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Judy Leage

Healing Prayer

By Judy Leage

Peace not turmoil
Healing not sickness
Health not disease
Wholeness in place of brokenness
Oh Lord restore our souls

Comfort in mourning
Joy in place of sorrow
Laughter not tears
Abundant life not death
Oh Lord restore our souls

Trust in God and not control
Humility in place of pride
Letting go not holding on
Resting not striving
Oh Lord restore our souls

Family instead of no family
Friends instead of no friends
Hope in place of hopelessness
Plans and future instead empty blankness
Oh Lord restore our souls

Serving not self pity
Thankfulness not ingratitude
Giving not taking
Generosity in place of greed
Oh Lord restore our souls

Integrity and truth not lies
Blessing for others not envy
Forgiveness replacing guilt
Gods affirmation not condemnation
Oh Lord restore our souls

Lightness not heaviness
Beauty for ashes
Fear of God not fear of man
You God not us
Oh Lord restore our souls

Faith not Fear
Faith not Fear
Faith not Fear
Victory not defeat
Oh Lord restore our souls

Topics: Prayer
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Rebekah Bray

I spent my summer volunteering in Bolivia with ICS Tearfund, and now have a journal jam-packed with ten weeks’ worth of ramblings, anecdotes, thoughts and reflections. If you were to read this notebook, you would know all about a project in Cochabamba called Oeser, you’d be introduced to a team of incredible Bolivian and UK volunteers, and you’d hear about my experiences of living with a South American family, teaching English and learning how to sell a cereal bar in Spanish! I could probably write a whole book about my time in Bolivia, but to keep it brief I’m going to skip most of the details and just take this opportunity to share something that is particularly important to me. However, if you’d like to hear more about the ins and outs, you can either read a blog my good friend Ruth wrote, (https://tenweekswithtearfundoeser.wordpress.com) or ask me face-to-face!

The project Oeser provides grants for 15 children to leave the San Sebastian prison in the south of Cochabamba and come to a nursery in the Villa Candelaria each day. In Bolivia, if a mother is imprisoned for a crime, her child will stay with her in prison until the age of 6. I had no idea how to feel about this system. I still don’t claim to be able to judge what is best for these children; however, I do know without a doubt that it is important that they have the opportunity to go to the Nursery. As volunteers we rotated each week to pick up the children, entertain them on the long bus journey, and take them back again at the end of the day. They would bundle into the Trufi covered in snot, munching away on sweets, and normally shouting, crying or fighting. They were a lively bunch and if anything they were the ones entertaining me! I often felt unsure of what to do, due to both a lack of fluent Spanish, and a sense of hopelessness at the children’s exceptional situation. Each morning on the drive to collect the children I would pray for them, and God encouraged me that all He required of me in this situation, and beyond, was to love the people put in front of me.

I remember one of these mornings in particular because I was really questioning the importance of our role in this part of the project. Psyching myself up to be child-friendly at such an early hour was proving difficult already… then I was handed a screaming child. Thankfully, she calmed down over the course of the Trufi journey and she started to talk and play with me. Until we arrived at the nursery and she burst into tears all over again, pulling hard at my hand to go with her. I couldn’t stay, but the image of her face absolutely filled with fear stayed with me all day. I repeatedly felt stirred to pray for her. On the journey home she sat on my lap again, and this time there was a noticeable difference in her as she told me happy stories about her day.

I found out later that this was her first day at nursery. The first day she’d ever left the prison.

Sometimes God places people before us and simply asks us to love them. God loves this child immeasurably and unconditionally so I felt privileged that, despite my very apparent weakness and inability to change her situation, God could use me to show her His love that day. I feel honoured to have held her and taken her to the gates for her very first day of school, but it still breaks my heart that her mother couldn’t have taken my place, and that she had missed so much school already.

As a team we have plenty of other stories like this where we realised the extent to which these children are deprived a normal childhood as well as some of their basic rights.

Nearing the end of our time at Oeser, the UK girls went for a meeting with the director of the project. We were informed that a key donor had withdrawn funding so the charity would have to cut certain aspects of their work. Sadly, the grants for the children from the prison are the main cause for concern at the moment. We were actually shocked by the amount of money that is necessary to run this scheme for just one year. I’d never considered the cost of education before; I’d never really had to. Even though our target for one year is upwards of £13,000 I do believe that God can work miracles and there is no reason not to try to raise at least some of this money.

