A.R.T Antics

A.R.T Antics
USMM Graduation

About Me

Manchester, United Kingdom
I am Someone who Loves God with I am a bubbly lively person who loves meeting people and loves God with all their heart and trys to put God first always. Someone who has a calling to work with young people and the arts. I have a heart for urban missionary work I am called to build the kingdom.

Some thoughts on the incredible Christmas story!

I have been thinking about the true meaning of Christmas for the last few weeks.  I have especially been focusing on the part of the shepherds and the wise men.
If you think about it God chooses some very unlikely people to witness and to announce the birth of a king and the Saviour of the world such as shepherds and some new age kings from the east.
However they are not as strange guests as you might think at first. I believe that these two groups of royal guests were a prophetic look into the future... Shepherds are mentioned all the way through the Old testament many of the main players throughout history at some point were shepherds showing that Shepherds are people very close to God's heart.  Shepherds have incredible characteristics which are reminiscent of what Jesus says we should be like and later on in the letters from Paul. In my mind both shepherds and sheep depict a picture of humility and a kind of lowliness.  Shepherds were at the bottom of the social ladder, they would have been smelly from the sheep probably be in rags perhaps quite nomadic.
These shepherds in particular may have had a special job or so I have read recently of looking after the lambs who would be used for the temple sacrifice.  After hearing this news they would no-longer need to be doing their job because the greatest sacrificial lamb had just been born.  Just like the first disciples who are fishermen before they follow Jesus the shepherds go to follow Jesus and not only that but the are shouting about it all over town.   Here once again is an example of God exalting the lowly to VIP positions these strategically chosen shepherds end up as an audience to a choir of heavenly host's angels.
Despite what society might think God doesn't rank people with fewer possessions or those with poorer background lower he gives them as much esteem and honour as anyone else what shouldn't we?

Then we come to the three wise men who were astrologers who represent another section of society  those who are into new age worship and we often we see them as the enemy people in many ways to be feared but that is not how they are seen in this story in many accounts of the story they are described even as Kings.
Here we see the upper end of society God also has a heart for them too, those who have position and money.
Whether the 3 wise men were kings or not they easily got to see Herod so they must have at the least been at the same social standing.
If they were in fact kings from the east and they did give a present of gold to Jesus pointing once again to their wealth the shepherds couldn't afford to bring baby Jesus any presents as there are non mentioned.  A thought I had the other day, that just as the shepherds are a prophetic representation of the God's children so are the Kings that we once in the kingdom are to be kings who rule and reign properly for the King of Kings Jesus.

Moving forward step by step!!

I want to start by saying God is so good even when all the events don't go in your favour. Since coming back to England I have embarked on a new life and in some ways a new relationship with Jesus. Of course I knew him before. I think it is true that the more you get closer to Jesus the more you realise you don't know him or that there is so much to know!!




KINGDOM ROLE
Back in August I felt God say that I wouldn't be out of work again that I would have work from then on. In August I decided to go back to the job I had done before I was in YWAM. I really do now wish that I had had this idea in January or February when I started looking for work in Manchester.  If I am honest it was pride and fear that stopped me looking into this line of work as I felt it would be like going backwards how wrong I was.

In September I started working at Trinity High School as a Teaching Assistant. An agency got me the position, if I look back it was quite miraculous that I got the job because I didn't really have much experience in this field. The agency decided I was a good candidate from all the work I had done with young people and the fact that I had had a short stint as a Learning Support Assistant in a Further education college some years ago. It was really tiring at first and some days I would come home and just want to sleep, the young people were very demanding and I found I needed to stand in my identity in Christ so much more especially as insults would fly from the young people at us.
I started by working with year 9 or 13 years old many of them with massive attitudes which can be really challenging learning when to stand your ground and when to let these go.  I work with the Special needs young people who have learning difficulties and have emotional behavioural problems, some of these young people are in care or their grand-parents are the ones that bring them up.  It is not surprising that these young people are extremely angry and they don't trust anyone they have no concept of consequences because for them the worst has already happened, as far as they are concerned no one cares about them and no one loves them so why should they even try!
Still I believe that there is hope and especially as Christians we can love those who reject that Love, if that love is powerful enough I am convinced it will break through.  Some of the staff care about the kids but not all of them which is difficult to hear for some of the other TA's it is only a job.  I have been astounded of the number of children who's level of literacy is absolutely appalling.
At the moment I am working with year 7 they don't have as much attitude and it is actually lovely to work with them for the most part they show respect for authority unfortunately by the time they get to year 10 they don't care however I am sure we can see that change!!
In one of my year 7 classes there are at least 10 young people with special needs some of them can't write very well and others cannot spell at all.  It seems to me that our education system is failing our young people.  Perhaps this will be another battle I will fight in the coming years, at the moment this is a new area for me and I am trying to learn how to adapt the curriculum and the lessons for my kids.  It is the kind of job where you can do as much or as little as you want!
I have just been made permanent as one of the long term staff is leaving at the beginning of December so I am going to go from 3 days a week to 5 and full time on Contract so I am so excited about this.  There was a full time role a little while a go and I had an interview but didn't get it due to my lack of experience however they wanted to offer me a part-time role which I started a little while ago and now this permanent role has come up!  I went for quite a few roles in other schools but they didn't give me the jobs due to my lack of experience. That is why I  know God arranged this position at Trinity even when I didn't get the job I knew that God would have me back there.  The school has a Christian ethos and the kids are from a faith background but still there is a lot to do.  I have always enjoyed working in school, Schools work was always my favourite part of youth work, I'm not doing youth work but I am definitely contributing to investing in young peoples lives which is rewarding and fulfilling, even in this role I am building the Kingdom in school.  
Please pray for my relationship with the kids that I would be able to encourage them and inspire them to aim higher and destroy the lies of the enemy in their lives. Then my friendship with the staff that there I would be able to build meaningful friendships where I can influence and share the gospel.  I have been able to pray for a few of them but I want to see God's kingdom break into their lives.


