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Autumn News from the Colyers

Dear all,

The Colyer Mob! (click here for more photos)

The Colyer Mob! (click here for more photos)

We have had a packed and exciting couple of months that have been very fruitful and positive. The family is well and thriving; all the kids are doing well are school. Sam is enjoying Rugby and getting into GCSE’s and Ellie is mastering Spanish and having an excellent time with her two best buddies here.

IMPACT, our Fresh Expression for 20’s has grown well. There has been plenty of bonding going on and I (Kevin) really look forward to each Tuesday evening. We have eaten Raclette together, followed the Mission Shaped Intro course and looked at what it means to be a changing church for a changing culture, we have had great fun with Creative worship, we ate chocolate fondue (see a theme emerging), we prayed together using Lego… One comment as we were reviewing our progress just last night was that “I feel at home here as I am with equals and supported” (We feel pleased about this – our innate youthfulness is shining through!).

The IMPACTers wanted to go out “Treasure Hunting”, where you pray for a description of someone, a name, place, some history or message from God and then go looking for them! Emma clearly felt we should go to Blockbusters and there would be two men sitting on the ground. And indeed there were right in the beams of the car headlights as we pulled in. There were numerous other details correct and Emma and I listened to and prayed for Mikey and Jonathan, the two homeless guys who were living there. We talked some more and then had ongoing contact trying to get them into proper accommodation. Making a long story short, they have been off the streets for two weeks now and are building their lives again in Newbury. Please pray for them!

The other major event was the 24/7 Prayer week IMPACT organised. We wanted to have a big focus on prayer as we are setting up IMPACT and this was a great way to pull us all together and help the wider church too. It was a fab time. We cleaned out and jazzed up the double portacabin, Liam installed low lighting, Rachel, Catharine and various others put in about 15 different prayer stations. A particular favourite place was the Gazebo of God as I called it; a cozy space in the corner where many crept in for different prayer times. And people came! Quite a number. I was on the night shift and I was rarely there on my own. At midnight, there were most often five people praying. Masses of prayers were offered. Some slept in the peaceful atmosphere. Others fired up the kettle and strove to keep their eyes open! It is hard to summarise the ways God touched many so people at so many levels of faith. It was a great joy to see local kids come in who had never prayed before and over the week become far more spiritually open. One great point was the sudden healing of Adam’s back. One moment he was in agony the next he was wiggling his shoulders about and twisting with full mobility again. We just saw so many prayers answered and a real change in people’s lives that week, particularly in IMPACT team.

Where now with IMPACT? We are taking a few sessions to reflect and keep praying and consolidate what we have experienced and the direction we feel God is calling us in. It feels like we are on the edge of something and we are all very excited. Please pray for the whole of IMPACT and the Tuesday evenings we meet on.

On top of that Nicki and I have preached in church, given talks in YWAM and generally been busy meeting, planning and praying. Nicki spoke last week in Emmanuel on emotional healing and renewing the mind and made a powerful impression on everyone. She was invited to share again at Yeldall Manor rehab. This time we will try to record her as many have requested to hear her again. Nicki has also been building up relationships with local women living close to the church with house to house visits after the sessions of the afterschool club she was running. This aspect of her role is still developing as the club was not really viable, but the visiting is working well and she is (of course) greatly appreciated!

There is so much more we could tell you about all the friends we are making here, the way the kids are thriving, our gardening escapades, the Fresh Expressions work nationally and with YWAM. But that will have to wait for another time.

Look forward to a slightly calmer December.

Love,

Kevin, Nicki, Sam, Ellie, Luc and Josh

Please pray for:

  1. IMPACT, the ongoing growth and wisdom as we start to identify and reach out to those outside the church.
  2. the YWAM DTC soon to finish.
  3. the ongoing work around Emmanuel church on Southlake Crescent and Drovers Way.

