Wednesday, 12 November 2014

3 months - 1/4 of a year - Christmas is coming!

Well time certainly flies! It's only been a while since our last post and things are not standing still.

Jo mentioned that we're on a training course until Christmas. At the core St. Stephens 'exists to preach the Good News, reach the poor and see people set free through faith in Jesus Christ'. The training is for the newly arrived westerner helpers and the many local people who are all preparing to go out to the poor (either in Hong Kong, the Philippines, along the 'silk road' route, and other places in Asia). It's really helpful to get this overview and to be with like minded people.

The Cantonese lessons are going well, but it's still a huge obstacle to jump over. The boys initial enthusiasm has petered out (mainly because it's a 2 hour lesson with no break! a big ask) but Jo and I are sticking at it.

Home-school is a lot of fun at times! For example here is Reuben dressed as a Celtic Warrior! But both Jo and I have ended up taking ourselves off on 'cool down' walks - crying ... and crying out to God for help. We met a lady recently who'd home schooled her 8 children!! It was encouraging hear that we're not alone in finding it challenging. Do pray for wisdom in the bucket load.

We are seeing changes in some of the guys in the house. It's great to see them being touched by the caring/loving environment they are in. One guy who was so quiet when he arrived (having spent most of the previous 3 years stuck in one room) was able to stand up at a talent evening and play guitar and sing two songs (he couldn't even play guitar before he arrived). What's clear though is that this 'safe' environment won't help in the outside world unless there is a heart change also! Do pray for A. and B. who really need to understand Jesus is not just a 'religious program' but a person who can help.

We've also been involved in some outreaches. On one midnight outreach to 'Aberdeen' (interestingly the site of the original Hong Kong port before it was moved to the other side of the island!) it was amazing to see 7 teenagers receive Jesus as they responded to what God said to them. I saw the careful work of the team as they made sure that these were not just a 'hit and run' conversions - but that the teens were followed up with bible studies and nurture. Please pray for this follow up, teens are notoriously bad at keeping appointments and being consistent making the follow up doubly important.

The start of this month also saw Samuel turn 11. Unfortunately we all got sick with some sort of tummy bug on and around the day! Undeterred a day later we went to a place with wall to wall trampolines in it ... no mishaps and we had a really lovely time with some of the gap year students who are hear too.

Now near the end of November we are seeing that a number of our helpers here in block 2 will be leaving soon. From about 8 well soon be 4! It's very encouraging that different ones are going on outreaches to different places or moving on in other positive ways ... but it does mean we're going to be stretched. Please pray for help in this - more helpers or the ability (including Cantonese) to cope with these changes. Pray for the guys too as these kind of changes can be unsettling.

Much love from us all!

Alec, Jo Samuel and Reuben.