Back onboard, back at work, time at home, almost successful day trips and African cinemas.

Matthew Little,

So, I am back….

It is, at the time I write this, is the evening of August 31st. Why do I that? Because it’s a special day? No. the last day of a month can be significant though, but it’s nothing special today. Looking back on my previous blog update/diary entry writing schedule, I didn’t always start and finish on the same day. Most likely a week in between starting and finishing, so I deemed it reasonable to include the date I started. Oh, I am in Dakar, Senegal now. Probably best to put that out there now. 
Rambling over.

So what has happened?

After some much needed, and well-deserved don’t judge me, self-care isn’t self-indulgence, breaks are needed to prevent falls into insanity PTO (Personal Time Off for all the non-Mercy Shippers) back at home in the good old United Kingdom, where I reunited with many things including, but not limited to; Family, Friends, my bed, Krave, beautiful views of nature outside my bedroom window….. In fact, just having a bedroom window in general….
Beautiful Wiltshire.
I had my first flight on my own, unaccompanied by adults, flying from Las Palmas to Bristol, where I was sat on the first row of the plane, which I had entirely to myself. I could have kept moving from one seat to another, but because I am so used to being in a row with other people and didn’t know what to do, being the only passenger on the row, I just stayed where I was the entire time. It did get awkward at times, with the tinted glass right in front of me, making eye contact with the chief hostess.
But…. After Eights… are bitesize … anyway?

I had the entire row to myself.
I was picked up by my parents, who had already left the ship two weeks prior, because my mum was due for a consultation about her knee. It was all good, though, as it turns out there was nothing wrong, and she didn’t need an operation. We got home early in the morning, so I immediately went to bed. Later in the day, I reunited with my sister Zoe, and was introduced to Zoe and Seth’s new dog, Tinkerbell, a rescue from Zante.
 In the evening, Seth, Zoe and I went to see Spider-Man: Far From Home. We also went to Frankie and Benny’s (A restaurant) . I forgot to mention in a previous blog… I think, I don’t want to fact check right now… that I managed to see Avengers: Endgame at the local Canal:Olympia in Conakry. My first cinema experience in a different culture. If there were cultural differences that I observed in Guinea, going to the cinema was one that I remember: In UK cinemas, the audience is fairly tame when it comes to reactions. I think the highest display of emotion in a UK cinema will be either laughter,  or crying. But even then, it is generally a small, audible chuckle, a sob, not uncontrollable emotion. In African cinemas, you get cheering and applauding. The atmosphere is estatic. It was so estatic, particularly when the ‘dusted’ heroes, Wakandans (Black Panther), Asgardians (Thor) and Ravagers (Guardians of the Galaxy) emerge from the portals during the final battle. So much cheering in that cinema, that Captain America’s “Avengers……Assemble.”, the famous line that all superfans were waiting to be said,  was almost drowned out. He was surprisingly quiet when he said it though. I do hate “Audience reaction” videos on YouTube, but being around people showing a different  appreciation for film  that is different to the reactions that I am used to, is somewhat nice.   By the end of Endgame, I was a broken man. I was completely maybe a slight exaggeration overcome by emotions. Mostly depression, and I didn’t know what to say. If Infinity War was heartwrenching, Endgame was a completely different level that I didn’t know was possible. The MARVEL Cinematic Universe is one of my favourite franchises at the moment, and it was something that I had been emotionally invested in since 2014.  It will be hard to let the beautiful saga go, but the so-called “Infinity Saga” – everything from Iron Man (2008) to either Avengers: Endgame or Spider-Man: Far From Home (Which one is it, Kevin Feige!?) will be my definitive era of the franchise. I still remember returning to the ship that Sunday evening, not feeling like talking to anyone, then again, I wouldn’t have known what to say. Overall I, really enjoyed both films. I still haven’t seen Captain Marvel, though. I’ll leave that there, before this whole post becomes me rambling on about MARVEL superheroes. Though, I am sad that Spider-Man has been pulled from the franchise.  Not going to go into that, because this isn’t a blog about film company politics.
My time at home was fairly uneventful… I had some friends round for an evening, it was nice to hang out with them. Had TWO Indian meals whilst I was at home. One of the things that both my Dad and I were looking forward to at home was Indian food. Ian (who was in our OnBoarding group) and his partner Sarah, from Germany, also from the ship visited us, so we went out for a curry the first evening, showed them around Corsham, my home town, then we took them into Bath the next day, where they got the train to visit another Mercy Ships couple. I had a Shakeaway. Missed Shakeaway. As with all unhealthy things, it was absolutely delicious! but it was sickly. I got Starburst and Bubblegum-flavour-Millions. I bought Spider-Man: Into the SpiderVerse, which came out whilst I was away, but I heard good things about it, so I had to check it out. Enjoyed it a lot, and I also bought Ant-Man and the Wasp. I was planning on getting Captain Marvel, but I found out a few hours later that it was releasing on DVD two days later. I also ran into Imogen, my neighbour and oldest and best friend.  We had no idea we would both be in Bath, so it was also very nice to see her. I popped into to visit my church Youth Group on their weekly Wednesday Bible Study. Lots of hugs in quick succession were made. It was also funny to watch them realise I was there, and to see them charging towards me for hugs! I also did a feedback evening at my church with my parents, telling the congregation about the things we have seen and done during our first 7 month stint on board the Africa Mercy and in Guinea. A missionary couple from our church works a lot with WEC International (Missionary organisation). Annually, for the last few years, our church and this couple has been training up missionaries before they go into the field. It is so much like the On Boarding that long term volunteers have to go through before the ship (Or International Support Centre workers who want to understand the organisation more); Internationals going to pretty much the middle of nowhere to learn how to work in missionary work and other cultures. This year, the contingent are working in a school in Dakar, so my parents and I were invited to lunch at our church to meet them, because we were also going out to Dakar.

I went camping for a weekend in the Gower with my parents and Hannah, my sister. We stopped in Cardiff, to see the apartment she is living in with her boyfriend, Nick. It is a nice place, but the main reason for going to Cardiff was to visit the Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. (Science Training and Tactical Intelligence Operative Network). It was an exhibition that had been all over the world, including London. The London exhibition unfortunately opened and closed whilst I was away, but Hannah found out that they were bringing it to Cardiff whilst we were home(I mean, she found out months ago, but it would be open whilst we were in the country). Very cool to see the costumes of Thor, Captain America, Black Widow, and the rest of the Avengers roster, as well as props of broken bits of Ultron, Dark Elf and Chitauri weaponry, and THE ACTUAL SHIELD used in Captain America: The Winter Soldier (My favourite film in the MCU). It was a cool experience. It was primarily aimed at the younger audiences of the Avengers, but I thought it was worth the visit for older fans. Also, I am not worthy of the Hammer of Thor.

