Skegness, Time away, Spring Harvest 2017, the next installment?

This seems to be my annual update for Spring Harvest as I don’t tend to have much time to update this blog or in reality much time to write that is just for me.

Over the past week I have been away to Skegness at an event named Spring Harvest. I’ve been stewarding there since 2009 and always over the Easter time of the year. This year we had good sized team and it has been a great mix and I’ve got to know many people and make some amazing friendships.

Spring Harvest is a teaching and worship event for everybody. It’s a unique break for all the family: holiday, festival, conference, and an encounter with God. I help/worship by volunteering with stewarding and always get to meet great friends new and old.

I was not sure if I was going to attend this year and it came down to the Saturday before to decide whether I was going or not as university work is quite stressful at the moment. I have my dissertation due in now 10 days time and having my first main copy done this Wednesday. The plan was to be done before I went away and it wasn’t looking good. I decided I needed a break from it to look at it with fresh eyes and rest – there was not much resting this past week but certainly a break.

Spring Harvest Stewarding Team 2017

Spring Harvest Stewarding Team 2017

I’ve re-read a lot of what I did last year and still can relate to a lot of it but I am enjoying things a lot more. Work & University are both difficult but do-able and university is almost over.

This year at Spring Harvest, I was asked to be a team leader of Jaks which I enjoyed a lot. My team worked really well together and was in the 11 to 14’s venue all week. We had a lot of fun with the crazy games they had on and a few discussions about what they could or could not do but overall an amazing week and would love to work with those teams again.

Spring Harvest Stewarding Team 2017 for 11 to 14's venue

Spring Harvest Stewarding Team 2017 for 11 to 14’s venue

At the end of last years post I said this:

“Now I see people struggling and would love to find a place or set-up a place where people can come and eat and not worry about the cost but have a healthy full filling meal. Somewhere they can stay if they are homeless or struggling or just trying to get away from others and need somewhere to rest.

I have NO IDEA how this will be possible and in some following messages I will expand on my idea however I will need help, and lots of it. I have some ideas but feel that we need to work together to serve each other and help. I don’t know how this will happen but trust it will and believe it is possible. It is time to stop just existing but to do something and use those connections and see what is real or not.”

This is still a passion to do and not really started on as a project. Over the past year I’ve been getting involved locally with projects and can now see that I can use what I have learned from these projects (next post) to go forward. I still don’t know how it will happen but do know I’ll need a lot of help with everything from getting funding to providing the services but feel I am now in a position to help make this happen – well in 14 days time (after I finish university).

There has been a lot of reflection to last year in this post, but hope you will continue to read future posts.

Working with various projects to make something new that will last

Working with various projects to make something new that will last

As it happens, while volunteering and helping about; this is when I feel I hear from God. This year it was at the end of one of the events we were running for the 11 to 14’s. The venue was cleared and we were cleaning up the area ready for the next things but the band and venue team were still worshipping and I just stopped and felt a great warmth and opportunity to pray and asked “I’ve done lots this year, and learned many things but what is next – how can what I’ve done help with the vision of last year?” and a calmness covered me and it was like the trinity symbol I love coming together with me in the centre, and the three projects I’ve worked with surrounding me. I could see that they were not the final project but a stepping stone, I can pull them together to make something new.

I am thinking that a project could be setup that would encompass some sort of social enterprise that would provide for homeless/those in need while at the same time making money to pay people to run it and make it self sufficient. I’ve worked with many charity groups and funding is always an issue so to make something that could re-generate funds within itself would mean it could keep on going. I am now aware that it is possible to get grants, and funding to support ideas of change but will need a LOT of help to get anywhere.

So where to go next is the question to ask, and I am sure I will be asking people to help me as I know I cannot do this one alone. I’ve shared a few of these ideas already with some of you and you’ve pledged your support but how… that is the next obstacle to get over.

Skegness, Time away, Spring Harvest 2016, Next…?

