Paul & Sue Hazelden
- Family News -
July to December 2000
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(Mostly typed by Paul)
Sunday 31 December
We had thought of taking the boys in to Bristol to see the
fireworks, and celebrate the new millennium, but the weather was too
miserable. So we stayed in and worked on the jigsaw.
The boys stayed up to midnight, then all to bed.
The jigsaw is worth describing. It is a drawn plan of an
American city, with all the streets bar one at right angles, and
almost all the blocks being filled with buildings which are repeated
numerous times. So there were vast numbers of seemingly
identical pieces, and you couldn't place anything bar one large
building in the right area of the jigsaw until you managed to tie it
in to something else. Fiendish!
Monday 25 December
Not quite the day we had anticipated. I left the alarm
set, assuming that we would be woken much earlier. But it
went off before any of the boys were moving - the excitement of the
previous night must have caught up on them after all. Had an
unexpectedly quiet breakfast with my Bible and reading notes before
anyone else came down to join me. In the end, it was quarter
past ten before the boys had finished breakfast, and half past
before we settled down to open the presents. We usually go to
Church on Christmas Day, but the late start rather scuppered it this
year. I briefly contemplated hauling them out of the house
before opening their presents, but it really would not have been
The rest of the day was quiet. I managed at long last to
watch 'High Noon' - part of an ongoing attempt to catch up on
some popular culture. I have still not managed to see 'The
Wizard of Oz' or various other classics, but all in good time.
We snacked in the afternoon, and Sue produced a magnificent
Christmas Dinner with all the trimmings, with a reasonable amount of
cooperation from the rest of the family.
Thursday 21 December
A couple of Police Officers came round to talk with Alan after
school. Overall, I was not too impressed. They were
pleasant enough, and fairly sympathetic, but gave the impression
that it was all being done because that's what the procedures said.
They gave the impression that they were looking for reasons
not to do anything more - as opposed to the Community Police Officer
I spoke to after Philip was attacked, who was actually trying to do
what she could. But she has moved on.
Monday 18 December
Got back from the Crisis Centre in time to go round with Alan for
the first half of his paper round. It looks like we will be
doing this for a bit.
At lunchtime, Sue and I took her tapestry from Durham and the
picture we bought while staying at Brunel Manor round the corner and
ordered frames for them both - the first lunchtime for two or three
weeks we have had free to do this.
It seems Christmas is finally settled - we will stay in Bristol,
and Paul's parents and brother will come and stay the first weekend
in January. The Missing Peace - the Coffee Shop at the Crisis
Centre - will not open on the Monday and Tuesday of Christmas and
the New Year, but wil open for at least the normal hours on the
other days. People keep asking if we are opening specially
over Christmas, but the homeless are better looked after at this
time of year than any other. We need to be there when the
Christmas parties are over.
Saturday 16 December
Lunch with Sue's family at a pub in Newbury. Let it go on
record that we were not only the first people to arrive, but we were
also early! This may never happen again.
After the meal, I drove Alan back to Bristol while Sue and the
other two socialised with the rest of the family at the Peackocks'
house - Alan had not managed to arrange a replacement for his paper
round. We arrived back just after 5, and Alan sorted the
papers and then went straight out. About half past, he came
back into the house in a dreadful state. He had been attacked
by a group of boys. One had pushed him off his bike and
started to punch and kick him.
The attack was almost a direct repeat of the one on Philip a
couple of months ago. It is hard to maintain a Christian
attitude at times like this.
I calmed Alan and settled him down, then went out and delivered
his papers myself. At one point, I got talking with a couple
of lads from Philip and Ian's school, one of who was drunk.
maybe 10 or 11 years old. What sort of life do these kids
Friday 15 December
9 am, meeting about the Crisis Centre Homegroup. Very
successful and encouiraging: dave and Kim have been thinking long
the same lines as Andy, Trudie and myself.
Back to the office, and have a chat with another chap who wants
to become the Coffee Shop Manager: a good background, and lots of
relevant detail on the application form and CV.