A few days after camping, Calum and Kira (my cousins) and my aunt visited, as well as my Grandma and Hannah, so that was the only day that the entire Little family were together before we left again. Nice to see them all. I also re-discovered the old videos and photos I took on my iPod a long time ago.  Calum and I were trying to find a video we made of a TV show about stunts that we made up. What we found were much better. These included badly acted  explosion sequences made with Action Movie FX. We also found a sequence of shots where I was just  running I have no idea what film I was trying to make. Honestly, I think the angles in these videos that I made when I was 11/12 were much better than the angles in my short films that I made for Film Studies about two years ago. Go figure.

A few days later, it was time to return to the ship. We flew from Bristol to Tenerife. The ship was in Santa Cruz de Tenerife for a week, to give the technical crew a bit of a break and rest after coming out of dry dock, which was an intense working period, with a lot of big projects carried out that couldn’t be done whilst on field service.  I returned to the same cabin as I had left with no bedding. Why? Because before my parents left and I moved into their cabin, my mum put my bedding into wash so it would be clean when we got back. Unfortunately, I forgot to take it out of the the dryer,  So I think hospitality  thought it wasn’t being used and put it into storage. So I had to get some new ones. Though, I think technical crew were only doing ‘soft work’. Mainly due to about half of the deck department going through basic training. So I spent the days just chilling about. I could have gone out into the city during the day, it was only a 5 minute walk from the ship, but since everyone else was working, and I didn’t want to go explore by myself. I just stayed on ship. The superintendent my the ship, who normally works at the ISC invited Deck and Engineering out for an Indian as thanks for the work during shipyard.  Although my Dad and I were home for most of shipyard, we were still invited to go out with them. The curry I had was very good, and it was a very nice outdoor atmosphere. Some very strange sights. Including a man doing keepy-uppy in a circle: He walked up the hill, then back down again, passing us twice.

And soon after that, it was yet again time to depart, go out to sea, and begin the next ten month field service in Senegal. It was a shorter sail, however, and the swell was tough, so the first few days of the sail were spent rolling. During shipyard, one of the projects was replacing the steering gear, as well as the helm. It was hard enough getting used to the smaller wheel, let alone trying to steer whilst the ship is  rolling! Looking out the windows to see sky-sea- sky again- sea again  was quite scary.  As I only had one watch this time, I had to do normal deck work in the afternoons. This is a little bit of what I did in the afternoons: Helped with some line-splicing. I was working with Donatien, from Madagascar, Alexander (My cabin mate from Sweden. He is an able seaman ‘on loan’ from Stena as their way of supporting Mercy Ships) Martina (Also from Sweden, Able seaman, has since left the ship). We were repairing our mooring lines by cutting chunks out from them, and then threading other parts of the line through the line. I also helped Lawrence (Ghana, he was a previous Bosun onboard. He comes back from time to time to help) with taping over the windows of the gangway  hatch. Whilst it was open. So the only thing keeping us from falling overboard was a very long rope tied over a large and open part of the ship, and a harness .I also did some cleaning of paint on the bottom of the gangway Don’t worry, it was stowed on Deck 8, Not sticking out from the side of the ship. Ship activities during the sail included: Worship on the bow, as always. I didn’t go during the sail from Guinea to Las Palmas because I was dealing with a very bad cold during the sail, but I did go during this sail. There was also sock golf (Whatever that is, I didn’t participate). There was a very fitting showing of The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawntreader. Not that we have a Minotaur on board or we were on a quest to rescue seven lords or anything. I hadn’t seen the Narnia films in a while, I really enjoyed the nostalgia. I’ve been quite nostalgic for The Hunger Games recently, as well. I have listened to the National Anthem of Panem countless times for the last few weeks. There was also a Pirate Party for the kids On Board. A Nerf war was part of it, somehow. I spent the end of the party trying to catch Nerf darts in mid air being shot at me by Luke, one of the Canadian crew members who was once a cabin mate, who left in March, but is back again.

Then we arrived in Dakar. I had a different mooring station for this sail. I was on the Bow during the sail from Guinea to Las Palmas. This sail, I was on the side party. Leaving Spain, I held one of the taglines connected up to the gangway to stabilise it whilst the Bosun lifted it up with the crane. I also secured it down to the deck with lashings. As we arrived in Dakar, I helped to set up the Pilot entrance, to allow the Dakar Pilot onboard the ship. When he was on board, and we were ready to dock, greeted by the Advance Team. A group of volunteers went to Senegal ahead of the ship from about June, to make preparations. These included: Hiring the Day Crew, working with the Ministry of Health to set up the Hope Centre and begin pre-screening. Working with the port to acquire dock space, and get the dock space ready for us. Finding a suitable site for the Agricultural Centre. (To learn about the Mercy Ships Agricultural Centre, please check out my previous blog post from January 2019!). As we docked, I was at the top of the gangway, with Georgy, Abdul, and Flynn. We set up the gangway, and disconnected the hoist from the gangway. We put up banners along the raling of the gangway, reading Welcome aboard the Africa Mercy In French and English. Although, this was after the gangway was on terra-firma, not in mid-air. After lunch, and an impromptu Deck Department meeting between two stairwells between Deck 6 and Deck 4 in the Dining Room, I was allowed to go to sleep, because I would be on Night Patrol that night.

Before I woke up, the Arrival Ceremony had begun. A few of us decided to watch from the Bridge. No one really knew what was going on, apart from speeches, a group of Senegalese Women dancing in unison by sweeping the floor and some rap. At least I didn’t know what was going on. Whether there was a program detailing what was going on, I don’t know. My first night of Night Patrol, I was alone. The next two nights, I was teaching Cherif, one of the Day Crew from Guinea who was invited to become a crew member how to do Night Patrol. I think It went well, as per usual and as I would hope, nothing happened. On Saturday evening, I went out to walk around Dakar with my parents. We encountered a man who apparently had just had another baby, and according to tradition, the parents give others gifts to bring good luck for their child (Hmm….) I got a pendant in the shape of Africa with the colours of the Senegalese flag (And many other West African countries), Red, Yellow and Green with a shell in the middle. My dad received two ‘Gold’ rings. We aren’t convinced they are actual gold. We saw a map of the world with ports that Dakar ships to, and learned that Liverpool is in Norway, apparently. It was dark, and we couldn’t tell where the outlines of the countries were, though.

