Overflowing With Thankfulness

This post by kathylarkman was originally published at GRACE PLACE

Kathy Larkman, contributor for today’s blog post

As many of you Grace Place readers know, Ed and I have been in Frankfurt, Germany for the greater part of October. We were blessed by an Africa Inland Mission friend who has a flat there to allow us to use it for the month as she serves in Kenya for Tumaini Counselling Centre.

We are thankful to God for his provision and loving kindness in providing space and time to rest, refresh, and renew.

Here are a few of my highlights I want to share with you:

The joy of listening to Ed converse in German
The peace and beauty of the park where we walked regularly
Sausages, German ginger cookies, Stollen, chocolate cappuccino
Uninterrupted time to read good books!
Seeing and experiencing God’s creation and German history
Uninterrupted time and space to know that He is God in reflection and prayer
The joy and honour to pray Colossians 2:6-7 over my church family, family and friends.

There was so much more that I took in! I just can’t put it into words! I am sure that as Ed and I process this time in Frankfurt, we will see fruit in us and our church family.

col 2 67While away, I continued to read and ponder Colossians. Of course, this is the letter we are studying for Women’s Bible study. I was inspired by a friend who is memorizing Colossians. (thank you Hannah!) In my case, I thought it realistic to begin with memorizing Colossians 2:6-7 NLT. These are key verses in the whole of Colossians, which Sharon Durant drew our attention to last year as we began to prepare for this study.

Paul’s big point is that he wants the church to remain rooted in Jesus Christ, and not to drift away to something else. These verses make it clear that simply being IN CHRIST IS ALWAYS ENOUGH! Paul is working for the church’s maturity; not to be spiritually passive or lazy, but to an active walking in Christ.

We are called to be established and to GROW in the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ. May it be so, more and more!

I thank God for our time in Germany.  I thank God that He is I AM.  I thank God for my church family. I thank God that I can pray Scripture over us, knowing God will fulfil His purposes in and through us individually and as a church family!

Lots of love and so good to be back home and in my own bed!


Notices 27th October, 2019

Priory Street (Corsham)

  • 9.15am             Tim Stephenson
  • 11.15am          Tim Stephenson
  • 6:00pm             Gathering to Remember

Church on the Green (Rudloe)

  • 10:00am           Rob Durant

Eddie and Kathy

A reminder that our pastor, Eddie, and his wife, Kathy, are returning to Corsham this week.  Eddie will commence preaching again at Priory Street next Sunday, 3rd November.

Church Meeting

At the recent Church Meeting the following people were affirmed as congregational leaders:  Matt Elson – 11:15am service overseeing worship;

Natalie Ovens – 9:15am service.  In addition to this, Kate Harding has been elected as Deputy Designated Person for Safeguarding and Carol Gale was brought into membership.

Women’s Bible Study

Next one takes place tomorrow night, Monday 28th October at 7:30pm.  Study notes are on the table at the back.

Midweek Service

Next service is this Wednesday 30th October at 2pm.  The text is James 2.14-26. Eric S will lead and David M will preach. All welcome!

Light Party

This annual event is taking place this Thursday, 31st October, 5-7pm.  If you are available to help, speak to Rhiannon. There is a sign up sheet at the back of church.  Please cover this event and preparations in prayer. 

Family Quiz Night

There will be a family quiz/pizza night for the 9:15 congregation on Saturday 16th November from 5pm.  Chat to Tim S for details.

Baptismal Service

We are looking to have a baptismal service on 8th December. If you feel this is a step God is prompting you to take, please speak to one of your congregational leaders.

Christmas Carol Service

Our Christmas carols by candlelight service this year is being held on Sunday 15th December at 6pm at Priory Street.  If you would like to be involved in this service by way of singing or playing, please contact the church office.

Work Party

Martin S will be holding a work party at Priory Street on Saturday 23rd November from approx. 10am-12pm  Work to be undertaken will include cleaning of “hard to reach” areas of the building, decorating, general tidying up etc. before Christmas.  Please come along if you can help.  Bacon butties will be on offer too!!

Meal Train

We are on the look out for more volunteers for the CBC Meal Train which offers meals to church members who are newly out of hospital, have recently had a baby, are struggling with ill-health etc. It is a wonderful service that offers support in a practical sense to our church family and beyond. If you are able to spare a meal on an ad hoc basis and don’t mind being contacted when the rota is put into action, please email Sarah B.

Open Doors’ Event

On Sunday Nov 3rd we will have Open Doors’ speaker, Rod Whiting, with us at 5pm (tea and cake from 4.30pm). Come and be informed, inspired and challenged regarding the work of Open Doors for the Persecuted Church. The talk will be followed at 6pm by a prayer evening for the work of Open Doors and the Persecuted Church.  Any offers of help for teas would be welcomed – please contact Wendy R.  Thank you.

