Can God fix it?

Does God answer our prayers?  I know that the right answer to this is yes of course he does, but sometimes it just doesn’t feel like it does it.  My problem is that when I pray I want God to fix things double quick, and I already have a pretty good idea of how I think He should do it!! But God’s timing is not my timing and His ways are not my ways...
 I have realised that I am a bit of a control freak, I pray to God, give Him my concerns for people and situations but then still try and fix everything myself.  The problem with this is I am not leaving much room for God, I am certainly not trusting Him as I should. I am not recognising that God is more concerned about those people and situations than I will ever be; He loves them far more than I ever could. 

I have to remember this with the youth work I do.  Each week I am faced with young people who are hurting, who have no sense of self worth or value, whose families are fractured, and my immediate response is that I want to make things better for them, but I can’t.  I can show them love, I can accept them and give them time and someone to talk to, but only God can heal them through His love.  They need God, not me. So, I am learning to give it all to God in prayer and I am praying that God will increase my faith so that I can learn trust that He will answer my prayers for the young people.
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‘I’m a servant of God now’

Last week I had the wonderful job of enrolling a new volunteer to Ashby Youth for Christ.  The young man in question is one who we have been working with over the last couple of years.  We first met Tom when started to come along to Sk8ers and football and gradually we have got to know him and he us.  He knew very little about God and wasn’t much interested either. Tom was very honest with us and told us that he struggled greatly with anxiety and depression, life has not been easy for him.  We have prayed with him and encouraged him to talk to God whenever he feels anxious and tell God everything that is on his mind just as the Bible tells us to do in Phillipians 4: 4-9.  Tom has taken us at our word and has prayed, he says that when he prays he feels much calmer and less anxious, praise God! 
As time has gone by we have seen God working in Tom’s life.  He is at the beginning of his walk with God, he is trusting Him more and wants to know more about Him.  One big difference that Tom see’s in himself since he started praying etc is that he says he wants to be nice to other people and help them if he can.  We’ve noticed this too, Tom is the one who helps us clear up after football and carries all the water bottles back to the office, he also turns up early at Sk8ers to help us set up.   He helps the younger lads out and is rapidly proving to be invaluable to us.

So, it seemed only right to make Tom an ‘official’ volunteer at our clubs. As Tom said himself, he is a servant of God now…
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AYFC - a fashion statement

Over the last few weeks Tom and I have been wandering down to the Skate Park to chat to some of the young people there, and invite them along to Sk8ers on a Monday night.  So that it is very clear who we are and who we work for we wear an AYFC T-shirt.  It enables us to be visible and easily recognised and helps prevent any misunderstandings with people who may wonder what we are doing approaching young people!  Essential as they are, I have to admit that I am not keen on my T-shirt.  It is shapeless and unflattering and I feel I need all the flattering I can get!!  I did manage to get the T-shirts in black which does help a bit, but they are definitely not a fashion statement...
However, when some of the young people saw them they loved them.  Those that we have had a lot of contact with over the last few years asked if we could get one for them too.  How encouraging that they want to be associated with Ashby Youth for Christ in such a visible way.
 It has really given us something to think about, can we use these T-shirts to further our youth work?  Obviously we can’t afford to buy T-shirts for all the young people we work with, but they could be given to those who are prepared to help out at clubs etc.  The group of young people who particularly wanted a T-shirt already arrive early at Sk8ers each week to help us set everything up.  They really are a great help to us.   One way to recognise their help and foster their sense of commitment is to commission them as young leaders at Sk8ers and then give them each an AYFC T-shirt to wear.  Our hope is that as they take on new responsibilities they will begin to see just what they are capable of and their self-esteem, which is normally so low, will increase.
We could have T-shirts made for our football team too.  They already behave much better on the pitch than the majority of the other teams we play against and their language is definitely better!  Again it is a great opportunity for the young people to identify themselves with us, and us with them.

Maybe the T-shirts aren’t so bad after all.
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Life in all its fullness

I love the work I do as a youth worker for Ashby Youth for Christ, it is interesting and challenging and the young people are quite extraordinary.  Each week there is so much that encourages me but also so much that distresses me especially when I see some of the things going on in the lives of young people.  It is exciting when we are able to chat to them about our faith and tell them how much they are loved by God; it is heartbreaking when we see them trapped in cycles of behaviour which can only be harmful for them.
In John 10:10, Jesus says ‘The thief’s purpose is to kill and destroy.  My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.’  Some other Bible translations say ‘life in all its fullness’.  The thief takes away our hope and fills our hearts with fear.  So many of the young people I work with struggle with low self-esteem, anxiety and hopelessness.  Society thinks very little of them and they respond to that with self-destructive behaviour.  But Jesus loves them, he wants them to have a ’rich and satisfying life’, that was His purpose. 
So, whether I’m making hot chocolate at Sk8ers or sitting at the side of the football pitch or having a coffee with a young person in Costa, I am thankful that I can, in a very small way, play my part in showing them love and caring for them.  My prayer is that this will point them in the direction of Jesus whose love for them can transform their lives.

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Walking on water

This last year has been very busy for AYFC.  Our team is much smaller but the amount of work we are doing, and the amount of young people we are working with, has grown.  At times it has all felt a bit frantic and I have wondered whether we can physically manage to do all that needs doing.
It has reminded me very much of the Bible story about Peter walking on the water.  He was surrounded by the storm and its noise and confusion, but when he kept his eyes on Jesus he kept afloat.  When he looked at the storm rather than Jesus he began to sink.  At times last year it felt very stormy here at  AYFC  – not enough staff, not enough money, too much work, but…. when we have kept our eyes on Jesus and what he has called us to do then He has kept us afloat.  Actually Jesus has done so much more than just keep us afloat, walking with Him this year has been a real blessing. Seeing the difference that Jesus does make to the lives of young people is the greatest encouragement I could ever have to keep on keeping on.

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Food Crisis at Sk8ers

Last week we had a food crisis at sk8ers.  Within 15 minutes two loaves of bread had been eaten and before the end of the night all the bread, hot chocolate, margarine, chocolate spread, cream and marshmallows had gone, we had to resort to our emergency biscuit supply!!  It was a busy evening with a surprisingly large number of young people coming along...and they were all hungry! 
For me the exciting thing about working with the young people at Sk8ers is the wonderful conversations you can have over a cup of tea or hot chocolate.  Through chatting we can find out more and more about what is going on in the lives of these extraordinary young people and often have the opportunity to pray for them or with them.   I am so thankful to God that He has given me the job he has, I think that to care and to listen is what Jesus calls us to do.
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New Ventures

Here is some information about our new Van.
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Welcome to our new blog
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