Diary Dates

  • Monday evenings – YWAM Discipleship course
  • Tuesday evenings – IMPACT’s main meeting time.
  • 23rd November – Kevin speaking on Stewardship in Emmanuel
  • 28th November – Kevin in Sheffield, Fresh Expression Partners meeting
  • 6th December – Kevin speaking at FISH youth group retreat
  • 8th December – Last of the YWAM Discipleship course evenings
  • 9th – 10th December – Kevin in Cheshire for Fresh Expression team meetings
  • 11th December – Kevin in London Fresh Expression meeting and visiting YWAM Earls court project
  • 20th December – Inviting Neighbours over for Mulled wine and Mince pies
  • 22nd to 2nd January – Christmas break
  • 14th January – YWAM Fresh Expressions Network meeting here in Woodley!
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Summertime news roundup from Kevin and Nicki

Dear Friends,

This summer has been a hot and hazy whirlwind for us. A great fun whirlwind! We have settled into the new house and loving living here more and more each day. It is so good to wake up so grateful for where God has placed us. We are in a friendly spot and one evening we invited some neighbours around and they all accepted! They took quite a fancy to my Belgian beer too. Fortunately Nick Woodman stopped by the next day to help replenish my supplies!

Work over the summer was a little more relaxed  whilst the children have been at home. However, both Nicki and I connected to people in Woodley and are both mentoring two people each which is fun, including one young mum who Nicki had the privilege to lead in a prayer of commitment at the beginning of the summer. We have also spent time meeting one on one with the young folks from Impact, the 20’s and 30’s group that we are helping to start a fresh expression of church with. We had a curry evening at our place and one evening of open and honest sharing and learning in the local pub. We are definitely feeling a sense of bonding and community with Impact. We have now set dates for the beginning of the praying, training and planning phase for this coming autumn. My work with the National Fresh Expressions team is also developing. I am doing some writing for them as well as helping with some Trust and Grant applications. All are going well. They have published a booklet I have written on Self-Supporting Ministry (i.e. how to raise funds from donors to support yourself). I am also writing the opinion piece for the e-expressions monthly newsletter this month too see booklet and newsletter.)

A total of three weeks away at New Wine, Norfolk and Belgium and hosting of many of our friends and family, who have held off from visiting whilst we have been in the caravan, has made for a fabulous summer! Now we are looking ahead to a busy Autumn starting with the return to school for the kids tomorrow. Nicki starts her weekly after-school club for the families local to the church. We will start running our training evening for Impact on Tuesdays. The YWAM team is ramping up for a weekly series of Discipleship evenings on Mondays that we will be helping with. We will also be working towards a 24-7 prayer week in November with the Impact folks too. All in all, lots to do! In the background the Anglican application process is now chugging along smoothly, somewhat faster than glacial pace and is on track for a springtime interview.

We hope and pray that you have a good Autumn and rise above busyness of the coming month with God’s peace.

Love,

Kevin, Nicki, Sam, Ellie, Luc and Josh

Exciting dates

  • 9th Sept – First Impact meeting. Nicki starts after-school club
  • 15/16 Sept – Kevin to Sheffield for Fresh Expressions meetings
  • 16th Sept – After school club and Impact meeting
  • 23rd Sept – After school club and Impact meeting
  • 29th Sept – YWAM Reading Discipleship course starts
  • 30th Sept – After school club and Impact meeting
  • 6th Oct – We are teaching on “The Cross” in YWAM’s Discipleship course
  • 7th Oct – After school club and Impact meeting.
  • 7th – 10th Oct – Kevin to visit Belgium for YWAM Belgium board meeting and other visits
  • 13th Oct – YWAM Reading Discipleship course
  • 14th Oct – After school club and Impact meeting
  • 20th Oct – YWAM Reading Discipleship course
  • 24th – 29th Oct – Visiting Plymouth!
  • 2nd – 9th Nov – 24/7 Prayer week (proposed!)
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Finally Landed in Woodley – News from The Colyers

