A lot has changed since our last newsletter. I’m sure many of you could say the same. As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, Britain entered into a state of lockdown about 3 weeks ago. Ultimately, this means that everyone is to stay at home, as much as possible. Schools have closed. All but essential shops have closed, and you can only go out of the house to buy groceries or have your “once a day” exercise. At all times you are to be socially distant, so, no friend or family visits. There are even protective glass shields on the shopping counters at grocery stores and long lines waiting to get in as only so many people are allowed in the shop at one time. And there’s plenty of panic buying. Toilet roll I’m happy to say is now back in stock, but each week there’s a new item that becomes hard to get. Last week it was pasta and week before that it was paracetamol (Tylenol), but God has always provided. It certainly makes the shopping trip a bit of an adventure!
This has all happened very quickly and has been a bit of a shock, but we’re working hard to make the most out of the situation both in our family life and ministry. For starters, we do home schooling with Lydia everyday through an online forum where she receives and submits assignments to her teacher. We have had lots of family time and DIY projects. I’ve set up a home office, made a sandbox and repaired a mini trampoline for the kids. We’ve had lots of creative play moments like making zip lines out of cotton string and sliding Lego creations down them. Honestly, a lot of our life is looking after our kids, which we are with at home all day, every day. I’m sure you can appreciate when I say this is really challenging as parents, but also quite special in its own way.
Of course, of all this means that churches and youth groups have stopped meeting as well. So, we’ve been working hard to find new ways to minister. In a nutshell, we do a lot online. We have online church Zoom meetings. (We’ve even had a digital wedding…story for another time). I have pieced together a mini sound desk and started playing music for the group video meetings. We have a similar Zoom meeting with young people every Sunday night, which is a lot like a digital youth group. I’ve also started contributing weekly to Llandudno Youth for Christ’s Instagram by “Going Live” every Friday night when we would have normally had Shuffle and Shake. At the moment I’ve been showing them how they can make and play their own DIY board games at home with their family. It has been well received and I’d like to think it has been helpful. Of course, I always share a Bible-centred message of hope, which is extremely needed these days. I’ve also started a new YouTube Channel called Five Two and released my first two episodes. Basically, the channel is me trying to creatively share timely truths from God’s Word. It’s already gathered several subscribers and I’m looking forward to investing in it more. LLYFC has also started a YouTube Channel which I’ll start contributing to. Furthermore, we’ve made it a bit of a family project to collect and deliver items to people in need. It’s been nice to connect with neighbours in this way that we wouldn’t normally have had much contact with. In fact, on a larger scale, Miriam has organised a group of volunteers in our church to make similar deliveries.
So, although things have been different and difficult, there has been many great things that have developed. The truth is that both I and the folks at Youth for Christ have been wanting to start up a YouTube channel for a long time and we have always just been too busy in the past. Also, this time has been great in forcing us to get back to the roots of our faith. With everyday life changing so drastically for everyone, many have been forced to not only think about God, but what it means to have faith in Him – and to value just that…faith, and the hope that comes with it. I know it has challenged me in many ways to focus on the invisible, and to know that God is always God and He is always good. My prayer is that I will know Him better and that somehow, someway, I’ll point others to Him, our Hope, Jesus.