Latest Blog from Action Wales Team.
New Experiences in Kolkata, India
We have been in Kolkata for over a week and have experienced new things, different and amazing. As a team, we have had the blessing to meet so many new people, we have new friends and have picked up a bit of Bengali on the way. We also have tasted new food, some tasty and some are questionable.
After landing we were introduced to 33 degrees and the way of transport. Not that it was any different in terms of what we were driven in but the style of driving. Beeping, Honking and more beeping the sound of music of the roads here in Kolkatta. We have loved using the Auto Rickshaw’s or Tuck Tuck, think of it as a scooter that has got a settee in the back for 3 people. Anything on the road is dangerous but fun at he same time.
Our main piece of work that we have been involved in this week with GNCEM (Good News Children Education Ministry) which is a school for children that live on the streets of Kolkata. We went to 3 schools out of 8 of the mobile schools ran by GNCEM and we visited Haabitagan, Tangara and a Baby care. The children get to school by bus and we will also be picked up on it. The bus will pick children off the streets to school where they will be washed, fed, taught and to play. At the school, we have learnt many songs and dance moves the children perform each morning, some are in Bengali and some are in English. Then after they have their routine of song and dance we are expected to give a couple of songs to sing with the children and a bible story where our Oscar winning performances have been on show. Breakfast is then given and it is pretty much an iced bun and then learning time. We then the team will split up and teach English or maths. After the teaching, it is lunchtime where the children will all be given curry.
On top of that we have been to a baby care and here we played games and had fun with the children. As we got off the bus the same would happen in baby like the schools where we would have them washed, dried and dressed. There we fed them and lots and lots of singing and then the best time of day… nap time. To finish our time there would be lunch time where we would feed the children and send them home on the bus.
Saturday then came, where we were given the day off but we were offered to help in a retreat and we quickly accepted. Young people everywhere and playing sport. Could not ask for a “better day off”. We were given a bible message then time of worship through dance where Aled and Cameron would put their skills on show to glorify the Father.
Although our time, up to now, has been great there has been several challenges through this first working week. For Brandon, the challenge has been his health. Due to this frustrating issue, he has not able to make all the activities. For Cameron, it is the challenge of seeing so much poverty and how people can live in such way and on top of that the feeling of not be able to make the difference. For Aled, it is coming back to Wales and to use what he has learned here for other people.
This next week will be busy and full of activities so here is little points of prayers
- Preparation fo this week and that god prepares us spiritually
- That our hearts are opened to meeting new people
- That we give 100%
- To be a blessing to others
Thank you for the support we very much appreciate it.
Action Wales 16/17
Christmas & New Year
Over the Christmas time we had a break at home. This was a chance to relax and look back over our first term in Llanelli and we as a team are looking forward to the next few months. It’s been an amazing 3 months and time has flown! Here are some of our highlights as a team and as individuals
- Brandon has preached twice, once in Welsh (for the first time) and in English
- Cameron has led an assembly for children in reception to year 2
- Aled has led worship on a number of occasions
- Nativity Show in Seion
- Messy Shepherd Trail – Dressing up as shepherds – treasure hunt
- Been to see Wales play rugby and win!
- Our relationship with one school in particular has flourished
2017 – What does this next year hold for us?
- 3 months left in Llanelli working with Seion and Hope/Gobaith
- Spend 3 weeks in Kolkata, India
- Come back and spend some time travelling around Wales sharing our experiences
- Our hope is that we will see the fruit of our work here in Llanelli
- Encourage faithful members of the church to help to keep the work the team have done going.
- Enthusiasm to get on with the work
- As a team to keep our eyes on Jesus
- We are leading an evening service in Emmanuel on the 27th of February, please pray for preparation and the service itself.
- God to work powerfully in Llanelli and here in Wales
- Praise God for all the people who are behind us with this gap year!
- Good relationships with our bosses and mentors
- Give 100% in every situation
Well that’s it from us, but there will be another blog soon to give you an update on our work
Aled, Cameron, Brandon
November 2016 – update
Tuesday Night Smackdown
Hey all, its been just over a week since our last blog, so here is our second blog covering the last two weeks. We’ve done a lot. Here is 2 weeks worth of blood and sweat but no tears! We’re tough as they come!
During half term, Seion held a youth retreat (basically a sleepover) for the youth which we as a team helped to run and lead. The theme of the two days were running the race (Hebrews 12:1-3). Over the two days we played games, had team challenges which they enjoyed (well we hope so!!!!), also we had time to share our faith with the youth that came! BUT! One of the highlights for Aled (Mr Blunt) and Cameron (King Stonk) was seeing Brandon (Mr Bucket) getting taken out by a 13 year old girl, while playing football. He was rugby tackled and out muscled by her, was gold! That same night we watched a movie but started at 11:50pm which Mr Blunt was not to amused about! On our facebook page there is pictures of the sleepover. Over all we felt like we bonded with the youth.
Our week is pretty busy, with Monday our day off, Tuesdays we help lead an assembly in the English primary school. There we really feel as if we have got to know the children and see their enthusiasm to hear what we have to say, then we go to a Welsh Conversation group we get to know those who attend and have endless amount of tea and coffee! In the afternoon we go to rock solid (children club). We lead individual stations which will all a story of the week with one station being prayers, crafts, and a story station. Its Stonk!
Wednesday we have “bore coffi” (coffee morning for you englishies). Pretty chill where many people will come and we basically get to know them with a little slot at the end where one of us from the team or Ian will share something on the Gospel. Then later on in the day we help out at Zion (welsh church) where there two clubs a cool club for primary school age and after that a youth club where there are year 6 children to year 9. To really sum up these clubs is to say games, food and we present Jesus. Fun group of kids and fun to work with. Its Stonk!