Dear Friends,
The keys to our new house! (click for more)

The keys to our new house! (click for more)

Well, this update comes with very good news!  We are finally in our new home in Woodley!  It is two weeks since we moved in and we have been up to our eyes in unpacking boxes whilst some rooms were decorated and altered (including a wall being knocked down!)  We also added to the challenge by looking after my (Nicki) mum as she recovered from a foot operation. Mum is doing amazingly well and now back in Stroud and we are also feeling more and more settled as we finally unpack things that have been in storage for the last few months.  Thank you for all your prayers during this time and although the transition has taken longer than we had hoped, we can see God’s hand on us as a family and all the children are doing incredibly well in their new schools.

Last year, we shared that we had held onto Psalm 40, the first line starts with “I waited patiently for the lord…”  We have obviously needed to learn the lesson of  what is true patience as we waited to move into our home and at times it has been very hard!  It is of course easier to look back and see how God was slowing us down, and not letting us rush straight into programmes.  Instead we have concentrated on getting to know local people, finding out what are their needs, hopes and dreams and of course praying.  We are helping the church here to start a Fresh Expression of church for 20-30’s.  There are a lot of young people who have been on the periphery of the church and it will be challenge to draw them in… but we sense a real hunger and need.  We are really enjoying getting to know many of them and they seem to enjoy meeting with us too. Please pray with us that we help them to find Jesus, either for the first time or in deeper measures.  We need God’s strategy and wisdom for the way forward.  Our hope and desire is for these young people to really see themselves as God does and stepping out in their God-given callings.

We have also been enjoying connecting with the YWAM Reading team. Each Monday we meet for a staff meeting and prayer time as we support one another in our various ministries.  Kevin has been very excited about his role on the Fresh Expressions board.  He has also visited YWAM teams in Sheffield and London to encourage and equip them in their church planting endeavours, and presented at other YWAM gatherings.  The challenge to give is that we can no longer just wait for people to come to church in its traditional sense but we must bring church ( or more accurately, Jesus) to them where they are.  Some amazing stories which will keep for the next update.

As we have sought God and taken time to orientate ourselves we are also getting a stronger sense about what we should be involved in.  For myself I am looking forward to being involved more in September with supporting some of the young families that live near the church.  The area right on the churches doorstep is now considered to have greatest deprivation in the Wokingham area.  Many young, and often single, mums or many extended families overcrowded into council housing.  I am currently meeting with one young mum who is struggling to find permanent housing.  Complex and difficult issues but ministry that I feel drawn to… and for the first time in a while,  in my own language!

Before anyone asks… Kevin’s ordination application process is finally underway again (as we moved Diocese he has had to start again).  There will be a lot of assignments, more interviews and presentations to make over the next year but if all goes to plan and he is accepted  he can start training part-time September 2015 (alongside leading the 20-30’s fresh expression congregation)

Thank you again for all your prayers and encouragements over these last few months. We look forward to welcoming many of you to our new home. Plenty of room for guests!

Love,

Nicki, Kevin, Sam, Ellie, Luc and Josh

 

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News from the Bishop’s driveway – May 2014

Greetings from our home on wheels. Click for more photos

Greetings from our home on wheels. Click for more photos

Question to Ellie: “Are you the girl who is living in the caravan on the bishop’s drive?” The news had got out that we had arrived! Sean was very pleased to get a promotion! So, I am indeed writing this in the caravan exactly a month since our big moving day from Belgium. Our heads are still spinning from all that has happened in these last few weeks but overall we are incredibly grateful to God for so many answers to prayers. First of all the initial move went very well and Kevin did an great job of driving the monster truck without it getting any scratches. Ellie and Sam joined Kevin in the truckers carriage on Eurotunnel. All our furniture was then put into storage and then Kevin made the trip back to Belgium to clean, repair the house and dispose of everything that did not fit into the lorry. I went with the children to my mum’s in Stroud for a week.

