A touch of Frost in Africa

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Alison & Richard Fenning with Pastor frost, in Rwanda on a recent mission of Hope.

Alison set up Breakout Bible School five years ago to invest in leaders/pastors through training and relationship across Africa. Since that time we have held training weeks in Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya. Leaders travel from Congo, Tanzania and Burundi to attend the training.

Having just returned from Rwanda Alison was able to interview some of the leaders and ask how the School is helping their ministries. Pastor Frost has a Church near the airport. He explained how the training had opened his eyes to see the needs in his area and he has started two new outreaches one being reaching out to women in prostitution and the other reaching out to street boys through developing a football outreach. The main initiative is to teach them how to fight the disease of Aids.

Many of the boys have now come into a normal life and have started looking for jobs and are getting married. Their lives have been changed and the Church has changed from maintaining people into missionally impacting the area. Alison intends to visit these projects on her next visit to Rwanda.


 

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Alison Fenning has a vision to equip leaders around the world who will go on to equip others for the works they are called to’ connecting with the lost, preaching the gospel, making disciples and helping the poor.

Find out more about Breakout Bible School here.

Freedom Project update

The women on the Freedom project course have been learning to sew.
As they sew they also learn patience.
Patience with themselves, others in the class and their teacher. This is something they may not have been able to practice before, but is a significant skill that is needed when stepping out of addiction and prostitution.
They also receive acceptance and love from the teacher and others in the class.
All of these things raise their self esteem making lasting change possible. All of this through learning to sew!
Thank you for supporting this  project. Alison will be out in Rwanda next week and will be spending time with the women.

Christmas food hampers

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Alison and Richard have collected Christmas food hampers this week. Stowmarket and Area Foodbank have generously donated these hampers. We will be distributing these next week to some of the vulnerable women that Alison has ministered to for many years through our Chaplaincy project that meets and cares for women involved in the sex industry.

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Christmas is often the loneliest time of year when you have battled with addiction and the dark places that can lead you into. Many have children but don’t have access to them and with all the media hype about a perfect family Christmas this can lead to deep sadness and despair. So it is wonderful that we are able to visit next week and take a gift to bless the women and pray with them.

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Thank you so much to the foodbank for your generous help and all of the people who have donated food.

The outsiders

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I was chatting to a friend recently about not really fitting in with church. He pointed out that Jesus spent most of his time with the outsiders, the ones that didn’t fit in. The religious people of the day excluded the poor, the prostitutes, the Samaritans and all the others who didn’t fit with their strict criteria. If the Messiah was coming, surely he would visit the righteous, they thought. But when Jesus returned from his going out into the desert, he came to the synagogue and made the announcement to the religious people –

‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me…’ (Luke 4:18)

He makes a speech about Jubilee – the blind see, debts cancelled, prisoners freed. They all say how wonderful he is.

‘And He began to say to them, ‘Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.’ So all bore witness to Him, and marvelled at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth. And they said, ‘Is this not Joseph’s son?’

He said to them, ‘You will surely say this proverb to Me, ‘Physician, heal yourself! Whatever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in your country.”

Then Jesus tells them that, just as in the past, he isn’t coming for the religiously content, but for those who don’t fit in. He lists some of the times God did that before.

‘But I tell you truly, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was a great famine throughout all the land; but to none of them was Elijah sent except to Zarephath, in the region of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. (An outsider.)

And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian. (An outsider.)

So all those in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, and rose up and thrust Him out of the city; and they led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city was built, that they might throw Him down over the cliff. Then passing through the midst of them, He went His way.’ Luke 4:21-30.

Then the people got really angry with him and threw him out of town.

But, actually, if you don’t fit in, or you’re a bit of an outsider, Jesus is good news.

At his birth he wasn’t found in the palace or even the hotel. He was found outside in a stable with a few farm workers, outsiders.

In his death, he wasn’t in the city, but outside the city wall. He came for the outsider. He identified with the outsider. And most of his miracles were done out on the street, with the outsiders – the least, the last and the lost.

So many people tell me of their struggles with Sunday church – feeling like a passive observer, watching an irrelevant performance, cringing at a shallow and often trite worldview.

We seem to have wandered far away from what Jesus left us in the Early Church – a group of people who just spent time together each day, who went about their daily routines, and yet transformed the world.

History is at a crossroads. A new reformation is taking place almost imperceptibly. Recent studies show that more than two thirds of Christians in the UK have left the Sunday morning event and gone off to explore a deeper more meaningful walk with Jesus, outside the church structures.

Something is happening in society. There is a sea change going on. It is time to be prophetic.

But we need not fear. Jesus comes to us outside.

I recently invited a few people to join me on a spiritual journey called The Community of St Anthony – a scattered group of believers who are journeying in a more Celtic or monastic way with their faith. If you sometimes feel you don’t fit in, you’re welcome to join us. There aren’t any services as such, but meeting for coffee, or a walk, here and there, now and then, in twos and threes, and journeying online. This Christmas, even if we don’t fit in – especially if we feel we don’t fit in – Jesus comes to us with hope, healing and life.

I have written about this journey in my new book Excess Baggage – a new kind of monasticism, and am working on the follow up book as I write.

May you know the closeness of the Father, the guidance of the Son, and the friendship of the Holy Spirit on your journey.

Searching for home – a journey of the soul

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In Searching for Home Don Egan visits the street where he grew up and discovers that many things have disappeared or changed. As he reflects on his childhood, he explores the human longing to belong – to have a place we call home. But what if our home no longer exists?

Using childhood memoir, Don explores thoughts on life, community, God, tragedy,

abandonment and girls, among other things.

Available in paperback and on Kindle from Amazon here.

The Chronicles of Godfrey

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- the secret history of Manchester and the whole world actually.

Discover the secret origins of Manchester and the whole world.

It all started on a hill near Oldham when a magic hermit named Godfrey decided to invent humans.
Things didn’t go exactly as he hoped, due to a very unpleasant boggart who lived in Blackley.

But aided by his son Jack and the mysterious Sophia, Godfrey hatches a plan to rescue the humans.

Angels pop in for a brew most days apart from when Godfrey goes on holiday to North Wales.

Don Egan has written this allegory of the Bible but all the stories are set in Manchester.

This book is available from Amazon.co.uk – here.

New book from Alison Fenning

walkingwithgodcoveranglesmall2In 2004 Alison Fenning began exploring the back streets of Ipswich and befriending women involved in prostitution. She quickly became known as the Street Chaplain. She prayed with people who had addictions and provided genuine care.

Soon she found herself sat in crack dens sharing communion and teaching the Bible to women on the street. She trained a small band of volunteers to help with the work. And friendships with the women began to grow.

In 2006 this ministry to the red-light district was rocked by the Suffolk serial killings as five women were murdered, several of whom Alison had befriended. Since that time Alison has continued her friendships and introduced more women to Christ. The ministry developed and also helped men with addictions too.

As people began to embrace faith in Jesus, they asked how they could live out faith against the background of their often troubled and sometimes chaotic lives.

This book is a series of ‘letters’ that reflect conversations Alison has had about how to ‘do the God thing.’

Currently only available from Amazon here…