Thursday, 7 May 2009

Its been a while...

Due to the lack of internet connection in our caravan we have been a bit absent from here for a while...which has been fine until i sit here thinking of how to condense the last month down into one single blog that will be readable over one cup of tea not seven, so apologies if any of this seems a tad indescriptive!

But mainly the past month has seen us;
  • Aquire a new dog named sam- a very much needed companion for JD and another way to cover our caravan with unbelieveable amounts of dog hair. However, dog hair aside he is a wonderful 21 month old Mongrel from the rescue centre. He and Jd have quickly become inseperable and are constaly play fighting or snuggling together. its pretty cute.
  • fall in love with our jobs- yep, bar work is one of the best jobs i have ever had- i love it. We are getting to know the locals really well and enjoy just being in such a sociable job - the hours are rather unsociable we know, but now that the bar is really seeing its busy season begin we don't notice the time flying past between 6pm and 2am. I think what is also amazing is the relationships were building with the people we work with, they find us pretty interesting and we often talk about the community and our dreams for the future and our faith - its just so refreshing to speak to people who don't really believe in God but really believe in what you are doing.
  • meet some more people like us- a couple called Dave and Philipa and their little boy Tom have moved to wooler from oxford for pretty much the same reason as us which is very exciting and although they have been here only a week we are already feeling a good connection with them and discovering that they have very similar ideas and future plans as us. So were really thanking God for them being here...
  • join the running club, Rae only, which as much as i feel embarrased to admit this- I LOVE! you haven't been in a running club till you've been in a running club that runs through the valleys of the northumberland national park...thats all i have to say on the matter :)
ok quick overview done...!As far as comunity life goes- it's definetly interesting. It seems we have come at an interesting time- basically the hall is on an estate called hetton estate, and the estate is up for sale and very recently it was announced that the leases on all properties on the estate would not be renewed if the estate isn't sold...which is a big possibility, which puts the house in the position of not knowing what it's future holds. We feel that people at the house are defiently pre-occupied with this, and rightly so, for some its been their home for the past 10 years. They are also struggling for staff a little bit too, which in many ways is good that we are here because we can help out a lot but in others its a bit difficult because you don't see anyone that often. So as outsiders coming in to the hall its a interesting time and i am intrigued to see how the community reacts and works together in such a time as this and i am sure we can learn a lot from that.

I think one thing we are still really struggling with is understanding our role in the community this year- what is it that we were called here for? sometimes we wonder what we are doing here at takes up a lot of our week and the community and our invovlement in it is not what we expected- even though we didn't think we had any expectations. We find it difficult to engage sometimes due to it being such a interesting time for the community and sometimes we struggle to see how the community will be relevant to what we are doing in the future. Saying all of this though we really do still believe this is where we are meant to be and we are learning to be and not preoccupy ourselves with what it is we feel we 'should' be doing but what it is God is doing here with us and the people around us. Its in those times that we find ourselves having amazing conversations with the people we work with, or we spend time with people from the community in casual conversation that turns into talk about things that ignite passion in us again. We still get so much time together too as a couple with our two favourite dogs which we can never deny is a complete blessing and will never be taken for granted - we know how lucky we are!

The last few weeks we have struggled with not being part of a 'church' in the sense of sunday mornings and worship but it seems God is listening and as of next week myself and Andy along with the new couple dave and philipa and our friends at the community Ben and Ru will start a little book discussion/reflection group which we are sooo excited thank God for that. As far as our invovlement with the community it looks like we will be here every wednesday morning and every thursday all day just doing things that need to be done or reading or just sitting and chatting with people.

We are so grateful though that we have found jobs we love so much, a 'house' that we can afford and a dog mental enough to keep up with JD. We hope this updates you some more and we will be in contact again soon...

Andy and Rae


  1. Good to hear an update. Celebrating the good stuff with you.

  2. interesting how you're struggling to understanding community and balance that with working and life at the same time... perhaps that's what this year is all about... I was thinking about this the other day... it's not like a Sunday morning where you can just go to a service, stamp your time card and walk away... your very engagement with the community is an ongoing thing... 'doing' community really is 'doing' in the sense that if you don't do it, you're not in it... i guess it's the difference between 'church without walls' seen from inside the church (ie. just take the walls away so others can see what you're doing)... and church without walls where there is no defined 'place' that is church, but where church is something that you have to build every time you want to do it...

  3. i was pretty much about to write the same thing mike did, that you guys aredoing the true christian community even more by being in the pub, than sitting with abig group of christians, and you're sure to go deeper with god this way i recon! god bless u guys, glad i found ur blog again! xx mims

  4. glad you found our blog again too guys!i think your right too mike - we find it hard to understand what defines a community and what a community should look like- we seem to just see thing and think 'man we would noooot do it like that!' but its got to be deeper than that and not as constricting as that- were learning in many different ways both at the house and at the pub how community is created, sustained, what destroys it and what enhances it, what pushes people away and what keeps them growing closer to you. its interesting how God is using this year- i guess really all we ever said to him was 'here is a year of our life that were not sure what to do with it - have fun!' and that it is - were bar workers in a tiny village discovering more about church and community than we have ever done before!thanks guys for your encourgement and engagement!

  5. In Biblical times I believe it was customary for soldiers to have a year off from the battle fornt.
    Use this year an an investment in yourselves and God .It's great not to have your time filled and over filled by activity -even church activity.
    You may have more vision of what this year was for when you look back-rather than having your vision clouded by expectations looking forward.
    God bless you rich as you pull pints walk dogs and run .love Elaine