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Sunday, April 30, 2006

Good times!

So last night Ed, Drew and myself headed to Jess' for fun, food and fellowship (love the alliteration?!)

Good times! We even played scrabble (yeah, we're clean).

I love the family I have, I think these guys in particular are great, I love hearing about what God's done in their lives so far and I'm SO unbelieveably excited at what God's gonna do through them as Relay workers next year!

Isn't God amazing? Yes, yes, He is.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Pray for Bolivia!

My good friend Abi is currently serving as part of a Tearfund team in Bolivia, working with Mosoj Yan primarily. Read about it here.

She's halfway through her time there now (she gets back at the beginning of July) and the emails she sends often make me wanna cry - not only out of compassion for the people she describes and the horrors they face, but out of pure joy at the work God is doing there.

Please pray for Bolivia! And please pray for Abi and the rest of the team, especially for safety in a fragile political environment. Pray that they would continue to have opportunities to spread the gospel and that people would be receptive.


On being sculpted...

Today it's two months since I became ill. TWO MONTHS! And what a time it’s been! I’m no nearer, really, to finding out what it is. I’m still getting bouts of acute pain although more often than not now it’s just a bearable niggling. Although this still makes me quite tired, I’m able to do a lot more. Praise the Lord!
It’s been a rollercoaster not only physically – I’m better, no I’m not, I’m better, no I’m not! – but emotionally and spiritually too.
There have been times where I’ve been content. There have been time when I’ve surprised myself at how content I’ve been! (But that’s just an answer to prayer!) But there have been, unfortunately more often, times of feeling quite indifferent. There were a few days where I have felt lower than I think I ever have in my life. I’m not sure if it was a result of the medication, but it was dark. But God has been with me through it all.
On Friday I had an ultrasound scan. It showed nothing of concern, which is obviously great. But what a strange mix of emotions I felt. I could have cried on the radiographer when he told me, because as kind as his words were and as grateful as I was to receive them, it sent me back to square one.
But oh, God’s mercy! His incomprehensible love for me that no matter how much I shun His blessings or miss His small, sometimes subtle, sometimes not, constant reminders that He’s with me – He continues to chisel away at my cold, stony heart with His tool of grace; moulding, shaping, sculpting and refining me. In the past couple of days He’s been giving me some of those subtle, and not-so-subtle, reminders that He’s with me and in control!

As I sat in the waiting room for my scan on Friday, the radiographer started whistling “He’s got the whole world in His hands”!
On Friday evening I got an email from Abi, who's out in Bolivia with Tearfund. It reminded me of the suffering she’s seeing where she is. As I replied, searching for words to comfort and encourage her, I spoke as much to myself as I told her that God is with her and in control.
As I continued to check my emails, I was sent this verse – “Why are you downcast, oh my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Saviour and my God.” (Psalm 42:5).

These were, I think, the subtle, prodding reminders that He’s with me. Then came church on Sunday, where my Heavenly Father lovingly hit the message home!
Basil spoke on John 14:12-14. And I was reminded, by God’s grace, of something I know but have failed to make my primary focus. The notes will be available soon!

For much of the past two months I just haven’t felt like me. That’s been strange. But something else I realised again today is that I place too much value in my reputation. I place too much value in my ability to run around ‘doing’ all the time. There’s nothing wrong with it, and it’s part of my personality. But my liveliness and all else that I see as inherently ‘me’ is a gift from God, and I must be careful not to place the gift on a higher footing than the Giver. I must remember, always, that my value is not in my personality or my gifts or ANYTHING else – my value is solely found in the TRUTH that I am a child of God! (Read 1 John 3:1!) And THAT is the highest value I could ever have. Why would I want anything else? Praise the Lord!

