Transformed Lives, Transform Lives

Recently a number of women from FBC came together for a praise, prayer and testimony morning. We began with a time of praise and worship, led by Amy and Julia, before hearing the testimonies of three brave volunteers.

Alex went first and told us about her early life and background in Fleet, her work as a beautician, getting married and having a family. Some years ago she experienced a time of illness and subsequent follow up treatment. On her recovery she decided to do an Alpha course at FBC where she attended as a teenager. This period proved to be a turning point in her life and the catalyst for her passion for local mission; she quickly became involved in the Town Centre Project, now called Fleet Angels. It was at this time that she received the vision for an outreach in Fleet to make Jesus known, and in particular to young people who had no connection to church or Christianity. This vision came to pass very recently in the well received Crossfya mission week at Court Moor School.

Yvonne is from Malawi and the theme of her testimony was Jehovah Jireh, the Lord will provide. Her disappointment at missing out on a scholarship to Cambridge was overcome by her realisation that it was the Lord who was her provider and she subsequently gained a place at Birmingham University. She went on to experience the Lord’s provision during a time of funding difficulty and she testified to the Lord’s faithfulness to the tithe. Later, after much prayer, she decided to accept the offer of a job (which she had not applied for) from a company in London and she and Conrad moved to Fleet from Wales – only to learn that her previous company in Wales had closed down. Yvonne finished her testimony by sharing how she is continuing to place her trust in Jehovah Jireh, the Lord her provider.

Julia spoke warmly about her growing up in a close Christian family and how, at the age of 9, she realised that actually she needed a personally to ask Jesus into her life. She then told of the time when her son Jacob developed severe epilepsy as a toddler. One day a lady in church decided that ‘enough was enough’ and she and the family embarked on a period of persistent prayer for Jacob. The fits diminished and Jacob’s health steadily improved until he was completely healed and free of epilepsy. Julia went on to speak movingly of a later time of great difficulty and challenge to the family and she ended her testimony by reading Psalm 23 – a scripture that has been of great encouragement and significance to her. Everyone present was touched and impacted by each one of the testimonies and we closed with a time of worship and prayer.

Crossfya Mission

Last week FBC brought a band called CrossFya from Manchester for a Mission Week at Court Moor school. CrossFya are part of a charity called Make Jesus Known and they use a combination of rap music, testimony and sharing the Gospel in a relevant and exciting way, especially for young people who have never been to church. 

The band started each day with Assembly for different year groups - some of the teachers were as excited as the students and showed off some of their own moves! CrossFya, which consists of Tim, Josh, Rafael and Nana spent the rest of the days with Amy, our youth pastor, taking RE lessons unashamedly sharing the gospel in line with the current topics being covered in the curriculum. 

We have received fantastic feedback from the students - one parent said her two children were so enthusiastic about their lessons, she wished she could have spoken to CrossFya herself!

The teachers said that the students were engaged, excited, happy, awe struck, reflective, curious and more open! The head teacher said he noticed a difference in the atmosphere and that the students were energised. Relationships were formed quickly and Rafael was thrilled at how deep they went with their questions and discussions - they all said that Court Moor was the best school in the country they have been to in terms of friendliness. 

CrossFya gave their testimonies at YPF on Tuesday and it was lovely to have them with us at Cafe church on Thursday evening, where Tim gave his testimony.

At the end of the week the band put on a celebration gig at the school and 100 children said yes to Jesus! 

Praise God for opening the door for this mission and we thank him for his amazing favour through the whole week. 

Thanks to everyone for your prayers and please keep praying, especially for Amy and the FACCTS team who will continue to disciple the students and nurture the seeds that have been sown by God through CrossFya. 

- Alex Strowger


Why I Love ToddleAlong

I am proud and humble to have been called by God to be responsible for bringing small children and their carers into the presence of God at ToddleAlong.

A lot of the adults have noticed something special about our group – some have even said it is the best group in Fleet.