Women’s Retreat 2020

There will be a women’s retreat at Lox Lane from 17-19 July 2020.  The cost is £140 per person.  Deposit of £25 is required by 1st December 2019.  Limited numbers.  Leaflets are at the back.  Chat to Anne H.

International Bring & Share Lunch, 24th November

Revelation 7 tells us about that amazing moment where people from every tribe, nation, people and language gather together to worship Christ. On Sunday 24th November, we’re going to have a foretaste of that moment with an international bring and share lunch!

Bring some food you like, and we’ll enjoy eating it together after our 10am service at the MOD community centre in Rudloe (a.k.a Crumpets). See you there!

Church on the Green new congregational leader

COTG are looking for a new congregational leader. The timeline for what’s happening when is below:

  • Sunday, 27th October – Nominations open – nomination forms will be available at the COTG service. 
  • Sunday, 10th November – Nominations close after the morning service. Give them to Rob, Adrian, or Paul.
  • Sunday 24th November – Election takes place for COTG members after the church service. (Before we have our international lunch!)

If you’re not sure what the role of congregational leader might involve, get in touch with Rob Durant or chat to one of our other leaders – Adrian Pillinger and Paul Garcia. 

If you would like to nominate someone, please talk to them first and check they are happy to be nominated. You will need someone to second your nomination.

…This week is half term holiday week…

Please speak to your lifegroup co-ordinator regarding your small group

This week @ CBC

  • Monday: Women’s bible study, 7:30pm
  • Wednesday: Midweek service, 2pm
  • Thursday: Light Party, 5-7pm; DAC, 7:30pm
  • Friday: DAC, 9:30am
  • Saturday: Craft group, 10am

Upcoming events:

  • Infant dedication – 3rd November 11:15am service
  • Open Doors’ event – 3rd November, 4pm
  • Remembrance Sunday – 10th November
  • Fight Night – 11th November, 8pm
  • Midweek Service – 13th November, 2pm
  • Family/quiz night for 9:15ers – 16th November, 5pm
  • Gathering to Praise @ Melksham Baptist Church – 17th November, 6pm
  • Mission and persecuted church prayer – 18th November, 7:45pm
  • Church work party – 23rd November, 10am
  • Women’s bible study – 25th November, 7:30pm
  • Midweek service – 27th November, 2pm
  • The Ark – 30th November, 10am


This post by kathylarkman was originally published at GRACE PLACE

colossiansTree[5971]I hope you have been blessed by our first study in Colossians!

SAVE THE DATE: Our next meeting is Monday, 28 October at 7:30pm in the CBC church hall.  

We are studying Colossians which is titled “Rooted.” Esther King has provided our second bible study on Col 1:9-23, which is on the Grace Place Blog, as well as hard copies at CBC and COTG. Remember to get with your study buddy! And If you don’t have a study buddy, please see Anne Holmes!
Have a great week!

Permits & Polyps – Delays & Deferrals!

Picture of Steve and Ruth

This post by Steve and Ruth Lancaster was originally published at Life in the Lancs Lane

We all know that feeling don’t we? That feeling of relief when your luggage finally appears on the carousel!  Some of us have also experienced the other feeling – that anxious and annoyed feeling when the carousel comes to a grinding halt and your luggage hasn’t appeared!  When we returned from Tanzania back in March, we experienced the latter feeling and had to wait 5 days for our luggage to arrive, all the way from……. Amsterdam!  Our home assignment started with a delay and it certainly seems to be ending with a delay….or two!  First of all there was the issue of our residents permits not being ready for our scheduled return in September.  And then just a few weeks ago (following a delay in getting my CT scan results) it was decided I needed sinus surgery to remove polyps, and so this has resulted in a further delay in our return!  So, until 17th November, we’re still very much based in UK.

UK based: the past seven months. You may just about remember that in our last update (nearly 8 months ago!) we listed 20 things that we were looking forward to during our home assignment.  Whilst I could wax lyrical about the whole list, you’ll be pleased to know that I’ve only chosen 8 things from that list as a way of reporting back on what’s been happening.

Overlooking Nazareth

Visiting Israel. I’ve had the pleasure of leading two Oak Hall trips to Israel/Palestine, one of them with Ruth as my co-leader!  Maybe I’ve said this before (!?) but to teach from God’s Word in the place where it all happened provides a real buzz!  And these trips are often eye-openers for the guests.  You can begin to imagine Hezekiah’s men chiselling their way through bedrock as you wade through his tunnel underneath David’s City!  You can picture Jesus weeping over Jerusalem as you descend the Mount of Olives, and, as you mingle with the crowds in the bazaars in the old city, it’s easy to visualise what a busy Passover festival would have been like.  And then, when you sail on the Sea of Galilee or sit on the shore, you can almost hear the words of Jesus as he teaches the crowds or stills the storm.  And so I could go on!

Steve waxing lyrical overlooking the Dead Sea

Running in cooler climes. We both enjoyed running the country lanes of Wiltshire in preparation for the Nairn half marathon in August.  My time of 1hr 58 mins over 13 miles was slightly faster than Eliud Kipchoge managed in Vienna last weekend, although it might be fair to point out that the professional Kenyan runner covered twice the distance in that time!!
Here we are with bro Lancs and Kerri.