Grab a quick lunch to celebrate Trudie's birthday, then back to
the office for Valerie Davis, our MP. We described the work
we do, then asked her a few questions and she replied and talked
with us for an hour. I was very impressed with both her
understanding of the issues and personal experience. She
helped us understand Government policy a bit better, and gave some
useful advice. All in all, a very worthwhile experience.
The only fly in the ointment - I forgot to take a photograph
of her with us for the next newsletter.
Wednesday 13 December
Philip's birthday. After school, I took him and Ian into
Bristol for him to open a bank account, then we went over the road
and they bought a Gameboy and two games with their own money.
They have bought it together, and are sharing it well - Sue and I
are very impressed. We'll make human beings of them yet!
So, a very happy and successful birthday for Philip.
In the evening, I went out for a drink with a few chaps from
Highgrove. Very enjoyable and enlightening. Got to
know some folk better in one evening than in a whole year of
chatting politely after Sunday services.
Tuesday 12 December
Last minute changes to the Management Report for tonight's
meeting. It's still difficult to know just how much they want
to know about the day-to-day work at CCM.
Sit down with Trudie and go through the papers she has received
for the CNHC meeting in London tomorrow. CNHC are promoting
the 'Megabite' initiative - a nationwide meal voucher scheme.
We don't yet know why they want to do this, or what they hope to
achieve, or how it is to be organised or funded, or even what the
'Operational Cycle' they have given us actually means. The
cycle, we are told, will be 'deconstructed' in the meeting.
This may well prove to be the case.
Very productive meeting with the Council of Management this
evening. They responded well to the ideas and plans I put
forward in draft, and promised to read and consider them in detail
later. And while the Management were considering other
matters, I had a useful conversation with Paul Griffiths about his
involvement in the ministry, and what we could do with the basement.
Monday 11 December
Keeping a record of what we are doing is getting increasingly
difficult. Running with both Europe Now and the Crisis Centre
is 'challenging'. There has been hardly a spare moment once
the absolute minimum has been done for both groups. And when
I do find a minute or two, it is increasingly difficult to know what
Some of the stuff I'm doing is fairly standard: answering letters
and emails, telling people about the work each group does, meeting
with the other staff and working through the action lists.
But a large amount of my time is spent talking with people.
It is often a mixture of medium-term strategic planning with
short-term crisis management and long-term dreams. A mixture
of envisioning, goal-setting and counselling.
In short, it is proving almost impossible to say anything honest
and useful about most days: I can say I completed a report to the
Council of Management, or arranged for a plumber to sort out the
leaking pipes at the rear of the building, but almost nothing about
any of the conversations. In the long-term, we are talking
about building the Kingdom of God, in the medium-term, we are
talking about plans which ought to be distributed and discussed by
the relevant people before I describe them here, and most of the
short-term details are either too trivial or too personal to put
So what can I say? One thing I'm working on is a more
detailed review of all CCM acivities - building on a review
undertaken by the Management over the Summer. Paul Thaxter,
from the Shaftesbury Society, is helping me to ask the appropriate
questions and draft the report. It is exciting, on several
Firstly, on a personal level, it is great to be able to do
something significant and have someone who knows what they are doing
to help me. I know it sounds a bit selfish, but most of the
time in the past any help I've had has generally been from people as
ignorant and inexperienced as me, so this is a wonderfully
Secondly, I believe we are tapping into something that is very
close to God's heart. Holding the gospel and social concern
close together is an incredibly powerful experience. Another
reason why it has been so difficult to write anything is that I am
so excited by this work.
And, thirdly, it is such a privilege to be able to play a part in
shaping this ministry, which holds such a strategic place in the
city of Bristol.
Friday 10 November
Join Alan on the 8 o'clock bus into town this morning, as I have
a 9 o'clock meeting with Andy, Jill and Trudie about the Crisis
Centre Homegroup. At 11 o'clock, just about to sit down with
Trudie and talk about staff contracts when Sue rings: Philip has had
an accident at school, and cut his lip quite badly. It seems
it was a pure accident, knocking heads with one of his friends.
