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May Mayhem from the Colyers

Click above for more photo's

Click above for more photo’s

Dear all,

First of all, a huge thank you for your prayers for Sam over the last few weeks. We were so encouraged by the many messages we received since our last update when we asked for specific prayer for Sam. We are pleased that despite having to work around his treatment he did manage to complete all his controlled assessments and coursework for his GCSEs in time. The school were very supportive and gave him extra tuition when he was well enough to do the work. Today he started his exams and will continue for another month. Thankfully they are spread out, with him never having more than one on a day. He will have chemo (on top of chemo meds) next week but his steroid treatment is suspended for a month. Please continue to pray for him. Thank you!

Ministry wise we are also in a busy patch. I (Nicki) am thrilled to say that the kids club, Fusion, that I have started for families on the local estate, is going really well with 17 children registered and more interested! There has been a great atmosphere and I can see how God is answering prayers as we connect with their families. As well as lots of games, crafts and challenges we are introducing in simple ways God’s message of love and hope for them. A few weeks ago, the children made rockets with old film canisters and alkazelters in water! Afterwards, Kevin talked about how God sees potential in them to go further than they think. Sadly some of them said they didn’t think they could do anything special. Some of the children come from troubled situations so please pray we can share God’s truth of how he sees them.

I have also been working more closely with staff from the local council as we work in partnership to build community in the area. One way has been through a community association and conducting a local audit. It is great to work with people of different backgrounds and faiths but all with the same goal to build community.

In a few weeks, the church and council are working together to do two Family fun days. Kevin and I are running a community café in an inflatable tent. We will have a small prayer tent in the café so please pray for good conversations and a chance to offer consolation and hope in our God to many from the estate who are going through hard times. We needs lots of prayer for this as we pull together volunteers and make all the preparations, as well as praying for good weather and a loving and safe atmosphere.

Finally, on top of our training (which continues to go well, although always challenging!) Kevin has been thrown in the deep end to see how hard vicars really work! Sean, the minister here, has just started a three-month sabbatical leaving Kevin in charge! He is enjoying the challenge and among many things has led his first communion service from the Book of Common Prayer, as well as his first PCC meeting and today his first church burglary to clear up after! So far it has gone well, but it is certainly an eye opener about what Anglican ministry involves! We appreciate Sean so much more (and all other ministers we know!)

There is more we could share but we will leave those stories for another time. Thank you as ever for your love, prayers and support. Do let us know how we can pray for you too!

With love,

Nicki, Kevin, Sam, Ellie, Luc and Josh

Upcoming dates:

  • Now until 21st June: Sam’s exams (chemo on 26th May and 21st June)
  • Most Tuesdays: Both at CMS, Oxford, for training
  • Thursdays at 4:30pm: Fusion club
  • 20th-22nd May: Kevin in London for “Crossing cultures training”
  • 22nd May: Nicki leads service on mission, Kevn speak on “what Christians believe” at interfaith meeting
  • 28th-30th May: Visit Stroud and Holy Trinity Brimscombe on the Sunday.
  • June 3rd and 4th: Community Fun Days
  • June 12th: Kevin leads an outreach group on Sunday morning
  • 17th-19th June: Kevin training at Cuddesdon, Oxford
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Mad March News from the Colyers

Dear All,

It has been that time of year for colds, sniffles and full-blown virus-infections for us but thankfully not Sam! That really is an answer to prayer considering his very low immune system! The new year went well for all the kids back at school. Sam has done well and has just completed his mock GCSE’s. He’s feeling more confident after this trial run and we are more aware of how we have to manage the symptoms of the “pulses” of treatment that he has in the maintenance phase. The pulse gradually increases and then decreases in intensity, but he now needs a couple of days off in the middle. Poor chap.

Work wise Nicki has been able to give far more time to prepare for and set the foundations in place for the new kids club for the local area. The club, called Fusion, is for 7-11’s. Nicki is hoping to make more and deeper connections to local families through this .

I have started a new initiative we are calling “Get Out Of Church Free Sunday”. We are using one Sunday a month to engage in some way with the local community. We gave out 40 prayer balloons at the car boot sale in the centre of Woodley and met about 100 people as we handed out Hot Chocolate too. I have also been working on fundraising for the church extension and have several mentorees on the go.

Early in January we let go of our responsibility for Impact to the young people in the group. Over just a couple of weeks we all realised that my work was done and the group was ready to take itself on and upwards. They now meet weekly, eating together first (which we found hard to offer every week) and have gained a new member already! I do miss meeting them but will be continuing the homeless work (on a different evening) so I shall still see them! This was our focus and having it complete was odd at first and left a bit of a space which new outreach ideas are growing out of.

