The New Hope


Last night we had a choir from the New Hope church in Atlanta, GA come to give us a gospel concert. They brought their own sound guys, 1/3 of their choir (35 members ish), planned and organised the whole thing. It was most enjoyable!

I mentioned it to my chat friends and popped a post on the forum to see if anyone local wanted to come along and one such friend stood up to that challenge!

Muttley arrived at approximately 14:42 pm and had a mini tour of Aberdare (i.e. we walked back home). We passed the house of some friends of ours from church and could see their car parked outside the front with a bag of cement sat in the open boot. The husband is disabled and uses a walking stick so no way would he be able to carry it in, and I didn't hold out much hope for his wife either! Me being me, I pushed their door open (it had been ajar, I didn't break before entering) and announced our presence (helloooooooooooooo). They'd been in the basement trying to find the trolley to bring the cement through the house and hadn't been able to. How amazing God is that He knew they'd need help and He'd timed our day that by 'God-incidence' we'd be passing with a strong young Dusband to carry the bag through and out the back! It kinda makes you realise that no matter how petty we think our day to day lives are.....God knows about them and He wants to make them go well for us. What an amazing God we have!

My mind tends to wander during these blogs (much like my real life) so I shall try to get back to the matter in hand in that next we took our brave guest home for some afternoon tea where amidst our playful arguing about whether Dusband could bear to share his self baked banana bread with kids club he was in the corner chuckling at us!

Our guest had brought us a HUGE tin shaped like a custard cream biscuit which we opened with some mild wonder and awe and inside all laid out like fancy chocolates were custard cream biscuits! They looked so luxurious we were really chuffed! I can't wait to use the tin for something else now, it's so lovely! We don't often have guests bring us presents, but I do love it! It's harder to say no to a gift than when someone offers you money or help.

The time came to get up from our comfy living room slumpness and we prepared ourselves physically (and maybe a bit mentally too) for kidz club. We'd thought that this week was going to be very quiet as every end of year the local school do a play on the last Wednesday of the year, but we'd gotten it wrong and it was next week! Jenny had planned a little party for the kids instead of having tuck but we started with some crafts. Last Wednesday had been my first time leading Kidz club in an effort to come to terms with how much preparation goes into a meeting and how it would be organising an evening and I personally thought I did very well and it went swimmingly. Anyway (stop blowing trumpet!) we'd done Joseph last week and they all sat quietly to the (very) short version of Joseph and we'd asked some questions as we went so that we could all learn the word jealous etc.

This week Jenny had continued with the Joseph theme and had drawn around her husband onto a large piece of card. We were provided with this cardboard Joseph look a like, some pva glue and lots and lots of bits of tissue paper....hurrah!! On the other side of the room were some biscuit men with some sugar glue (sugar and water I think) and some rainbow drops and we could make our own edible Joseph.....Double hurrah!!

Then we had a short talk although they were very excitable so we had to cut that a little shorter than we normally would, but I guess that's the nature of kids work, you adapt it to the crowd you have. Anyway, then we played some games then had our party food. By party food read raisins, fruit, hula hoops and cheese :) Oh and some banana bread (mwhahahaha).
After kids club it was a quick turnaround ready for the gospel concert which started the same time as kids club ended (although it started a few minutes late).

We were perched on the pews at the back of the church which are raised in a slanty manner (I dunno lol) and I've never been up so high before! It was fine when we were sat (except slightly numb bottoms) but when we stood up I felt like I was going to topple over!
The church was packed, not quite to the rafters as it has a high ceiling, but not one more person could fit in, or so it seemed although many more people filtered in through the evening!

They sang a selection of songs, we had some talky bits from their Pastor and had a cardboard testimony's type jobby. I've seen this done before and the first time I saw it I couldn't help but cry it was so amazing. Maybe the effect wears off when you see it more than once, but the thing that got me this time was when they turned their cardboard over, the obvious heart felt joy showing through their smile made my heart leap. That joy that passes all understanding cannot be faked and cannot be obtained through any other means than accepting Jesus died for you personally.

A good friend of mine who talked me through some of my worst days last year posted this version of the cardboard testimonies from his church: Two of his nephews are giving their testimonies there and I thought it was very powerful to see those young people giving the glory to God.

There was of course an 'altar call' at the end of the service, and the Pastor who was leading the service guesstimated about 14 people had given their lives. I assume Pastor Dale will have a better idea on Sunday as they were very slick and gave out some literature, got their contact details and prayed with those who needed it without them even having to move from their seats. They were obviously prepared for people to be saved and I wonder what church would be like on a Sunday if we were ready for non believers to come in and be saved.

In front of us in our sky high position were an old couple who weren't dressed particularly well. Everytime they shifted we got a whiff of stale wet dog and I turned my nose up really. I was thinking about the end of the service when we could get away from the smell. The old man in front of us put up his hand to say he'd given his life to God that night. I was so ashamed of myself. All I could think about was his outward appearance, yet God had chosen that man. The angels in the rafters were singing and praising God because of that one man. God had engineered the people around him, the concert, the New Hope Church lady with her contact card to be sitting next to him. God had arranged all of that for however long it'd taken just for that one man and He did it for me when it was my time. How shaming that I couldn't even sit behind him for an hour and a half, yet God had done all that for him.

I pray that the couple return on Sunday evening, although they didn't announce that our services are on Sundays from 6pm, so hopefully people will find their way back and not get lost in the ether!

After the service it was back to the children's hall to hoover up the bits of Joseph's coat that hadn't stuck, take Muttley to the train station and home for a tiny bar of chocolate (I'll tell you about my chocolate diet some time) before bed. What a Wednesday!

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