Drop everything and head off, pick up Philip from school and Lord
of the Rings from home, and on to Southmead Hospital. We are
seen by the Triage nurse soon after 12, and she isn't sure if he
will need stiches: expect to wait 1½ or maybe 2 hours to see
a doctor. We are called about 2:30, but then sit in the
treatment room for another half hour. The doctor comes,and
isn't sure, but promises to call in the expert. Philip
finishes Lord of the Rings - for the second time! - and we
wait a bit longer. Soon after
3:30, the expert comes. He isn't sure either, so we decide on
balance to leave it. We beat a hasty retreat, and start to
think about getting some lunch.
Steve Poulard is in France at the moment, so Sue has to leave
work to collect Ian, and then realises that she has given her house
keys to Steve Frost, the chap on the Puppet Seminar staying with us...
It all works out, and in the evening, Sue takes Ian to see the
puppet show at the end of the seminar.
Thursday 9 November
Meeting arranged by Steve Abbott with Dave Bishop and some other
church leaders in Bristol. This could be quite a significant
meeting - or, at least, the start of something significant.
It also provides a good opportunity to talk with Mike Pears, which
is something I've been wanting to do for a while. Mike gives
me a life to the garage, where the car is in for an MOT.
£176, after work on a wheel bearing and a bit of welding: Not
bad, for a vehicle that age, George says.
Friday 3 November
Europe Now staff meeting this morning - the first for three
weeks, for various reasons. The Puppet Seminar next week is
actually reasonably organised, as far as we can tell. It
seems we are putting up one of the punters, and feeding two of them.
Although, given the week we have planned, it seems that
feeding them will mainly consist of pointing them to the food and
saucepans. What we don't know is whether either of them can
Rob can't come out tonight after all - his son Ryan has Chicken
Pox (although he insists it is freckles!), so he can't use the
baby-sitter they have booked. I can't get in touch with Alan
Jenner, so I have to go down into Bristol to hang around to see if
Alan turns up. He doesn't.
Monday 30 October
Philip and Ian have an Inset day. Philip is booked in to
see the doctor at 9:20, so I take them both with the idea of taking
them on to visit 'Explore @Bristol'. Somehow the doctor is
running half an hour late, so you can imagine what sitting in the
waiting room was like. Philip's name is called, and I pick up
their coats while they race in.
As I enter the doctor's room, I hear her laughing. She has
had a dreadful morning, with every patient having numerous
complicated problems. Philip marches in, pulls up his trouser
leg and announces "I've got ringworm." It's simple,
treatable, and such a nice change. I explain to Philip that
it is traditional to let the doctor make the diagnosis, but she
doesn't mind in the slightest.
It turns out that what they really want to do is go home and play
on the computer, so that is what we do. I catch up with some
paperwork, but to be honest, not much, as I am feeling increasingly
dreadful as the day goes on: headache, cold and aching, and worried
that I'm going to be sick.
I head off to the Crisis Centre AGM a bit early, on the grounds
that I'm not entirely convinced I should be driving, and if I leave
it much later, I might become sure. Once at the venue - Etloe
Evangelical - the symptoms start to improve, and the Management
Council meeting and AGM are both relatively pleasant affairs.
Derek Groves manages to attend the AGM, which is quite a relief,
but he looks quite ill from the Parkinsons Disease. It is
good for people to be able to see him and talk with him again, even
if it is only for a brief while.
Saturday 28 October
We plan to lie in, but Sue's father rings at about eight.
I suppose it's a lie-in of sorts. I am absolutely shattered
after last week: up at seven each morning, and not in bed most days
before half past one in the morning.
We have a civilised lunch with Steve, then hunt round the
electronics shops for a hinge-less personal organiser for Sue.
Can't decide the best option here. Then Sue does some
shopping while I sauna, and we meet up again to see Billy Elliot.
Where were they going in the scene on the suspended moving
bridge? And where is that bridge???
Friday 27 October
I spend the day at a 'Drugs Awareness' training seminar.
The content was very basic, but it was a good chance to meet people.
Sue and Sally took the kids to Bath and had a good time
there, then Sally took Alan and hers back to Guildford, while Sue
took Philip and Ian off to Cub Camp. We are childless for the
Sue came out with os on the Open Air tonight. Alan Jenner
joined us again, as did two lads from the Navigators: a team of six.