90th birthday tea!

Spending quality time with family and friends. It’s been great to catch up with family and we’ve enjoyed some top times together!  We were able to see Steve’s youngest sister and her family for the first time in six years, and had the privilege of doing a mini-preach at my Grandad’s funeral back in July – just a month after his 97th birthday!  There have also been some awesome family holidays in Scotland to add to the memory bank.  Ruth enjoyed being able to celebrate her parents’ birthdays in September and October – Mum was 90 and Dad was 89.

Food variety. Bring out the pork pies!  And that could be the reason I’ve put on 7kgs (1 stone)!  We’ve enjoyed being able to eat salads without having to bleach them beforehand, and, as a bread fan, I’ve enjoyed eating some of the 20+ different varieties currently found in Morrison’s!  In Morogoro, brown bread is a relatively recent addition.

Driving on smooth roads where most people adhere to the highway code!  I realise that some of you will question my judgement on this one, but I’ve found driving in the UK to be relatively relaxing!  I’ve been amazed that drivers actually let you out at junctions!  It also makes a nice change not to see police jumping out of bushes with a tampered speed camera in hand!

The mighty Schilthorn

Skiing. What better way to unwind from the heat of Tanzania than to head to the Swiss Alps?!  We enjoyed a great Oak Hall skiing trip for five days back in March.  Somehow we covered 199 miles in distance and skied 170,000 vertical feet – although not all in one drop!  For those familiar with the Jungfrau ski area, I also managed 58mph on the wall of death; still shaking!!

Climbing a mountain or two. Definitely delivered on this one!  A number of minor Lakeland summits plus the Welsh summit of Snowdon were climbed.  We were also able to stand on the same mountain on which Moses stood (Mt Nebo) as he looked across from Moab (modern-day Jordan) into the Promised Land.  The view from Mt Masada (Israel) is also said to be one of the finest in the Middle East, although it’s more of a cable-car ride than a climb!  And during the Oak Hall Iceland trip that I spoke on, we stayed just a few miles away from the volcano that caused so much trouble back in 2010 – the one that no one outside of Iceland can really pronounce: Eyafjallajokul!

Cycling the Hebrides. What a week up in the southern Hebrides in July!  Along with some of the family, we cycled 95 miles on the islands of Barra, Eriskay, South and North Uist, Benbecula and Berneray.  Fantastic beaches, stunning scenery, and some quality birding: lots of short-eared owl and hen harriers, plus white-tailed eagle and snipe.

Not being at the mechanics on a weekly basis! We’ve managed to put 13,000 miles on the ‘little red blimp’ (mums car!), and apart from a standard service, we haven’t had to see a mechanic!

Being at our home church. We’re blessed to have a supportive church behind us (Corsham Baptist) who not only support us financially and prayerfully, but also send out teams to help at Sanga Sanga and at various AIM conferences – so we feel the connection is pretty strong!  We’re also blessed to be fully supported so we haven’t had the added stress of having to raise funds while at home.  I was asked to do the Bible teaching at our church weekend back in June and was given four 1 hour slots to focus on the Upper Room chapters in John’s Gospel.  Not sure about the folks there, but I very much enjoyed having quality time to preach in English!  We’ve also presented at a number of other churches in Liverpool, Lincoln, Carlisle and Chippenham, and I’ve been able to preach/teach on 30 occasions, including at the AIM Fellowship Conference in London and a warehouse church in Iceland!

Steve teaching the Word at the AIM Fellowship Conference in September

Delays & Deferrals are plentiful in the Bible!  Think about Jacob waiting to marry Rachel for 14 years!  What about the Israelites who took 40 years to enter the Promised Land when it could have taken them less than 3 weeks; that’s a huge delay!  The Apostle Paul was ‘delayed’ in Caesarea for two years sitting about waiting for his trial to happen.  Elisha was anointed Elijah’s successor but then had to wait 7 years for Elijah’s chariot to appear so that he could become Israel’s main prophet!  Jesus himself chose to delay for a few days on hearing about Lazarus.  And according to Daniel 10 even angels sometimes get delayed in their duties!

One of the passages that I preached on recently involves a delay, albeit a slightly shorter delay than the ones mentioned above!  Mark 6:47 says, “When evening came, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and Jesus was alone on the land.  He saw the disciples straining at the oars because the wind was against them.”  We are told in the next verse that Jesus went out to them, walking on the water, during the 4th watch of the night (3-6am).  The disciples had been on the lake since late the previous afternoon, wrestling with the wind and battling with the waves. They were still in that position 10-12 hours later!  And yet remember, Jesus had seen them straining at the oars the previous evening!  He knew about their situation and the ordeal that they were facing but he chose not to come to their aid immediately.  Jesus chose to delay his rescue operation!  Why did he wait until the 4th watch of the night?  We simply don’t know.  Maybe the disciples asked that same question!