PRAISE GOD for the past two months, and even if this pain (whatever the cause!) continues, I will continue to praise Him because He is sovereign. I will praise him because of all that He has, and is, by His mercy, teaching me through it. I almost don’t want it to go now! (Almost…!) I treasure this time because I am brought closer to, and learn more of, my loving Father. What a blessing!
I may get better, I may not. Whatever happens, it’s for His glory, and I PRAISE Him for this time!


So WHAT matter is a little physical discomfort? None, I tell you, NONE!

Sunday, April 16, 2006

It's resurrection day!

"You have risen!
And I believe in you.
You have risen!
Now everything is new.
You have risen!
The past is rolled away.
You have risen,
It's resurrection day!"
(Copyright G. Oakes)

So goes the chorus to one of dad's songs which we sang in church this morning, amongst others which just reminded me so much of how great our God is and the gift of new life we have. We also saw someone get baptised - what a day to get baptised! - which made my already cheesy grin!

And as I sat there this morning I started to think about Relay next year and I got SO excited! I get to dedicate a whole year of my life to telling people about the gift of new life in Jesus! I get to spend a whole year of my life telling people that Christ is risen! Hallelujah, what an amazing privilege. How exciting! I really can't wait! Bring it on!

As I sat there I also got bouts of pain and thought I was gonna keel over at one point! (But I think that's coz it was really hot in there!) The pain's been pretty constant today but I have had a busy few days. (Not busy in the usual Ceryn sense, you understand, but busy in the ill Ceryn sense!) A friend came over to me at the end of the service to ask how I was and said "Well, you're still smiling!". To which I replied, totally meaning it, "Yeah, at the end of the day, what haven't I got to smile about? Christ is risen!"

Hallelujah, He is risen indeed.

Thursday, April 13, 2006


Ok, God just blows me away sometimes. I'm sat here struggling to revise. I'm in a bit of pain - nothing much really - but a lot on my mind as well and concentration just isn't there.

My family's got a lot going on at the moment, indicidually and collectively, and a couple of difficult/delicate situations to deal with.

And an old family friend - someone we knew when we lived in the Falklands - who we'd all but lost touch with, just rang. Completely out of the blue. None of us have seen or spoken to this guy in about 10 years. 10 YEARS!!!

And why did he ring? Purely and simply to say that our family's been on his mind for a couple of weeks now and he had to ring and tell us he was praying for us.

Random coincidence? I think not!

Be encouraged - God rocks.

And it might sound silly but now I SO wanna revise! All for Him, all for Him. For the Creator of the universe. For the very same One who looks on me with unconditional love. For the Saviour of my soul. For the Great 'I AM'. For the King of Kings. For the Alpha and Omega. For my Father, my Daddy, who carries my family in His hands right now. For the God of peace. For Emmanuel. For my Amazing God.

In Him, for Him, through Him.


Word Alive

Well, my notes, such as they are, from the talks I went to at Word Alive are available here.

All in all it was a great week. I knew I'd not be able to go to everything and I know some friends thought I shouldn't go at all...but, I can't explain it, I knew that I'd be better off there than not at all. I was longing, after a month spent pretty much in bed, for some fellowship and teaching. After a month where my concentration levels had been such that I couldn't take much in at all and had been to church once, I was longing to sit and be taught from God's word. My soul was thirsting after Him.

It was a long journey, but I was prepared for it and we stopped enough times to break it up. And besides, didn't hurt that much at all really, praise the Lord!

I found Tuesday difficult, which took me by surprise. Left in the chalet on my own while everyone else went out and finding it difficult to concentrate on what I was reading, I couldn't do much but lie there. I'd been looking forward to that time so much. You'd think after a month of not seeing many people I'd be longing to be with them all - and obviously to an extent I did! But I'd been waiting for time by myself, when I felt I could concentrate more, to spend with God. But Tuesday I just couldn't concentrate, and then I started to think that maybe people were right, I shouldn't have gone at all. I was just wishing I could be with everyone else, then getting annoyed at myself for being like that because before I went I knew that I'd spend a lot of time on my own...