Finally we arrived as a family in Woodley, near Reading and our new life has begun here, albeit a bit on hold as we still await news of when we can move into our new home. You will remember that a family in the church are buying the house for us to rent from them. Things are progressing but a lot slower than we had all hoped. It will be easier when we have a moving date but in the mean time the community have welcomed us amazingly, helping with washing, meals, rabbit sitting etc. so in some ways we can see how God is using this time to integrate us much quicker than if we had been self-sufficient. We are only human though, so sometimes grumpiness levels rise just a bit!

The children have all started their new schools and again it has gone very well. Of course there have been some wobbles and tears but overall they have done amazingly well, getting to grips with new timetables, new friends and not forgetting the huge adjustment for Ellie, Luc and Josh to be learning in English for the first time. We have been accepting that England doesn’t feel like home yet. We miss Belgium and all our wonderful friends there and we are aware that we are different people through our experience of living there for ten years.

Having said all that we are very excited being here and are amazed at some of the opportunities that have already arisen. Our programme is coming together. Kevin and I are both working together two days a week with Emmanuel church helping them to start a Fresh Expression for the 20-30s. We have had conversations with a number of people wanting to be a part of the core group to set this up. We are hoping to draw everyone together this coming Sunday to pray and brainstorm. Up to the summer we will be focusing on building this core group up, working through Fresh Expression’s resources, praying and drawing out their gifts and how they can get involved. The aim is to start the new congregation in the Autumn.

We got to meet some of the local community in the joint church/community fête last Saturday. We were thrilled when one young couple that Kevin had met whilst delivering flyers turned up with their three young children. They even stayed long enough to help put away the bouncy castle! It felt good to connect straight away with them and others who came including community support workers… and we certainly found it easier in English! See the link…

Kevin also has a national role, being the YWAM England representative on the Fresh Expressions national team. He is already planning trips to Sheffield and London to meet with YWAM teams who are also exploring new ways of forming churches. God is doing a great work through this movement and Kevin’s prayer is that more folks within YWAM Europe will catch this vision of meeting the un-churched where they are. He will devote two days  a week to this national role.

Finally, we are also pleased to connect to the newly formed YWAM Reading team and will be meeting with them each Monday. Initially we are just coming in to mutually support one another but there are many possibilities of future projects such as a mini discipleship training school.

As you can see there is plenty we can get on with but the key thing is that we don’t just fill our time with good things which ultimately could obscure us from doing the best things. We want to be wise with our time, and led by God’s voice in all that we do so please pray we are sensitive and obedient to Him… especially as we still have to do phase two of our move at some point in the near future!

Needless to say, we are incredibly grateful for your ongoing support and prayers. Please continue to pray with us that we can move into the house soon. Please also continue to pray for the children as they adapt and make new friends, at school and church.

With love Nicki, Kevin, Sam, Ellie, Luc and Josh

Future dates:

  • 21st – 23rd May : Kev in Cheshire for FE team day and visiting YWAM Sheffield
  • 30th-1st June: Ywam England staff conference
  • Dates tbc: visiting some YWAM New Teams and moving into our house!

 

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February News from the Colyers (Part two)

Starting the packing!

Starting the packing! (these are the “to throw away” boxes of books)

Dear Friends,

Part Two

For our move to Reading we still have a lot to fall into place. Currently finding a house is the most pressing need. To identify with the community in Woodley we are praying for a house in a suitable location AND which will meet all of our needs as a family of six AND one we can afford! A tall order. We are confident God will work it out somehow, but at the moment there is nothing definite in sight which is a little scary! There are one or two irons in the fire which is encouraging but a lot now depends on the right house coming on to the market…

We would really value your prayers over the next few weeks and months. Ellie has a school place at the school of her choice and we are really thankful about this. We also need school places for the other three kids. Space is limited for the twins and we can’t make further progress until we have an address. So as we get closer to our moving date (8th April) please pray with us to continue to trust God! Last year when we were praying about the move we considered the story of Peter walking on the water. We can’t walk on water till we get out of the boat. We are almost out of the boat now so we will soon know what the water feels like beneath our feet! I know God has always been faithful in the past but our human nature is asking if it could be sorted out sooner rather than later!