Nicki and I have studied hard at CMS. We got our first assignments in and both got good marks back. We are now nearly finished with our second module! We find our time at CMS continuously stimulating and challenging. I feel like me vision is being expanded in many and helpful ways.

It is a little different at Cuddesdon (the second part of my training – where the “vicar” bits are added in!). I would like to thank those continuing to pray that I do “not become too Anglican” (there is one prayer group praying this for me!) which I really appreciate when I am at Cuddesdon. I have enjoyed this part too! I next visit there on 18-20 March and will be leading a very Anglican service and giving a talk! Perhaps you could pray for them!

Ellie continues to amaze us with her creativity especially in her Textiles GCSE. Luc and Josh are bundles of energy, joy and cuddles. They keep growing and are developing in to lovely boys. Luc is into a magic set at the moment. Josh is practicing being “really crazy”. They keep us on our toes!

Finally our beloved bunny Bazinga is being bonded to a nice female bunny after the sad demise of his brother Camakazi. So he is no longer pining but having a heavenly time on “Bunny-moon”.

Love,

Kevin, Nicki, Sam, Ellie, Luc and Josh

Prayer Points

  • Trip to Belgium 29th Mar-5th April, so looking forward to seeing many of our friends!
  • Sam’s upcoming GCSE’s – For energy and focus.
  • Ongoing study at Cuddesdon and CMS – For anti-anglicanisation!
  • For Fusion and all the local outreach we are doing
  • For all the kids that they would be safe, healthy and thrive at school, with friends and with God.
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Christmas News from Kevin and Nicki

Click on the photo for more!

Click on the photo for more!

Christmas is almost here! Yay! I am sure that we, like you, are just about hanging in there as Christmas approaches. We are looking forward to the break!

There are have been a few things to do before we could stop as I (Kevin) have had Carol singing outreach to lead, a Christmas youth party in the woods, and a Christmas eve talk and we both have to crack on with our assignments. There is still visiting that needs to be done to families around the church. And of course the Christmas preparations to be done (and fortunately most of it is!).

Sam is doing really well. He is re-engaging with school and finding out that the tutors have taken him to a place of competence that bamboozles some of his fellow students as he is further ahead than they are in some subjects! We have said farewell to the tutors, with whom there was a mutual appreciation. One of them today said that we had inspired her as a family with our positive attitude. What a good sign that God really has been with us despite the difficulties and strains. Sam will return to school full-time in January. He is gradually growing in strength and stamina and seems to get through the monthly steroids and chemo treatment just that bit easier each time.

Luc and Josh have wow-ed their school with their acting talents in Jack and the Beanstalk in their class assembly. We need to find them an acting job as twins somewhere! Ellie is thriving at school in all areas (despite her deeply present worries to the contrary!)

Nicki and I are really enjoying training. The material at CMS, the fellow students and staff are all stretching our thinking bit by bit, giving us tools to reflect on all we have learnt and experienced over the years and helping us to engage and relate to others with greater confidence and insight. Nicki is finding opportunities with local mum’s are opening up. One mum is starting to bring her family to church. With others Nicki is experiencing greater depth. For me I am finding new ways to engage people in conversation. I am starting to see a clearer way ahead with Impact and more ways to get the rest of Emmanuel involved in outreach and local mission.

We are aware of the intensity of new things, some of which we never expected to be able to take on so soon after Sam reaching maintenance, and the realisation that we are still as a family vulnerable and needing to look after ourselves with all the stress this year has been to us. All of us are so grateful for the love and support and prayers that have lifted and carried us through such a dark time and enabled us to bring light to others.

Thank you and we look forward to an exceptional year in 2016 for all of us and you!

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New Chapters – Autumn news from the Colyers

Kevin holding the teapot of the Eclectic Society - Former members William Wilberforce, John Newton etc. out of which CMS arose. WW could have drunk tea from this pot!

Click picture for more photos and to find out why Kevin is holding a teapot

Dear All,

Wonderful news – Sam is in remission! We are all thrilled to arrive at this point – after all the procedures and treatment of the last six months, the intensive Leukaemia treatment is over and Sam now enters three years of low-grade “maintenance”. We are all pleased although on the day-to-day basis it is a more subtle change. Sam is still at home and has tutors visiting; he is still weak but getting stronger. The next three years will involve monthly chemo, steroids and regular blood tests and checks but the process of getting Sam back to health and back to school is happening.