On the Monday and Tuesday following, I had two days off. I stayed on ship though, because they don’t recommend people going into town by themselves. Our new Senegalese day crew are nice. I have been given much more responsibility over them, being given a team to clean the decks with. It was helpful to be given a leadership role on Deck, and I am liking the responsibility, and people looking up to me. Or, literally, looking down to me, because the Senegalese are very tall.

Sad departures.

That week, a small group of the deck department left. It was very sad. These included: Coltan, our Officer from Second Officer from Texas (I have probably talked about Coltan before on my blog.) if not, Coltan is a ship icon. He played the Sitar, and liked Indian music. Some mornings after Night Patrol, waiting for the duty officer give me permission to stand down, he would come up to the Bridge and play Indian music from his computer, leaving me very confused and wondering  where the music was coming from. As well as Coltan, Andreas and Veera, (Both Deck Cadets from Finland), Martina and Lawrence left. We ordered pizza and had a pizza party on deck 7 with the deck department. Riku, one of our Officers from Japan, brought out his violin, to play Irish music, and then Coltan brought out his sitar. It was a very surreal experience: A Texan playing an Indian instrument, and a Japanese man playing Irish music on a Danish ship docked in Africa. It was sad to see them go, they were super helpful. Lawrence knew what he was doing, and he was always supportive and positive about everything Deck related. He was also very spirit-encouraging. I didn’t have too much to do with Martina, as she joined the ship shortly before I left the ship. We were on watch together, so we did have a few conversations during the sail. Andreas and Veera both joined in Guinea, so I did work with them a bit. Andreas was on both my watches sailing from Guinea to Las Palmas.

The Saturday that most of them left (Veera left the Friday night before) I went on adventure around Dakar (I’ll go on to that) with a few of my friends. We wanted to be back on ship in time to see them off,  but not that I didn’t like the rest of them to mostly see off Coltan. Kate and I, who was part of the adventure party both wanted to see off Coltan, so we made it a thing to be back in time for that. We did. But then I forgot to say goodbye! Oops!
If you guys read this, this is my goodbye message to you all!

3 goals, only 1 completed

As I literally just mentioned, that Saturday, I went on and adventure around Dakar. There are several districts on the ‘Dakar-Plateau’, but we headed north. I was joined by Kate (USA, Executive Assistant ) Simon (New Zealand, Information Services) Stephen (Switzerland, Finance)  Leon (The Netherlands, Information Services) Rachel (USA, Food Services. As I write this now (9/9/19), she left yesterday) Luke (Canada, Transportation) and Anneliese (The Netherlands, Food Services, She also left a few weeks ago)
We had three aims that Saturday:
  1. Visit Ngor Island
  2. Visit the western-most point of Africa
  3. Visit the old Lighthouse
Unfortunately, only one was successful.

We went via buses to the Ngor district. We found a way onto the beach. After almost not paying for admission because we didn’t realise we had to pay.  We found a restaurant on the beachfront, and we got ‘brunch’, I guess. After leaving Guinea, I started to miss Bissap, a drink made from the juice of the Hibiscus flower. The thing with Bissap is that it tastes different wherever you go. Some places it could be very sweet, some places it could be a bit sour. So most of us at the table got Bissap, a few got coffees. Why, in the heat, I have no idea. They were probably not awake yet. We also got a few nibbles. The restaurant we went to was very stylish, it was like a lounge on the beach. A lounge of the beach with pelicans and a monkey. It’s true, there were pelicans just chilling. That monkey was also the first monkey I have seen in my life OUTSIDE of a zoo. In terms of Ngor Island…. there were a bunch of boats that went from the beach to the island, but, it looked like, if you determined enough, you could just swim across to the island, it was that close. There was a group consensus to not go over, because it looked just as touristy as the beach we were already on, and the view across to the island would probably be exactly the same as we were looking at. We also think the guy who was showing us around the beach was trying to get us to look at the fish he had caught. Or his boat, we weren’t sure what he was telling us. So we left. It was a bit disappointing, but the view just going up the concrete steps to leave was astounding. Just a bunch of parasols, with the flag of Senegal furled just to the side. It was a nice shot.

So that was one plan out the window.

We then got taxis to go to the Western most point, passing the US embassy  and one or two ‘American Food Stores’ on the way there. We didn’t know how to get to the point, and we thought there was a path through an artisan market. Oh boy. That was an experience. Whilst most of the group went on ahead, Kate, Luke and I were lagging behind. Mostly distracted by the seafront restaurants. Then, as we followed the rest of the group, Luke was stopped by a stall holder, who liked his beard! He was then pulled into his shop. We all went in to see what he was selling, until I was dragged into the next stall over, by their owner. He gave me a wooden hippopotamus as a gift, and encouraged me to buy something else. After ‘careful’ consideration, I bought a tiger. Why in quotations, because I wanted to get out of there. However, what I didn’t realise was, that right behind us, the guy from the NEXT stall over was waiting for me to leave to pull me into his stall. He gave me a wooden turtle as a gift, and you can probably guess what tried to happen next. I tried to tell him that “My friends are waiting for me. It’s all really nice, but I have to go!” He wasn’t having any of it. Until Kate rescued me and pulled me out of there.

We found another restaurant nearby, which had two very old and rusty ovens or stoves, that would probably  cause a fire if switched on. And someone trying to sell his things that he made was waiting for us. So I had to convince that I literally had no money left. He eventually gave up and left. I had juice from the fruit of the Baobab fruit for the first time. It’s very grainy.  They also had a cocktail made from Bissap, Baobab juice and Gingembre, which Kate and Anneliese both got. Kate forgot what she ordered, so when my just Baobab juice arrived, she accidentally drank some of it, realising that didn’t taste like Bissap or Gingembre. D’oh. It was still very nice though, I just stuck the other end of the straw in the drink. We also got plates of plantains and fries. They were ok, just very small portions. The western-most point was just a walk way. We still didn’t know the path, but we asked the security guard nearby if the way to the point was open. It wasn’t. Just looking across, we noticed just how empty it was. A bit weird, It would probably have at least one or two people, because it was the western-most point, so why was no one there. We couldn’t go that way, but the guard let us walk to the end of the nearby fishing jetty, for free, for five minutes. We met an employee from the embassy! He told us that the  beach where western most point is closed off to everyone. Even to the people staying at the hotel behind it. It was closed though, and being renovated by Marriott.  So we walked back in defeat. Mostly because the guard came up to us, telling us that our five minutes were up.

