Marpril ’17

So I’ve been super slack and combined March and April into 1 blog post, called Marpril 😀

3 months I have now been in England. I now feel much more settled. I know my way around, I am driving at least twice a week and have got used to driving a manual, I have got money coming in, and too much going out, I have friends from work, church, the cafe and other churches. Life is for the most part, really good.

Now I am about to get real with you. I’ve always wanted this blog to show my actual journey. Not to fluff it up and try to show everything is perfect, but really show my relationship with God to encourage you in your faith.

These last 2 months have been a wild ride of emotions, from happy, to sad, to depressed, and excited. Most days have been a struggle. A struggle to get out of bed, a struggle to do normal tasks, a struggle to do things I enjoy. I know, “but you’re on the other side of the world, doing what you love, God has brought you here for a reason, sometimes we have bad days.” I totally get that, but some days are harder than others. It’s difficult not having a routine, it’s difficult not having your close friends and family around, it’s difficult getting to know a new culture. But I know that when I have a bad day it’s only a day, and tomorrow might be good. Loneliness is a real thing. I was such an extrovert back home, but now I like my own company too much. This really could be because I had a big circle of people around me, and now I do not. But I have found a couple of people whom I can really chat to, and I am really really happy about that, and I can’t wait to see how God intervenes in those times when we talk.

I tell you what, walking with God isn’t a gentle stroll. It’s like going on a walk where the terrain keeps on changing. It’s a struggle! I used to be terrible at my quiet times, then for about 5 months I was doing it every day and loving it! Now, I can never get into it. I try YouVersion Bible plans. I try just reading. I try soaking in God’s presence. I try just writing down my prayers. Some days it’s really difficult to get going. Some days I don’t do it at all. Then some days I can’t get enough. I would say my relationship hasn’t changed, but it has in the sense that I don’t feel as close as I used to. I don’t have any less faith or any doubt in God, however. I know God is still good and perfect. I do have some days when I am in awe of God, he intervenes and teaches me something (take a look at my posts on my facebook page).

So this is my encouragement to you. Don’t let one bad day get you down. Some days we sin more than others, but remember God has given you so much grace and he forgives you. Pick yourself up, and think about how you can do better tomorrow. Some days we don’t even think about God and we feel guilty by the end of the day. Pick yourself up, and think about how you can bring God more into your day tomorrow. However the day went, just remember that God is still amazing, he is still sovereign, he is always there for you.

On to other things. What have I been up to? In March I finished off my time with Alpha, volunteered at Olive cafe, did lots of baking, and went to an Ivy Church young adults conference. The conference was amazing, I really connected with God, connected with people my age, and had some great conversations about Christian life. I was invited by my cousin’s, best friend’s, sister…make sense? (Who in fact is currently visiting New Zealand!) In March we had a baptism service, a church family meeting, a young adults laser quest night, I spoke at youth for the first time, had meetings about Newday (a huge youth conference, like BYM Easter Camp – but self-catered, and during summer), and we launched the new church logo!! I have done so much graphic design stuff, the logo was just the start. It was also my birthday, I am now 23… The best part was Olivia Yates, my bff of around 8 years come over from France to visit me. We did all the tourist spots as well as some great coffee shops. Check out my Manchester Beauty post to see pictures of our tour. It was so lovely to hang out with someone who really knows me, and who is going through similar homesickness as me.

April was the start of the busy season (May is looking particularly hectic already). I went to London twice! Check out my London Beauty post to see the photos from those trips. The first time was to see Liz & Darren. I met them at BBC and was part of their life group. It was really great to see them and walk around what felt like the entire city (we did over 30,000 steps that day!) The second time was to see Kerri & Ethan. I met Kerri at Bethlehem College in year 11, and Ethan is her boyfriend. It was so lovely to see them, have a proper catch-up and see how they are getting on here. The best part was getting to drink L&P… I definitely miss that! Also in April I led my first youth leaders meeting, met up with my mentor for the first time, went to a Christ Central North-west leaders meeting, volunteered at Olive cafe, started youth group as Foundations Youth and me as official leader, and went to a Press Red conference. Phew! That was a lot. The bit that stood out to me the most in April probably was the Press Red conference – as you may have seen from my many Instagram posts. It was based on gender-based violence. I could not believe how much it affected so many women. 1 in 3 women globally is abused in their lifetime! It’s so shocking. Thankfully more and more people are talking about it, but it is still such a massive problem.

God really spoke to me at this conference. For starters, I wasn’t going up until 2 days before. A friend invited me along because she had a spare ticket. When I got there, someone opened in prayer and they said, “we have been praying since the start that each person here was meant to be here and God wanted them here for a reason.” I kinda laughed to God and asked him, “really God!?” As the day went on I was more and more stirred. I just wanted to do something. I wanted to help! For a long time now, God has put girls ministry on my heart. But now I am so much more passionate about making a difference and allowing God to use me in this area. At the end, I asked God for a connection to something to get me started. He did! A woman who was MC’ing organises a group to go into high schools and share about topics that are relevant to teenagers today. I am now connected with them, this will get me into schools in the area, teaching about relevant topics, and be a connection to the local church and youth group for those schools. I am so so pumped about this because God has given me multiple visions of me going into high schools to share a real message that links to the Gospel.

 

Wow, I am so sorry that was so long. But I wanted to get really real with you all. I hope this is able to encourage you somehow on your journey with God. Thanks to everyone for all the support, prayers and messages you’ve given me. I really appreciate it 🙂

Lots of love,

Jo   xoxox

 

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