THE BODY
Going from being in a small community with YWAM I have gone to being in the massive community of Kings Church.  I miss not living with people in community but this is a new season and I am having to really watch even more how I live as I am living with my family although I have to say I fail miserably quite often but God is bigger than my mistakes and he can and will still use me here. The spirit is teaching me how not to react and how to act differently with them but it is a process.
I am so blessed to be part of such a loving community of course there are different kinds of friction when you bring men and women together even saints but God is gracious and he covers our failings with his love.
It is also amazing that God has brought me to this church when he is moving in a big way manifestations of the Holy Spirit are very common at the moment.  We are moving into a place we have never been before and indeed a place I have never been before I am very excited about what God is going to do.
It is amazing the way many many in the church have a hunger or thirst for God not just one or two and as a result God is showing up and many are spending more time with him.  It is common place to hear people say they spend time with God, and God has said.  It is exciting times we are living in and I love the way God has brought me back to Manchester when we are at the gateway to revival!!!  It is going to affect the communities around us and I am desperate to see how that is going to be worked out.
Pray for unity and for relationships and marriages particularly and that this new passion builds God's kingdom 


GOD GOES BEFORE US 
Two other things that God has been working out for me are driving lessons a friend of mine has been teaching me and I am studying at the moment for the theory test hopefully be able to take it in a few months time.
The school are starting a Maths GCSE course in a few weeks time been wanting to do this for years so I am actually excited about getting back into maths never thought I would say that.
Then the other thing that I can see God sorting out it my braces, I have been trying to get back into the NHS system but it has been like flogging a dead horse I have got no where.  So I have been having private treatment and if I am honest I believe that paying for it has caused me to move forwards in faith for finances.  It looks like they are coming off just after Christmas and that I will be able to have the implant which means more finances but perhaps ironically not as much as it would have cost me on the NHS I remember being quoted £6000 and that I would need to find more funding that would mean more time. On this scheme I can pay monthly a manageable amount and due to my budget the orthodontist has knocked off £50 off my treatment each time I go so down from £200 to £150 every 6 weeks God is so good!!!!!!!!
Please pray for finances that I can pay back all the debt from before and that God provides money for this new stage of my treatment.




FUTURE PLANS AND DREAMS 
So I am thinking of going into teaching, not sure how this is going to work out but some months ago when I prayed about it that is where I felt God is leading me.  Still I have dreams from years ago of opening a cafe which reaches out to young people giving them inspiration and encouragement, careers guidance and advice, as well as a place they can come to hang out feel safe and talk about things that bother them.  I have started looking at properties and business plans!!


Living with my parents but would love to have my own place or at least share with another one so that I can entertain and be hospitable it would also be good to mature in this area my own place would be nice, also a car to be able to be more flexible and be able to give people lifts etc! 
As always finances are needed for these things and God still provides where-ever I am
Please pray that God opens doors for these things and that he does these miracles because they will only happen with God


Ok I could possibly write more but for now that's all!!!

Jesus Loves Manchester

Since getting back to Manchester God has put a greater passion in my heart for evangelism and the Lost.  It is amazing the amount of opportunities I have had to share the gospel and simply share my testimony both present and right back when it all started for me.
God renewed my passion for evangelism and those who don't know him when I went to The Revival School that some folks from the Liverpool Church were running it was amazing the way we worked together as a team and how the presence of God followed us about it was an extremely powerful and equipping time.  In the mornings we had teachings on some basics but topics which were extremely challenging and in the afternoons we took Jesus on Tour.  Where we would go to different locations around Liverpool and set up a gazebo, have a worship session which made a huge difference would blow up helium balloons which we would give to little kids and we also offered face painting.  Others of us went door knocking or chatted to the people who were drawn into the tent or we went off to find people to speak to. Throughout the week we saw  around 20 people make decisions to ask Jesus into their lives , I was privileged to be part of a few of these decisions. I realised that week that evangelism is a lot easier than I first thought and since then I have found it easier.  I left that place revived and with a Passion to see Manchester won for Jesus.  The week I was in Liverpool was the same week of the riots I believe this was no coincidence but that God had us there for such a strategic time it also meant that people were more open than usual!  The Riots in Manchester started the slogan 'I Love Manchester' which now covers many buildings in Manchester and means that a Jesus Loves Manchester can be received.  The riots are a good talking point with people in Manchester everything the enemy tries to use to destroy God can use to bring glory to his Son Jesus!
  Since then I have also been involved in a Mission called Jesus Manchester part of MJK ministries a couple of times the last time we did the outreach in the pouring rain and despite the terrible weather people were drawn to where we were by what the band was singing and we were able to have a some good conversations and I personally witnessed 3 people give their lives to Christ.