So that is plan two gone.

Third time lucky.

We headed to the lighthouse, in the Mammelles district. Why is it called Mammelles?  There are two hills in the area. The hills look like breasts. Hence Mammelles. Literally, we went to the boobs of Dakar! On one of the boobs is the lighthouse, on the other boob is the African Renaissance Monument, the tallest statue in Africa, that is 49m tall, face to face with the Statue of Liberty and built by North Korea!

The taxi wouldn’t take us up the concrete road up to the lighthouse, so we walked. It was a very nice view though. The lighthouse trip was successful. We got a guided tour of the Lighthouse, presented by a very enthusiastic owner, who was so proud of his job, and the views, he insisted that we take photos! It was a very cool place. The Lighthouse of Dakar is the second most important lighthouse in Africa, because it marks the ‘gate’ between the North and South hemisphere. The MOST important lighthouse in Africa is in South Africa, which marks the ‘gate’  from the Western hemisphere to the Eastern Hemisphere.

Some very astounding views from the top the lighthouse of the city.

Glass of whatever +Sunglasses
= generic Instagram photo
The Western-most point on the continent of Africa

Simon
Long road to the Lighthouse
Lighthouse view number 1

The Lighthouse bulb

Lighthouse view number 2

Lighthouse view number 3

The Adventure Crew (photo courtesy of Kate)

“What are you two talking about, I don’t see any icebergs?”

A Brit and a Canadian,  former roommates. And Baobab juice!
(Photo by Simon)

Going up the lighthouse (Taken by the very
enthusiastic lighthouse keeper)
(Annelies, Stephen, Rachel, Kate, Luke, Me, a pillar, Leon and Simon)

An international video call

The day after that, the Adventure Crew had an international catch u.p On this call, we were spread across four continents: Africa: Me, Kate, Simon, Rachel, Laurianna and Stephen (and Moise for a shortwhile) on the Africa Mercy in Senegal and Ian (USA. He was a project assistant on board during shipyard) in Tanzania (Mission work); North America: Philip (He was AV Technician on board. He now works as AV technician at the ISC, Texas!); Europe: Arne (Netherlands. Project Assistant. He joined two days before I left, but he went to the aquarium with us) Sam (USA, Galley staff, but he was in Italy at the time) as well, towards the end of the call, but the internet quality was so bad for him, that we barely had any conversation with him! Last but not least Michael (Australia. Internet Services) We ordered pizza. They were tiny. I had Tex-Mex. Due to some funny comment, midway through eating some jalapeno, the spiciness of the slice went up, through my nose, instead of going down. That wasn’t fun. It was great to hear from them all (What we could hear, anyway), and to be updated in their own lives (What they were doing i.e. work, educational, waiting for a new phase .where they were. What time it was where they were calling from!) Reflecting back on a different time…. That was only a few months ago. It’s weird. 

Presidential Beef…..

Different parts of deck work recently has included beef. Why? Isn’t the deck department separate from food services? Yes, they are separate, but one day when I was on call, I was called out (I knew in advance about this) to help with an after-hours delivery of beef… Here’s the story….

As a way of showing appreciation of what we were doing in Senegal, President Macky Sall offered us many deals, including offering to pay for our fuel, and has also pledged to give us 1 cows worth of beef for everyday Mercy Ships is in Senegal. So I was sent to the galley to unhook the pallets from the stores crane, and move them into the elevator.

Pallet of beef

Other than that, I have been doing more training on the stores crane. I did want to be trained on it in Guinea, but due to a complication with one of the cranes, the company didn’t want to newbie going on the other crane to damage it, leaving the ship without a crane until Dry Dock for maintenance. Not gonna lie… I am a bit annoyed by that, but I also understand why the decision was made. Other Deck has been mostly the same as in Guinea, scrubbing the decks, cleaning, chipping, grinding and painting. We are in ‘Rainy season at the moment, but the weather can change drastically. There was an INTENSE recently. During the working day. So instead of working outside, in the middle of a thunderstorm, I was asked to sort out the Paint Locker. So I got to work, rearranging paint buckets, organising by colour, organising used and empty cans and a bit of sweeping. Because of rain during the nights, most mornings on deck are spent pushing puddles down drains, to eliminate potential mosquito breeding grounds. The drastic weather changes? It can be SWELTERING in the sun. Very exhausting. Enough said.

Also, Rachel left last week. It was very sad. So, on the Friday evening, Rachel, Simon, Stephen, Leon, Kate, Laurianna and I went out to a hotel roof top bar, not too far away from the lighthouse and giant statue. The hotel is called Hotel du Phare des Mamelles. So, literally,  but not so literally, translating to Hotel of the Lighthouse of the Boobs. It was a pleasant evening, and the sunset was fast and phenomenal. We chose to go East just to see a sunset over Dakar. So, there we were, a group of friends, driving along the West Africa coast, chasing the sunset. We also found out that the on the crown of the Man on the giant statue lights up during dark hours. We also got Hawaiian pizza,  though it had chicken instead of ham, that was so hot, that it burned the top of mouth. Before we left, I had a very deep and meaningful conversation with Nic, one of our officers about Artificial Intelligence. What I learned from her is that the reasons why Artificial Intelligence is commonly depicted as trying to annihilate/enslave humanity is because humans are idiots, and Artificial Intelligence often misinterprets the data we are feeding them.

So that has been a bit about what I have been doing/ up to for the last two months/ please forgive me If I post stuff on this blog that you don’t want to read, I like to use this blog as a bit of a personal blog. I also don’t want to pump out updates that are purely about “work, work, work”, so I try to put a bit of  variety into my writing.

As this was about July and August, and a bit of September, this one was longer than normal. When I get back into the routine of monthly updates, these posts will be shorter.

