Unite's Prayer Diary and Update for March 2017
“Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you.
Always give yourself fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labour in the Lord is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15 v 58)
There is so much exciting news this month so let’s start with praising God for His equipping, His provision, His grace, love and mercy, trusting us with this work and giving us so many opportunities to be His hands and feet in our communities and particularly amongst the young people of Great Yarmouth
The week we had in Great Yarmouth High School with The Sense and Stance was so exciting as we saw the students opening up more than usual this year; it seems that every year, as our relationships with the staff and students grow, they are trusting us more with their questions and confusions. There were, again, a lot of questions about the Church’s treatment of people with varying sexual preferences and lots of young people are still subjected to judgemental and condemnatory language from different sources (not just from Christians or religious bodies). One 11-year-old girl got more and more heated and upset as she spoke of her parents’ reaction to her professing a sexuality that wasn’t in line with their ideals. As I gently explained that our identity and who we are is so much more than our sexual preferences; that there is a God who created each of us as individuals and with a specific purpose of living life to the full and how that frees us from any labels or judgements from others, my heart ached for her hurt and angst at such a young age. Please continue to uphold these youngsters, that He will protect them from our society’s preoccupation with sex and sexuality
This is the first year that we have had both teams in the school together, so The Sense were taking lessons in the hall at the back of the school whilst Stance were teaching dance routines in the gym at the front of the school. This was great fun and most of the pupils really entered into the lessons with lots of trepidation but great enthusiasm to try something new, even if the thought of learning a “street dance” was pretty daunting. Probably the fact that Ali was also having a go and looking a lot less than “cool” inspired them that at least they wouldn’t be the worst in the class! Even one of the male PE teachers had a very brief attempt which is indicative of the great relationships some of the teachers have with the pupils here. At the end of the lesson there is always time put aside to answer questions the pupils have and Aoife, Becks, CJ and Rachel were able to share why they do what they do and what their faith in God means to them, in response to some of the questions posed this year. Ali was again able to share with the class of 31 boys aged between 14 and 15, at the request of the teacher and in response to the sexuality question, how much God loves us, how He wants us in His family so much He sent His Son to die for us and how there is no condemnation for those who believe and trust in Him
During the lunchtimes, the students are allowed into the hall to use the band’s equipment and chat with the team. They’re also encouraged to get up on stage and sing their hearts out! Thank you so much to all of you who are an integral part of these weeks: those who host and feed the team: Pete and Claire, Pete and Louise, Ruth and Dan, Barrie and Alison, Jane and Dave, Sandra and Phil, Erny and Sue and of course every one of you who faithfully prays for us all week
The new senior leadership team were very impressed by the energy, passion and professionalism with which the teams delivered all they were asked, including a transition assembly for 80 Year 6 pupils from the local primary “feeder” schools, giving them a taste of what’s to come if they attend Great Yarmouth High School in September
The concert on the Thursday night saw over 100 pupils dancing the night away and hearing Rachel's testimony along with the Good News of Jesus. Many of them took a "Check it Out" leaflet and we're praying that they will come to Room 6 to meet with Ali and follow up their questions
At the Youth Café, 31 young people came to hang out with The Sense and Stance and the tables were turned as the young people showed off their skills at pool, table tennis and “Just Dance” on the Wii. Again, we were blessed by God’s peace and grace with 46 people (including leaders) in a relatively small space and everyone getting on so well together. Two weeks later, the young people were discussing the week and one 13-year-old lad said “I love talking to The Sense – they’re so easy to talk to”
Some of the other comments about the Youth Café have been:
“I love coming here. It’s the only place I go to outside of school. It’s away from the stress at home and it’s just a nice place to be” (14-year-old girl). Another 14-year-old boy said, after decorating a biscuit for every volunteer, “I love finding Ali. I love talking to her”. Please join with us in thanking God for His provision for this café and for the volunteers who are building relationships and trust amongst the young people: Grace, Louise, Livvy, Ali, Sadie, John, Michelle, Joe. If you would like to come and see what we do please let us know – as numbers increase, we would like to build two more volunteers into the existing team. It’s a very rewarding couple of hours!
