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Newsletter August 2011

Xpedition Force  

Outreach time again!

We continue with our visits to the elderly in our community.  We recently learned they don’t use and don’t like the term “shut-ins” as it implies imprisonment against their will.  The people enjoy the visits.  They get visits all the time from us monthly, the minister, their assigned elder and committee member, their friends, their neighbors, and their relatives.  In some churches people decline to become Elders because they don’t want “to visit.”  How sad when we allow this basic consideration of the elderly amongst us, to be avoided.  The concept of the good Samaritan is strong and

local people rush to help people in need.  We attended Ella’s funeral, sister of May Hall, the lady we pick up for church, and the whole extended family welcomed us into their grief with grace and hospitality. 

The Kids outreach is the biggest event of our church year.  We deliver handbills around the neighborhood and hang a handmade sign on the side of the church and 40 children show up on Monday afternoon and another 10 in the evening.  We personally dread the event but afterwards we find it very satisfying.  Our dread is of the energy and unexpected which children bring.  This year the theme was the Scripture Union curriculum Xpedition Force.  We set up a big tent and the kids loved sitting in it to watch videos.

Great things happened.  On the first day a boy of about 9 came in with his aunt and small cousin.  He was looking about and would have chewed his fingers off if that could happen.  I asked him if he planned to stay and he shook his head no.  I stayed with him and told him to try it because it would be fun.  He finally agreed and within an hour he was smiling and having a good time.  On the last day he said “oh yes I loved it and I’m coming back next year”.

The second great thing was our friend Deborah persisted and insisted that we have an evening program for the 10-14 year old kids.  She wanted it to run all week because last year they only did one evening.  She took responsibility for a sleep over on Saturday in the church so that the children would be there for the Sunday worship service.  She also persisted with suggesting and organizing a community BBQ on Friday nights which we set up outside the back of the church and invited the local neighbors.  Money for burgers materialized and neighbors came.  This is leadership development.  Deborah has taken the three younger members and encouraged them to make things happen.  One of them, Danielle has brought her mother to our summer Bible studies.

More about this next month but suffice to say Marda is going on a TRIP. You know what to do.  The Belfast Health Trust is providing what they call “respite care”.  They came and did a carer’s assessment, a respite need’s assessment, and the diabetic clinic will send a district nurse to administer Ward’s insulin.  They apologize that the visits are limited to 15 minutes but from our perspective they are a Godsend.  Ward can manage on his own but not as well as we together.  The main worker Elaine who comes morning, noon, and the last visit in the evening said her first pregnancy, 18 years ago, was diagnosed here in The Loom, when it was called the Vine Centre.  Her granny lived around the corner.  This visit routine will give structure to the two weeks Marda is away. 

Lastly after only one set of visitors this year, we finally have a line-up of people coming from mid September to mid October.  First our long time friends and former minister Bill and Beth Beatty after their trip to Scotland, then Jack Bookwalter will return with Terry Ryder from Westdiv and his wife Judy, another Irish Catholic from the Bronx!, and Carolyne Gibson will come to celebrate our wedding anniversary.  The rest of you are all welcomed to visit and experience for yourself because being here is different than photos and words.

Email: wardstothers@cten.org
Phone: (028) 90 291986  From U.S. 01144.2890.291986

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