Thank you for reading, and have a good day,

Matthew.
The date I post this? 15th of September

Adventure Crew of the past – 4 different continents in one call! (Thanks for the photo, Kate!)
No. I was not twerking.
(On Screen, from left to right, top to bottom)
Philip (Texas) Michael (Australia) Arne (Netherlands) Ian (Tanzania)
(On ship.)
Kate, Simon, Rachel, Me, Laurianna, Stephen.

A new addition to Priory Street

Tim Stephenson,
Nattie during installation of defibrillator box

The eagle-eyed amongst you may have noticed the new defibrillator box appear recently outside Priory Street. This is the proposal made by Rhiannon after the latest first aid training included instructions on using such devices and the Leadership Team approved its purchase in the last financial year.

The box is now fully operational thanks to work by Martin and Nattie and has been registered with SW Ambulance service so will be available to any who might need it in the local community.

Thanks all!

Notices 15th September 2019

Louise,

Priory Street (Corsham)

            9.15am            Eddie Larkman

            11.15am          Eddie Larkman

            6:00pm           Gathered to Praise

Church on the Green (Rudloe)

            10:00am           Rob Durant

Missions and Persecuted Church Prayer

The prayer meeting for MPC will take place tomorrow, Monday 16th September, at 7:45pm.  Please chat to Wendy Rowe or contact Vanessa Naish for more information about these monthly meetings. 

On Friday 27th September 18:30-20.00 at the Springfield Centre, Michelle Donelan MP, has organised representatives from Open Doors and Sat 7 and we and all her constituents, are invited to come and learn about these organisations and how we can take action supporting the Persecuted Church. It is free with light refreshments provided.  Please contact Vanessa or Michelle at michelle.donelan.mp@parliament.uk or 01249 704465 if you would like further information.  Thank you.

Mission Event

On Sunday 29th September at 5pm we will be holding a mission event where we will get feedback from several mission trips that have taken place, including the recent Uganda AIM trip.  We will serve tea/coffee and cake so if you are able to provide cakes, biscuits etc. please speak to Wendy.

Youth Ministry

Save the date: youth weekend away Friday 25th October – Sunday 27th October.  DRIVERS NEEDED so if you are able to drive young people to this event in Chepstow, please let Dan know either in person or by email at mastermarsy@hotmail.com.  Thank you.

Midweek Service

This Wednesday, 18th September, is our midweek service.  The text is James 1.1-12. Eric Seager will be leading and David Morrell preaching.  The service starts at 2pm and concludes with refreshments at 3pm.

Steve and Gill Bryant – WEC

Thank you for your prayers for Steve and Gill whilst they have been at a training conference in the States regarding Safeguarding in Mission work. Steve will be in Spain from 17-20 September for another Safeguarding Conference and will be presenting some teaching seminars. Please continue to pray for both Steve and Gill as they serve God.

Women’s Bible Study

This will take place on Monday 30th September at 7:30pm at Priory Street.  Study notes (Rooted) are on the table at the back of church.  Please take one in advance of the meeting.

The Ark

The Ark begins again this month. Hooray!  Saturday 28th September, 10am at Priory Street for Bible stories, craft, puppets and snacks. It’s aimed at 0-7  year olds but ALL are very welcome, with an accompanying adult. We’ll soon have some leaflets printed with the term’s dates on so please spread the word and invite family and friends.

Tanzania Building Team

Help is needed to take the Tanzanian team to Heathrow and someone to collect.  There are four people going so a large car would do.  If that’s not possible, someone could drive the church minibus.  The dates are Friday 20th September, leaving Corsham at about 13.00hrs; returning Sunday 6th October Heathrow at 16.15hrs.  If you can assist, please contact Martin Sheringham.  Thank you.

Advance Date – Family Quiz Night

There will be a family quiz/pizza night for the 9:15 congregation on Saturday 16th November.  Please put the date in your diary…

Thanks!

Norman Fuggle would like to thank all those who sponsored him for the charity Memory Walk in Bristol in memory of Alan Marment.  He raised £500 for the Alzheimer Association.

This week @ CBC

Monday: Mums’ bible study, 9:30am; missions and persecuted church prayer meeting, 7:45pm

Wednesday: Midweek service, 2pm

Thursday: Toddler Group, 10am

Friday: Corsham Money and Debt Advice Centre, 9:30am; Encounter, 3.45pm; Engage, 4:30pm; Energize, 5:30pm

Upcoming events:

The Ark – 28th September

Missions’ event/report back – 29th September, 5pm

Harvest service – 29th September

Women’s bible study – 30th September, 7:30pm

Midweek service – 2nd October, 2pm

Craft Group – 5th October, 10am

Bible Sunday – 13th October (Ecumenical Praise Evening, 6pm)

Church Meeting – 21st October

Gathering to Praise @ Melksham Baptist Church – 17th November, 6pm

ROOTED: STUDY OF COLOSSIANS

kathylarkman,

colossiansTree[5971]As we get back into the swing of our school diaries, routines, and church life, I want to encourage you to save the date for this year’s first women’s all-age bible study! It begins Monday, 30 September at 7:30 in the CBC church hall. We meet once a month on the last Monday of each month.

We are studying Colossians which is titled “Rooted.” Sharon Durant has provided our first bible study, which is on the Grace Place Blog, as well as hard copies at CBC and COTG.

Another component of the women’s bible study is one-on-one meetings, also known as study buddy time. The idea is to do the provided bible study together.
God has given us his Word but also each other. We are able to learn from each other, to be challenged and spurred on by each other, and to pray for each other.
This one-to-one element brings these two gifts of God together in a simple and powerful way: two people reading the Bible together, helping each other to see what God is saying there, and praying for each other that you will obey what you hear.

For more information, the study buddy guidelines are on Grace Place blog, and hard copies at CBC and COTG.
And If you don’t have a study buddy, please see Anne Holmes!
Have a great week!

Week of Prayer 2019

Helen Christie,
Silhouetted figure in prayer

Welcome!

Once again, we have some prayer stations set up in the church and I have prepared some prayer points some of which are requests from those involved in the ministries and some of which are suggestions. This is not an exhaustive list, so please don’t be constrained by it but pray as the Spirit leads you. You may like to begin by reading a psalm of praise and praising God for all He is and has done for us in Christ. (Some suggestions – Psalm 8, 96, 103, 145, 146.)

