Saturday, 26 September 2009
I quickly typed up our treasure hunt before I'm off to Bedford this afternoon and forget about it. It was a struggle at first, but we were very encouraged by the ending of our hunt!
Dale, Kate, Emma and I went up to Victoria Gardens first to the playground and bandstand. Dale and Kate approached a boy with a yellow t-shirt and red hair. They chatted with him and two girls for a few minutes, but they said they were alright and didn’t need prayer. We then went over to an elderly man who sat on the bench. Although he didn’t match any of the clues we just started talking to him. I noticed the bandages on his legs and he told us he had a skin problem. He let us pray for him but we don’t know whether God healed him or not. When we finished praying we say that two girls and a boy were hanging around at the bandstand. So we went over to them and I asked them whether the names we had written down meant anything to them. But they didn’t recognise any name so we moved on to Chatham high street.
We went along the music shop, I looked quickly inside but didn’t see any obvious clues, so we walked further. In the second music shop we approached a customer who had a check shirt. I explained to him what we were doing, but he said he was an atheist. However, he was willing to run through some of the clues with us, and then he told us that the owner of the first music shop had the same NAME that we had on our list. “That is as far as I can help you” he said; I found it quite encouraging that an atheist was willing to help us to find the clues given to us by God! ;-)
We went further down the high street but didn’t really see anyone that matched our clues. At the McDonalds, a man was sitting outside begging, with a striped shirt and coins in front of him. I often see him there on Saturdays, and buy him a burger and have a chat with him. So we approached him. He said he prayed himself every day, but I could see he was really touched when we prayed for him.
We went back, looking for our clues. We approached a women with a pink shirt, but she didn’t want to know anything about God or religion. Immediately after, a mother and her daughter came towards us with pink skirts as well. We stopped them, again explained what we were doing. They recognised some of the names as friends, but couldn’t think of anything we could pray for. I asked the mother if she believed in God. She said she believed in something, and perhaps one could call that something God, but she didn’t go to church or anything. We moved on as we had to go back (and now I realise I should have told her about the Alpha course - stupid me). A guy walked passed us, with his elbow in bandage and a sling. So we quickly stopped him, his name matched with one of the names we had, but he didn’t want prayer. He said his arm was nearly healed and the bandage would come off next week.
We had our last stop at the first music shop. There were no customers, but one guy was standing in the doorway smoking, with spiky hair.
That’s NAME I thought, and so he was. I started explaining to him what we were doing and he was very interested. Then he told us he was a Christian and that he and his mate were looking for a church.
Just this week his mate had said that he had heard that there was a good church on Jasper Avenue, and maybe they should to there one day! Hey, that is us!
We chatted with him for a bit longer about the church and gave him the details. He was really amazed and knew this was a sign of God.
He said he would tell his friend about our encounter, and hopefully his friend will come to church. Isn’t God good!?!
By the way, the other encouraging thing was that, as we shared afterwards, I realised that quite a few of the clues we had but couldn’t find, matched with clues of other groups who did find their treasures based on those clues!
Another amazing treasure hunt – I’m looking forward to the next one!
Medway Family Church
Sunday, 20 September 2009
Sunday, 13 September 2009
Just a quick update on the treasure hunt yesterday. Obviously you were there when we found our treasure John who matched many clues. although he clearly wasn't in the mood of talking or praying, I hope that our meeting encouraged him.
Damien and I went to St Margarets church afterwards. it turned out that the church was open because of the Heritage weekend (?). anyhow, we chatted to two people outside (who were involved in this 'open day' event - Peter and another lady, I forgot her name) explaining what we were doing. Although they were interested, we didn't get anywhere, except on the rooftop of the church. because of the open day we were invited to go up the roof and Peter went with us. while enjoying the lovely views, we chatted with Peter and he was telling us he goes to the Salvation Army and they meet on sunday evenings in Emmaus church. He invited us to come along that evening because they were going to 'send out' two cadets.
