Ashburnham 2019 in English

[Lire ce blog en français]

We live in France, a country we love and have called home for the past 22 years, but, spiritually, a barren and difficult country. So, we came to Ashburnham 2019 feeling a little dry, hungry and thirsty. God, of course did not disappoint us! We soaked up the tangible presence of God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit during the precious time spent together as a New Ground / Newfrontiers family, whilst at the same time enjoying the ‘miracle’ of the great British summer! The Africans from our home church had imagined it rained all summer in the UK!

We revelled in encountering and drawing close to God during the exuberant but thought-provoking praise and worship times, so well led by the band - thank you to them. We eagerly lapped up the encouraging, motivational, challenging, but also uncomfortably provoking messages: being exhorted by the broad Scottish tones of Pete Anderson, and the very English accents of Terry, Dave and Phil, so simply, but effectively, explaining our need for the Holy Spirit to fill us and work in our lives - Phil Mooreʼs ‘four wheelsʼ message really hit the spot for me. 

My personal testimony is of God gently but firmly highlighting areas of my life that needed dealing with, especially a resistance to repentance, and to stepping out of my comfort zone. I left Ashburnham with a renewed appetite and vision to continue treading the ‘no well-worn pathsʼ that is our Newfrontiers heritage.

I left also with a conviction of my lack of Biblical knowledge and my inability to defend myself with His armour. With His help I am making progress. We felt challenged to make a difference practically through the work of CAP, International Justice Mission, Jubilee+, Home for Good and Compassion - it was so very good to see these practical outworking of the Gospel. We also felt humbled by how BIG a difference giving a small (by western standards) amount can make to children and adults in impoverished situations.

We sat opened-mouthed at the testimony of the heroes of faith from Zimbabwe, and we were challenged by the Gibbs’ story of a ‘later-on-in-life’ international move - thank goodness Chris Taylor doesn’t have our phone number! But, God is challenging us about our future: the story of Caleb is one of my husband’s favourites.
It was so enjoyable in the evenings to sit with a glass of wine, a G&T, hot chocolate or whatever your preferred tipple is, and catch up with friends or just sit and soak up the lively atmosphere under the cloudless starry sky: the perfect end to the day.
We regret the fact that we decided not to camp (yes it’s true), so unfortunately we were not able to spend as much time with our church family. Instead, we had to suffer the oh-so-comfortable house accommodation and the oh-so-yummy and fattening full English breakfast every morning.

The offering: ah, that’s really when the rubber hits the road, eh? As a couple we have a strange tradition when it comes to offerings: after ‘1,2,3ʼ we say together the amount we think we should give, and, then write a cheque for the higher amount. This we duly did, put our cheque in the box, and thought no more about it. Our flight home from Gatwick the next day was delayed - a pain, but not the end of the world. The delay compensation we received, however, was double the amount we had put in the offering, thank you God (and easyJet)!

This extra money enabled us to register for Le Festival next summer in Montluçon, France. Please come and join together with the nations as we camp (yes, we will be camping) with our church family and wider New Ground / Newfrontiers family. It will be such fun and God will be with us as we live out the fact that we are ‘more together than apart’.