New chapters that have turned are to do with our leaving behind YWAM and starting training for ministry in the Anglican church. I say we as Nicki is joining me for part of that training! The most exciting part too. We are travelling up each Tuesday to Church Mission Society to follow the Pioneer training course run there. What was such a surprise was that because of Sam’s progress Nicki felt strongly that she should commit to taking the certificate and not just attending the modules. This means she will need to submit assessments and do much more reading. But It’s wonderful to study together, get a common framework for ministry and share the same perspectives. And based on the first few sessions I think it will be an exciting, challenging and relevant ride for the pair of us. We also have some really interesting fellow students with whom we are very much on the same wavelength! Do pray for us both as we engage in this training and apply it immediately to our contexts of Impact (20-30’s group) and ministry to families on Drovers Way estate.

Yet another chapter has opened for me in the second part of my training. I do the Anglican bit at Ripon college, Cuddesdon. It is absolutely beautiful there, in the heart of the Oxfordshire countryside. There are dozens more fellow students here, some more local than at CMS and from very differing church backgrounds. It is harder to know what to expect here and it is perhaps not the most exciting part of the training for me. It will challenge me in engaging in the formal and high style of Anglicanism I am not familiar: I already know where to hang my robes etc. (Not that I have any).  Although some aspects wont challenge me so much (I am on the worship rota this term to say grace at lunch on a Saturday!). It is fun asking questions though and the other students have described us pioneers as “fascinating”. Hopefully not in the insect capturing and pinning sense!

Finally, it is great to announce the arrival of two rather gorgeous bunnies called Camacazi and Bazinga.  We are all smitten with them and they help to make up for our sad loss to the foxes of Lulu (our rabbit brought over from Belgium).  Needless to say we have worked on the outside hutch being more fox proof!

So all around there are new things and new experiences, which Nicki and I thrive on!

Till next time,

Kevin, Nicki, Sam, Ellie, Luc and Josh

Prayer Points

  • Ongoing health and strength for Sam and a clear plan to return to full-time school
  • For Nicki’s study that it wont be interrupted by appointments and family pressures
  • For both of us as we learn new things and critically reflect on what we have done and are doing
  • For Ellie and the twins to grow “in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.” (Luke 2:52)
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June News from Kevin and Nicki in Woodley

More photos click here

More photos click here

Dear Friends,

We were thrilled to realise that we could celebrate one whole year at 150 Kingfisher Drive! It is a great blessing for us to live here in Woodley in such a lovely place and in such a great house. In order to celebrate, I (Kevin) have moved into a caravan… for my new study! Nicki and I are still not ready for a caravan holiday, but after four years of having an office/study in my bedroom I have finally made a space out of an old caravan that I picked up cheaply on Ebay. Much to Ellie’s shock the mouldy green caravan has scrubbed up well on the outside and been transformed on the inside with some judicious demolition and two coats of white paint! Do pop in and visit.

The last few months have been a challenging for all of us, most especially Sam who’s chemotherapy has been intensive and exhausting. He has made very little school during this time. After a few weeks break from any treatment he has now started Interim Maintenance which is a lot lighter on him and we are hoping he will have opportunities to catch up on his education and social networks at school. We are just getting some tutors from the council and it looks like they will work out really well. They can offer two hours a day which will go a long way to bolstering the missing months of education. A more intensive chemo programme will start again in August.

Sam’s illness has dominated what we have been able to do. Nicki has been working on a reduced plan of outreach to the local mums. I have worked on smaller projects around and trying to reconnect with some Fresh Expressions work further afield. To be honest, we both feel like we have just managed to keep our heads above the water. Locally I have enjoyed covering some teenage youth work whilst Emmanuel seeks the new youth worker. I have established a contemplative prayer meeting called Just Be which is growing nicely. This is the second prayer group – the first one in Brussels is still going I am delighted to report! In addition we have both managed to keep on meeting people and doing one-to-one work.

IMPACT has been going on well. We have enjoyed eating together and had one or two more people come and join. We are doing some surveys of young people in the area to more keenly understand the needs and pressures they are facing. Already some ideas are starting to appear on how we can reach out more to this age group!

Following my successful Anglican minister selection interview I am sorting out the training with the colleges and looking into the funding of these next three years. In the next update we will be able to give more details about this exciting new phase for us both, which will hopefully also involve Nicki partaking in some training with CMS too (Church Missionary Society). We will be writing in more detail very soon to all our financial supporters to talk through the financial implications.