Please set aside time each day to lift the ministries of our church to God in prayer whether in families, in a group or individually. If you would like to make use of the prayer stations or come into the church to pray, please see the notice sheet for times when the church will be open.

LEADERSHIP TEAM AND STAFF

Eddie L, Rob D, Dan O, Alan C, Ian H, Norman F, Adrian P, Roger H, Martin S, Mark E, Rhiannon P, Tim S, Louise dT.

Pray for them in their:

  • Leadership roles
  • Work life
  • Home life
  • Their walk with God
  • Wisdom as they continue to lead a growing church
  • Wisdom and discernment in decisions and sufficient attention to detail so that nothing is overlooked
  • Guidance and wisdom for “passing on the baton”

WHERE NEXT? GOSPEL EXPANSION

  • Praise God for the work He is doing in Corsham and Rudloe
  • Where is God opening up doors to further His work?
  • Pray for the courage to pursue opportunities when they arise
  • Praise God for the work He is doing in Wadswick Green – pray for Norman and Pat F as they share the gospel there – that hearts would be softened and eyes opened in that community
  • Pray again for Norman and Pat as they faithfully lead the prayer group that meets to pray for gospel expansion
  • Pray that God would so fill our hearts with the love of Christ that it overflows to those around us

MID-WEEK SERVICE

  • Praise God for His continued blessing on this congregation
  • Pray for those faithfully leading and running the service e.g. Eric Seager, David Morrell, Norman Fuggle, key-board players, tea and cake makers, lift givers
  • Pray for at least one more keyboard player and some more helpers for catering
  • For wisdom and strength for the team of pastoral visitors as pastoral needs are endless
  • That the congregation would grow both spiritually and numerically and that they would see more conversions and baptisms

9.15 CONGREGATION

  • Pray for the congregational leaders – Tim S, Vicky S, Joey P, Matt G and Eddie L
  • Wisdom and guidance for an additional leader
  • Praise God for bringing new people
  • Pray for new and existing members to bond closely as a family and support one another through the highs and lows of their daily walk
  • As leaders and as a congregation that they would grow to be a “people of prayer”

11.15 CONGREGATION

  • Pray for the congregational leaders – Alan C, Joan C, Martin S, Ian H, David M, Catherine D, Wendy R and Eddie L
  • That they would faithfully seek the Lord’s wisdom and guidance in all that they do in helping to lead His church
  • Wisdom on how to make the service more inclusive, not just for children but for the whole congregation
  • Praise and thank God for the growth and size of the congregation
  • That the congregation would deepen their commitment to one another and to the Lord
  • Praise and thank God for the many faithful and gifted people He has blessed them with
  • Pray that they would remember to thank God for all He is doing, because it is God who builds His church
  • Pray for more Junior Church teachers and helpers and more worship leaders

CHURCH ON THE GREEN

  • Pray for the leaders – Rob D, Adrian P and Paul G and for their families
  • Wisdom to lead and disciple the congregation well
  • That COTG would be a “compelling community” within Rudloe, proclaiming the Gospel and shining a light into the community
  • Pray for more fruit as they continue to share the Gospel and build relationships in Rudloe
  • Thank God for the present venue and pray that He would provide a more suitable venue as they grow in numbers
  • Give thanks for the new families who have been joining them
  • Give thanks for the recent baptisms
  • Praise God for the blessing of many children and the expanding Junior Church classes as they now cater for Year 7s
  • Pray for the three Life Groups
  • Their involvement in the Heart4Rudloe Messy-Church
  • Pray for the Frys (posted to Northern Ireland), the Matthews (posted to Germany) and the Littles (Mercy Ships)

MEN’S MINISTRY

  • Praise God for His continued blessing on this ministry
  • For the men of CBC to be zealous for Christ
  • For the men of CBC to step up as leaders in gospel outreach
  • For the Monday Night Meeting to grow and to be a good place of fellowship for men from every walk of life
  • For the men of CBC to be hungry for the fellowship and teaching provided at the Men’s Evenings
  • For the men of CBC to be zealous in prayer and for overwhelming numbers to turn up for “Fight Night”

PRISON MINISTRY

  • For those members of CBC working in prisons to be effective in sharing the gospel and to see many turn to Christ as their Lord and Saviour
  • Prison guards and prisoners

LADIES’ MINISTRY

  • Praise God for His continued blessing on this ministry
    Pray that the women of CBC would have a deepening desire to know God
    That friendships would continue to develop and deepen
    Pray for the new series of studies from Colossians called “Rooted”
  • For those who will teach from the front at each of these sessions: Sharon D, Kathy L, Anne H, Vicky S, Victoria K, Esther K, Jill H and Hannah S
  • Pray that as we gather around God’s Word, we would indeed become “rooted”
  • Pray for those who prepare and serve refreshments, contribute to the blog etc.

YOUTH & CHILDREN’S MINISTRY

  • Thank God for the many children and young people connected to the church
  • Pray that they would all come to know Jesus and gain a solid faith in the Lord
  • Pray for Dan O, Rhiannon P and the many teachers and helpers involved in this ministry
    Junior Church that children would come each Sunday with open ears and hearts, that they would come to know Jesus and that God’s Word would be deeply planted in their hearts
  • children would build relationships with one another and God would deepen relationships between leaders and children
  • God would raise up people willing to fill the gaps in rotas across the congregations
  • that the teachers, helpers and children will continue to learn about God and grow in faith and love for Him
  • Friday evening groups – Encounter, Engage and Energize
  • Thank God for the mix of CBC, other church and non-churched children who regularly attend and for the visible growth in relationships between the children
  • Pray for the immediate need of a regular helper and in the future to grow a team and train up a leader to take over
  • Pray the children would learn about God and find Him for themselves
  • St. Patrick’s School Praise God for the continued enthusiasm that the children have each week as Rhiannon visits to tell Bible stories to years 1-6
    Pray that the teachers will be challenged by what they hear too
  • Corsham School Praise God for the opportunities to witness in Corsham School
  • Lunchtime group – that new year 7s will go along and older pupils return and hear the difference Jesus can make to their lives
  • Pray that God would inspire Dan as he takes assemblies, that He would enable Dan to deliver them with clarity and faithfulness
  • That the assemblies would prove fruitful for the Kingdom
    Lackham College Outreach
  • Pray for Dan and Adam (vicar) at Freshers’ Fayre (September 9th)
    That they would form a rapport with staff and students and be bold and deliberate in conversations
  • Restart of Cornerstone (evangelistic youth café), bible study groups and social activities That the young people would re-connect after the summer break
  • God would guide leaders in what to cover
  • Young people’s lives would be challenged and re-orientated around Jesus
  • Youth Weekend Away (October 25th-27th)
  • That God would be at work prompting young people to sign up
  • That God would work through other leaders by the way they conduct themselves and conversations they have with the young people
  • For God’s inspiration in Dan’s talks and that God would speak powerfully to the young people
  • For open ears and receptive hearts
  • Beyond Soul Survivor (finished this summer) – wisdom and guidance