Brilliant! Evven before we started painting up, two
bouncers came up to us. I spent between ten and fifteen
minutes talking with one, Matt, while Rob spoke with the other.
The conversation with Matt was reasonably representative of
the sorts of conversations we have...
Matt was baptised a Catholic, but turned his back on them because
they are 'hypocrites' - I didn't explore that one. He talked
about the Jews and Arabs fighting in the Middle East, so I outlined
the teaching of the three religions about war and killing.
He wanted to believe that all religions teach the same thing
'really', but it was a difficult one to maintain given his opening
point. I then started to focus on the questions of a relationship
with God and a changed life - we need His help, guidance and
strength to live the way He wants. He thought I had a point,
but it is hard to know 'which of them is Up There' - presumably,
which religion's God is real. I pointed out that, whichever
God is Up There, if He just waits for us to become good, we don't
have much chance, but if he wants to communicate with us and reveal
Himself to us and help us, our only hope is to respond to Him and
accept His offers. At this point Matt moved on, thanking me
sincerely for being willing to come out and talk with people about
Alan did the first message. up to twenty people watching
at a time. Nobody responded to the invitation, but one
navigator got into a conversation with one man, and Alan talked with
two others, eventually praying for one to receive physical healing.
There way another conversation after then next message, and
after the third, a yound lad maybe ten or twelve years old responded
to the invitation. He had to dash away with his group at the
end, but I managed to give him the version of 'Return to God'
designed for young people.
Thursday 26 October
Staff meeting at the Crisis Centre. We end up talking all
morning. It is not what I had intended, but Andy and Trudie
seem to appreciate the opportunity.
Sally Pryde and her kids come to stay for the night. Sue
and Sally have a wonderful time catching up, and I go out with Paul
Price to the Woodlands Discipleship meeting.
Monday 23 October
Rob drives me down to Kensington Baptist, where he is running the
Children's Club every morning this week. I am helping him
Monday to Wednesday, but have to be elsewhere on Thursday and
Friday. There are 48 kids the first day, enthusuastic and not
too badly behaved.
Saturday 21 October
The 'France Day'. Not as many people as we had hoped, but
very interested and enthusiastic. I do ten minutes
introducing Europe Now and Open Air campaigners, then Mark takes ten
minutes to cover French history and culture. He skipped a
In the afternoon, we split into four groups for the first two
sessions - a new development for the France Day, which seems to work
well. In the first session after lunch, Mark leads one group
on Short Term Missions, then in the second Mark and I cover On-Line
evangelism. Mark does his introduction to postmodernism, and
I describe the web site and the philosophy behind it. Very
good feedback on this.
Friday 20 October
We collect Mark from Val's house, then go back and spend the
morning talking about working with OAC, and some of the issues we
have identified over the years. Talk a bit about the possible
new evangelism training course we are thinking of developing
Thursday 19 October
First thing, I am at St Michael on the Mount for their school
Harvest Festival, speaking about the work of the Crisis Centre.
This goes well, although the invitation said 'ten minutes'
but the Head Teacher insisted on keeping to five. Collect up
all the food the children have given, and take it back to the Crisis
Centre. Interestingly, there were more parents persent than
the Head had ever seen before - nearly 40 of them, sitting behind
the 200 children.
A busy day at the Crisis Centre, then dash home, finish packing,
and Rob drives me to the airport, from where I fly to Newcastle.
Meet Mark Howe at the other end, then we are picked up by
Dave Glover, the new National Director of OAC GB.
Dave drives us to Val Cowan's house, where we introduce the pair
of them, leave Mark, and then I go back with Dave to stay at his
home. Meet Sue, his wife.
Friday 13 October
Fame! Sue and some of the other folk at Knightstone were
interviewed by Radio Bristol yesterday, and the interviews were
broadcast at around 7:30 this morning. The item was about
teddy bears bungee jumping, so the whole thing was treated with
great solemnity. Sue came across really well on air - she
ought to do more radio work.