The twins are doing well. They love school life, and have managed to catch up, which considering they were about 18 months behind is a great achievement and huge relief! Sadly, they have lost all their French, but only a few of their teeth. Ellie has completed her first GCSE in French and has also won an award for her science – most improved student (having hardly ever studied science in Belgium!)

That’s it for now.

Lots of love,

Kevin and Nicki, Sam, Ellie, Luc and Josh

PRAYER

  • Keep praying for Sam, especially the emotional impact of being so unwell and our of the social loop of his friends at school.
  • Pray for the other kids that they would not feel neglected in this time of intense focus on Sam.
  • Pray that Nicki and I will find a new balance and fresh energy as we focus locally and prepare for the next three years.
  • IMPACT: that it would grow outwards in numbers just as it is growing in depth

DATES

  • 12 July – Nicki speaking at Emmanuel
  • 25 – 31 July – Sam, Ellie and Nicki have a break at New Wine
  • 7 – 14 August – Family Holiday at New Wine
  • 29 – 31 August – Nicki and Kevin weekend away (Farewell to our friends the Sullivans)
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Springy News from Kevin and Nicki

Kevin speaking at the Fresh Expression Network gathering

For more photos click here

Dear Friends,

The winter months have zoomed past as we are now very well embedded into Woodley and getting more deeply stuck in. January, I (Kevin) was busy with interviews with the Church of England. The good news is that I passed the interviews and can now go on to be a pioneer minister in the church of England. That is IF I am selected to be a vicar at all in the next and final set of interviews (the ‘BAP’) in May! February was also a distracting month as I went away to visit my sister and relatives in New Zealand and Australia. Nicki stoically manned the fort at home, only slightly pleased in that it rained the whole time in Australia (there was the tail end of a cyclone). And yes, I did have an amazing time.

Impact is bubbling along well. We are establishing outreach with the group and going out into Reading one Tuesday evening a month to serve Hot Chocolate and food to the homeless people we find there. We have been taking sleeping bags too as we find this is a need. There are far too many people trapped on the streets through misfortune and life-controlling problems. It is really sad. One great story is from the last time we went into Reading. We were just talking to a homeless man who remembered us from the previous month when a young lady came up also offering food. She was a nineteen year old who had previously attended Sam’s school, Bulmershe. She had just started working in a café. She was horrified at how much waste went out each evening and so took it upon herself to take it to the homeless. In her own words though she had not thought this through and realised quite quickly she would have been vulnerable alone. She ended up joining us the entire evening sharing her story as she did so. At the end of the evening we headed for a cafe to get warm and do the part of BELLS we do well, Eating! She chose to join us and said “I’m not religious but I’m interested to know how you all got into it?” Each one of us shared our stories. We are hoping she will join us again!

What is BELLS, well it is actually the rhythm (or Rule) of Impact and stands for:

  • Bless each other with encouragement and help
  • Eat together
  • Listen to God and pray
  • Learn how to follow Christ
  • Serve others

We aim to do this weekly as much as possible despite our diverse lives: so we Carry Out Weekly BELLS, or COW BELLS to you!

Nicki has also drawn on her contacts, made while visiting local families, by starting two groups this March. An after-school club for 7-11 year-olds on the first Wednesday of the month began well with 7 children. Four children from existing families that we have supported and three new contacts. Each session will include some aspects of messy church even though the children are all from un-churched families: games, challenges, cooking, DVD clips. In March the theme was Moses so they built pyramids and made chocolate baskets with jelly-baby Moses! In April the theme will be Easter and so will include a big Easter egg hunt and making bread!

Nicki also started a weekly mum’s group on Tuesday afternoons for mums from the local area, whether familiar with church or not. For the babies and toddlers each week there will be lots of songs, followed by a bible story and craft. Then as the children play, the mums have a discussion on a topic connected to parenting. On the first session four mums came with their children and made many suggestions for topics they would like to discuss. The next session will be on free things to do with your children in Woodley.

Both Nicki and I have worked on some more prayer initiatives too. Nicki has a team working on another prayer event similar to the 24-7 prayer week for Holy week. The plans are looking great and will inspire many to take time out to pray. I am running “Just Be”, an introductory contemplative prayer course that I first ran with Sonja in Belgium just before I left. The group in Belgium is still meeting and I hope that we will continue to meet here in Woodley too. First signs seem to show it is going well.

Family news is all positive. The twins have caught chicken pox finally and are happy and back at school again. All the kids are doing really well at their schools and pleasing their teachers (and parents) by achieving well and catching up fast. We are all happy and looking forward to Spring in our strictly pruned garden and all the bulbs to fully bloom that we planted in November.