Telling people about Jesus and how he can transform lives and what he has done for me beyond the forgiveness of my sins and the healing he continues to do but also the little presents or experiences he gives me which I can tell people about which make me smile and others when I tell them like the guitar incident!

I continue to be wowed by God's presence amongst my brothers and sisters at Kings Church in Manchester and the love in this family.  A couple of months ago I became a member and since then I have become part of the kids work and went to Worship team for the first time so watch this space!!

As part of our Church in the Home we have been doing a fair amount of outreach we had a Community BBQ  back in June which went down a treat. As a follow up tonight we had a private event at COSTA at the top of Cheetham Hill at the FORT.  Despite no -one we invited coming in when we chose to open the event to passers by we saw a huge response to our free coffee offer and people were made to feel welcome and chatted openly with our team and one person commented on how friendly we were people were blessed and encouraged I prayed for God to surprise us and surprise us he did!  I look forward to see what God will do in this event in the future and with the lives of the people he touched this evening.

In truth this is what I would love to spend my time doing and I need to investigate how I can do this and earn a living at the same time if you have any ideas answers on a postcard to me LOL!

On the work front I recently worked as a TA for an Inner City School in Manchester which despite the challenges and ups and downs I enjoyed and hope to work there again it was somewhere where I felt I could make a real difference!  I find myself in an interesting place considering studying again and getting qualifications that are more specific like Teaching or Youth work etc.  There are so many things I'm interested in and passionate about it isn't easy to narrow it down at all, I suppose I do have the rest of my life to investigate these and discover them but in truth at times I feel I am a little older to be starting again still God is more than able to put me in the right place and help me get on the right path..... It is the chance for an exciting new start!

Putting roots down in Manchester

If you are reading this you will realise that I haven't written to people for quite a long time instead of writing an email I thought I would update my Blog so you can see what I have been up to!!
So about two months ago I finally decided to stay in Manchester. It took a long time to get to the point where I could definitely say that was what God was telling me to do.
You may remember that I got stuck so's to speak in Manchester waiting to go to finish my outreach for the counselling school I was doing.  It was a difficult decision to not go back to Argentina and finish what I started.
Like I wrote last time God had put his finger on my finances telling me it was time to sort them out but as time goes on and even yesterday through a conversation from a friend I had another confirmation that I had made the right decision to stay in Manchester.
God has shown me the importance of my family and he has shown me how I can mix my family with my church family something I wasn't able to do when I was living else where.  My family are absolutely amazed that I have so many friends and not just fly by nights but actually fairly strong relationships where we are in contact a lot and where they actually care about me.
One of my friends even prayed for my mum when a load of girls from my church in the home (like a house group but the idea is to be church in the community in it's fullness rather than just a church group that meets once a week)
I have been asking God for a local church family for a few years and well he has certainly given me one Kings church is an awesome church the folks there have become my family in the greatest sense of the word and I really felt this greatly when I went to www.ministrieswithoutborders.co.uk Bible week just last week where we had a fab time. I have been astonished and amazed at the church I am now part of it where the Power of the Holy Spirit is moving powerfully and the grasp on community living is so strong.  I was really concerned coming out of YWAM where the family and community is drilled into us that it would be somewhat lacking in a local church.  I couldn't have been more wrong the love I have found and the sense of family and community has been great.  I suppose I have positioned myself in and with the people who are hungry for God and who have a strong relationship with Jesus but it wasn't hard it feels and I suppose God told me too just before I decided to stay that he had prepared a place for me and that is exactly what I see that God really has prepared a place for me.
Considering that I wasn't living in community any more and that I was living with my parents I settled into life in Manchester very quickly.
The truth is I was terrified about leaving YWAM I seriously didn't think there was life afterwards especially as it was 10 years of my life I didn't think I would find the kind of community I experienced in YWAM anywhere else.  So I realise that God is moving hugely in and outside of YWAM and that there really if life outside.
My whole life and to some extent even my relationship with God had been wrapped up with YWAM I didn't see a life outside and the possibility scared me.
I have had the revelation that it's all about Jesus not YWAM, not ministry not even evangelism and it;s amazing that, that was the main point that came over last week at Bible week.  I found this new love for Jesus without the pressures of YWAM and ministry.


Bible week was fantastic great time of fellowship together hanging out chilling together and then the teaching particularly what we were taught about how we need to be wrapped up with Jesus in the same way that Jesus is wrapped up with the father.  That we can have the same kind of relationship with Jesus that Jesus experienced with the Father.  This totally blew my mind and still does.
God is teaching our particular church family about the importance of Love that we need to be rooted and grounded in Love it can be funny the way we ignoer the most obvious yet important thing.
I am sure I am going to be blogging a lot more about LOVE as it is the most important thing and not the mushy kind but the unconditional variety