Saturday 7 October
Sue goes out to take Philip and Ian to the Saturday Club at
Portway School, and discovers the car is leaking petrol. It
turns out that the fuel line has been cut. We seem to be
fortunate the car was not set on fire at the same time.
I phone the Fire Brigade, and they come and hose the road and
make the area safe. Try several garages, who don't appear to
work on a Saturday morning, then the Fire Brigade remind me that we
are covered by the AA, and they promise to come out.
Steve and I leave for Nottingham, leaving Sue with the car
waiting for the AA. It is the OAC GB AGM, and David Fanstone
is standing down after 32 years - very emotional for all concerned.
Tuesday 3 October
Second day at the Crisis Centre. One of the highlights of
the day is coping with a very distressed man who was raped on Friday
last week, mugged yesterday, and thrown out of his accommodation
today. What can you say? And, of course, the reasons
why he has nowhere to live are very much his own fault.
Back home, the computer has suddenly decided it only has 16Mb
memory, instead of the 32Mb the BIOS recognises (it's really 80Mb,
but the BIOS can't see more than 32 for some reason). So
Windows won't load. Open the box up, pull out and plug in the
memory cards, and suddenly the 32Mb is back. I really don't
Monday 2 October
First day at the Crisis Centre. Lots of reading, talking
with people, trying to get up to speed with all the different issues
and concerns they all have. One staffing crisis, as the
Coffee Shop Manager left on Friday, and another looming when
all the regular Team Leaders are due to be away for a week...
One good aspect of this new work - the Crisis Centre is just
round the corner from Sue's work, so when I work in the morning
(most days during the first two weeks!) we can drive in to Bristol
together, and we can meet up some lunchtimes.
The computer at home is really sick. Backup the key files,
format c: (never done that before!) and install windows. It
all seems to work.
Sunday 1 October
Sue is not feeling well, and sleeps all morning. She
recovered a bit after lunch, and we take Philip and Ian over the
road to play with their new flying ring and the 'stomp rocket' -
still wonderful fun. In the evening, to the Celebration in
the Council House, with Jeff Lucas speaking.
The computer has been going slower and slower over the past few
weeks. Something is clearly not right. Try and reboot,
and the boot up sequence grinds to a halt before it is complete.
Saturday 30 September
With Steve to Bletchley Park, where we meet my parents and Roger.
What a wonderful place! We were shown round by a Mr
(maybe Dr) Jarvis, who is a sort of Korky character. Only
managed to see a fraction of what they have, and we want to go back
and see the rest.
Sue spent the day looking after the boys, but not doing much with
them as she doesn't feel too well.
Friday 22 September
Interview for the job with the Crisis Centre today. We
talk for a couple of hours, and then they formally offer me the job.
This makes Sue - as one of the trustees - my boss now.
Friday 15 September
Back from Alessandria. A dreadful journey, from beginning
to end! Still, it is good to be home. You can read the
'official' Alessandria Ministry Report
on the trip, and I might manage to fill in some of the gaps when
things settle down.
While I was away, Christian Herald ran the article which
Paul Alkazraji wrote on the Slovak sisters and the Snowball course.
It's nice to be in print! Two of the pictures had
their descriptions swopped, but at least they got the email address
and telephone number right.
Thursday 24 August
Took the boys to the dentist this morning. Check-ups for
them - discovered that Philip needs a filling, the first for any
of them. I needed a filling - turned out to be a large hole
in one of my wisdom teeth. Not a pleasant experience.
Went into Bristol and met Sue for lunch, then Alan went off home
on the bus while I took Philip and Ian to 'Explore at Bristol'.
We stayed until past seven, and still did not get to look
at everything. It was tremendous. The boys
especially enjoyed playing virtual volleyball, and the tornados
were a real hit, too. As was the treadmill and the water
feature. I wish we had spent all day there, now.
Tuesday 22 August
The BGA Newsletter arrived today, and there was a reference to
the Bristol club. Sue realised that I don't have Team
Supper on Tuesday evenings at present, and suggested I phone up to
check they were meeting tonight. They were, and off I went
to the Polish ex-service men's club in Clifton.
