Thursday, June 25, 2015

God's SigNATURE

Our theme for the weekend was to leave the city and all it's
stresses behind and meet God in his creation.


  This past weekend I had the pleasure of leading a retreat to the Lake District with a student worker from Brunswick (another church in our circuit), that we aptly titled “God’s SigNATURE.” *credit to Kenzie Grant for the title idea.

A few of my students (that have only just joined JMC this past year) came together with some of Brunswick’s young professionals, and we enjoyed an amazing few days in the beauty of the lush green hills, the still lakes and the peaks that extended into the rain clouds.
It was a weekend of nature walks, puzzles, small mountain villages, time alone with God and time together in worship. I was so happy to see my “new” students representing JMC as THEIR church, as they enjoyed the weekend with another circuit fellowship.

We gave a lot of space throughout the weekend to be alone
with God and explore God's sigNATURE.
We spent some time at the end of the weekend reflecting on their year and how they feel JMC has become a big part of their Uni life; and how much joy it brings me to know they have clicked in with the rest of the students and church family.  They are the hope I see in the church. The future and fresh eyes of the church. The best part of my job that makes me proud to know each of my students, and the blessing it is to be apart of their faith journeys.

I then remembered I had written a blog following my last meeting with the students who have been at JMC for the past two years that I meant to post last month!
So if you don’t mind the delay, here is a short bit I wanted to write for those original 5 students that, I can only hope, sums up just how much I have enjoyed being their “tea slave.”

The group in Keswick on our last day


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Thinking back to the first time I gathered them together in JMC- before they knew one another, before they declared the group name to be “Onsies and Doughnuts,” before a Monday became the day to bring their struggles and joys to one another, before I knew their hot drink preferences by heart, before the shared tears and laughter- THAT, seems like a lifetime ago!

Over the past two years, I have had the pleasure of watching them go from cautiously sharing their faith stories with one another, to diving headfirst into that faith and becoming significant roles in each others’ journey! They have all grown so much individually as well as collectively, and it blows me away how confident and mature they have become…while still being young enough at heart to play hide-and-seek from me anytime I leave the room.

I have seen them joke with each other and make each other laugh until they cried; and I have seen them hold one another in prayer when they have needed it most. These 5 students may have only seen each other once a week or a few times a month, yet each Monday, when we walked into JMC, they were able to celebrate the week and get their worries off their chest without hesitation.

It might be because I am sentimental, or it could be due to my rapidly approaching end date, but recently I can’t help but smile when I think about what the future holds for each of these incredible students (as well as the 5 new students from this past year). They have the strength and gifts to not only take on the world, but to take their faith TO the world!

So to my coffee with milk and two sugars, my tea with five sugars, my tea with milk and two sugars, my coffee with milk and one sugar, and my tea with milk and three sugars…I wish to express all the cheesy and clich√© things you can imagine so you know what light you have brought to my life here in Newcastle. Now go and throw on your fuzziest onesie and have a doughnut for me! ;)
Thanking you and loving you,
-Elie



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