Over the past week I have been away to Skegness at an event named Spring Harvest. I’ve been stewarding there since 2009 and always over the Easter time of the year. This year we had quite a few less stewards on team than normal but it has been a great mix and I’ve got to know many people and when I got home last night about 8.30 pm I thought I would just fall asleep but nope, was wide awake for the next few hours but enjoyed an Easter egg and cup of tea.

Spring Harvest is a teaching and worship event for everybody. It’s a unique break for all the family: holiday, festival, conference, and an encounter with God. I help/worship by volunteering and always get to meet great friends new and old.

This year I went with an open heart and mind. My last year or so has been hard with various issues going on and job security and university work just not quite going to plan but most of that is now sorted so now to focus on something else. For years friends have known I am a Christian and I do not really shove my beliefs in their faces but have always tried to show through action and then if asked, talk about my faith but a few new friends seemed very surprised when I said I was Christian – their comments of I’d not have guessed with some things you do and it got me thinking… how come I am not seen any more as who I am and what has happened?

I had a few weeks of examination of myself and noticed that many things I stood for and would challenge people on were no longer happening, I was not particularly happy but just existing and saying I’m fine, not really feeling anything but also trying to find happiness in different ways. I recalled times of joy in my beliefs but couldn’t actually feel anything in particular for it. I wondered why go to spring harvest, I know I can help but what is the point really?

I prayed “God, please help me be useful at spring harvest – you know I can do the job and I’ll be with friends but put me where you want me and hopefully I’ll learn something” – I didn’t feel anything, it just felt like I was talking in my imagination but the thought that someone could be listening felt great too. I’ve been very alone now for a long time it feels. I have friends and many many connections, I have people I can trust and talk too but whenever I stop I am alone and crave company that I cannot have. I am always wanting to make it the best I can for people around me – make them as happy as I can as I feel a little joy when they are happier.

I struggle daily and instead occupy my mind with the thousands of ideas I have to try and change this world and make a difference. I worry about how this place we call home is going politically, financially and socially as more and more pressure is being put on people and the world has cracked and the crumbs are falling and being blown away. I don’t mean to talk in riddles but sometimes its easier to explain in those terms.

I have lots of stories and probably could talk about almost anything given a few pointers and love to talk to people and also learn about what they’ve been up too but everyone has such limited time now and other people to spend it with. So many of my closest friends all have families and its right for them to spend time with them but I feel I’m stealing their time to make myself feel better for those few hours and so I cut my time off and leave them and occupy my mind again. I could program something on-line, run a business, run an idea, start a fitness thing, sleep, do some university things, try communicating with lost contacts, see what people are up to, go shopping, make food, cook, develop a crazy food dish, feed people, go out, dance, volunteer, trampoline or just stop and remember that I am alone.

I’ve been away for a week at Spring harvest and one thing I love about it is that the silence is there to sleep but otherwise there is always someone to talk too and spend time with, to eat with and not be left alone at any point unless wanted. I was originally assigned to the “All Age Celebration” team and I was not happy. Last year I hated the event, it annoyed me more than I knew how to express it and really did not want to be on that team again. I was all up for saying “No, take me off it – I will not do it” but then thought – I’d asked to be where I was needed. I went to the team leader and said “I really do not like this event, last year I was on it and did not enjoy it at all however I have done that event and I am the only one this year that’s done it. I will stay on it if that is what is needed as I am here to help but still needed to tell you” and left it with that accepting if that was where I was needed, that is where I would help. In around 20 minutes one of the other team guys offered to swap with me and I took them up so ended up on Centre stage which seems to have been where I needed to be. I was very thankful for the swap more than I probably could express.

This year I was on Early shift, every year up to now since the shift system has been in place I have been on the late shift – I got a lot more rest on that shift though not really working any less hours. Early meant that we finished after the main celebration at night so off by around 10 pm but started at 7.30 am. Late shift started nearer 10 am and finished after midnight which naturally I seem more awake at.