Till next time.

The Colyers in Woodley

Please pray

  • God would draw mums and children to the groups, that God would particularly lead us to “people of peace” on the estate who will open doors to other families.
  • Thank God for the good start but pray that we build on this being inspired and led by Him and that many more
  • Mums would make it to the groups.
  • Pray for Impact and the work reaching the 20’s in the area.
  • Pray for all the plans leading up to Easter.

Diary Dates

  • Tuesday’s – Nicki’s Mum’s group 1pm-3pm. Impact from 8pm
  • Wednesday (1st of month) – Nicki’s after-school group. 4-5pm.
  • 26 March – Kevin in Harpenden for YWAM National Leaders forum
  • 24 March – 5 April – Prayer Cabin event.
  • 11-19 April – visiting Plymouth and Stroud
  • 21 April – Fresh Expressions Partners day (Methodist Central Hall, London)
  • 1-4 May – YWAM England, Ireland, Wales and Scotland gathering in Harpenden (Kevin running some Fresh Expression meetings)
  • 5-7 May – Kevin’s Bishop’s Advisory Panel. This is the big one!
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New Year News from Kevin and Nicki

Dear Friends,

Josh on a frosty day (click for more)

Josh on a frosty day (click for more)

We hope you have all had a wonderful Christmas and we pray that 2015 will bring you closer to our amazing God and receive all He has for you.

I (Nicki) would like to start by thanking you all for your prayers and support throughout this past year. A lot has happened to us in 2014.Some things hard, like saying goodbye to very good friends and leaving Belgium which has become very dear to our hearts. Packing our home and making the journey across the channel whilst not having a moving date into our new home and the school places still uncertain, meant we were making a big step of faith. We would like to say we took it in our stride and were always confident in our God… ahem… of course we are human and had more than a few wobbles at times! We are so grateful for good friends, for the prayers of many who lifted us up when we doubted and carried us through so that we could truly say “our God has lifted us out of the slimy pit and set our feet on solid rock” Thank you for your part in helping us to transition.

Highlights from this past year include

  • working with our 20-30’s group IMPACT seeing them grow in faith,
  • running a 24/7 prayer week with IMPACT.
  • working with the YWAM Reading team running a weekly discipleship course
  • getting to know and building bridges with young families on the local needy estate
  • Kev’s work across the UK as the YWAM representative on the Fresh Expression’s team (helping them with fundraising and promoting and assisting fresh expressions of church throughout YWAM England).

Now we look ahead to 2015 with excitement and anticipation for what God will do through our own Fresh Expression, IMPACT but also across the UK as God breathes life in new ways to the church across this nation.

May we ask for your prayers though for an urgent prayer request for YWAM UK. For a few months now YWAM (along with other missionary agencies has been under investigation from UK immigration. Just under a week ago YWAM was notified that it’s visa status has been changed which means that in effect 350 YWAM staff in the UK are at risk of being asked to leave the country. YWAM has until the end of January to appeal the decision. This could have catastrophic effects on many YWAM training bases and teams. YWAM Reading could lose 4 of it’s 8 staff. As YWAMers we are called to a day of prayer and fasting on January 7th. Could you please pray us as we are reminded that “our battle is not against flesh and blood but against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms”

For us personally we would value ongoing prayer for the touch of God on our ministry with IMPACT and the needy families in this area. Please also pray for Kev as the application process continues for Anglican ordination (three interviews in January alone!) He has heard that the final interview will be over three days in May called the “Bishop’s Advisory Panel”.

One final blessing though that we are incredibly grateful for, Kevin’s father has asked him to go with himself and his sister, Claire, to visit his other sister, Liz, and cousins in New Zealand/Australia! It was an out of the blue offer and quite a surprise but it will be a very special opportunity for them all to be together for the first time in many years. They will go for two weeks in February. Thank you God!

With much love and appreciation,

Nicki, Kevin, Sam, Ellie, Luc and Josh

Dates for this coming year

  • Keep praying for IMPACT meeting Tuesdays
  • Thursday 8th – 2pm Kevin’s Interview for Anglican church (Vocational, Pioneer Minister)
  • Wednesday 14th – YWAM Fresh Expressions day in Woodley
  • Monday 19th – Home Visit for Anglican church interview process
  • Monday 26th – Kevin’s Interview for Anglican church (Educational, Pioneer Minister)
  • Thursday 29th – Trip to Bristol to visit YWAM team there
  • Tuesday 10th – 24th February – Trip to New Zealand and Australia