I call it ‘Mothers Sanctuary!' It is a venue where both adults and children feel safe. The children love the variety of toys and books, and the adults enjoy a chance to have conversations with people who are in the same situation as themselves. Some good friendships have been forged which will carry on as they meet up outside schools while they wait for the children to come out.

What I love to see is a shy and nervous small child blossom into a confident little person ready to go on to preschool and then 'big school'. At the same time the adults enjoy the camaraderie whilst singing songs followed by tea or coffee and chocolate digestives which taste so much better at ToddleAlong.

- Angela Parker

Find out more about Toddlealong at fleetbaptist.org.uk/toddlealong

My South African Journey

My name is Dayne Smith I have been part of FBC for about 8 years. As some of you may or may not know, I am heading out to South Africa in less than 2 weeks. I am continuing my studies at Charis Bible college, the first year of which I completed in Birmingham year before last. So why Charis?

I have been deeply touched by Andrew Wommack's ministry of God's Grace and love and his teachings of practical Christianity. I went through about four years worth of seminars, sermons and audio downloads before ultimately deciding that I wanted to know even more. After I had finished my A-Levels I went on to Start at Charis Bible College Walsall; the best way to describe my time was transforming, I am not the same person that I was when I went and neither are my classmates. God's word has a way of changing us if we just give it the time and attention it needs to grow.

All that said, I am very exited to get back to learning more about God, but more importantly getting to know him better. So why South Africa? Well During my time at Charis I had an encounter with God during one of our morning worship sessions. I felt it impressed on me to start a bible college in South Africa. So I graduated my first year, started work and been saving since. This time has been challenging working two jobs for a year and a half but I am super exited to start the next chapter and see how God is going to work it all out. I can't wait!

- Dayne Smith

Dayne is raising funds for his time in South Africa through Just Giving.  Check it out here: https://crowdfunding.justgiving.com/Build-a-Charis

Men's Ministry Day

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On a recent wintery day it was time for a double dose of social events in the FBC Men’s Ministry programme.  For a group of eleven men keen to test their reactions and accuracy there was a morning session booked at the National Clay Pigeon Shooting Centre at Bisley.

The weather was damp but more importantly the wind was light. Armed with ear defenders and eye protectors the group was split into groups of five and six. They each went with an instructor to separate ranges where they were taught and then scored while shooting at flying clay disc targets (bearing no resemblance to pigeons!).

After having 24 shots each, the groups swapped ranges to have a go with a different setup of the clay traps. On the higher range the trajectories for the two target clays crossed over and so it was possible, with spot on timing, to hit both clays with a single shot (Jeremy managed this first within our group).

From the overall scoring it was Lewis who was top gun (although Anthon and Maurice in the other group were within a single point).

At the end the groups got together at the lower range and there was a short competition between them with one from each group shooting at a single clay. On a best of three basis it was the person from the team of 5 that won every match up. I cannot explain this but there was high praise for their instructor.

In the evening Mark Mabin had invited FBC men to his garden for an evening of “Beer and Testimony”. A bonfire was lit at the far end of the garden and a good number of men visited through the course of the evening to sit round it to chat and stare into the flames.  There was some barbecue food as well (cooked on a gas bbq rather than the fire). With Hein ably taking up cooking duties we may have witnessed a minor conversion (to gas BBQing and “patties”).

With the rain just about holding off the fire was the focal point. Dwayne kept it supplied with wood. Once again (following on from the Summer social) it was wonderful to enjoy Mark’s hospitality and for the men that came to catch up with friends and make new connections within the fellowship.

- Ian Wheway

Nativity Update

Now that the invites for tickets is up and running on the church website (many thanks to Chris Wileman and Cecilia and Ros for their help with this) we thought it only right to let you know what's been going on behind the scenes so far...