But oh, God's grace. And the value of friends who make you step back and realise that you're creating a big deal of a small situation and need to be focused on God!

Wednesday I felt better. I was enjoying myself. I was enjoying everyone being out in meetings or wherever they were, and me being in on my own. OK, so I couldn't read an awful lot at a time but I could read SOMETHING. And I could serve. And I could pray. I could pray for my friends, that the words they were hearing would impact their hearts. That they'd come back at lunch time more on fire for God than when they woke up that morning, that God would really be stirring them and teaching them.

And then, I went to casualty! Which seemed like another setback. I really didn't wanna go, partly because I thought that if I went to casualty it was like admitting I was wrong, that I really shouldn't have gone to WA. Oh my stubborn heart! I'm so proud!

The next two days were rather up and down. I was so glad I was there and was enjoying going to what I could go to, and was really enjoying hearing people talk about what they'd been to, what they'd heard, what they'd learnt, fun they'd had....I wasn't jealous at all, just plain happy for them!

But at the same something was nagging away at me telling me I shouldn't have gone. I felt like a burden.

But again, I need listen only to God's grace and His love. I chatted it through with a friend on Saturday night which did wonders for me, and as I chatted it through with God I realised that I am glad I went.

So glad.

As I just typed up my notes I realised that I've learnt things which are invaluable for my walk with Him. And not just in the meetings.

I learnt once more that focusing on God's word seems to just make the pain go away!
I learnt again that His love is unconditional and that when I'm longing for Him and I'm desperately trying, striving to get close to Him and I feel like I'm on a running machine - my legs are pounding but I'm not going anywhere - that sometimes I have to just stop running and sit. And when I sit, I'm not hearing the pounding of me feet against the ground, I'm hearing only His voice, which tells me He loves me and that I am safe in His arms. He tells me that it's His strength I need to get through this time, and it's His strength I've got.

And I learnt again to rely on others! I learnt the value of the family I'm part of. To accept help when it's offered and not to feel guilty or worry about putting people out - because if roles were reversed I pray I'd have the same grace and love to do the same.

And I learnt again the value of - and joy that is found in - praying for others. Taking time out away from the crowd and not being jealous that I can't join in, but loving the fact that I can pray for my brothers and sisters in whatever they're doing, and that God would break into their lives in a new way, revealing more of Himself to them.

So yeah, pretty glad I went...!

Monday, April 10, 2006

Back in Wales

Shw mai!

I'm home. We had to drive through a HAILSTORM and slow down to 30mph on the M4 to get here, but I'm home in amongst all the lovely daffodils!

Word Alive was great, despite another trip to A&E! The saga continues...

I'll post notes from WA as and when I get time to type them up! Revision must start now y'see.

On that note...

Later alligators.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

The news in brief...

Our top story:

14 months, 4 visits to schools, 17 children (not her own, you understand), 1 dictophone, 3 dictophone tapes, roughly 10,000 words, 7 or 8 tutor meetings (and several avoidances thereof), countless books and articles, endless trips to the library, too many late nights, even more early mornings, 1 trip to casualty, scores of emails, an annoying amount of stats, too much time at a computer, £12 to the library in printing costs (never mind photocopying), 2 grey hairs and 1 wonderfully steadfast God later...Ceryn's dissertation is in!

In other news...

Notes from RUCU Cell Leader's Training Weekend available, long overdue, here.

These should provide reading material while Oakes heads off to the wilds of Skegness for Word Alive- Something Kath touches on, alongside the joy of being God's child.

Meanwhile, Ed muses on just how powerful and amazing our God is. Yeah! He also adds his thoughts to Mo's on the role of CU/Church.

Life, times, amblings and ramblings will cease to broadcast for approximately an 8-9 day period, but it is hoped the above will keep you going. Read more too. Read the Bible, feed your soul. Please check back soon.

Now though, in the words of brother Nathan;