long story short, I went to Emmaus church (old church) in the evening, and really enjoyed the service. Nice people, good preach on God giving us Christians a purpose and a mission (very much NF style message). Anyhow, I was sitting next to Peter's wife Sue and she was wearing a green skirt. i thought 'that's funny'. Then, it turned out that the two cadets they were sending out was a couple in their 50s/60s with the woman with brown hair. The Salvation Army band was playing, and their choir was singing, so there was a lot of live music in the place. And then I spotted the tattoos on the left arm of the biker sitting in front of me. Believe it or not, he had planets and a small spaceship tattooed on his arm! I nearly fell of my chair! God has a great sense of humour. I didn't feel prompted to talk to or pray for anyone regarding the clues. Obviously, they're all christians and know God, but also the focus of the evening was on this couple that was sent out and people were crowding around this couple afterwards to have a last chance to say goodbye, so I left after having a few friendly chats with people. Sometimes God reveals His clues more to have fun with us (in a positive sense). I felt very blessed during the evening, as the service (with the band and the choir) reminded me of the church in my home village where I grew up, it was a privilege to hear the couple's testimony of how God had broken in when they went through a rough time, and my fear for (or rather, my prejudice of) bikers has now gone! You know these scary bikers with shaved heads, large beards, earrings and tattoos...? Two of them were sitting in front of me, and when the band was playing their last song, these two men were joyfully joining in, singing along with the band and praising God. It was hilariously funny (no disrespect here), it really made me laugh. whenever I see another sturdy biker again, i have to think of these two men and can't help myself but have to smile.
Saturday, 12 September 2009
TREASURE HUNT – Oxted Saturday 12th September 09
Pictures During Worship
Picture of many angels flying up and down the high street. Then I saw them flying over the park and various other places in Oxted. I had a sense that God was saying that he had sent the angels out before us.
1. 30 seconds after leaving the church office going up Amy Road towards the BIKE SHOP we saw a big guy leaning on his car just outside Sainsbury's waiting for the rest of his family to return to the car. He had been a PROP FORWARD and he had a KNEE PROBLEM and was standing on the KERB. This blew us away as the ink was only just dry from our having put these very clues on our list back in the church office. He was so obviously the treasure but said there was no point in praying and would not let us. His family arrived at that moment. Whilst he was taken aback and slightly defensive, he was pleasant. Once we had moved away we prayed for him anyway asking God to keep working on his heart and to keep reminding him that he had been identified as treasure.
2. We found another PROP FORWARD with a KNEE PROBLEM (shortly to be having an operation) this time also with a BLACK TEE SHIRT. He was happy for us to pray for him as he went (but he was carrying a bag of tools and clearly about to start a job).
There were an alarming number big, bald people (!) (including some with black tee shirts) in Oxted on Saturday and we talked to a good few of them - always pleasantly received; never once did people refuse to talk to us.
3. We found a BALD/SHAVEN HEADED guy in the BIKE SHOP with whom we ended up having quite a conversation about Christianity. He muttered that it was interesting that we had "struggling to get free of ADDICTIONS" on his list but was clearly not about to discuss why he thought that was interesting (and as there were quite a few people around it did not seem right to start talking about that there and then). He thought that he was being "more Christian" than a lot of people by going on a bike ride to raise several hundred pounds for a children's charity the next day. We asked for his email so we could sponsor him. We also told him about Alpha and invited him to the Alpha supper which he seemed interested in. We pray he will come. (Alex and Korbus who own the bike shop and are Christians were quite interested to see what was going on. I must explain treasure hunting to them sometime.)
4. Later in the day when sitting with my children on a sleepy train going towards London from Oxted with only two or three other people in the carriage I noticed a BALD guy who looked like a PROP FORWARD wearing a BLACK TEE SHIRT. He looked quite intimidating and I really didn’t want to talk to him - and surely the treasure hunt was over. But I couldn't stop thinking about whether he might be treasure so I did what I thought was a pretty safe deal with God. "OK God we are getting off at Riddlesdown. No one gets off at Riddlesdown on the London bound train. If he is treasure may he get off there too." Imagine my relief - and I confess a twinge of disappointment - when he stayed firmly rooted to his seat when we got up as we drew in to Riddlesdown. We were the only ones to get off. And then there he was. On the platform too! I still had my treasure map with me so told him what we had been up to that morning. He was delighted to talk and had a look at my list. He said he had been a PROP FORWARD at school and happened to have a bit of a BAD LEG. My courage failed me to pray for him there and then (and he was not in any obvious discomfort) and we were both going our separate ways but I did mention that we were having an Alpha event in Oxted and gave him an invitation. We blessed him on his way and again pray that he will come.