Steve & Ruth with a calm Galilee in the background

There are some delays in our lives that work well for us and, as we look back on them, we can see a clear reason for the delay. We can even thank God for the delay because in His sovereignty He works these things out and knows what’s best for us. There are, however, other delays which are painful to bear and we long for God to remove them – we just can’t see any logic in the delay. In fact it feels as though we’ve been sitting in our storm-tossed boat for too long, crying out for God to intervene, but He seems to delay in coming to our aid.

Be assured, the Almighty God sees you straining at your oars and, at His appointed time, He will come to your aid.  Somehow, in the midst of the delay, He is working His purposes out for your life.  It is during the delays, some of which can be quite stormy, that God teaches us about Himself.  He calls us to trust Him through the delays and through the storms.  Indeed, without the delays, stresses, trials, and even failures, we would never grow to be what we should become as Christians.  They are a vital part in our spiritual growth, even though at the time, we might not like or appreciate them.  Father God, grant us grace and patience to face the various delays that You, in Your sovereignty, have allowed to happen.

Onwards and southwards! Hopefully, if all goes to plan in the nasal department, we’ll be flying back to Tanzania on Sunday 17th Nov to begin our third and final term at Sanga Sanga (2 years).  Ruth will continue to work closely with Pastor Batano in the management of IBM & Sanga (bookings, admin and finance), and I’ll continue in my role as a Bible teacher amongst the pastors and evangelists of the AIC.  I will also continue as AIM unit leader for Tanzania East.  When we get back we’ll be returning to the same house in Morogoro, and hoping that our night guards haven’t moved in during our absence!  One of the first lengthy jobs will be to get the cars started, whilst hoping that the engine compartments haven’t become a nesting place for termites, rats or snakes!  One of the cars also needs some new brake disks, which I’m told can’t be obtained in Tanzania, and so packing that 14kgs of steel into our suitcases is going to be a bit of a challenge!

It will also be quite strange returning to Morogoro without the Swansons or the Dixons being there, but we’re looking forward to working with our new team-mates (Joel & Lauren Wildasin), who arrived back in May and seem to have got their feet firmly under what was the Swansons’ dining table!  So, onwards and southwards we go, back to the mighty continent of Africa, and in His strength we’ll carry on the work that He’s given us to do for this next chapter.  We’re fully aware that “there is nothing in us that allows us to claim that we are capable of doing this work” but we know that “the capacity we have comes from God” (2 Cor 3:4). And so we commit ourselves to Him and ask that He would use us mightily for His purposes, despite our weaknesses and our ‘jars of clay’ fragility!

Praise & Prayer Points: 

  • We’re certainly praising God for a top quality home assignment!  We’ve been able to do everything that we planned – and more!  We’ve also been bowled-over with how generous people have been towards us and our ministry – from a cottage, to a car; from a holiday, to various gifts and meals along the way.  You know who you are!  Many thanks to you, and of course, to the Ultimate Giver for His provision!
  • Please pray for Steve and a number of health issues he’s facing; that the sinus operation would go well on Weds 23rd Oct and that the ongoing stomach issue (functional dyspepsia) would somehow settle down!
  • Please pray for us as we return on Sun 17th Nov; that we would be able to pick up where we left off; for good relationships with our new team mates; for strength and stamina as we get back into the Tanzanian flow; and for safety on the roads and in the home.
  • Please pray for the continued work at Sanga Sanga, and amongst the pastors and evangelists of the AIC church with whom we work.  Pray that I may proclaim God’s Word clearly whenever I have the opportunity.
  • Whilst we think this next chapter is for a two year period, we don’t know what’s in the pipeline after that.  We don’t need to know right now, and we know that God has a plan for the next phase, but we’d value prayer as we keep our spiritual eyes and ears open for what He may be saying to us during this next two years.

Every blessing,

Steve & Ruth

Bird of the month: Short-eared Owl, North Uist
Sunset in the Hebrides

Notices 20th October 2019

Priory Street (Corsham)

            9.15am             Alan Christie – Ps. 40

            11.15am             Alan Christie – Ps. 40

            6:00pm           Gathering round the Word (Rob Durant)

Church on the Green (Rudloe)

            10:00am           Rob Durant

Eddie and Kathy

A reminder that our pastor, Eddie, and his wife, Kathy, are on their one month break.  They will be returning at the end of October and Eddie will preach again at Priory Street on 3rd November.  Please keep them in your prayers.

Church Meeting

Tomorrow night at 8pm at Priory Street.  All members encouraged to attend.  Agendas, financial statement and previous minutes on the table at the back.

Women’s Bible Study

Next one takes place on Monday 28th October at 7:30pm.  Study notes are on the table at the back.  Please take one in advance of the meeting.

The Ark

The next Ark is on Saturday 26th October at 10.00am at Priory Street. Come along and enjoy Bible stories, puppets, craft, songs and refreshments if your child/ren are 0-7 years!! We’d love to see you.