Eventually found the club, then found the room used by the
Bristol go club. Fourteen people, quiet as mice, all
playing go. Watched a game for 45 minutes, then invited to
play someone who has just been promoted to 7 kyu. I was 8
kyu 18 months ago, so took black. Eventually won by 64 - 5, a
much larger margin than I expected. Played again as white,
and won by resignation. Gosh - it must be beginners' luck,
Monday 21 August
In the evening, there is a steering group for the Woodlands
missionary work. It's probably a typical Woodlands meeting:
there is no agenda, no written purpose, no previous minutes, and
everybody thinks we are there for a different reason. But
still, it's a useful meeting to get to know some of the other folk
At the end, as I get out of Tanya's sofa, my knee twinges again.
It's been much better for the past few days, and I thought
I had recovered.
Thursday 17 August
Halfway through grace at Brunel Manor, the phone goes.
Steve rining to tell us that Philip and Ian need to be picked up
from camp. They have a bug going round, and everyone is
being sent home a day early. So much for the leisurely
journey and siteseeing on the way home.
We pack up and leave. Dash up the motorway, and arrive at
the campsite at 12 noon. There is one lad left, apart from
our boys. Still, it seems that they behaved themselves
well, and had a good time. Ian missed his Mummy a bit, but
Wednesday 16 August
In the morning, we do the Model Village at Babbacombe - it's the
sort of thing our boys would hate, but full of delightful little
details, and understated humour.
Then down to Brixham, where William of Orange landed in 1688, and
spend an hour or so going over the replican of the Golden Hind -
Francis Drake's ship - moored in the harbour. Lots of
history. Then another exhibition of local artists.
Tuesday 15 August
I hobble down to the swimming pool before breakfast, but nobody
else comes, so I can't swim. Thought it might do the knee
some good. Do the Woodland Walk and Morning Meditation
We take the shortest route down to the nearest beach, where we
eat our sandwiches. It's a delightful little cove.
Take the scenic route back, and get fairly wet, but enjoy the
The staff do a concert in the evening. Some of the items
are quite hilarious - they have some very talented people working
Monday 14 August
The weather is still wet, so we visit Kent's Cavern. Very
impressive, and a good tour. Afterwards, it has cleared up
a bit, so we walk down a footpath and I slip and twist my right
knee. Very painful. I spend the rest of our time at
Brunel Manor hobbling around with a walking stick.
On the way back, we stop at an exhibition of local artists.
Some of the pieces are very good, and we end up buying one
very reasonable unframed work.
Sunday 13 August
Church in the morning, a quick lunch, then goodbye to Alan and we
set off with Philip and Ian. Deposit them at the Cub
campsite at Almondsbury, then off down the motorway to Brunel
Manor. The weather is foul - really wet - but we arrive
just in time for the cream tea - an important objective achieved!
Hope the boys will be okay at their camp. We plan to
join them for the Camp Fire on Friday evening, and take them home
After tea we unpack, then join in the evening service. We
have found our spiritual home! We knew every song they
sang - apart from one, which was taught to us all.
Friday 4 August
Six people in the Open Air team tonight! And more people
around the Hippodrome. Rob went first, and we got two good
conversations afterwards - one with a family who stayed and listed
right through. I went next, and almost from the very start
was heckled by a lady and gentleman, but mostly the lady.
It was quite a challenge, but I'm sure she helped to draw the
crowd, and she was so awkward everyone else was on my side and
wanting to hear the message. She was the only one present
who wanted me to define precisely what 'social justice' means, and
to explain the relationship between the Old and New Testaments -
just two of the many side tracks she attempted to draw us
The message over, I went and talked with her as I had promised,
and we kept talking on and off for the next fifty minutes.
Steve, one of the team members, came over and helped. Everyone
else was in conversations, and people kept on coming up and asking
what the picture was about, so I talked through the message another
three or four times. Some of these folk were really open,
but they all heard something of God's love for them.
Among the people who came up were Dave and Len, two faces from
the meetings we did before Easter. Dave says he is now a
'born-again Christian' but I couldn't find out much more about him
before he launched into our antagonistic lady. He has a new
flat, which seems to be a step in the right direction for him.