I’ve been thinking to look more into Christianity, to really study it and challenge the messages. I’d like to find a church I can be a part of and grow as me and not the expectations from various things I’ve helped with. I want a church that will go out and help a community and not just talk about it then taking no action and that they help guide members on how to help as well.

I see the greatest worship in doing… Financially isn’t something I can do much but I can share my time to help such as stewarding though I often do that for the friendship feeling. I don’t think I’ll be there next year as dissertation will be due and all at the same time. There are a few that haven’t came this year because of this and a few that have came knowing they are going back for a hard week or two but needed the break.

I notice most things that are said are all I and now We, thinking now is a time to get more involved again – see what connections the uni has – i.e. Bible studies, CU and see what can be done on campus  as well as locally. I loved the 40 acts idea over the lent period before Easter – it was an inspiration and actually strengthened my faith or at least got me asking questions again.

On what I think was the third night, in the evening celebration, we had a mixture of two events – the 11 to 14’s and the 15 to 18’s in our one venue – a joint evening – I welcomed the extra responsibilities instead of just sitting around. While walking checking on my team I came across a situation I was not expecting. I re-saw something I thought was past, something from the last harvest where we saw the groups shrinking for worship for young people and I heard “it’s OK, it’ll grow and you’ll see” but then harvest stopped, IXth hour seemed to stop, all events involved with stopped and fizzled out and I’d kinda accepted it was just a dream and nothing more.

I had freedom to roam and take care and heard: go upstairs and see so I did, I could see a swarm 500+ young people all gathering worshipping and wow, the colours and passion streaming made me want to cry with joy and then the message to me: “See what can happen as promised. Not in your time but mine, trust there is a plan and you’ll be there when needed now stop watching and listen.”

The week was hard work and at times I had to stand back from lifting after hurting my shoulders months ago and knowing when to stop. I got back in there and did what I could – be that just stacking chairs when I could no longer lift and carry batches of them or sorting the queue outside when I needed a little air and wanted out the way. Our days were long but all quite rewarding, and always ready to sleep at the end of the day.

I made lots of new friends, and many friendships strengthened but there was one message that kept coming to me: “Now is the time for action, you have the resources and the connections and you are not alone. There will be help but you may need to ask for it”

There was a story said that went along the lines of someone wanting to help people with a bad beginning to life to get work, a sandwich shop based in west London that for each one sold then a meal is supplied to a Kenya child. They pitched an idea out to friends and contacts with no more than a base business plan and idea and got some funding and got started and grew but not on their own, they got help, they got started and they went for it.

I have worried as I have said earlier about how the country is going and how people are surviving or not as it is getting more like and want to do something to help if I can. When I finished university originally I thought to do mission work and went to loads of organisations seeing what I could get involved with including YFC, YWAM, UCB and others but all in my mind I thought was “Mission starts at home” – so many people are going out elsewhere, but we are struggling here and that laid on my heart 16 years ago but I felt I was too young, how can I make a difference? what can I do and just it went into the background.

Now I see people struggling and would love to find a place or set-up a place where people can come and eat and not worry about the cost but have a healthy full filling meal. Somewhere they can stay if they are homeless or struggling or just trying to get away from others and need somewhere to rest.

I have NO IDEA how this will be possible and in some following messages I will expand on my idea however I will need help, and lots of it. I have some ideas but feel that we need to work together to serve each other and help. I don’t know how this will happen but trust it will and believe it is possible. It is time to stop just existing but to do something and use those connections and see what is real or not.

Spring Harvest was a start for me for multiple things – One: to help get me back to happy me, having a passion for something in helping again and Two: to get fitter and over the week I was averaging around 10 km per day walking and then the moving of chairs in venue set-ups/take downs and I certainly ached a few days while doing it particularly nearer the end of the week but found it a good start. When home now, it feels strange that I don’t need to walk anywhere but in the next few days my real training begins for the sponsor event and spring harvest was the warm up week before the main training.