On a Thursday we are doing assembly at the English school but this time to the older audience of the school. We would talk to years 3 to 6 we believe. Again we do have great responses from the children and feel like we are making a good relationship with them as well as the staff. The afternoon on a Thursday have been open but in the evening we are invited to prayer meetings where we PRAY! Great group of people and we really just pray for the many situations here in Llanelli to broader issues or to supply praise God.
Fridays we do assembly in one of the two Welsh schools in which we go to. They tend to mix up every week to which school we go into to do assembly. In the afternoon we as a team will split. Two going to do some sports coaching and one to head off with Ian to open the book with children where they will be taught Bibles stories. This previous week King Stonk and Mr Blunt went to coach football at one school while Ian and Brandon went to open the book with the children at the other school. In one of the assembly’s Brandon floored Aled’s guitar in a drama in front of the whole school, but despite that the drama went STONK!
Saturday is a pretty chilled day. Usually on this day we plan to meet up with friends to do some type of activity such as cinema or go to Parc y Scarlets. If we are not meeting up with friends then it will be a day of chill or to prepare for anything we have to do during the week.
Sunday is spent at one of the churches, where we will participate in different ways. Usually we will then spend time with church family in the afternoon before attending an evening service.
Here are our highlights, one highlight was that Brandon preached on Sunday in Seion, was literally chucked in the deep end but managed to do it! One of Cameron’s highlight was playing basketball with a new mate, and joining the basketball team (please pray that God uses this as a way to build relationships with locals) Aled’s highlight was having an opportunity to share about a club in the church and seeing those individuals come to the club
Team Highlights are getting to know people better, in all activities we do, the old and young. We have enjoyed just helping out and being useful.
Prayer Points for the week ahead, for the relationships to continue to develop and opportunities to share our faith, as a team we have to lead a service in Seion, please pray for preparation and the service itself, for God to use us powerfully and revival to come to Wales!
Till next time
Cameron, Aled and Brandon
Here is the first ‘blog’ update from the team:
History Makers. That’s us, God has given us this opportunity to be the first Action Team to stay within the UK. We are a team of three young men who are on this gap year run by the Baptist Union of Wales in conjunction with the Baptist Missionary Society. We as a team have made the long trip from North Wales down to Llanelli, to work with two churches. But first let’s introduce ourselves. First off as the eldest is Aled Griffith who is 20 and from Mold. As a team we decided to give each other nicknames and Aled’s is Mr Blunt. That’s it. Simply because he is the bluntest person you will ever meet. Second in the team is Brandon Smith who is 18 and from Rhyl. His nickname is Mr Bucket, (cough cough, seriously you don’t want to know why!) And finally but certainly not least is Cameron Jones who is also 18 and from Caernarfon. His nickname is King Stonk. Yep King Stonk. For those who don’t have a clue what it means, from the dictionary of Cameron Jones its definition is anything positive. So if anything is good call it Stonk. So that’s us, here is a little bit of what we have been up to since the start of the programme.
We started the programme with a month worth of training at the International Mission Centre in Birmingham. There we had received great training on various different topics that were meant to prepare us for this year, to a certain extent! There we learnt about how to relate to young people, working with vulnerable adults. We looked at some parts of the bible that would help us in our mission. As part of the training we had a 5 day training at Min y Don in Snowdonia (Home from Home for us Welshies). There we did a host of different activities that we intended to bring us closer together as a team. Most of us enjoyed this experience but Mr Blunt, and I quote reckoned that the weekend was ‘ Foul’ and constantly reminding us ‘ I want to go home’. In all honesty I think all of us felt that at different points of Min y Don but we overcame these doubts and frustrations them together and was a key part of our training.
Another part of our training was working with a church for a two weekends. The first weekend in our church really was just observing and learning. But the second weekend was hands on, and hard work. Over the course of the weekend we ran a children’s club (on the spot if I might add) help at a youth club, and ran a whole service on the Sunday. On the service on the Sunday Aled led the worship, Brandon preached and Cameron was MC and shared his testimony. We really enjoyed the experience and we saw each other’s gifts clearly in the environment we were going to work in, which was encouraging for us and members of our training church. Another opportunity for us to lead a service and see each other’s gifts, was when we lead devotions in the morning at IMC. There we lead a devotional time for the other action teamers and members of staff at the training centre. We had a fantastic time, Aled leading the worship, Cameron sharing something from the bible, and Brandon opening and closing our time. One of the standout things for Mr Bucket (Brandon) in our time at IMC was having a go at street evangelism. King Stonk (Cameron) really enjoyed the fellowship and being with other young like minded Christians. Mr Blunt (Aled) really enjoyed the time of worship we had together quite often spontanesly. Our final day at IMC in Birmingham we had a commissing service were family and friends were invited to attend. In the service each team were prayed for and we made certain promises to BMS and each other as team mates. We left after some emotional goodbyes, and hugs. But also looking forward to Llanelli, and our time there.
Five days later we were all on a train heading down to South Wales. We were greeted in the station by our supervisors Ian and Paul and come back to a house, with well no washing machine, fridge half a bathroom and more, but it was home! The first week was a whirlwind as we began our 6 months in Llanelli, getting used to the area and meeting lots of new faces. In the first week we spent time helping at an assembly where we acted out the roles of Shadrach, Mesach, and Abednego from Daniel 3. We also did some storytelling where we helped Ian tell the story of Adam and Eve.
So to describe our first week in Llanelli in a few words? Eye Opening and Exciting. To see the potential this area has not just economically and socially but also spiritually is amazing. We as a team are so excited and buzzing to see what God has in store for us for the next six months. Stay tuned for more blogs!