Light Party Thursday 31st October 5-7pm

It’s that time of year again!!  Please put it in your diary.  If you are available to help, speak to Rhiannon. There is a sign up sheet at the back of church.  Please cover this event and all the preparations in prayer. 

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.

Baptismal Service

We are looking to have a baptismal service on 8th December. If you feel this is a step God is prompting you to take, please speak to one of your congregational leaders.

Update on Steve and Ruth Lancaster

Steve is due to have a sinus operation on the 23rd October and will then need two weeks to recover.  If Steve makes a full recovery, they can travel back to Tanzania between 8th-18th November.  Please pray for patience, for the surgery and for a full recovery.

Christmas Carol Service

Our Christmas carols by candlelight service this year is being held on Sunday 15th December at 6pm at Priory Street.  If you would like to be involved in this service by way of singing or playing, please contact Nancy Sawyer, whose details can be obtained from the church office.

Meal Train

We are on the look out for more volunteers for the CBC Meal Train which offers meals to church members who are newly out of hospital, have recently had a baby, are struggling with ill-health etc. It is a wonderful service that offers support in a practical sense to our church family and beyond. If you are able to spare a meal on an ad hoc basis and don’t mind being contacted when the rota is put into action time, please email sarahblaikley@gmail.com. Many thanks.

Open Doors’ Event

On Sunday 3rd November, starting at 4pm, there will be an Open Doors’ event at Priory Street.  We will have a speaker from Open Doors and will be serving refreshments.  The normal Gathering to Pray service will follow at 6pm. The International Day for Prayer for the Persecuted Church is being held globally on 17th November but as a church, we are marking this day on the 3rd November.  If anyone can assist Vanessa with teas, she would be most grateful! Please contact either Vanessa or Louise in the office. Many thanks.

Women’s Retreat 2020

There will be a women’s retreat at Lox Lane from 17-19 July 2020.  The cost is £140 per person.  Deposit of £25 is required by 1st December 2019.  Limited numbers.  Leaflets are at the back.  Chat to Anne Holmes.

This week @ CBC

Monday: Mums’ bible study, 9:30am; Church Meeting, 8pm

Thursday: Toddler Group, 10am; CMADAC, 7:30pm

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

Saturday: The Ark, 10am

Upcoming events:

The Ark – 26th October

Youth Weekend away – 25-27 October

Women’s bible study – 28th October

Light Party – 31st October

Craft Group – 2nd November

Eddie preaching – 3rd November

Infant dedication – 3rd November 11:15am service

Open Doors’ event – 3rd November, 4pm

Remembrance Sunday – 10th November

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


This post by kathylarkman was originally published at GRACE PLACE


Hannah Spruijt, contributor for today’s post

I decided to do something crazy at the beginning of the summer holidays; I would memorise the whole of Colossians. I say crazy because I have a terrible memory at the best of times and in the past, I have had trouble getting just one verse to stick! However, I felt challenged listening to my lovely aunt tell me she was memorising Colossians every day during her dog-walking time, and I thought to myself a) what better way to spend my breastfeeding time and b) what better way to prepare for our year of studying Colossians in the women’s Bible study? A couple of months later, I can honestly say I’m loving it and really benefiting from it. I’m now over half way through chapter one and finding the Lord is speaking to me through the hiding of his Word in my heart (Psalm 119 v 11 tells us to do it!) and I’m finding hidden gems I would have otherwise overlooked.

One such example happened recently as I got to Colossians chapter 1 v 13. That morning I heard that a relative had very suddenly died, leaving his immediate family in shock, which has had a ripple effect through my family. Thankfully he was a believer; a lovely man who had served Jesus with his life through various ministries. But the shock for me was very real; he was fit, healthy and active but then suddenly called home. When I came to open my Bible that evening to memorise the next verse of Colossians, I read “For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves”. What a comfort right there!

As I repeated the verse in the half-darkness to commit it to memory while feeding Caleb, two words struck me; ‘rescued’ and ‘brought’. To be rescued involves deliverance; like being dragged out of the jaws of danger or pulled from the heat of a terrible battle. It is a strong word! We can be so thankful for what we have been rescued from! Our sin caused certain death and separation from our Father God. But that is not the end! He doesn’t just rescue us and leave us alone. No, the passage says “He has…brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves” (italics mine). I found the word ‘brought’ to be so gentle and kind in comparison to the forceful ‘rescue’ from darkness. In fact, the word is more powerful in the original translation. It actually means we have been ‘transplanted’ from the power of darkness into Christ’s kingdom. According to commentators of this passage, this word is properly applied to the transplanting of races, and the settlement of them in a new home. Therefore, our salvation, which is begun by dramatic rescue, is completed by our settlement as God’s adopted children in our new home; where Christ is King and we get to be with Him forever. What a hope we have! Death is not the end! This verse has brought me so much encouragement and I hope it uplifts you too.