Thank you for your continuing prayers for Stand. We had a good time in Gorleston as these developing leaders joined Identity’s monthly Encounter event to help lead and envision the future. Then just last Saturday we visited Cambridge for the YEC (Youth Evangelism Conference) where JJohn, Andy Hawthorne and Phil Timson were inspiring us to evangelise wherever we are and whoever we’re with. The 5 young leaders from Stand really enjoyed the day and are committed to change from this day forward:
“I’m going to pray more for my community”
“I want to try different ways of praying”
“I’m going to pray for my friends by name regularly”
“I need to set realistic goals for my evangelism”
“I need to pray more for the people who live around me”
February has been quite a “mixed bag” but in March we’re looking forward to continuing with our series of apologetics studies. If you know anyone of college age who would like to join us, please get in touch on 07733 143660 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Lots of the young people are getting excited about Spring Weekend at the end of April when we partner with Ang Fox and the team at North Breckland YFC enabling us to take the young people from the Youth Cafe to Eaton Vale Activity Centre where they get involved in all sorts of activities and workshops with The Sense and Stance, hearing the gospel in a safe and friendly environment, giving them opportunities to respond and choose a new life in Jesus
At February’s trustees meeting we finalised the new Job Description and are looking forward to the next recruitment drive. Please pray again for God to bring the right person to work with us in this area
People often ask us “What does Unite actually DO?” If you’re not sure and would like us to visit your church to update you in person about the work of Unite, please get in touch, we’d love to come and meet you
As you know we have been rethinking our Unite Prayer commitments recently and we believe that we should be moving out into the community to pray, so after a few months break we will resume meeting on the 2nd Tuesday of every month to pray for the young people of the town and for everyone who has a role in evangelising, nurturing and discipling them. The prayer will take place in McDonald’s in Great Yarmouth, which is where many young people congregate on a regular basis. Feel free to join us
Thank you for your support and we thank God for all these opportunities to be His light in these communities around us
Alison and the trustees
Regular commitments for March 2017:
Youth Café. Praise God for these lovely young people. Pray that there will be peace here today
Stand leaders prayer meeting. Pray for Grace, Eddie and Ali as they prepare for Sunday’s session.
Youth Connect As we support Emmanuel Church’s youth group to get this off the ground, pray that the young people will continue to gel here and build relationships with Claudia and Ricardo who head this up. Pray for more volunteers from Emmanuel Church to catch the vision and offer to help
Stand Pray for Ali as she leads today, encouraging the young leaders to practise their testimonies in readiness to give a reason for the hope they have in Jesus, when their friends ask. Thank God for their witness in college.
Pray for our volunteer Grace today as she says goodbye to her best friend and mum, Montana who passed away on 6th February after a very short battle with cancer. Pray for strength for Grace, her brothers and dad as they pay tribute to this wonderful woman who leaves such a huge hole in their lives. Pray that Grace will know His comfort and peace
Room 6 Thank God for this open space in school. Pray that the pupils will have the courage to ask relevant questions.
Assembly Please pray for Ali as she steps out of her comfort zone and delivers an assembly to the Year 7s this morning. Pray that the students will have their ears opened to what Jesus is telling them. Thank Him for the staff’s enthusiasm to have Christian content in the timetable
Youth Café Thank God for the conversations we are having with these young people and for the trust they have in us. Thank God for His protection over the young people and leaders every week.
Stand leaders prayer meeting. Pray for Grace, Eddie and Ali as they discuss the next session on suffering
Youth Connect Please pray for patience and grace at the end of a full week to get alongside these lovely young people. Thank God for new volunteer Shirley.
Stand Pray for the young people as they discuss how to “suffer well”, particularly with those who are dealing with loss and illness in their families at the moment
Community Breakfast Thank God for those ministry leaders who are keen to work together. Pray for us all as we meet today to envision future events and projects for the town
Room 6 Pray for the conversations here – that there won’t be too many young people, making it difficult to have meaningful conversations
Unite Prayer As we gather together in McDonalds to pray for the young people of the town, pray that there will be peace as they gather in groups outside
Youth Café As the young people start to get excited about Spring Weekend, pray that we will have enough volunteers to be with them during the weekend. Pray that their parents will allow them to come.
Youth Connect As we help with this initiative pray for more volunteers from Emmanuel Church to come forward to support this youth café
Encounter and Identity. We are looking forward to working with Identity again as they serve the young people of Gorleston. Please pray for inspiration and God’s guidance for the future of this group
Mental Health Training. Pray for safe travel and clarity as Alison undertakes this training to equip her as she listens to so many young people with mental health issues
Youth Café Pray for a hunger in the young people to know about Jesus.
Stand leaders prayer meeting Join with us in praying for Seyi, Julyan, Sam, Olivia and Hepsi
#pray365 Join us as we stand in prayer today with other centres and British YFC to pray intentionally for the salvation of the young people of this nation and to seek His face for their futures. Pray wherever you are from 2200-2300
Spring Weekend Thank God for Ang Fox and for all she is doing with young people in the west of Norfolk, for The Sense and Stance as we have this opportunity to work together in this adventure for the young people. As Ang and Ali meet together to discuss the content and programme for this weekend in April, please pray for clarity and God’s vision to be at the forefront of our planning
Youth Connect Pray for meaningful conversations and peace here today
Stand Thank God for relaxation and friendships. Pray that we will have fun and build each other up at our end of term social today
Trustees Meeting Pray for clarity and vision for these amazing people (Richard, Alison, Nigel and Matt) who guard and guide this organisation. Pray for more people to come forward to share the joys and responsibilities of this role.
Assembly Pray for Ali as she delivers her second assembly to the Year 7s. As she talks about the real meaning of Easter pray that the young people will hear the Holy Spirit
Youth Café At this last Youth Café before the Easter holidays, pray that the message of the crucifixion and resurrection will be clear and will land on fertile soil and soft hearts. Pray that the message will grow by the power of Holy Spirit into a full relationship with Jesus Christ for these young people
Youth Connect Thank God for all the regular young people who come to this café to chill out with their friends before going home for the weekend. Pray for those who have tough home lives and need this haven of peace and love, to bridge between home and school