God's sense of humor LOL

Back in January when I found myself in Manchester apparently stranded in transit waiting to carry on the rest of my course.  However my life was about to take an interesting turn.  In the previous months I had been pleading with God to sort my finances out.  We need to be so careful of what we pray as God really will take us at our word. Sometimes it is only by his grace that we don't get what we asked for!!
I remember writing one email and I mentioned as I often did the prayer point of getting out of debt however this time there were repercussions that I wasn't banking on. LOL!
I had an email from an old friend encouraging me to do something about it, as I mentioned it to a few people they were convinced that God had got me there to do something about it. In the following months God would make it very clear as he paved the way showing me that it was time to sort this area of my life out.
The first miracle was being lent the money to clear off my credit cards so that meant no more interest.  The second was being released to work here in Manchester!
What has struck me though this week is the way that God has been bombarding me with the whole subject of finances much of what we have heard about at Church was all about money, offerings and tithes.
Then if that wasn't enough last week I found myself working at a bank on the second day I had a light bulb came on I thought wow that is the reason God has me working in a bank I now cannot ignore my finances not under any circumstances.  That is what I see wherever I look I am in a corner and God is making it extremely clear that it's time.  The truth is that I probably should have sorted it out many years ago but well God has made it abundantly clear that I cannot ignore these things anymore ans well I shouldn't ever had ignored it.  I am glad of the opportunity God is giving me and the way he is paving the way for me quite literally!!

Kingdom of God and the BIG SOCIETY

I have been very impressed by the way the Archbishop spoke out against many of the policies that the government is pushing forward at the moment which are all based around the cuts. http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/the-staggers/2011/06/rowan-williams-government


The Archbishop is standing up for the poor which is what we are called to do, however I can't say I completely agree with what he said.  There isn't any money and that is why there are huge cuts and they are always going to be painful. 
A Bishop in response to The Archbishop of Canterbury said that another name for the Big Society was the Kingdom of God.  As the church it is our calling to reach out and meet the needs of the poor.


When I heard about the cuts a couple of months ago I thought to myself what an amazing opportunity we have as God's people to stand in the gap.  Many government services are going to be cut and perhaps completely removed.  We have in many ways been living in luxury our Health Service is one of the best in the world and that is the case on many different areas of society.
If we went back to the late 1800's or the early 20th Century the very fabric of British society was under girded with the gospel and principles and values from the Bible.  If you were to investigate into many of the social services you would find that many were Christians who came up with the ideas and pioneered services such as Children Homes, Schools, Trade Unions, electricity and many more. As Pastor Kofo told me a little while ago who is from Nigeria he said how English Christians were the one who gave us many of the inventions which we use today!


So rather than moaning at the cuts I think it would be a far better idea to put our hands to the plough and use this opportunity to build the kingdom be there for the poor and start being the answer to the people who are looking bewildered as their services are done away with.  I imagine that the Christians of over a hundred years ago were pray-fully investigating together with the Holy Spirit what was the need and how could it be met and well they actually did something about it.
Now it's our turn we could fight to try to stop the cuts but personally I think this is futile as there has to be cuts there is an economic crisis and not to be depressing but well for our neighbours it is going to get worse.   I have been amazed by the amount of homeless people I have seen in Manchester recently this I believe is a sign of the poverty that is right under our noses we could get angry at the cuts and wait for the government to change his mind about them!


Or we could get on our knees and listen to the Holy Spirit to see where and what we can do I am convinced that just as one hundred years ago the Holy Spirit will give us some amazing strategic world changing ideas.
The money may have run out for the government but well we have our bank account in a different sphere where it is limitless this apply financially too.


We have often looked to other countries to meet needs.  However I have maintained that there is so much need right under our noses and well perhaps until recently it has been mainly spiritual and it continues to be.  Although now we are faced with rising poverty and the desperation of the public not only do we have the answer in the Bible but we have know the source of all wisdom to solve all problems.


So we can be part of building the BIG KINGDOM here on earth and in Manchester so lets get going there is so much to do!!!!!

My Life Story - Uncut Part two

So I didn't do very well academically at primary school and I don't remember going so much quite alone and bullied all the time. Despite all of this I don't remember being a particularly unhappy child I always seem to have a smile on my face in photos.  I was very quiet though and probably had very low self esteem although you can't put such feelings into words when you are seven.
Now Secondary school was quite a different story when I thought about it whilst I was in Argentina  I realised it coincided with when I got involved in the church again.
Now I was brought up as a Catholic and as I mentioned early on I did go to Sunday school.  Each school or college I went to was catholic so I always had these foundations in some ways helpful and in other ways not.  I always remember believing in Jesus that he died on the Cross rose again and I always prayed it was never an issue however at the same time I did not have any revelation of Jesus nor of a relationship of Jesus etc.  It was simply religion which I followed but it led me later on to greater deeper faith and ultimately a relationship with Jesus.
So here I was 1st year of Secondary school and I realised where I was academically.  Now at primary school I knew I wasn't doing so well academically and I didn't think I was very clever all of which I refute now I have a completely different perception of myself more of a godly one. Anyway I found myself in the second to bottom class with people who had severe behavioural problems or learning difficulties and I it was the reality check I needed.  I must have said to myself what am I doing here?


