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TJ @ Viz-A-Viz

Number 1 - What and Why...

It has been four years, and now I have finished my university career, at least for the moment. So I have to start doing something else, and this is what I am writing about. I wish to share with you a little bit of what has been happening these last few years, what I am about to embark on and why:

My time in the sixth form at SEEVIC was fantastic (fantastic has been my word of the moment for some moments now). Not only did I find freedom to do stuff, go places, etc, but I also got involved in the Christian Union. The people I met at SEEVIC CU showed me how great a relationship with God is, and really fired me up to live out my faith. Early on in my upper sixth year I was baptised and subsequently I got heavily involved with the CU, Thundersley Congregational Church and other Christian stuff. I spent a lot of time asking God where I should go from there, I believe He directed me towards Cambridge, and I was accepted at Trinity College.

My time at Trinity was quite a contrast to my time at SEEVIC. I found both work and life a real struggle. Certainly, there have been lots of fantastic things that I have done there, but, there were many times when I seriously considered giving it up. At these times the reason I stayed was the fact that I knew God had called me to Cambridge, and not anywhere else. And I have to testify that, though He let me struggle, and I hope I have learnt a lot through the struggle, He never let me go. Thanks to the support of friends, and the occasional direct intervention by God, I made it through not just three years, but an extra, forth year. Not only that, but God has blessed me with a good degree.

I just have to share one example of the way God kept me. It was last summer, when I was working in Cambridge and coming home for the weekends. It just so happened that one weekend I got the train from Benfleet to Cambridge earlier than normal. I arrived in Cambridge and decided to visit some friends who live near the station. I found them just getting ready to leave for church, and, as the church they were going to (St Barnabus') was on my way home, I walked with them. We arrived at the church and they asked me if I was going to come in, which after a little umming and erring, I did. My usual Cambridge church (City Church) only meets in the morning, but I found that the service that particular Sunday evening was a joint one, and the pastor of City was there. At the end of the service there was a call to the front for people who wanted prayer. I wanted to go forward, but, in this unfamiliar church I was unsure of doing so. I sat where I was and asked God to send someone to me, someone I knew. I was clearly upset and my hope was that my pastor would come over. Instead, over walks my friend Matt (who I didn't even know was there) and says "I just felt I should come and pray for you". He prayed for me, and has continued to do so through the year. This was particularly good as we have a lot in common. He did the same course as me when he was a student and his job is incredibly similar to the work I was doing that summer (working in digital microelectronics system design).

Though I still struggle, and life is far from easy, I know that God sent me to Cambridge, and let me go through what I did for a reason. He has been with me all the way, even when I was very unconvinced of His presence.

During my time at Cambridge (and before), I spent a lot of time working with sound, lighting, video or computers. I helped with the lighting for Cambridge Christian Musicals Society, multi-media presentations for the CU, PA on a Sunday morning at church, and so on. I have always enjoyed doing this, but sometimes found it a bit of a struggle, especially at church. I find running the sound during worship at church takes quite a bit of concentration, and means I can't get "into" worshipping (by which I mean singing). Also, I have always been jealous of the musicians have have the ability to make fantastic music for God (I am not musical). One of the things that God has shown me is that running the PA is as much worship as singing or even playing instruments. God has given me the technical skills, and I can use them to serve Him:

Now the body is not made up of one part but of many...if the ear should say "Because I am not a eye, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has arranged the parts of the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 1 Corinthians 12

For the moment at least, I see myself as a "back-stage" person, there to enable the work of others. God has taught me to be pleased to be able to serve Him in this way, which is what I am trying to do (though I must be careful not to get stuck in a rut, and keep doing the same thing even when God tells me to move on). When I was trying to work out what I will do next year, I considered whether I might be called to work full time in this way. I made some enquiries, and soon had three (possibly more) offers of positions as a technician for various Christian organisations. At the same time I was offered a regular job. It took me a long time to decide (esp. as God didn't call me to any specific one), but I have decided to work for Viz-A-Viz.

Viz-A-Viz are based in Basildon, Essex, and exist to provide "Relevant communication of the Gospel to people today". They do a lot of work in local schools, as well as evangelistic events and evangelism support nationally. They also produce videos for the purpose of spreading the Gospel. I will be with them as an "Advanced Volunteer". Most AVs are based in local churches, and support the youth and schools work within them. I, however, will be based with the "National Evangelism Team" and will work with their full-time technician, Simon, supporting Propaganda Theatre Company, and the band Double Check, though I may support their other work as well.

Having gone the long way round to explain what I am doing, I'll now get to the point of the letter - asking for your support. There are two main areas you can support me. Firstly financially; I need to raise £2000 to pay for the year, which goes towards accommodating me and paying me a small allowance. Finding this money is not a big problem, but if you want to support me in this way I would be grateful. Secondly, and more importantly, I need people to support me by praying for me. If you want to receive news from me through the year, then let me know and I will send you prayer letters (preferably electronically if you can deal with it). Alternatively I will post all my news on my website. For now, though, there are a few areas where I know I will need God's help:

It has been quite unsettling to be at university, where I have spent at least half of my time, and at home, and to keep going back and forth between the two. Now I will be at home for a year, and attending Thundersley Congregational Church, a place that once was my home church. However, for the last four years I haven't spent a great deal of time there. During this time the church has changed, and I am not familiar with it any more. I am asking them to support me with something I decided on whilst in Cambridge, and, what with touring the country, I will be frequently absent this year too. I need God's help to settle down here so that I will have somewhere familiar and supportive to go when I am not working.
In a similar vein, I know that the work I will be doing will be demanding physically, and therefore mentally and spiritually. When I get tired (as with most people) I function less well, and my temper gets shorter. Pray that God will give me the stamina and strength I need for the job, and that He will keep my attitudes towards the rest of the team right.

Please do ask me any questions you have and get in contact if you can help me out.


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