Before, I had been upset that the children were forced to go back to the prison every day, but then the reality hit that they might not be able to leave at all. On paper, the financial breakdown of the grant shows that Oeser offers these children:  education, travel, healthcare, and food. But I have seen that Oeser gives the children so much more than this: they are loved by caring teachers that are dedicated to teaching them good values, and they have the opportunity to make friends and play in a playground. A chance to just be a child.

I want these children to have the opportunity to know freedom and not be confined to a prison for a crime they didn’t commit.

Thank you for reading this and thank you to everyone who donated to my fundraising for Tearfund or prayed for me while I was away. If anything in this article has impacted you in any way and you’d like to support the project, then there are several ways that you can respond:

-Pray! Prayer can connect us across the world and I believe there is power when we call upon the name of Jesus and cry out against injustice. Please pray for the ongoing work of Oeser, and specifically for wisdom and strength for the Director in this difficult season.

-Come along to our fundraising event and invite friends! There will be a quiz, music, cakes, and a short presentation about the project. This will be held in the hall at Holland Road Baptist Church on 20th November, 7pm-9pm. Each ticket costs £3 and teams can have a maximum of 6 members.

Topics: World Mission
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Sam Lawrence

Who are you?

Sam Lawrence

How long have you been at Holland Road?

21 years, I was dedicated here as a baby and have been here ever since.

Why did you apply for Transform?

I applied for Transform because it was great opportunity to build a strong foundation of faith before getting married to my fiancée Megan (in October 2016) and looking for a full-time job.

What are you most looking forward to?

I’m looking forward to the Impact training and going on the mission trip abroad. We’ve already been on one training block and the theological teaching, along with making some great friends, has been a real blessing to me in my first month of Transform. It’s exciting too that we will get to experience different cultures and see what God is doing around the world.

What can you see yourself contributing to the Transform Team?

I hope I can bring a smile to other people and also a willingness to learn.

What can you see yourself contributing to the life of the church?

Having been a member of the youth and recently graduating from university, I’m hoping to share some of my story by serving in those ministries. I’m also looking to continue helping with the children’s work and playing in the band.

Do you have a testimony of your journey on Transform so far?

The idea of doing Transform was floating around since the start of my final year of university. It was a hard decision to make as on one side, I was going to get married and needed to think about how I was going to provide for my fiancée and I. On the other hand, coming out of university I really felt like I needed a strong foundation of faith, and this year was the only opportunity that I would realistically have to take time out. After praying and talking it through with Megan and I’s families, God really put it on my heart that Transform was the right thing to do.

What can we pray about for you?

I want to be stretched in my serving but naturally, I’m also anxious about being pushed. So please pray that I would truly understand what it means to do all things in God’s strength and that by doing this, my faith would grow exponentially.

Topics: Transform
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Rebekah Harrington

Who are you?

My name is Rebekah Harrington. I’ve come from Atlanta, Georgia in the States to spend the year at Holland Road.

How long have you been at Holland Road?

About a month!

Why did you apply for Transform?

To spend time with and serving the Lord after I graduated from University. I hope that this year, the Lord will tell me what He wants me to do with my life and that He will prepare me for whatever He has planned.

What are you most looking forward to?

Building awesome intrapersonal relationships and growing stronger in my relationship with Jesus.

What can you see yourself contributing to the Transform Team?

Enthusiasm and hard work with a long history with the Lord.

What can you see yourself contributing to the life of the church?

Compassion and a love for people. I have served at my home church, New Hope, in many different ways over the years and hope to use that experience to be the best worker I can be while I do Transform.

Do you have a testimony of your journey on Transform so far?

Well, the Lord got me over 4,000 miles here in one piece and with all of my luggage, some tears and a lot of heartache, but so far He has done great things in my life as I’ve begun this yearlong adventure. I have found some wonderful new friends and rekindled old friendships and I look forward to building even more.

What can we pray about for you?

Please pray that I continue to settle in well with my host family and that I make good, lasting friendships that strengthen me. Pray that I find peace with being so far away from my family for so long and that it does not distract me from doing what the Lord has placed in front of me.

Topics: Transform
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