At that point I must have made a decision I don't remember actually doing that but I know that I started to work really hard and term by term I moved up sets until I was in the top class apart from maths.  It was such a sense of achievement. Now if I think about it this was about the same time I started to get involved in church again.
I was a some kind of fair at the local Catholic church hall and I met the lady from the guides I got invited to join and it all started from there.  We would have to go to services at the Catholic church for trooping of the colour something like that and somehow I got invited to be part of the choir as I always enjoyed singing and still do now.  I would listed to the sermons from the priest and think well that sounds good but there has to be more than this.  That's when my Gran started to invite me to activities at her Church which was the Methodist Church I had been to when I was little.


First I started going to Harvest suppers, and then the services.  I was having so much fun I found people who accepted and loved me something I had not experienced before.  This was the beginning in many ways of my journey.  At the same time I made friends at school and I was doing a lot better at school life was getting better there was though quite a lot of conflict at home.  I started to enjoy life especially with my new life in the church however I still had this underlying rejection which affected my behaviour but Jesus was starting to heal me this would be a long process which continues today and will carry on for the rest of my life

My Life Story - Uncut Part One

I have been thinking of writing my life story for some time, in fact I have felt the Holy Spirit leading me to do this perhaps that is the reason why I haven't managed to start it tonight. There may be some additions to it as the Lord brings more accounts of my life back to my memory.  I especially feel compelled to write that as I want to batten down some specifics of when I became a Christian and some of those important landmarks in my life.
So here goes brace yourself this won't be a short read but I will try and put it into digestible chunks and you may find it in parts so here goes Part one  0-14yrs


I don't remember much of my early childhood I have vague memories of being on a tricycle at my Gran's house.  I remember running into the corner of a television when I was three I still have the mark to prove it and playing on a dog on wheels and a horse I think that is how I managed to crack my elbow when I was 5, isn't it funny the way your brain remembers the accidents but I guess it would have been quite traumatic for a little 5 year old.


I am grateful to my gran for many things in my life and she certainly was a very important influence and role model in my life. Up till the age of 7 she took both my brother and me to a Sunday School at the local Methodist  Church which would figure strongly later in the story.  However when I was seven my mother decided that due to the fact that she was a Catholic she wanted us to be brought up in the Catholic Church and going to a Methodist Church might confuse matters.  I remember being given these books which were awarded to my brother and me, I am  not entirely sure for what.  Still I think those early foundations had much to do with the reason I turned to a true faith and later would totally give my life to Jesus.
I even think that God uses some of the foundations that I was taught in the Catholic church to draw me to him later on in my life.


Another thing I remember being part of my life from a very early age was art I remember painting from before I can remember it was always something I could do and something others said I could do.
I don't remember much about infant school I just remember a trip we went on to Staley Bridge with the YOC (Young Onthologists Club) recently I found a magazine produced by the school where both my brother and me have written an article.
The truth is I don't remember a whole lot about school and that would be due to the fact I didn't go very much  throughout Infants and Junior school.  Due to my lack of attendance I was always extremely behind and this led to bullying when I did go to school.  I also think I was bullied for two other reasons my hair I have always been very blonde so I was called 'White hair' I wore glasses from early age too so I got called 'speckie fore eyes' along with generally being treated as not being very clever.  Personal hygiene was never a value at home so I think this didn't help.  My general self esteem was at an all time low besides the bullying I didn't have any friends one or two a some points in time but not really anyone who wanted to be my friend in many ways a very sorry state of affairs.
My memories of school are sitting on a wall drawing in a sketch pad.
That little seven year old girl was rejected in every sense of the word both at school and at home in may ways. Being a typically working class English family there was very little demonstration of love or even words of affirmation or 'I love you.  Perhaps this is seen as normal for many families but I would say that that amount of lack of affection and affirmation is extremely detrimental to a persons emotional development.  It is so important for us to tell those who are nearest and dearest to us and especially our children how much we love them and how amazing they are.
The other myth is 'Sticks and Stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me.'  What absolute rubbish harsh words from both other school pupils teachers and parents are imprinted onto our hearts until the Lord comes years later and wipes them away.  They often contribute to the way we think of ourselves years later.  It has taken me years and years to unlearn some of the coping mechanisms I developed in those early days of my life and I am still coming across patterns of behaviour which need changing.


Despite not doing very well at primary school Like I said before Art was always something I could do and because of this my favourite teacher was a lady called Mrs Milichorus (thats probably not how you spell it I just remember her being Polish or something) She gave me loads of affirmation because she was an artist too.


Even though I don't remember having any friends at school at home on the street I had quite a few so my memories of hanging out in the local field which is now a housing estate and generally playing out seem to remember something like playing tigg.  Out of school I think I was even in brownies too but I guess I didn't go so much if I was always off school.  I will carry on writing tomorrow nxt part is coming ...........

Community!!

No one wants to be on their own and one way or other we all want to be part of a community.  I think that is what I have enjoyed the most about the last ten years as I have had the honour to be part of a few of communities whilst I was in Argentina and even here in England.  I am convinced that community is our original design no man was ever meant to be an island. Unfortunately the phrase 'a man's house is his castle' has kind of backfired because this is the case for many people having seemingly everything they need they don't come out of their castles which in many ways have become prisons.
I used to be really into Soap Operas and I have to be honest that I am still drawn in by them and a little while a go I realised why that is!   I remember watching these soaps or similar programmes always thinking ooh I would love to be there with them.  They all seem to know each other and are in and out of each others lives.  There doesn't seem to be any lonely people they all congregate in a cafe or a pub or a market. Whether its Neighbours or EastEnders or even Coronation Street.  I watch these programmes thinking our lives are not like that I don't know as many people in my neighbourhood and they seem to. Of course there lives are extremely screwed up and I would not want to be in their shoes in any shape or form.  The truth is my life is very exciting and I continue to be amazed by the twists and turns of my life.  However what I see in these make believe worlds that are shown on our television screens is a sense of community which I don't see around me apart from today of course the royal wedding.