The first priority for me (Emma) was to make sure we have a real donkey booked for the shows - DONE.  Then a venue needed to be sourced.  I asked Alison Wyld, Head at All Saints Juniors, if they would be happy to let us hire their hall and community rooms for the weekend in question. She seemed delighted to have the school used for a community project and due to the collection for All Saints Church that will happen at the end of each performance, Mrs Wyld was happy to let us use their facilities for free - DONE (that one was a complete miracle and felt like a huge door being opened!).  Next priority was the script.  At the end of the summer holidays Helen Budd and I got our heads together to cobble our script together - DONE.  Also truly impressed with the lengths Trevor and Helen have gone to to ensure that the newest member of their family gets a part in the show!!

So where are we now? Well on Sunday afternoons our house is a hive of artistic flair with ballet rehearsals and choir rehearsals in full swing. Both groups are doing brilliantly. The angel ballet is so fortunate to have Tanya Gerber as their choreographer, and the choir are being very patient putting up with me wagging my arms about frantically!  Tonight (Tuesday 10/11) marks the beginning of the drama rehearsals - shepherds first, then wise men next week.

Recently the prop department had a big weekend of making many things and had great fun.  Heather Bailey has the tricky job of making sure we all have a costume to wear! Hopefully a sewing bee weekend will be in the works soonish for any who feel able to help out.  Margaret Ashton is in charge of the refreshment team and will no doubt call on willing volunteers to help with teas and coffees in the near future.

Helen Blackwell and Christine Widdowson have kindly offered to organise the 'anything I can do to help' team in which we will put our collective heads together at the end of this month to sort.

To be honest, there are lots of incidental jobs going on now and in the near future, suffice it to say our nativity is ON - FULL STEAM AHEAD.

If by any chance you would like to help on the day and haven't put your name forward, it's not too late! Just email me (emma@mabin.co.uk) and I will put you in touch with the team you would like to join.

So, Little donkey on the dusty road, get a move on and trot in the direction of Fleet for a day of festive fun with the family of FBC! Not long now!

Toodles

- Emma Mabin

Book your tickets and find out more here

Albella Autumn Update

Autumn is now well and truly upon us and the lovely warm September has changed into a damp and grey October but the colours of the trees are amazing.  The monsoon rains in Kalimpong are coming to the end and Heshron will soon be able to make repairs to the secton of banking at Albella that had suffered the landslip. The clear days in Kalimpong are allowing some beautiful views of the Himalaya range and Kanchenjunga . Heshron sent me a photo of one of the older boys taken in the Albella grounds with the Himalaya mountains in the background; a stunning backdrop.

The main road to Siliguri remains partially blocked by landslides and work has commenced to repair the damaged sections. This main supply route to Kalimpong is still affected but Heshron has a plentiful supply of dried foods, and local vegetables are still available in the market. The repair work to the road is a major undertaking as there is so little ground between the mountains and the river ravine. We need to bear the situation in our prayers that the rains will finally stop, allowing the road repair work to progress . Also pray that the peoples in the region will be able to source adequate supplies of food without the need of the six hour diverted road journey to Siliguri. 

Heshron emailed to say that they had almost 20 children who were down with chickenpox & measles and these were all admitted in the Albella Infirmary. Some were severely affected but all are fine now. They had to join all the beds together due to the paucity of space but managed somehow. Right now the Infirmary is empty, so we thank God. Ebi had a busy time attending to the sick children but enjoyed seeing them responding to medicines. Roshan & Samuel (Two of the older boys) were a great help to Ebi.

- Alan Pickett

Nic's Induction

I’m not sure what I expected from an Induction service but what I do know is that as a family we felt welcomed, loved and supported. As an encouragement to you all, our guests commented on how much of a family the church felt; a feeling that we share and have done since our first week.

I think the word that best describes the Induction for me is ‘affirming’. The sense of God and His purposes were so evident during the morning; it was quite overwhelming. It was an honour to stand before you all and make vows to serve God, you as a church and the community around us. 

The most embarrassing moment for me was probably the revelation of Nic’s love of all things Spiderman, although it had us all crying with laughter so I’m not sure it was a bad moment!

