for eveyone who has supported us both practically, prayerfully and financially. thank you for believing in us and this work.
If you have a moment please pray for us; the team consists of myself, Lee Allen, Rebecca Barr, David Cheyne, David Dawson, Grace Gardiner, Calum Jones, Timmy Lawson, Jonny McKinley, William McShane, Ryan Patterson, Mandy Steenson and Chris Wing.
You will hopefully be able to keep up to date with our trip here and if you want to leave a comment for any of the team they will get it.

Wednesday, 11 June 2008


At His birth....chaos!
A teenage girl is suspiciously pregnant.
At His death.... chaos!
Darkness, defeat, disillusionment.

A God who appears to work His master plan in the midst of chaos. That He generates a powerful, beautiful, alternative kingdom against the backdrop of confusion, suffering and despair. At his birth, His death and throughout history God is a able to work through the chaos, and often appears to prefer it.
God is at work; at work in my chaos. Those times when life delivers the unexpected, when your unsure of the next move, when you cannot create space within your head. That God works in my chaos. He can work through it even though it's messy. That God can work through the chaos and something divine is happening. Something of God is at work.
God can work through the chaos and He is in complete control of it. Through it He can create something beautiful. Through those times that I cannot predict, understand or enjoy.....something divine is happening. Something of beauty is being created, Beauty that can only be observed in the depth of a persons soul.
I choose to believe that God has not given up on this world or generation. The He has not given up on me. That He is doing more than I can ever imagine. He works in the shadows, in mystery and the mundane. He even works in the chaos, the mess of my life and this world; creating something beautiful.

Thursday, 3 April 2008

Discrete Humble Life-Giving

I went to hear Brother Thierry speaking tonight at True. To be honest you don't really know what to expect when you are going to listen to a monk. However, I’d heard some good reports about this guy and I have to admit he is one of the few people that have lived up to expectation. His humble approach caught my attention straight away and I wanted to listen to all that he had to say. The conversation focused around ‘practicing the presence of God’, that the God of all creation dwells within us. How can we become intentionally aware of His presence in every area of our lives and also carry His presence into our living and being.
The disciplined lifestyle that Brother Thierry has chosen to live is stirring. Based on the three Benedictine principles of prayer, work and community he has sacrificed a lot. Hearing him talk of its reality you understand better the practicalities involved and also the satisfaction and fulfillment that he has been able to glimpse from this surrender. As I hunger for more of God this man’s life is a challenge to me, I’m forced to acknowledge that I know little about this level of sacrifice, dedication and discipline. Intimacy with God is costly and demanding.
One point that resonated with me tonight was in connection with my last blog. Brother Thierry mentioned that before we can love God and love other people and be filled with more compassion, we must begin to accept and love ourselves. As we accept the reality of who we are, we are more capable of loving other broken people. In my last blog I talked about loving people unconditionally with no agenda, yet having this desire to see them grow and move forward and find something of the life that was designed for them. Tonight Brother Thierry was responding to a question on how we hear God’s voice. He said ‘the voice of God is a discrete, humble, life-giving voice’. It is not forceful, arrogant or controlling. As we take on Gods heart for people, as we join with Him as He calls them to follow after Him and in doing so they find life; we don't do it a forceful or manipulative way. We do it with this discrete and humble voice; a voice that is often recognized more through our actions than our words. A voice that calls clearly to people who are listening, yet does not trample upon their freedom to choose.

We need to learn to love more and better.

Friday, 28 March 2008


I dont want to fix people the way that i think that they should be fixed. Putting the pieces back together in the order that i think they should go in. Building a creation that I think is good. I don't want to be so arrogant to think that i have all of the solutions. That my way is best. However, I want people to grow. I want them to be stretched, to discover and become all who they can be. To see all of this potential within people lie dormant, unused or wasted- it frustrates me. To deal with the tension of people taking steps forward and then running backwards is sometimes incredibly difficult to bear. I think i am trying to figure out my role in all of this, what is it that is expected of me? My faith commissions me to make disciples- which in essence is bringing change into peoples lives. The people that i meet on all levels of relationship, I'm called to navigate them towards God. I think that this is a good thing- I think that people drawing close to God is incredible. But does it mean that in relationships that I always have an aganda? Does it mean that there is certain degree of manipulation? I want to love people unconditionally. That means accepting and loving them just as they are- without any of my little adjustments, changes and plans. How do I love someone this way when my mission is to see them transformed? I don't want to be someone who is constantly trying to fix people. Maybe i should concentrate more on simply loving people? Maybe all of these things come from relationship? Maybe I should concentrate on fixing myself? As an overflow of this people will be afftected, changed and transformed?
But maybe this is the same agenda only with a different approach?

Thursday, 27 March 2008

Wednesday, 26 March 2008


I dOn't wAnT YoU tO BeCoMe LikE Me oR tHe LitTlE grOuP I ExiSt WitH,
I ReaLly DoN'T tHinK i wAnT tO BeCoMe LiKE yOu EiTheR,
So hOw AbOuT wE JoIn oUr HaNds
aNd fRoM tHiS mOmEnt
We wALk To a plAcE
ThaT nEiThEr oF uS Has EvEr bEeN BeFoRe

Tuesday, 25 March 2008


This would be the dog Ty


This is home
Has been for the majority of my life
It' strange how somewhere can mean so much to you
Not because of the place
But because of the people
The connections
The familiarity