Tuesday, 9 June 2015

The story of the CMS conference

Actually it wasn't so much of a story as a saga. In fact as we are both old enough it would have been easier to book by Saga!
Way back in November -ish time Andrew found a pub that did B& B near CMS HQ in Oxford who assured us they would look after the dog, take her for a walk several times a day etc etc. then at the beginning of May we realised we hadn't actually booked for the conference & the cut off date was the end of April, anyway Jo was able to squeeze us in & at the same time Andrew rang the pub again who again assured us that the dog could be with their dogs & even told Andrew the room we would be in but no everything was fine and they didn't need a deposit. It all sounded too good to be true - it was!
We arrived in plenty of time to get the dog settled in, about 4 pm, but the girl at the bar said ' O are you the people with the dog, we got doublebooked so we have rebooked you' and muttered something about them being booked up by Late Rooms bookings. So she proceeded to say we had been rebooked at a pub in the next village. As it was a bit of a complicated journey a customer said he'd show us the way. At the pub they said they had had no bookings from this place, were booked up & they didn't take dogs anyway, so they suggested somewhere else. When we got arrived there was the sweetest girl at reception who got special permission for us to have a dog there but as it was quite expensive we didn't know what to do. By that time the meal at the conference was about to start so we went to CMS. Jo & Henry gave us such a lovely welcome & said the dog could come to the conference if that would help, so we booked up the Hotel & stayed, otherwise we would have had to come home!!
As it was the conference was excellent as usual, we all loved the Latin food, including Leila, who was very well behaved 
Below is a photo of the 3types of paella which was Saturday nights meal & made outside under a gazebo on BBQs

Above is Ronald ( with the beard) who was brought over from L America as the keynote speaker & we heard his remarkable testimony. Next to him is Ollie from Riobamba, Ecuador, who I didn't know until I prayed for him on the Sunday morning. He has just started a jewellery business in Birmingham. He says he met Jill at Francesca's funeral. His children used to play with her. We have his details to stay in touch.

Above are the 3 stalls -Siwok, a charity from Patagonia & ours which is on the right at the back

The other main speaker was Alf Cooper who came to fame because he was the chaplain involved in rescuing the miners in the disaster in Chile a few years ago. His son & daughter in law, presently at St Johns Theological College in Nottingham, led the worship and  Andrew accompanied them on the piano. He did very well playing songs he'd never played before by ear.
Alf is an absolutely inspiring speaker & personality. It was he who started off the Saturday night so I felt a bit daunted as he was a hard act to follow, but there were a few others before me. I prayed hard! Andrew had put together a power point from Jills, Jennifer's & Blancas pictures which seemed to go down quite well. The picture of Ruth's new baby at the onset training went down well & also the fact that it is obvious there are a lot of people being helped in the women's work. Several people came up to me to thank me afterwards.
Sunday was our day of making connections -like Ollie; the wife of the man who was the curate at the church I was at in Sheffield as a student; a couple whose son who I know, is the deputy head of our local special school 5 minutes walk from home; the Latin link rep;  etc etc
Also it turned out that the Brazilian receptionist at the hotel was a Christian & goes to a Brazilian church in Oxford, so we gave her some of the prayer  letters about missionaries in Brazil,& just before we left we were able to share our faith with a young man staying there so that was good.
Below a final picture of something one would expect to see possibly in Ecuador but probably not in the UK-a car & motorbike inside a van which was on a rescue vehicle ! 
It was a very good conference-we are always impressed by the quality of people  at these conferences ( I am sure that's not just because there were 8 bishops there). Look out for The name Marcus Throup a missionary in Brazil who did the Bible studies-excellent. And of course it was the first CMS weekend conference Leila has attended and at 16 months she did very well indeed. It may well be the first time a dog has attended a CMS conference- I leave CMS to work out if that is so!

Avril Betts-Brown 19/5/15

Monday, 8 June 2015

Jill's Blog Entry 7

I have the enormous privilege of being considered” family” here and so was asked to the Baptist Church Deacons’ meeting on Saturday. It  was a beautiful setting, sitting on a terrace overlooking the town, with God’s presence there.  After the meeting we visited some sick folk and ended the morning with a great dish of chicken and rice, with chips. Wonderful.
 Monday May 1st was Día del Niño, Day of the Child, and the whole school had a trip to the park. Pastor Rodrigo led everyone in some Christian choruses and a Bible story. Then   our PE teacher got us doing dance sequences, they call it Bailaterapia; thoroughly enjoyed by staff and pupils alike. A special day like this has to include plenty of food, and large quantities of chicken and rice, bread, cake and cola were consumed.
We have been filming the work of the charity, and on Thursday it was the school’s turn. Everyone looked especially scrubbed up for the occasion; the teachers in their new orange tea shirts, the children in their clean white ones. One of the teachers was quite ill, but had come in for the filming. What you call a star.
The Freedom in Christ course is in its fourth week, and the group is beginning to participate more freely, something not really in the culture here. Well, someone else wants to join, which is encouraging.
But for me the high spot of the week is that all the children in our top class can now read simple stories of varying lengths. I have been saying for ages that our children can read, and now  I have it on film to prove it. If you could have seen the children’s faces when I congratulated them: it was something truly beautiful to behold.

Jill Ball 5/6/15