When I look at the soaps and such like I see church yes evidently without the most important part Christ but the way that the all know about each others lives drop in and out form relationships quickly well my belief is that this should be what the church looks like with Christ at the centre.  When I don't have community in my life that is when I fall foul to the soaps and I often hear others talking about the characters on the screen as if they really are part of their family or community.
Facebook and twitter are so popular because it is a virtual way of being part of a community social networking is a way to be part of an online community, however in my opinion this cannot be a replacement for good old hanging out together.

It is my sentiment that we need to get back to community it goes without saying that this is what we need to do as a church and in a way we already are a community especially as we are the body of Christ.  However we need to be a more closely knitted community that outsiders would look at and want to be part of.  Our nation needs a restoration of community rather than escaping into a make believe world of community on our computer or television screens.
Across the nation today people were meeting as communities celebrating for the royal wedding I had the pleasure today to be part of a royal wedding street party even if it was in someone's garden as I sat there I thought to myself this is community this is what we need to do more often we shouldn't need a royal wedding to build a sense of community I am sure we can think of many other reasons to have a community sindig!!!

Unexpected moments in Manchester

If you had told me this time last year that I would be in Manchester the following year full time and living with my parents I would have said you were absolutely crazy there was no way I could or would want to do that and of course God would never ask me to do that.  Well that was then and this is now and I am writing this from my parents living room where I have been living for the last three months.  So I guess I am taking an unexpected sabbatical from YWAM and full time ministry where God is teaching me sooo much!
I haven't lived in Manchester full time for 13 years suffice to say my Manchester knowledge and geography is extremely limited and people who have been around only recently can give me better directions than I would be able to!!
I remember when I was in Argentina I had three things on my mind concerning England and they were my parents, the state of my nation and the fact that I didn't have a home church.  I have to say I hadn't connected any of this with the fact that I was in debt and recently I had been crying out to God to do something about it!


So as I look back now I can see how he has answered each one of those prayers and so many more.  I don't have a job at the moment but did until recently and I am sure I will get another one soon.  I am living with my parents and then I have seen how God has planted me in a local church here which is actually quite bit but despite this I have some good friends there.
Then there is the state of my nation well I haven't been able to do a huge amount of that yet but I can see how I could make a difference in the future I certainly am more up with what's happening than I ever have been before but perhaps that is thanks to Twitter!!!!


Since being here I have received a massive passion for who Jesus is in a way I haven't before and a far greater heart for evangelism and seeing people come into the kingdom and peoples lives totally transformed.  Being kind of outside of YWAM or at least not having any kind of meetings in some ways a passion has risen inside of me to be engaged even more in evangelism whether that was at work or go out on the streets or even chat to random people who I meet during my day!


So God has begun to do amazing things with the debt issue and my finances, he has also surprised me with other little things like for example I was on the train from Sheffield to Manchester and I said to the Lord how I would really like to see more of the countryside or go walking.  The following Sunday my friend tells me how she is planning a couple of walks.
I even felt that God picked the exact job for me as it was a place in complete turmoil as their jobs were in the balance as the company had lost the contract they were working on so many people didn't know if they would be able to keep their jobs now I didn't really have any counselling type conversations in regards to that but I did have some great conversations with some people there!  My job ended just in time for me to be able to visit my best friend for her Bday which was a huge Blessings.  When I got there I felt like it was my birthday as well as there were a few things I had left behind like my Blackberry and my beautiful pink coat!
Then there was my contacts all of which had split just before I got there these are the kind of things which show me that God is really interested in the little details in my life.


The funniest thing happened the other day as I was in London at the YWAM house I was able to lay my hands on a guitar the first time in seven months wonderful. As I came to the end of a jam sessh I said to the Lord how I would like a guitar well it was a reminder really not that the Lords needs reminding but well anyway two minutes later my phone rang and it was my Dad he says to me "I hear you've been asking for a guitar" As I came off the phone I thought was my Dad in that conversation I just had with God, did God tell my Dad I wanted one.  It is true that we had talked about it before but the timing was so uncanny!


So as I said before I am sort of on Sabbatical but of course no Christian should take time off when it comes to bringing in the kingdom and telling people the gospel and discipling others and I've been involved in a couple of treasure hunts I also am meeting up with someone for Bible study.


I am sure as the months go on before I go back to Argentina to finish my Counselling school there will be many more stories!!

