Saturday, July 30, 2005

i got me the blues

i feel bashed and battered from every side. From every angle. That melancholy that I wrote about trying to throw off? well, it's just not being thrown. Like a bad smell that lingers, like an old hamster that just won't die or a spot that refuses to be squeezed.

Anyone got a cure for the blues? Richard you got me song?

Not that I'm self pitying...that's one human atrocities I cannot stand the most but I just can't shift me blues.

But there is no reason. Maybe I've just got too muhc time to think at the moment, too much time doing nothing with no routine. Maybe I've just been spending too much time with God and someone else is trying to jump on my spiritual bandwagon. Maybe the bandwagon has been growing and expanding too quickly and someone's getting angry.

Whatever. the old mindset threatens to consume me with the old addictions and ways of seeing myself and the world.

To be honest as soon as the spot is squeezed all I'll be left with is a little red mark and all will be well

Friday, July 29, 2005

in the new east..funky buildings and funky lights Posted by Picasa

remaining bit of the wall Posted by Picasa

musical accompinament wherever we went. jon and helen. Posted by Picasa

"hey you down there...our God reigns" Posted by Picasa

Thursday, July 28, 2005


Feeling more melancholic than I have in a long time and seeming unable to kick myself out of it no matter what I try I've decided that reverting my mind back to Berlin and catching up on what I should have written a couple of weeks ago may help. (phew...long sentance)

Berlin came as that other piece of bread which made up the serbia-copenhagen-Berlin sandwich. Berlin felt much more like reality. There was grafitti on the trains,we could afford to eat and our youth you'd expect.

The first thing I saw when I opened my eyes in the morning(having got in late) was a balding ginger man with a beer gut and tight grey underpants. Yes he was supposed to be there and no it wasn't a dream. I don't dream about things like that, that's more nightmare material. After returning from the shower I discovered that the grey underwear he had laid out all along the rail of his bed had plopped off into my luggage. nice. Not being in the best of moods, having been kept awake by another snoring 40 year old I suggested to the others we try and change rooms...

Berlin is one fascinating city, again, ripped apart by war and communism and yet becuase of the millions of pounds poured into the east you would hardly know. Only the museums cataloguing the atrocities, the wall implanted beneath your feet and the bullet holes and fire damage on pre-war buildings give it away.

The museums tell stories of courage and destruction. And building after building that has been blown apart and restored. The skyscrapers and super squares of the east give away it's short history of peace and it's one of those cities that just screams of the frailty of life. The museums and post-war photos of bombed out buildings reminded us time and time again of those verses in Isaiah 40 which talk about the smallness of man compared with the bigness of God. That the rulers are like grasshoppers and can be swept away at a moment. Blown away like chaff. As we stood on the top of the cathedral looking down on the people we contemplated the need to tell the nations that it's our God that reigns. The governments and authorities have covered over the scaring, the atrocities with bright new shiney buildings but the history can't be covered over. Especially the destruction in our own hearts that the berlin wall points to.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

copenhagen center Posted by Picasa

Monday, July 25, 2005

the sandwich filler

Copenhagen was the sandwich filler between the bread of visiting countries that told tales of war and conflict. Copenhagen, like a nice piece of ham between mouldy pieces of bread. It just doesn't quite fit, Copenhagen was just too perfect. It felt like how I imagine '1984' suburbs to look. Eerily quiet with no human life as we tread perfectly clean pavements and board silver, spacious, grafiti free trains with no drivers. Every station looks like same, resonates qualities of the Jubilee line and the people that we do see are blond, blue haired and plain gorgeous. And the price of a diet coke was twice as much as in England!

However, dig beneath the surface and there is war. Tucked away on the east of the city is province called Christiania. Governed, not by authority of the country but the people themselves. In Christiania you cant drive a car, can't take photos and can't take hard drugs. You can't have weapons and you're part of you own little world. THere's a distinct arty hippy feel to the place, a commune of houses built and covered in grafiti art, communal toilets, bonfires and bars. On then eve after we visied Christiania back at the youth hostel, Erica and I met a Christianian called T.

T told us of how even a self-governed 'alternative' lifestyle community isn't the utopia people imagine it to be. Comes as no surprise. Christiania is a place where soft drugs flow freely but now the place is split between those that think this is ok and those who don't. The government have been fighting to shut down Christiania. It's just too easy to get a bit of what you want.