Work in a different department, lesser known World War 2 battles and a long week of being ill.

This post by Matthew Little was originally published at Diary of a Deckie: My experience volunteering on a hospital ship.

Thanks for coming back, It’s been about a month since I last wrote, so I’ll do my best to let you know what I have been up to since I last wrote. As with most of my posts, this will probably be about what has happened that I remember or seem to be a once in a lifetime experience

But first, life on deck doing Deck work.

I feel like I have been telling a few people back home the same thing about what Deck work is like; A lot of the same of stuff as usual: A lot of chipping, grinding and painting, with maybe some different tasks to be completed. At the moment, at the early stage of the field service, the different kind of work is Container work. This usually involves one container at a time, but due to customs, we had three containers stuck in country. When they were all released, we suddenly had three containers to empty. Containers became the priority. So I spent a little bit of time on dock ‘supervising’ moving pallets to the container to our own transfer container, which would then be lifted into the cargo, to be unloaded, then moved back onto the dock to be reloaded with pallets. It’s repetitive, but it’s nice to be doing something different once in a while.
 I also tell a lot of people on ship that Deck work is pretty much general maintenance, to keep the Ship as strong as it can be. Which I am proud to be doing, to keep the mission going on this ship until the new ship is ready. And I guess, until this ship is done and I guess ‘Too old to continue in service’ and has to be decommissioned. The ship is about as old as Mercy Ships, about 40 years, which in ship years, is pretty dang old.  Want to hear the impression our ship makes on neighbouring berthed bulk carrier ships? The crews are amazed by our old mooring deck machinery.

Why have I been sick?

The truth is, I don’t know. Pretty ironic for a hospital ship, but things go around. I think I got what everyone else has been getting. At least that is what the crew clinic said. The story begins on one Wednesday morning I had Monday off (though I was working elsewhere) and Tuesday off, because I was on Night Patrol for a week. I started to notice that it was a bit painful to swallow, but I went about my morning. I was doing a bit of Fireman duty for Paulo, our current Firefighting Equipment officer from Portugal. I was doing the routine inspection of the Fire extinguishers around Decks 2 and the Engine Room. I had been doing this stuff in the engine room months ago, but it’s nice to have a bit of a change of work scenery. I started, went for break and started again.
Until Paulo came down to find me, to let me know about some Engine testing that was going on, which I had to be involved for. When you are on a ship that doesn’t operate like most ships, in that it has a hospital inside and doesn’t move for most of the year, these things have to be done. So, I headed down to the dock. I was used to this operation. Close off the gangway, ensure the patients and other crew don’t get in the way of danger. I was with Kim and Momar (One of our Day Crew from Senegal) after waiting I don’t know how long before the operation to actually start, I headed  to the forward of the ship, just to keep an eye on the mooring lines. The whole job went on longer than I expected it too. We took a break, to let the other crew on waiting to go to lunch , and then we resumed for about another half an hour, before we took lunch. I was starting to feel a little bit feverish. I headed to the crew clinic to talk about my initial condition, which was a bit of a sore throat. I received guidance, which was to gargle salt water. which I started to do, before I was quickly called back down to the dock to finish the engine testing job. I didn’t get much better, and I was becoming more and more feverish. And a little dehydrated. and tired. And a little bit nauseous. I confided with Kim, who trying to lift my spirits, took me to the aft end of the ship, to watch the ‘floating power station’ coming into port. I told him “I am probably going to take the rest of the day off. I am really not feeling well. Thankfully, the job finished, and we let the gangway down, and let the crew on. I was thinking about how ill I was feeling, but wanted to get the job done. So we did, I spoke to the Bosun and went back down to the crew clinic, basically saying “I feel 100x worse than I was feeling about an hour ago” so after vitals were taken, I was advised “Yeah, go get rest and don’t go to work tomorrow”. So I did.
I didn’t work the day after that. Or the day after that, not feeling that much better, the weekend came, and after that I had several days trying to work, but feeling. ‘I am not well enough to work’ So, after my mouth was becoming less painful, and a couple tests were taken of my blood and a swab from my tonsils, which turned out to be negative, but suspecting something that is not uncommon for my age group. As I type this now, On the 11th of October, on a sudden day off for a sudden weekend on call, I am feeling so much better, A little bit coldy, and having the occasional nose bleed. But unable to keep bloody tissues for a few days. Why would I do this? I am strangely fascinated by hardened blood, and the brownish colour at the edge of puddles of blood. I don’t know, I am a strange human.