Controversial thoughts

My mum passed me an article today about how a fostering couple in Derby had their application to foster be denied because they would not teach their foster children the council's line on homosexuality. Unbelievable how can people think that promoting homosexual lifestyle to young people even children is right.  Homosexuality is on the increase and there has to be a reason for that it is not a coincidence that people are choosing same sex relationships over marriage. Which could actually lead to the extinction of humanity or perhaps at least to creating humans without traditional sexual intercourse besides the idea of one coming from a loving relationship between a man and a woman ideally within Marriage
Family is being destroyed from all directions and perversions in sexuality is one way of doing this besides monogamy being very far and between in same sex relationships therefore causing more and more hurt and pain, it too is the cause of STD's.
There are many other topics that we need to be really on top of like the way our children are being sexualized under our noses and we don't even realise it, our children seem to be children for a shorter length of time however in actual fact it is the opposite we are actually children for much longer emotionally because of the breakdown of our families and the lack of care affirmation love acceptance and of course affection which has always been scare in our culture and society but now there seems to be a plain famine of it as we are so incapable of showing our emotions which I think has a lot to do with the altering of sexual appetites. Oh how the devil has captured our world right under our noses and quite often for sometime before we wake up we think it is progress.


For many years we actually thought that abortion was progress that now women could choose to do what that wanted with bodies. How could we possibly think that killing innocent unborn living babies was progress.
I have recently been in Argentina where they are trying to pass the abortion law I believe one of their thoughts it that they want to develop like the other countries that already have these laws but what they don't realise is that the countries that have passed these laws have become lawless we are not going forwards or developing or going into the light we are going more and more into darkness!!


WE MUST WAKE UP AND PRAY FOR STRATEGIC PLANS TO TAKE OUR WORLD INTO THE LIGHT NOT FURTHER INTO DARKNESS

Invisible Battleground

So I'm in England Manchester to be precise at the moment. In south America where I have been living recently we talk about spiritual stuff all the time the good and the bad. The demonic is a lot more normal over there and visible.  Today as I was walking to church I had quite a revelation which seems quite elementary and something that I already knew I would talk about all the time.  I have been praying about spiritual stuff with those closest to me.   I was having a struggle with someone this morning I was becoming very angry towards them and I couldn't work out why and then it dawned in me. Even though I was getting confused in who I was getting angry at. Then the holy spirit said to me your not fighting against flesh and blood your fighting against principalities and powers.  So you mustn't be angry with them you need to be angry at the enemy.  Like Jesus said they no not what they do!  Like the enemy has blinded them.  So here in Europe there is a huge very powerful spiritual background in England it is very strong like invisible walls that have been built up between ourselves and the enemy.  As no one talks about it here I have to keep reminding myself over and over that even though I can't see it that we are in a very present real spiritual battle!!!

Manchester!!!!

So here I am in my home town Manchester and actually enjoying being here for a change!  I have now been here for a month and the last month has gone quite quickly even though I haven't actually been doing much.  Mainly due to the fact that I have been on stand by waiting to see if I would be going to Latvia and Italy or not.  However in the end nor my other team member or my leader from Zambia were able to get their visas.  So I am still here and it doesn't look like I will be going anywhere any time soon.  I think what makes me so content to be here and so relaxed is the fact that I know without a shadow of a doubt God was the one who got me here.  It wasn't a mistake.  
In the last month I have been able to spend some long awaited time with my family and had some great conversations with them. I have also been able to reconnect on a deeper level with a church I have been going to on and off when ever I have been in town.  It is amazing the way God answers all our prayers. Two in particular that I believe he is in the process of answering are the fact I haven't really had a home church here in England. I have been involved in many churches but not one that I could say this is my home church and one that I would always go back to and who know what I am doing. All the other churches that I have been connected with I go back to but not very often. The difference with Kings in Manchester is that my parents house from now on will be my base as I am not part of the team in London any more.
The second thing that God has put his finger on and is doing something about it is the debt I have accumulated  over the years which I have been pressing into God about.  Just recently I have had some people offer to lend me the money to pay it off so I don't have to be paying the interest and then with me being in Manchester I am  taking advantage of the time I am here and looking for some work, it looks like I might be able to pay it off this time.  I believe he is going to be answering some other prayers things I've had pending for quite a few years and it looks like this is the year!!!!

Update

Hello Folks 

Just wanted to send you an update on what is going on with me!  Well I am still in Manchester staying with my parents. Keeping up with the projects and journal I have to do for my counselling course which I am in the middle of. To recap I am here in England waiting for my leader to get her visa for the EU she is from Zambia it has been a long process so far.
On Monday she is going to the Italian Embassy once again so please would pray for miracles and the will of God.

I am taking advantage of being here in England and I will do so as long as I am here in terms of raising finances to pay off debt etc.  Whether I am here until next week or until the end of February I will still need to do one month of outreach in Argentina which actually be quite exciting although I will end up graduating one or two months after everyone else but I look forward to do counselling in Argentina and as I am not planning to leave YWAM just my role will stay the same as a student for a little longer. God has a plan and reasons for all this because as I have said before I know God is in the fact that I am in England and Manchester I believe he even arranged it.

Whether I end up going Latvia or not I will be going back to Argentina at the beginning of March and I have nearly half of the money for it but I still need to find the rest for the flight which is between £520 - £750.  Then there is my living costs back in Argentina and then when I am staff to over there.  Not sure what I will be doing but I am quite sure I will be working in the area of counselling, evangelism and the Arts.

I am also looking to build up my support base I am looking for people to commit to £20 per month which you can do in a number of ways detailed down below.
Please pray for these next few months of the outreach whether I spend the next month here and the following months in Argentina.  If I do end up in England for the next month pray it will be as productive as possible in every sense.