Not really been to church in a while

I have not really been to church in a while, I still get involved with things but not as much as I used too but its not that I’ve grown out of it, more that I never seem to have enough time to do everything I want too.

Earlier this week I went to a friends wedding, I’ve known her for years – we met at one of the events, harvest in the north east helping with stewarding and onto different events and came good friends. I met a lot of people that were Christians and really did enjoy the discussions and chat that was going on – I’d forgotten how much I enjoy it, and got me thinking to what I used to do.

Back then, and I’m only going back about 10 to 15 years when the internet was “safe” or there was less ignorance of the dangers I used to chat online to pretty much anyone – I’d often go into chat rooms and have discussions, and forums but not something I do anymore – there is usually too much spam being broadcast too but maybe I’ll find somewhere again.

I do plan to go to church, and thats maybe the downfall – its just a plan… something I could do. I really enjoy it when I attend but the thought of do I sleep and enjoy the dream world just that bit longer or get up and go out… choices choices… I know which would benefit me more but choices… I sometimes have difficulty with.

I really got put off going at the start of the year. I had planned to go to church and take a friend while in London. I’d been to the church and when I’d been previously, it had been encouraging, lively and enjoyable… but this time – very different. Throughout about 80% of the service it was all about getting money out of people for things.

I had wished I’d left after the second installment of it, the energy was so overpowering and felt like it was squashing the life and positivity in it all. I thought of leaving, but I’d taken a friend with me and I thought… maybe its just starting up, and some of the songs were fun too but they just went on and on and on about money… I know churches need cash but there is a line between saying so, and constantly going on and on, and re-wording it to repeat it again and requesting more and more offerings from people… I’d wished we’d never gone.

It put me off church stuff, and even though I know my own church isn’t like that – the idea of it put me off… The thought that if it put me off and I was happy to go – how would it affect those that don’t often go – can’t be good

I’ve been involved loads when at Spring Harvest, and already have my name down for next year and loved it then. I can honestly say that when I surroung myself with like minded people – life is often a lot better. Still difficult but at the same time comforting. I get it from both friends of intellect and those of faith.

I’m looking at what makes me happy, and trying to discover if there is a consistant way to do it, or do I keep at life of doing lots of little things… well thats my thought for today.

Day 4 – My views on religion

I believe everyone has a choice to believe in whatever they want too. I believe that God (Christian God) gave everyone the choice to choose – its up to everyone whether to see whats there or to ignore it.

I believe in Jesus Christ – Christianity – I don’t have a denomination just Christian. I have believed for many years since 1988. You can view my journey of belief at http://fschooliascoff.com/beliefs-journey/

I enjoy talking with people about their beliefs and why they believe what they do. Is it an upbringing or something they have discovered themselves. What has it done for them, helped them through and why is it so precious to them.

While I was at univeristy I was in a group that mixed many beliefs and went through a variety of names during the time I was there. I think its currently called “Mind, Body & Spirit” but I’ll always remember it as “Tea & Biscuits”. The many discussions with @athnor, @midnightschilde and many others there. For a while I was named “The token Christian”

Most people knew I didn’t believe or really agree with their belief but was willing to talk and not just say “Your Wrong” as I can’t really say that God gives them a choice, and then when they don’t choose as I see right, critisize them – its wrong in myself – or at least makes that much sense to me. I enjoy talking with people a lot about beliefs.

Some believe in science but science seems to be there to prove everything so you don’t need to believe in it (as you can see why) but the problem is that you have to believe science is right… so by following sciences rules, it disproves itself.

Euphoria – Friends or God?

I can recall times of being lost within myself but totally happy at the same time. Times in worship at different things including church, harvest, spring harvest and IXth hour where everything just feels right and time – time is something that is there but doesn’t seem to pass – there is just a joy and happyness feeling completely safe and that you don’t want to end. A kind of euphoria that to be is honest and I do miss.

I watch on TV some of the things that happen on the God Channel, a channel I’m not that fond of on tv – I find that a lot of the time it makes what I believe in look silly and not serious. I find what I believe in shapes life – its not just a sunday or an event thing but something that really helps shape me, be it in how I speak, act and relate to people.