What we are going to do in Reading

We have several things we are called to. We will be first and foremost YWAMers. We know God is leading us to be a part of the community in Emmanuel Woodley, to help start a new congregation there for 20-30 year olds. We will be focussing on the small group in the church who have a desire to plant this congregation and our prayer is to envision and empower them to reach out to the neighbourhood. As far as exactly what it will look like we don’t know yet, but our plan is go with listening hearts; listening to God, the church members and those in the neighbourhood and we believe out of that the vision will become clear.

Whilst doing this we will also be connecting with the new Reading YWAM team. Kevin will continue as the YWAM representative on the Fresh Expressions National Team. Kevin will also continue the process for Anglican ordination (a long drawn out process made more complicated by us moving from one diocese to another!) and has been promised that he can start some application form filling in June!

  • So we will be YWAMers…
  • Linked to the YWAM Reading team…
  • Kevin doing two days a week nationally with YWAM England for Fresh Expressions (that is quite a mouthful)
  • Both of us giving two days a week into Emmanuel Woodley to plant a young people’s congregation.

Of course circumstances change and we will have a clearer picture by May but we think this is the most likely way things will turn out.

In addition to looking for a new house, packing, finishing things here in Brussels we will also need to do a fresh round of fundraising. It seems like housing prices are at least 50% more expensive in Woodley than in Brussels. Lots of other costs will differ too, but we expect that we will need to raise more than we are currently receiving to move, especially as at the moment we have dipped into savings to keep us going. We need to raise about £600 to £1,000 a month extra (depending on rent and benefits etc) Kevin estimates. We will be approaching people shortly to see if they would like to become partners. Please pray for new and generous sponsors!

Love Nicki, Kevin, Sam, Ellie, Luc and Josh

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February News from the Colyers (Part One)

Click for more Photo's

Right click (open in New Tab) for more Photo’s

Dear Friends,

We have a lot to write and update you with so we will be writing this newsletter in two parts, with part two coming next week.

Part One

It was this time last year that we began to feel God prompting us to return to the UK. It has felt at times a long way off and now suddenly our time to return is approaching fast. We are thrilled that during the last few months, that whilst looking to the future, God has answered our prayers to meet with us in the moment.

Through Kevin’s illness God radically changed his prayer life. He has explored contemplative prayer and over the last few months has led sessions on contemplative prayer, along with Sonya Stark, a Christian counsellor and member of the Vineyard leadership. After running three evening prayer workshops they started up a regular monthly prayer meeting on Saturdays, “God Space”. On Saturday they were both thrilled to be joined by 18 people! It is obviously meeting a hunger within people to draw closer to God.

On Saturday we also had a special Pain et Vin. We had met a few weeks ago with Louise and Auguste who have been the two main participants in the simple church to discuss how we could bring it to a close… They told us that was certainly not what they had on their minds! We drew others into the discussion on Saturday and a small core will continue to meet monthly. At one point we just shared some memorable moments of P&V over the last 18 months. There were encouraging stories of people being challenged in their faith or just touched by being able to come, in their weaknesses, to receive God’s grace. So please pray for the small group of folks as they seek to meet regularly to remember Jesus together and experience Him make a difference in their lives.

So what is happening now? Well, Kevin has already stated working two days a week as the YWAM representative with the Fresh Expressions group which has involved meeting in the UK once a month. He has completed writing a booklet for them and it is currently being edited. He is also finishing up the last of his responsibilities for the YWAM Belgian board, especially in his role of treasurer in preparation for the board meetings and AGM in March and the renovation work to the YWAM building. There are so many little things that take place and we have had a number of people who have had great pastoral needs at the moment which we delight to spend time meeting.