TODDLER GROUP

  • Pray for the team – Kathy L, Heather C, Helen C, Vanessa N, Jean P, Margaret H, Zelda R, Julie K, Claire K, Roz T, Colin W, Ian R and Franchi P
  • Praise God that He has continued to provide enough helpers each week for the number of children and carers who come
  • Thank God for the three men who take it in turns to move the “heavy stuff” before each session. Pray for more to join them.
  • Continue to ask God to provide a leader and enough helpers each week
  • Team will reflect God’s love and everyone will feel welcome and cared for
  • God will be at work in people’s hearts and will use the Bible verses and songs to speak to them
  • The team will have wisdom and discernment when talking to the adults who attend
  • The children will be safe in their play and will have fun
  • People will want to go to the Ark and other Christian activities and that God will be drawing them to Himself

THE ARK

  • Pray for God’s continued blessing on this ministry Thank God for all those involved in running this ministry – Heather C, the puppeteers, those providing refreshments, those involved in craft, music, sound, lighting etc.
  • Thank God for all the non-church and church people who have attended and pray that they would continue to come and that God would work in their hearts drawing them to Himself
  • Pray for wisdom and guidance for the team as they plan each session and advertise and invite people
  • Pray that God would bind them together as a team and that they would all grow closer to God
  • For the Ark-run family service
  • For wisdom, guidance and strength for all involved
  • Pray for spiritual fruit from all the activities
  • For those children aged 8-12 years who are too old for the Ark that God would continue to draw them to Himself – perhaps to the Friday Clubs or an Ark for 8-12 year olds?

MISSION AND THE PERSECUTED CHURCH

  • AIM Tanzania – Steve and Ruth Lancaster – particularly for their residents’ permits to be issued soon
  • WEC – Gill and Steve Bryant – conferences in the US (September 5th to 14th) and Spain (October 17th to 20th)
  • Oasis – team in Austria, refugees, possible building team from CBC Compassion and the children sponsored by church members
  • The Bible Society – Sue W and Esther K who work there
  • Open Doors – persecuted Christians around the world
  • The Littles – as they again settle into life on-board Mercy Ships, this time in Senegal
  • Tearfund – particularly Eagles Relief and Development Programme in Malawi
  • BMS – particularly for good health and protection for Benjamin Francis and his family as they labour in God’s vineyard
  • Short term mission
  • Praise God for the trips to Spain and to Tanzania earlier this year
  • Rhiannon P and Natalie O – Spain September 11th to 14th – pray for safe travel, good health etc.
  • Building Team to Sanga Sanga September 21st to October 6th – Martin S, Martin D, Tim P, Coleen F, Tony S, Clive S, Cath S and Neil F – pray for safety for them as well as safety for the nationals working with them

WELCOME AND IN-SERVICE MINISTRY

  • Praise God for the many services we have
  • Pray for the many people involved in serving before, during and after our services e.g.
  • The Welcome Team on the door
  • Those who prepare and clear away Communion
  • Those involved with taking up the offering and counting it afterward
  • Those who serve teas and coffee
  • Those involved in prayer, leading worship, the overhead, the sound desk, preaching………..
  • The duty elders and deacons

PA MINISTRY

  • Pray for the sound system operators and Ben Ross who leads this ministry
  • Praise God that The Gathering Weekend was a success from a technical standpoint – that the recently bought equipment has been right for the job
  • Ask for wisdom to spend allocated funds wisely and to correctly prioritise various projects
  • Pray for help to sort out current PA issues
  • Pray that people would have the courage to step up to serve on the words’ projection and the PA desk – that people would not be stopped by their fear of failure

WORSHIP AND MUSIC MINISTRY

  • Praise God for the many gifted musicians and worship leaders He has given us
  • Pray that they would all grow in their walk with God as they serve in this ministry
  • Ask God to raise up others gifted to serve in this way
  • Pray for David M as he oversees the 11.15 worship teams and Joey Pillinger as he oversees the 9.15 worship teams
  • Pray that we would all grow in worshipping God in spirit and truth

LIFE GROUPS

  • Praise God that there are so many Life Groups but pray that more people would join groups and grow through the fellowship of being together
  • Praise God for the many Formation Groups and ask that God would use these groups to transform us by the renewing of our minds
  • Pray for the leaders of all the groups that they would grow in wisdom and strength
  • Ask God to raise up more leaders
  • A growing balance within the groups across all four areas in the LIFE principles i.e. Loving God, Individually known, Fellowship and Evangelism

PASTORAL MINISTRY

  • Pray that God would help us all to reflect His love in caring for our brothers and sisters
  • Pray for the sick and housebound and those who visit them
  • For Joan C as she oversees the 11.15 congregation
  • Those organising, preparing and distributing meals
  • Pray that God would help us all to reflect His love in caring for our brothers and sisters
  • Pray for the sick and housebound and those who visit them
  • For Joan C as she oversees the 11.15 congregation
  • Those organising, preparing and distributing meals

PRAYER MINISTRY

  • Praise God for the many opportunities to meet together to pray
  • The Prayer Chain – many answered prayers – those who administer it and those who pray
  • Those who lead us in intercessory prayer and those who pray with us after services
  • Pray that God would give us all the desire to draw closer to Him in prayer

CORSHAM MONEY & DEBT ADVICE CENTRE

  • Praise God for the increasing number of people involved in this ministry and pray that their training needs will be met
  • Pray for Alan S as he leads the ministry and for all the advisers and volunteers: Colin W, John G, Brenda N, Tom L, Lucy L, Graham S and Coleen F
  • Ask God for guidance in how best to reach those in the community who need financial advice
  • Pray for help to cope with the increasing amount of paperwork involved with GDPR and the Financial Conduct Authority
  • Clients – their financial situations and opportunities to speak the gospel to them
  • Pray that their contact with the Centre would lead them to turn to Christ
  • Pray that the advisers would be bold in speaking of Jesus to the clients and in praying for them
  • Keep the ministry rooted in prayer and gospel centred