How I can encourage others, and look to their gifts in the world and see what they could do with their lives if they choose too. I think people are all amazing… some are annoying but were all made to like and not mix so well with others… but were all in this together… Someone for everyone.

When i was a child, I did not have many good friends – only around 5 in total and still today 20 years on I still have those good friends and now so many many more. Some that are so close and supportive and I feel really blessed for it and see so many posibilities for many of them.

I thought that no-one really liked me, I had difficulty speaking with people and just being myself, always trying to slightly be like others but keep my own flavour too. Always believed that I am who I am, I can try to be “like” others but thats never truelly going to be me.

Over time, I have grown thankfully… I have many friends in many diversities of life, mixing interest from allsorts from trampolining, and dancing to church or just to go out and play pool, swim or ten pin bowling. Some I can talk technical with and know that will inspire me and I them in issues that at first seem difficult and then exciting…. still difficult but knowing that others will support you in them.

I am blessed and thankful to them all. I see it as a very different euphoria with friends… I am really happy when I am with them, and talk, chat online with them. We work well together and well, enjoy it too – a true euphoric time here on this plain of existance.

Questioned Existance

There is a lot on my mind at the moment, I worry over all sorts of little things – some that makes a difference – some that are just wierd things to worry about. I worry about money, incoming and outgoings… how will I pay for so much: Mortgage, loans, and just general maintenance and utilities. My health and fitness, along with image – and know that I am who I am from what I’ve done, or not done… I ask myself “Am I? I where I want to be in life?”

I question everything in my existance, as is it all pre-planned or do I have a choice in it all… I find my belief as true and yet conflicting at the same time. I know that God knows everything that can and does happen in advance and yet we have a choice, how is there a choice that we make if all days were pre planned… The choice was already known, so you followed without choice… Does everything happen for a reason…? Everything pre-planned – like a giant calculation that forms existance and we are just working it all out – day by day.

Some quotes about my thoughts from the bible:

Psalm 139:16: “Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them”

Ephesians 1:4-6 : “For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves”

It is suggested in Genesis that God gave free will, a choice – for at the begginning to choose to eat or not to eat from the tree of knowledge so is there a choice or was it pre-determined as God knows all that the world would fall into darkness.

This question has always got me stuck… I’ve managed to understand the meanings in so much more, but this one – it always sticks me. Even from old and new testament both state the same style of thing… why it sticks – is it my logical mind thinking too much and trying to understand more than I should strive to do. Some people say “Everyone has a choice” and then also says “God knows everything”, and to me that contradicts itself.

I find it hard as I’m sure most people with beliefs do, and how to visualise it all.

Missing @springharvest Already #SH2010

I sit around here just stopped wasting time by watching entertainment on TV – time that over the past week I’ve not even missed having a TV around. Its been Amazing, Sad, Joyful and more but so much was done in the time that was there and so many new friends made there aswell.

The daily laughter and joy, the glorious weather that seems to still be here today and all that we were blessed with. There was a Lot of work to do almost all the time, but it was worth it. Felt so much, learned new things, made friends, re-connected with a lot and remembered where a joy came from I lost so long ago.

For the past week I’ve been helping steward at Spring Harvest in skegness week one. It has been an awesome week with great people coming from all walks of life together to help people as one group. A mixture of IT, Actors, Students, Builders, Teachers, doctors and more – all working together as one body.

When something went wrong, people fell in place to fill the gaps – it was brilliant. We were all tired, somewhat exhausted, by mid to end of week but the joys, the happyness around surrounded us all.

I missed it as soon as I was driving back – so quiet – nice for a bit but no laughter, just a long drive back to the northeast.

Today has felt missing, although I rested well – A whole 6 hours longer than most of the week. No huge breakfast or lunch surrounded with friends, just back to normal – not sure I like normal anymore. Wondering what I’ve learned and what is still to come.