One small but important moment recently was Kevin’s visit to the EU Parliament to support the work of Maryna, our colleague, who supports the EU Parliamentary Working Group on Freedom of Religion and Beliefs. The group just released their first report, which all hope will have an impact on EU foreign policy. See the report here.

For myself (Nicki) I have one more week working with Alternatives. Then I will spend the last weeks looking after the children and sorting and packing… and no doubt meeting up with lots of people for the last time! We all have mixed feelings; excitement at what God has in store for us but of course also sadness for all the wonderful people we are saying goodbye to.

We would really value your prayers over the next few weeks and months. We have yet to find a house and that is the most scary part. Please pray. We will tell you more about the plans for Woodley in part two next week! Thank you as ever for your love and support as we embark on this adventure with God!

Love Nicki, Kevin, Sam, Ellie, Luc and Josh

The outline of the next few months is as follows:

  • 20th February: Nicki finishes working with Alternatives
  • 24th-26th Feb: Kevin in UK, CofE meeting
  • 6 March: Nicki in Parliament attending reports on combating human trafficking
  • 10th-14th March: Kevin in Lyon at YWAM Western European leaders conference
  • 15th March: Leaving party!
  • 17-19th March: YWAM Belgium board and AGM meetings
  • 8th April: MOVING DATE!
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January News from Kevin and Nicki

Nicki sharing at Alternatives

Nicki sharing at Alternatives Christmas Party

Dear All,

We hope that you have all had a wonderful Christmas and new year. We have enjoyed hearing from many of you and all that God has done in your lives over his past year.

Leading up to Christmas was a busy time, as I am sure for many of you all too. For me (Nicki) one highlight was being able to share the Christmas message at our mothers and babies Alternatives Christmas party. You can see me in the photo sharing with them all the story of the birth of Jesus. All of the ladies present were Muslim and some we have known for as long as six or seven years when they came with their first babies. Over the years it has been great to see a trust being built, as reflected in the comments that they make to us or the special cultural kisses that they give only to people they trust. We always take the opportunity to share our faith at Christmas and Easter. I took in our little nativity scene from home to share the story and particularly dwelled on the simplicity and hardship surrounding the birth of Jesus. Many of the women have faced hardships over this past year, times of being without and at least one of the ladies present had also faced homelessness and emotional turmoil. I had felt very nervous leading up to doing the talk and I knew that many were praying about it. There was such a peace in the room and it was wonderful to see them nodding when I said that God understands all that they go through. Please keep praying for them.

Leading into this new year I am feeling a mixture of emotions but the main one is excitement for what God has ahead for us. The start of my handover of my various roles in Alternatives has been a very encouraging and satisfying process as the current leadership team has risen to new challenges and two new members will be joining them to share the load. I will work alongside them in the next few months but am so excited about how God is going to take this ministry on. Please pray particularly for the fresh publicity going out for Alternatives in January and the work on a new website. (STOP PRESS: The advertising agent we used, Clear Channel, have abruptly lost the contract for the Metro advertising. Please pray this will offer us better and cheaper opportunities to us to advertise with the new agency replacing them. We are pleased as we felt it was time for a shake up.)

As we wind down here, we need to start to prepare more intensively for our move in April. Kevin already is working two days a week with the Fresh Expressions movement from Brussels. He is busy writing resources for them and will be meeting with the Fresh Expressions team in the UK each month from now on. He will tie this in with any arrangements for our move.

Earlier on this year we felt God challenge us that it was “time to get out of the boat”. The time is getting closer when we need to step over the side of the boat and walk on the water! Please join us in praying that 2014 will be a year to fix our eyes on Jesus and not the waves beneath us.

God bless you and as ever thank you for your faithfulness to us.

Love,

Nicki, Kevin, Sam, Ellie, Luc and Josh