Hi Supporters, friends and family!

So, I left Leicester to start this course on the 14th of September for moving in and I’ve just had the first 2 weeks here and I cannot tell you how busy and exciting these two long weeks have been! Moving in on the first day was great and the house is very nice and has a very large garden and living room. Overall very happy with it. Lots is paid  for with the initial £2000 I had to raise to take part in this course. Firstly, the garden and house are looked after by our maintenance guys so if anything goes wrong there is no need to worry about it! Secondly, bills are subsidised to only £50 a month and there is so much ahead with the course to look forward to all starting next week which the £2000 fails to cover! The Message Trust are just so passionate about this course and love to see the fruit of what it produces in us that they make no money, they even lose money! I’ve been realising more and more across these two weeks just how fortunate and lucky I am to have a place here with the other 9 people on the course and how exciting it is to see what God will do in my life across these 10 months!

The first week has been a very relaxed and gave us a lot of space to fully ‘induct’ ourselves into Manchester. Monday and Tuesday were Message Prayer Days which included lots of talks, worship and of course… prayer! It was like having church but all day long from 10 to 5 across two days which of course was fairly draining but it was amazing! I loved it, particularly seeing Andy Hawthorne speak and initially getting to know many of The Message staff. Across the other days we had lots of introduction talks about what The Message is (by Andy Hawthorne) as well as training and teaching in Child Protection (as we’ll be working with young people in placements) and tours around The Message HQ and our many facilities available to us. We also had many of the church leaders from around the area come in for us to find out more about their churches and what they do. Then on Friday we had a City Centre tour which was amazing and what I’d call a BTEC London! It was fab though!

On Monday of the second week we went to the Peak District to explore Cliff Collage where we had available to us an opportunity to get a diploma in Mission and Evangelism. Then, from there we went to Northern Wales for a residential there. This residential was mostly for us to get to know the other people on the course (all of whom are LOVELY!) as well as have lots of fun and worship/ receive teachings and further introductions to things on the course. We got home on the Wednesday and the following Thursday we received timetables for placements and teachings and many opportunities to lead. For this term, every Thursday evening I will be helping Barnabus charity who help the homeless and vulnerable, then Friday evenings I will be serving at a youth group known as Forge Youth and sharing the life-giving gospel message with many of these young people. I have also signed up to helping lead other youth groups and serving in prisons around the area.

Its amazing here and I am so thankful to all those who are supporting and have supported me! It’s strange actually because us Academy students are actually a little bit famous here within the churches of Manchester as The Message Trust is highly respected for its action over words approach to making a difference here and the footprint it’s made! Whenever we’ve entered a new church people go “oh are you the new academy students?” its so weird and funny!

On a final note, in the third term there will be 6 weeks of nonstop travel across the UK in small groups where each will go different directions and reach different places, then there will be an overseas mission into a deprived area of Eastern Germany struck down by the historical effects of the Iron Curtain. We will fly into Prague first, then travel across the border to do mission and serving the lost and those in need. However, in order to do this overseas mission, I will need further funding as we (the other students) are all-together raising a total amount so if you have already given please DO NOT feel obliged to give more! I value all your support massively but if you know someone who might want to give a little, please spread the message about what I’m doing here in Manchester and get them in touch with me! Id love to chat with them even if they don’t have finance to give.

So much love for you all, I swear time goes slower up North! In a really good way though.

God Bless

Joe

Things you might want to pray for:

  • Even further unity for the academy students
  • Confidence to push out of my shell a bit more
  • I have a talk coming up in two weeks in front of all The Message Trust (about 100 people including top evangelists and Andy Hawthorne) for about 10 minutes. Just pray it goes well please!
  • That all the missions and training will go well and go safely.
  • That I’ll find a church with will help me grow in faith!