Dave and this lady had a fairly intensive interchange for a
short while, then he and Len had to leave.
It's difficult to summarise what she was saying. It seems
that she feels God let her down in some very painful way in the
past, so she doesn't believe in him, but she just did not like
what we were doing. However, Steve and I managed to give
her a fair amount of testimony, and explained the gospel message
several times, and towards the end she thought that what we were
doing was a 'good thing', and wished us well. It may have
been progress. Please pray for her and all these people we
Sunday 30 July
Rob and I did the family service at Ivy Pentecostal Church in St
Pauls this morning. It seemed to go fairly well _ I did the
sermon, and Rob did the childrens' bit with his puppet, and we
both received a round of applause at the end of our slots.
Not a normal experience in a church service!
Friday 28 July
Three people on the Open Air team - Alan Jenner, Rob Davis and
myself. Hard work: not many people around, but a few
conversations. The most memorable was with a young lady who
thinks she likes Buddhism, and would like when she dies to come
back as a frog. Or maybe a bee. We did not point
out she clearly knows nothing about Buddhism. She used to
go to a Sunday School in a good Baptist Church, but the gospel
message had never registered. We talked about how to know
God, and gave our testimonies, and then it was late so we drove
The Open Air team tonight was just Alan Jenner and me.
Again, the numbers were very low - it must be that the students
have left Bristol for the Summer.
However, we did have a bunch of Italian students stop, listen and
talk. A couple of them were very open to the gospel, and
Alan talked with them for some time. One was very closed,
but she still talked with me for twenty minutes or so.
"Your answer is not good enough for me," she said at one point, to
which I replied, "Fine - tell me a better answer." She
couldn't, of course.
She reminded me very much of myself thirty years ago. I
didn't want the gospel message to be true, but found that every
other possibility I explored was even less credible. She is
still looking and hoping to find another option. We talked
through several of the alternatives, and I gave my testimony.
Please pray that God will speak to her through this
Walking back to the car at the end, we met a chap we had briefly
met earlier. He wanted to know what we had been doing, so
out came the picture I had painted and we talked him and his girl
friend through the message, then stood and talked outside Yates's
Wine Bar for another ten
minutes or so. They were interested enough to take a
'Return to God' - Alan doesn't give them away unless he is sure
someone is genuinely interested - and they also took the painting
Preaching at Westborough. Speaking on part of the sermon
the mount. We have a power cut in the middle, which will
make the tape interesting. Catch up on some of the church
news afterwards, then Andy provides lunch, and I go and visit David
Race. For someone who has recently had a relapse with his
ME, he is remarkably bright.
Return home via Bracknell, where I manage a swim and sauna and
catch up with some other friends, and then on to Bristol,
arriving just before midnight.
The Open Air team today consisted of Alan Jenner, myself and
Chris from our church - her first experience. There were
fewer people around than usual, and very few stopped, but we met
up with one chap - Mike - who stayed for a whole message, and
invited us to come back to the bar where he worked.
When we had finished the Open Air, we went and found Mike, and
ended up talking with him and some friends (Nicco, Tracy and Karl)
for about an hour and a half. It was quite an experience -
at one point, to emphasise something he had just said, Mike took
out a hunting knife and drove it into the wooden counter between
us. But he and Nicco especially were hungry to hear how
God's truth could start to make sense of their lives and answer
some of their basic questions. Very New Age, but also
hungry and searching for truth. They need a lot of prayer.
My mother's birthday, and the final performance of 'Ocean
Commotion' which I see this time. Sue is right - they have
done a wonderful job.
This morning, we had a phone call from Sue Howe in France.
Norman Want, one of the Festival Outreach team leaders in Avignon,
died in his sleep last night. Much prayer is requested for
the team and especially his wife, June and their family.
Visit the Stephensons for their Open House in Essex, and meet
Peter Hooper - not Sue's university friend, but the husband (now
the widower) of one of my mothers' school friends.
Stay overnight with Paul & Sue Cockburn, which is always an
The Open Air Evangelism
training seminar in Nottingham begins.
Visit the Jenkins for their 'Open House' while on holiday in this
country, in Oxfordshire.