Please continue praying for my family as God continues to work in their lives as I believe he is doing whether I can see it or not.

I have also been building some online shops which I am posting the web-page http://www.etsy.com/shop/arthompsonart  again my blog is

A.R.T. Antics
Join me on the journey of my life which sometimes feels like a roller - coaster no two days are the same I am learning to enjoy life and this is a glimpse of me!
http://angelaantics.blogspot.com/

DONATING METHODS
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Thank you to all those praying for me, and all those who have supported me financially I couldn't do this without you all!

Many Blessings 

Angela


Heaven to earth!!!!






I have had the privilege to work in a cartonero settlement for the last three months in Buenos Aires which has been a real eye opener. Cartonera is a spanish word and it is basically a trade that appeared at the time of the economic crisis in and continues in Argentina to this day. Cartonera comes from the word Carton which means cardboard. Basically there are men who lost their jobs and even careers at the time of the crisis when basically the working class people in Argentina dropped off the map. So these men go around the city with huge wagons that they pull manually collecting cardboard that people leave outside their houses which the dustbin men don't pick up.  Even though it is recognised as a job and it isn't illegal they are treated with a lot of contempt.  It is back breaking work and there isn't huge amounts of return for their work
Some of the families of these workers live in an area which we call Patetnal where the people have set up home on a disused piece of land that has been taken over and inhabited unfortunately it is illegal and these people's homes could be demolished at any second.  They sprang up all over Argentina just after the crisis and have been around ever since.
It is an amazing place at first glance you might think it was just a dump site, there is a huge amount of rubbish around which the houses are actually built out of.  There are some houses which are shacks and there is complete garbage and no sense of a home however there are other houses which have electricity, sanitation, sofas carpets and rooms where they are continuing to build.  I don't know how they manage to get these resource however despite their poverty they are people of ingenuity.  There is even a family where they seem to be running a business they have a parking station for the wagons and they seem to have like a little shop!
            I have noticed that most Argentines are capable of making a business out of anything when there isn't a trade they will invent it seemingly out of nothing.

We have ran a few events in this place and we regularly visit the people who live there and with some families we are making some amazing head way giving them bibles, evangelising to the people there and starting to discipling them.  The more I am exposed to people with such backgrounds I understand more and more why God wanted me to do the counselling school .  Despite the environment they live in they just get on with it and it is normal life.  You often find kids wandering around or youths with hanging out not doing much.  However the people there have welcomed us into their community and they are incredible hospitable. Despite the poverty despair and garbage I find the place as a strange kind of beauty and I look forward to forging stronger friendships with the people there and also see how heaven can come to Earth in such places

Travellings!!!!

Hey Peeps

I am in England at the moment waiting to see whether I will be carrying my journey on to Eastern Europe Latvia and then Italy afterwards before returning to Argentina at the beginning of March

I am writing this from my mum and Dad's living room in Manchester and despite the present confusing circumstances I am glad to be here because being here is an answer to a prayer I made to God before I chose to  go to Argentina to do the counselling school.  I remember saying to God when he made it clear to me that I had to go back to South America 'but Lord what about my parents.?' Here I am less than four months later in my house in Manchester.
The way God got me back here was an absolute miracle as well he found me a flight where there were no flights.

In December England was in chaos with the extreme winter conditions so when I started ringing the agency I bought the flight with it took me an age to get through and quite often I would get cut off because the connection was not great.  When I finally did get through I was told that the only flight that existed was on 23rd January next week and it would cost £2000 plus a fee of 150 EUROS to change the flight and it wasn't even from Buenos Aires it was from Sao Paulo so I would need to find the money for the flight to Brazil.  Thank you but no thank you I got off that call very disappointed I could not see a way forward.

Then the base leader of the house suggested I went straight to the TAM office in Centre of Buenos Aires to see if they would change the flight directly I was very reluctant but thought well I have nothing to lose so I went with a friend and as she was Argentine I let her do all the talking. She did, didn't even mention the agency with whom I bought the ticket online but there were no tickets and any that did were of astronomical prices.  At that point I shot a prayer up to heaven 'Lord I know there is nothing but find me something in the system.' My friend had a brain wave she asked if there was anything from Sao Paulo at that moment she found a flight which left on 11th Jan last week.

So then I had to find a flight to Brazil and I realised as I searched for flights that the cheapest would be Friday that would mean 4 days in Brazil Sao Paulo a friend I had not seen or spoken to for six years just happened to be online so I arranged to stay at her house and to top it off her dad invited me to preach at his church on the Sunday night.

I ended up in Campinas which is about 2 hours from Sao Paulo and I was quite surprised at how developed Brazil was there seemed to be less poverty in Brazil than I thought there would be.  I was assured by my friend that Brazil was in the emerging countries groups.  The real is stronger than the Peso in Argentina and the prices are not as high as Argentina.  I preached on Sunday night on Obedience and I was nervous at first as it was the first church I had been invited to preach in that had nothing to do with an outreach. As I started to tell my stories of historical Christian transformers I began to enjoy being there preaching I became more natural passionate and I ended up preaching for 1hr 40 mins but that was with translation. Mental note next time take a watch or mobile.  Thankfully when the pastor started to give me a nod I was finishing.