A different line of wok

As I have already mentioned, I decided to work on my day off, but in a different department. Nearly slap-bang in the very thing we do on board. I volunteered to spend a day in Medical Supply. Working with Joe, Eric, Ben and the Medical Supply day crew, Bibe, I got to see what it is that that Medical Supply does on a day to day basis. I was informed by Joe that it could potentially be a lot of standing around. Not much happens unless a container is in. I shadowed Ben, to carry out the daily job of refilling the cabinets in the wards. This involved a check list, paper shopping bags, and going in and out of rolling shelves. It is one of the coolest things I have ever seen. I first saw them in the Doctor Who episode “The Stolen Earth”, When Martha Jones is ordered by UNIT to use some experimental teleportation tech, that may or may not be complete, and the device to activate Nuclear warheads in the Earth’s surface. Series Four had the best Finale episodes.
Aren’t these cool? Not what we have on the ship,
I just found this on Google.
After refilling cabinets, and lunch, and about half an hour of sitting around whilst Ben updated the system of expiry dates, we went from the cargo hold to the shelving, filling up the shelves of nearly empty stock. Then the day ended. It was really cool to be able to go down there, and see what else goes on around the ship. Particularly because, after spending time helping with Container operations, moving pallets of Medical supply between containers, cranes and elevators, It was interesting to see the other end of the supply chain, and what goes on once the Deck department has moved the pallets to where they go.

Going out, and saying goodbye.

After a long week of Night Patrol, I headed out with my Onboarding group. Well, 95% of the adults of the group. We went to a very nice coastal restaurant, right on the coast. How on the coast? You may be asking, well the waves from the sea were crashing against the rocks, right next to us. It was very scenic, with a very different climate from either end of the restaurant. As we got out of the vehicle, in the car park at the entrance to the restaurant, it was like arriving in Texas all over again, which was fitting, because it was over a week since our ‘journey with Mercy Ships’ began. It was like leaving the airport in Texas to be hit with the ‘wall of heat’. Then, walking through the open-air restaurant, it suddenly became cool, from the cool, coastal breeze. There was some delicious food. What did I get? I got a chicken burger, delicious Fish and chip shop chips, and a crepe with caramel ice cream. I didn’t take a picture, but the ice cream was in the crepe, and the crepe was like a package, held together by a wooden skewer stick. It was all very good food.
The Lighthouse and the giant statue in the distance.
The party. But someone is missing

A couple goodbyes were made over the last few days leading up to that evening. The first was Pauli, the Deck Cadet from Finland. He was also a cabin mate, and then Alexander. I have written about him before, he was one of the Able Seamen from Sweden on loan from Stena. He was my bunk mate. we had some good times. Our first moments together was during shipyard, and I was in the galley, receiving project supplies, then Ibrahim brought Alexander to work with me doing that. Because of the extra long pallet, we had to find a way of balancing the pallet on the pallet jack. So I sat on top of the load. It was sad to see him go. A group of us, mostly the deck crew went to the port bar bar minutes up the road. I was hesitant, because it was Friday night, and my last night of Night Patrol, but I enjoyed myself, and got back in plenty of time. I just had a Fanta and a Coke. On the same Saturday, Ian and Sarah had to leave temporarily. I hope that they will be back soon, we miss you guys!  . I did wave Ian, Sarah and Alexander off, because I was healthy at that point in time.
(update on 16th October, Ian and Sarah have come back!)
Kim, another one of the Deck Hands, from the Philippines, recent Mercy Ships Academy graduate, and his parents, Ramon and Nina, reached the end of their commitment onboard, so they have sadly gone back home, to the Philippines. It was sad, because Kim was one of the youngest in the Deck Department, so it was easy for us to get along, and we have the same sense of humour. I am actually the youngest. Yes, although I finished High School before Kim, he is a few months older. And so is Flynn. Who is also younger than Kim. Not all bad news, as Kim is coming back in January!

World War Two battles.

So, one day, during my night patrol week, I learned the most interesting thing about Dakar. Well, It’s very interesting to me. During World War Two, a small fleet of Royal Navy warships clashed with the pro-German Vichy French Navy outside the port of Dakar, in an attempt to take Dakar for Allied control. How did that go? It was an embarrassing Allied defeat, and the British and Free French retreated. I was so interested and excited by finding out about this event, I used my Deck Devotion slot to tell the Deck Department this story. Also, Daniel, who I may or may not have mentioned in a blog post before, has come back to work on the ship for a few months! (He was a Bosun onboard a few years ago)
And yet again, I must come to a close. I have no idea if this is shorter than my last post, but I do hope you have enjoyed reading.

Notices 13 October 2019

13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’
14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. Matt 6:13-15

@ Priory Street (Corsham)

  • 9.15am: Matt Lee
  • 11.15am: Ian Holmes
  • 6:00pm: Corsham churches together celebrating Bible Sunday – Gathered to Praise

@ Church on the Green (Rudloe)

  • 10:00am: Chris Drake

Update on Steve and Ruth

Steve is due to have a sinus operation on October 23rd and will then need two weeks to recover. If Steve makes a full recovery than they can travel back to Tanzania between Nov 8th to Nov 18th.

Please pray for patience, for the surgery and for a full recovery.

Eddie and Kathy

A reminder that our pastor, Eddie, and his wife, Kathy, have started their one month break. They will be returning at the end of October and Eddie will preach again at Priory Street on 3rd November. Please keep them in your prayers.