COMMUNICATIONS

  • For all those involved in assisting our church in proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ and giving God all the glory e.g. those who design and distribute flyers, those who produce banners, those who provide information about our church and our ministries
  • That all our communications, whether online or by traditional media, would always bring glory to God and always point to Him, not us
  • Wisdom on how best to use the website to build community and encourage one another’s spiritual development between Sundays
  • Pray that the online sermons would bless people further afield

HEALTH AND SAFETY

  • Praise God for a good health and safety record within our congregations
  • Thank God for the opportunities that have been taken to improve Health and Safety
  • Tim M as he oversees this ministry
  • Pray for the first aiders
  • Raise up others with the necessary gifts to serve in this ministry

CRAFT GROUP

  • Pray for Hazel Hammett and Pam Mitchell as they lead this group that they would be God-minded in all that they do
  • Pray for any ladies attending who do not know the Lord that the fellowship and conversation will be a way of encouraging them to seek God.
  • Thank God for the creative giftings He has given us all and ask that we may always seek inspiration from the Holy Spirit and always bring glory to God
  • Pray for wisdom in finding ways to encourage other non-church ladies to join us

OTHER ACTIVITIES

  • Christianity and Discipleship Explored groups, walking groups, one-to-ones etc.
  • Pray that in all our activities we would seek to point others to Jesus, to share the gospel with unbelievers, to encourage and disciple one another and to give all the glory to God

Notices 8th September 2019

Louise,

Week of Prayer

Our week of prayer starts today.  The prayer guide is enclosed with this notice sheet.  The church will be open at the following times during the week:

  • Monday: 9:30am-12pm; 7:30pm-9pm
  • Tuesday: 10:30am-12pm; 7:30pm-9pm
  • Wednesday:7:30am-9am; 7:30pm-9pm
  • Thursday: 11:30am-1pm; 7:30pm-9pm
  • Friday: 9:30am-12pm
  • Saturday: 8:30am-9:30am

Wednesday

The 9:15 congregation are invited to meet at the church to pray together,  on Wednesday evening, 8-9pm as part of the week of prayer.

Mission Event

On Sunday 29th September at 5pm we will be holding a mission event where we will get feedback from several mission trips that have taken place, including the recent Uganda AIM trip.  We will serve tea/coffee and cake so if you are able to provide cakes, biscuits etc. please speak to Wendy.

Biblical Counselling

Following Katie Fitzgerald’s very interesting talk at The Gathering Weekend regarding biblical counselling, there are two bitesize evenings which are for anyone who is interested in thinking through giving ourselves and those around us biblical support for daily struggles. The next bitesize evenings are at 7:30pm at Widcombe Baptist Church by Bath Spa train station. They are free of charge and no need to book! 

  • September 17th:   Dealing with Perfectionism
  • November 4th:    Does the Bible have anything to say on being extrovert/introvert?

Youth Ministry

Save the date: youth weekend away Friday 25th October – Sunday 27th October.  DRIVERS NEEDED so if you are able to drive young people to this event in Chepstow, please let Dan know either in person or by email at mastermarsy@hotmail.com.  Thank you.

11:15 Service Junior Church

Children will be moving into their new learning groups today!

The Ark

The Ark begins again this month. Hooray!  Saturday 28th September, 10am at Priory Street for Bible stories, craft, puppets and snacks. It’s aimed at 0-7  year olds but ALL are very welcome, with an accompanying adult. We’ll soon have some leaflets printed with the term’s dates on so please spread the word and invite family and friends.

Tanzania Building Team

Help is needed to take the Tanzanian team to Heathrow and someone to collect.  There are four people going so a large car would do.  If that’s not possible, someone could drive the church mini bus.  The dates are Friday 20th September, leaving Corsham at about 13.00hrs; returning Sunday 6th Oct Heathrow at 16.15hrs.  If you can assist, please contact Martin S.  Thank you.

Missions and Persecuted Church Prayer

The prayer meeting for MPC will take place on Monday 16th September at 7:45pm.  Please chat to Wendy R or contact Vanessa N for more information about these monthly meetings.

Women’s Bible Study

This will take place on Monday 30th September at 7:30pm at Priory Street.  Study notes (Rooted) are on the table at the back of church.  Please take one in advance of the meeting.  If you would like a “study buddy”, please speak to Anne H or take a sheet from the back.

Spain Mission Trip

Rhiannon P and Natalie O will be going on a short mission trip to Spain from 11-15 September.  This is supporting AIM mission work.  Please pray for Rhiannon and Natalie as they share the love of God with the children.

Advance Date – Family Quiz Night

There will be a family quiz/pizza night for the 9:15 congregation on Saturday 16th November.  Please put the date in your diary…

This week @ CBC

  • Week of Prayer
  • Monday: Mums’ bible study, 9:30am
  • Wednesday: Rhiannon and Natalie Ovens to Spain
  • Thursday: Toddler Group, 10am
  • Friday: Corsham Money and Debt Advice Centre, 9:30am

ROOTED: STUDY OF COLOSSIANS

kathylarkman,

colossiansTree[5971]As we get back into the swing of our school diaries, routines, and church life, I want to encourage you to save the date for this year’s first women’s all-age bible study! It begins Monday, 30 September at 7:30 in the CBC church hall. We meet once a month on the last Monday of each month.

We are studying Colossians which is titled “Rooted.” Sharon Durant has provided our first bible study, which is on the Grace Place Blog, as well as hard copies at CBC and COTG.

Another component of the women’s bible study is one-on-one meetings, also known as study buddy time. The idea is to do the provided bible study together.
God has given us his Word but also each other. We are able to learn from each other, to be challenged and spurred on by each other, and to pray for each other.
This one-to-one element brings these two gifts of God together in a simple and powerful way: two people reading the Bible together, helping each other to see what God is saying there, and praying for each other that you will obey what you hear.

For more information, the study buddy guidelines are on Grace Place blog, and hard copies at CBC and COTG.
And If you don’t have a study buddy, please see Anne Holmes!
Have a great week!