Being prayed for by the Elders, Chris and Rachel was a definite highlight. Being surrounded by such faithful servants is certainly going to make our execution of the ministry God has for us here much easier.

The Induction service marked a great new beginning for us and a real celebration of what God has done. Being new it’s great to have the opportunity to make new friends and form new connections. Our door is always open for a cup of tea and sometimes even a slice of cake so do make yourselves known to us.

- Sarah Arkley

5 Reasons I Love Children's Ministry

  1. I get to share the love of Jesus.  Matthew 9:37 Then Jesus said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few." Children are hungry to understand the bible and are even more hungry for encounters with Jesus. It doesn't happen everyday that the lights go on and a child really understands that God is real, alive and wants to share life with us. When that happens and they want to make a life changing decision to accept the love, peace and joy of Jesus, I get to be there when they do. 
  2. We all have different learning styles, I have never been good with sitting still and listening. I learn while moving, singing and engaging. I have learned so much more of the Bible through preparing children's lessons then having to act them out, sing them and make crafts out of them. I really love the interaction that comes up in the lessons. Children have such elastic brains to think of quirky connections, they question the bible with honesty and curiosity.
  3. Working with children is like glitter - The crafts are fun and you keep on finding bits of shiny for days afterwards in unexpected places!
  4. As a parent I know how much I appreciate the other parents, grandparents and friends who volunteer every week. They help teach our children in another trusted voice of authority. We are not alone in our faith there are others out there. To help us to hold onto core values of honour and respect, generosity and gratitude. They learn that they are never alone but can always call on Jesus when they mess up and go wrong. These skills are so important for our children growing up in today’s fast changing world. They have a lot to cope with in life and they will need these solid truths to anchor them. I want lots of positive role models in my own children's lives.
  5. Creating an environment for our children to have christian friends. The Bible tells us not to stop meeting together for good reason. Sometimes children lose interest in church as they develop into their adolescent years.  I believe that we have a huge responsibility to create a healthy support for our children among their peers, so that they can go on to really fly and go deeper in their faith with their friends. Camps and days together are key and it is not only the children who need this. Some of my best friends are the ones that have been fostered out in the open watching our children having a ball.

So when I wake up on a Monday morning and see glitter in the bottom of my shoes, I am reminded of the fun that we had the day before. I am reminded that God is alive His word is living and active in my life and it has power to heal and break any chain that binds us.

- Heather Bailey

David's Tent

Relay went to David's Tent over the summer and here's what went down:

I couldn’t think of a better way to spend a long weekend in August than by camping out in a muddy field with a few thousand people from all over the world, enduring port-a-loos and worshipping God. Some of FBC’s young adults along with some friends spent the bank holiday weekend at David’s Tent, an annual event that has now seen its fourth and biggest year. It is an amazing and unique gathering where the sole agenda is to worship Jesus for 72 hours straight (that’s right, there was literally worship all through the night!) and to spend time in His presence.

People of all ages and denominations came together for this event held in the beautiful West Sussex countryside, with two main meetings taking place every day joined by speakers that included Heidi Baker and worship leaders Jonathan David and Melissa Helser and others from Bethel church. Inspired by the verse in Amos about rebuilding the tabernacle of David, the weekend was unlike other church weekends in the sense that there was no structure for teaching led by speakers but rather it was all about worshiping God in whichever way we are gifted as individuals – be that through singing or painting or flag dancing!

The opportunity was also there for people to receive prophecy or to spend quiet time in the ‘prayer garden’, while the majority of the worship took place in a big top.

It’s impossible to summarise the incredible things that God did for me personally over this weekend, but I suppose the most important lesson was how powerful it is when we put our focus on God and choose to worship Him despite our circumstances. I was astounded by how much was revealed to me during those times of being quiet and listening for God’s voice – this is by no means taking away from the importance of teaching from scripture but it served as a great reminder that God is the ultimate teacher!

- Liezl Bosch