5. We saw a lady with a red top walk past Deep Blue fish and chip shop but couldn’t talk to her as we were the other side of the road. After crossing over and standing outside the fish and chip shop for a few moments the same lady came back carrying two bags for the charity shop nearby. She was struggling so I offered to carry the bags which she gratefully accepted. Whilst walking to the charity shop I explained that we were on a Treasure Hunt and she said that she had a bad back. I offered to pray for her back, which she agreed to, and then we walked back to the fish and chip shop where the rest of the team were and we prayed for her back. No immediate improvement but we were able to share some testimony with her and give her an invite to the Alpha supper and course.
6. Our first encounter was with two ladies standing at a bus stop, one was holding a walking stick and had an injured leg. The lady with the bad leg was very happy for us to pray for her when we assured her we weren't Jehovah Witnesses! We didn't have time to ask her if there was any improvement, because the bus arrived shortly afterward. As they were getting on the bus the other lady asked us to pray for her un-saved husband 'Jim'.
7. Dale had bike sale on his list and I had swings on my list so we headed off to the park where there was a bike sale. We had only just got to the park when I looked at the swing and saw a green top with white blobs on it which could be flowers but it was quite far away so I wasn’t sure. Dale said that Emma, Charleigh and I should talk to her. We were all a bit nervous because none of us had ever done the main bit of talking but we started walking to the swings and then I saw a pram in the back ground . This gave us a bit of confidence so we kept walking and just as we got to the gate which leads into the park we saw a party with balloons. When we finally got to the lady Emma said “hi we’re from Kings Church and we’re doing a treasure hunt and we think you are the treasure because you have a green flowery top and your by the swings does anything match with you on our lists?” So she looked at all of our lists and said no so we asked her if there was anything she would like us to pray about. She took a while thinking and then said that her friend has been trying to have a baby but couldn’t so could we pray for that. Then she said that she went to church in Camden and they did something the same at her church. So we said goodbye and walked back to Dale feeling thankful that our first person who we talked to on our own was a Christian and a really nice person.
8. At the beginning, I was worried about starting the treasure hunt because I hadn’t got many clues and everyone else had thirty more than me!! About half way through our time treasure hunting, we walked over to the older part of Oxted. We had the clues post box and bench, so we sat down on the bench by the post office. One of my clues was ‘long blonde hair’, so as we sat there, a lady with long blonde hair was about to walk past, Dale was asking me is that the right person and I didn’t know so I just left it and let her walk past though if she came back I said we should talk to her.
Funnily enough, she walked past again so Dale and I walked over and started talking to her. After introducing ourselves, we showed her our sheets and asked her if any of our clues had anything to do with her. I had ‘Ankle’ on my list and she said that she had broken her ankle and that it had nearly fully recovered but she can’t play football without it hurting. We carried on talking and we asked if there was anything she wanted praying for and she said that she had had lots of family problems earlier, and Dale had ‘uncertainty’ as one of his clues. She then went on to say that her dad had tried to commit suicide and is an alcoholic and that her step dad had had a heart attack which has all cleared up now but she is uncertain all the time in case it comes back. We then prayed for her and gave her an alpha leaflet. As we were about to leave, she mentioned that it was her birthday the next day and that she was thankful that she could enjoy it and not have to worry about her dad.
9. The main clued which attracted us was beard. The chap is called Graham. When I approached and showed him my list of clues he initially said no, nothing matches. Instead of then rushing away I remembered what Dale had once said about building a relationship with your contact, so I then just chatted to him, with Danni joining in. He then admitted that his wife of 48 years had recently died (I had lonely as prayer need on my list of clues, Danni had sadness ). He said that he used to go to church and that his wife sang in the choir at Limpsfield. He told us that he plays the cornet in the local brass band (Danni had musical instrument on her list). He seemed so ready and pleased to stand and chat. We gave him an invite to the Alpha launch and told him that the course would be held in Costa Coffee. He thanked us and as we parted we knew that it had been right to have a conversation with Graham that day.
Kings Church, Tandridge