Fight Night

A reminder that the men of the church meet for prayer every second Monday of each month at 8pm at Priory Street. The next fight night will be on 14th October.

Missions and Persecuted Church Prayer

Please note the next missions and persecuted church prayer meeting will take place on Monday 14th October at 7:45pm. Please speak to Wendy R or Vanessa N if you want more details of this monthly meeting.

Men’s Curry Night

Taking place at Priory Street, Tuesday 15th October, 7:30pm – men’s curry night. Please contact Ian H or a member of the men’s ministry team (Tim H, Tom B, Paul K) for further details.

Church Meeting

8pm Mon 21st Oct at Priory Street. All members encouraged to attend. The agenda will be finalised at the Trustees meeting on Monday 14th but key items in our church life to be covered will include financial planning to underpin our activities for the year Sept 2019 – Aug 2020.

Light Party Thursday 31st October 5-7pm

It’s that time of year again!!  Please put it in your diary.  If you are available to help, speak to Rhiannon. There will be a sign up sheet at the back of church next week.  Please cover this event and all the preparations in prayer.

Advance Date – 9:15 Family and Friends 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. Questions and timing to suit all ages.

Baptismal Service

We are looking to have a baptismal service on 8th December. If you feel this is a step God is prompting you to take, please speak to one of your congregational leaders.

Women’s Retreat 2020

There will be a women’s retreat at Lox Lane from 17-19 July 2020. The cost will be £140.00 per person. Deposit of £25 is required by 1st December 2019. Limited numbers. Leaflets are on the table at the back.

Coming up…


This post by kathylarkman was originally published at GRACE PLACE



Hey sisters!
I’m writing this little blog on 16th September – a date I’ll always consider the very worst day of my life. Seven years ago today my dear son Jonathan’s life in this world came to a very sudden, completely unexpected end. He was 39, healthy, successful, full of fun, dreams and ambitions, with everything to live for. As my shattered brain tried to come to terms with the numbing shock, grief, and unbearable sense of loss I was convinced my life would never be worth living again.

So it seems more than coincidence that the verses drawing my eye this morning as I read through this month’s study passage were Colossians 1:11-12. In the Message translation it says “…We pray that you’ll have the strength to stick it out over the long haul – not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory-strength that God gives. It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy…”

Wait …. What? Strength to not only endure the unendurable – but that spills over into JOY? Is Paul really saying that we can expect joy even in times of unthinkable sorrow, pain and difficulty? I follow my Bible reference to James 1:2 “…..when trouble comes your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy!” (NLT) And then I remember Paul’s exhortation in Phil 4:4 “Rejoice in the Lord AWAYS. I will say it again: Rejoice!”
It’s the demanding of my own will that smothers out joy. My selfish ‘old nature’ that cries “It’s not fair. Why did You let this happen, God?” Eddie covered this topic so beautifully on Sunday morning when he taught on the Lord’s Prayer …. “Your will be done…”

Dare I demand what I think I deserve – a life with no bereavement, no sorrow, no pain? What do I really deserve? It’s only as I bow the knee to His Lordship, only in accepting that even the air I breathe is a gift from Him; that I start to understand the greatest joy is the joy of acquiescing to His will. That my desire to protect my joy at all costs is the exact force that kills it!

“Your will be done…” This is the fight for true joy – releasing my will to receive His, and with it more inner, lasting joy than this human heart can hold.
Yes, I still feel the gut-wrenching pain of grief and loss as I remember my boy today. But while I may not feel joy, God asks me to give thanks in all things because He knows that the feeling of joy begins in the action of thanksgiving. Yes, there have been tears today – many tears – but over the years I’ve learnt that joy doesn’t negate these emotions – it transcends them! And as I surrender to Him, it’s His joy imparted to me that covers my hurt, soothes my pain and provides all the strength I need to stand tall for the long haul, endure the unendurable and live a life that is still truly worth living!


I see you – supporting OpenDoors

If anyone is around tomorrow evening ( Tues) @7:30pm or Wednesday morning @ 10:30am to come to church and help create some squares of patch works, each saying ‘I see you’ I would be truly grateful. Sorry, the dates were accidentally missed off the notice sheet.

The individual squares will form a much bigger patchwork of squares being put together by Open Doors as a petition campaign to highlight persecution of women for their faith to the government. Please see this link for more details.

You don’t need to be artistic and all materials will be provided, but feel free to bring scissors or sewing materials. I will provide glue and drawing materials for those who do not want to sew.

If you are coming and can donate/ lend any of the items below than please bring them with you or let me know. Thank you.

  • Fabric Scissors – they will be returned
  • Fabric glue
  • Sewing  needles – will be returned
  • Sewing thread
  • Fabric with patterns on
  • Fabric drawing/ painting materials

Any unused items will be returned.

God bless and if you can’t attend these events please do pray for them.

Thank you for your continued support with global mission.