For the first time in a long time, I am looking forward to church and actually want to get more involved again – I’ve stood back for a while, to watch how everything goes but I dont want to watch anymore, I want an active part – some way to help and keep things going.

I hope I never forget my week, and sure I’ll be friends with many for a long time yet – The team worked – like a body of Christ in litteral meaning – we came, worked different parts and together helped.

I do not want to return to meaningless life – filling it up with technology to pass the time. It is a great connector of the world, and will help keeping connections with new friends but it also gets in the way. I hope thats not the way in the future.

A Dream – Its all OK

Last nights dream was interesting, I recall being out with people and seeing a friend thats been ill in hospital. I’ve not heard how they have been doing althou enquire every other day. But it felt like a sign, that they are reaching out and saying its all going to be okay – I know that I pray that they are.

I awoke with words in mind, not just once but twice – in my dream I woke and wrote it down, and then re-awoke realising that I’d not actually wrote it down.. maybe it was to remind me to remember – somethings need to be said multiple times to make you realise.

When we grow up
we are all just still kids
but then in adult suits looking around

We are all multiple – not just one
He is a father, and yet a child
She is a mother, and a nurse
We are all someone, and something else

Maybe it means something, it brought a kind of peace over me and althou looking at it now seems confusing – I know that it made perfect sense.

Prayer Diary

I’ve always struggled with prayer, and all it is about is talking to God: telling him what you’d like, your feelings etc.. What you’d often say to friends but often its asking for something or thanking for something.

I still never seem to know what words to use, I know of the “Lords Prayer” which is put simple a guide on how to pray – it speaks about others, self, protection, and future plans aswell as forgivness and authority and still even with the guide book I have trouble.

I’ve talked with lots of people and one friend recently told me about a “Prayer Diary” – I’ve heard of them before – not tried it but heard of it. They too struggled with prayer and what to say and have said that writing helps and often answers come to them as they write.

So a suggestion is: Write down your prayers in a notebook, and when you get answers – add them too – if needbe, number your prayers so you can know which answer is to what prayer. You may discover more of your prayers answered if you remember what you’ve said.

I know its an interesting idea – maybe one I will take up. Thanks for friends – is what I know I can pray – for without them, I don’t think i’d see a lot of whats about

Harvest – My Beginning Time

I’ve gone to harvest since 1994, on and off for the first few years. Since 2000, I’ve helped on the stewarding teams with a variety of people now.

The first year I attended, the topic for the week was “Everybody needs somebody”. This seemed to hit home really strongly.

I was part of a church youth group, I got on with a few people but not many, and I wasn’t close to any inparticular. I knew of Christianity and believed in it althou still with many questions. I was a mid-teenager with a lot of questions in life. I still do now but then it was really confusing.

I went there with the feeling of knowing no-one. I wanted to go to things no-one else in the group wanted too and so instead I went out and mixed. I spoke to people, people that if I was at school I would be too scared to try – but all these people didn’t know me and if they complained I’d just go elsewhere.

I will always remember meeting a few other people there – some of which I made great friends with, some I never saw again. One person seemed troubled and talked to me. I didn’t feel alone, but felt comfortable trying to help another.

We went for a walk one night, I didn’t realise i was meant to tell my youth leaders… we wandered and talked for a while and found ourselves at the enterance road and headed round in a loop. We didn’t get back til after 11pm and my youth leader was not pleased probably to say the least.

The event had a lot of loud, fast, rythmic music that was fun to sing, and join in with. We prayed, talked, were spoken too and in some times felt so much inside that it was hard to explain.

There was games on a saturday: Football, Rounders and Its a Knock out.

Its a Knock out – probably totally against Health &  Safety laws of nowadays but so much fun. Four coloured villages playing against one another in a variety of crazy games. Nothing really won apart from the Joy of beating the others.

I remember things on Sale such as a T-Shirt with the branding of Harvest, and the topic for the year and the year. Something to remember it all by except well… memories.