Future Musings.

Feeling a bit blue at the moment. Everyone has left Sheffield now and it is just too quiet. The months of June-September are always weird ones; a bit like being stuck in limbo. It is hella hard to get a job at the moment so I have pretty much nothing to do; I am thinking of applying to CLC which is a Christian book shop in Sheffield. CLC is completely voluntary work and even the managers live on faith, all their money goes towards charities worldwide. This is their mission statement:

"CLC is an international missionary organization made up of individuals from many denominations. We are bound together by a common purpose: we desire to see people come to faith and maturity in the Lord Jesus Christ and we believe that evangelical Christian literature is an essential part in this process."

So, a really good organization and if I'm just waiting for a job I think I would like to have some kind of focus.
My training has just totally taken a back seat over the past few days; I have a pretty sketchy neck. I don't know what is wrong with it, but of late it has been hurting loads and I've not climbed or training for fear or damaging it more. Please pray for healing for it because it is becoming quite a problem and I am just dying to go climbing, especially with all the free time I have right now.

Aight, so what is really going on with me at the moment? Well, in September I am due to start Form, which I am pretty sure is the right thing to do, but over the past few days I have just not felt any kind of peace about any of the decision that I have been making recently, including whether I should have stayed in Sheffield for another year, especially with the lack of money going around at the moment. But looking back a few months ago I felt that it was the right decision and an obvious door that had been opened by God so I went for it, I think now that I just have to trust God that He is laying the path out in front of me even though I can't see it myself.
I am thinking quite a bit about what to do after this year in Sheffield. The aim of Form is to train and equip its students to be able to go out and plant ministry anywhere in the world regardless of language and culture because the truths of the Bible transcend things such as culture and age that we live in. With this in mind and also just opening my mind to dream wildly about what I would like to do I have started thinking about China again. China has been a nagging thing in the back of my mind for a few years now but a thought that I have never really developed much. I started learning to speak Mandarin about a year ago but had to put a hold on that for my final year of uni so that I could give everything to the course but now the interest and the urge has been returning quite a bit. Here are my reasons for exploring this further:
(1) As a young aspiring preacher I think it is important to get world experience; I know that a lot of pastors in full time ministry wish that they had worked in the world for a few years before they went into the church full time. And I definitely think that I want to do that.
(2) China appeals to me, for years it has, since having Chinese friends from back home I just bought into the culture and the people and the lifestyle so much. I think that things that we enjoy and sometimes things that are planted in our mind and appeal to us for no apparent reason can often be promptings by God.
(3) 2009 - statistics are saying that this is officially the worst year to graduate, the economy is in a mess and there isn't anywhere much safer than under your mattress to put your money. The opportunities for graduates to make money at the moment is low, very low. In fact, advice being given to graduates of this year at the moment is along the lines of "go, find a job outside of the UK and come back when England has sorted itself out". Basically, if there is a time to go it is now, while I am single, while it is productive to be out the country, while the fire to see China is there and especially after a year of training that will prepare me to be out there.

I was talking to my Dad on the phone about this the other day and "son, I think you just need to go, get it out of your system" was pretty much his advice. Which I am more than happy with.
So what do I plan to do out there? Teach English? Well, yeah! I always assumed that I would never do anything with my degree, but if I was ever to make any kind of use of it, it would be to teach English as a foreign language and if not to Chinese students in England then definitely in China itself. I've been Googling around for different places and courses and there are so many out there, I found my way to a site that offers 6 or 12 months contracts, fully paid for, flights, accommodation, meals etc at the Xi'an College to teach courses in Conversational English.

Ok. So I have been getting pretty into my Bible recently, which, as I ask around turns out is actually a rarity these days, especially among young Christians (but that's for another day). Now, I'm a Bible geek, I love the Bible, I love different translations of the Bible, on my shelf I keep a KJV, a NKJV, an NLT, a CEV, the Message Bible (such an incredibly passionate paraphrase of scripture), 3 adaptations of the NIV (including a Thompson Chain edition) and this week I am rocking a new ESV which is endorsed by great pastors and theologians such as Mark Driscol and Wayne Grudem (read Systematic Theology). So yeah, I'm loving the Word. So I've started to out into action a Bible reading plan to get me through it in a year (Form require us to read the Bible in a year) so this is the plan; very simple: four chapters of Old Testament a day and read the New Testament freely. I find the New much easier to read than the old so I'm not putting too much of a rigid structure on my reading of that. So that's where I'm heading with my Bible reading for the next year and I am reading through Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology as I go.

Highlights of the Week.
This is great. ok, I love porridge, and since living at Simon's I have had access to these incredible mugs that are more like bowls with handles, they are massive and hold such an incredible amount. It is such a simple joy but there is nothing better to eat porridge out of than one of these. They look like this:

So after two weeks of living with Simon and helping him move out I am now in possession of one of these incredible mugs.

I'm pretty blogged out.

Peace and Blessings

Song of the day: Alone in Kyoto - Air (You can hear this track in the film Lost in Translation, which is actually my all time favourite film)

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