Three months ago T. saw his best mates head blown off in a fight between the police and the residents and T himself is the cause of some of the fighting. He makes a living dealing the drugs. Our conversation went late into the night as we discussed emptiness, brokenness and satisfaction not in drugs but in Jesus. God took over and filled my mouth with the words that T. needed to hear. After praying with him Erica and I went to bed praising but crying at the desperation and brokeness of even the most perfect of places.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

what happens to these kids as they grow up? Posted by Picasa

this little boy living in the slum enjoys the fun of balloon modeling. Behind him are the tell-tale signs of his environment and lifestyle Posted by Picasa

watching as we packaged up the aid for her and her community Posted by Picasa

the boy with the amazing eyes Posted by Picasa

child playing. from the slum we visited Posted by Picasa

Thursday, July 14, 2005

the forgotten people

Serbia is a nation full of creative beauty, interesting architecture, but a forgotten people. Whilst the world was gearing up for the G8 and the media continue to bombard us with images of the starving in Africa the bruised and broken on the west bank a group of 75 mostly brits were reminded of a people who've been uprooted from their prosperous lives and sent back to their 'home' nation where they struggle to survive. They are the forgotten people. We spent our time visiting these families in their refugee camps, distributng aid and trying to communicate love through smiles, crazy games with kids, showing photos and drinking their potent, wall-bouncing coffee.

One family I spent time with live in a tiny room with a bunkbed and a single bed. The mother lost her husband in the fighting in Kosovo and now lives here with her 18year old son, 15yr and 12yr old daughters. She shares the top bunk with her daughter. also in this room they have an oven, a sink and a cupboard. This is all they have and in here they do everything that is required for living. There honestly is not enough room to swing a cat. She told me: 'I do not know how to cope, thank you that you came; we are forgotten by everyone else.'

The plight for these people is ever changing. At leats in these camps they have community and some have jobs and are trying to rebuild their shattered lives. but in the next few weeks the government is closing the camps and sending the people on their way. with nowehere to go and no job to go to. Fear rocks these people as they are literally being made homeless. All they wish for is peace.

In the slum we played games, sang songs, did colouring, danced, played instruments, magi tricks; whatever we could with kids who were so over excited to see us but walked aournd in flipflops or bare feet amongst, dirty nappies, rubbish, a burnt out truck and in the shadow of an oil refinery which wrecks their lungs.

And yet there is hope. Jesus. the Bible school, set up by Oak Hall carries this message with flaming torches as do the packages of food. And stories of transformation testify to the life changing spirit rocking nature of the gospel. Throughout the time in this precious country we heard and told countless tales both from refugees, Bible school students and members of the trip of how God has broken in and changed lives around. Drug addicts, alcoholics, the hurting, the adolescant, the child. From all backgrounds, came all the stories of the power of the gospel and the parites that were held in heaven. For me, it reminded me of the bigness of God and his power to change around even the hardest of people. And talking about Jesus constantly did my soul a spring clean that was both challenging and uplifting

The forgotten people are possibly remembered only by a few of humanity but God sees and weeps and continues to change lives. They and we are trophies of God's indescribable grace.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

i've landed

i've landed. back in the queens country. I'm dashing back to london for the next couple of days but when i have some time i will write of some of my adventures, think through my musings and post some photos.

It's been a whistle stop tour of some of the finer parts of europe in architecture, art, landscape and peoples and some of the most tragic in history, sociology and theology.

I talked about Jesus with a drug addict and drug dealer and had my own life shaped and challeneged a wide variety of cool christians.

Over the space of 5 days I saw 7 countries: Serbia, Hungry, Austria, Germany, France, England, Copenhagen

Over the space of one weekend I slept:
thursday night: in a tent in serbia
friday night: on a coach in germany/france
saturday night: in erica's bed in peckham
sunday night: in a bed in Adam's house in orpington
monday night: in a youth hostel in copenhagen

And...Good news...I got my results for this whole year...I GOT A FIRST...WOO HOO

Friday, July 08, 2005

I am fine...

thoughts and prayers with others who arent

serbia was awesome, copenhagen ahs been fun, onto berline tonight