Romania 2010 again

A rotary mower (viewed from underneath), with ...
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Sitting here in the Chalmers living room reflecting on a great week, as we wait for the final teenage event and then a 4.00 a,m. start on our journey home.

As ever Romania has been a mix of frustration, joy, disturbance and sheer delight. I have been greeted by old and young like a long-lost friend; the warmth and generosity of the people has been overwhelming, but the scale of the poverty is truly harrowing. Today we visited a family living in a house where the whole ceiling is bowed and needs replacing.  Without the church this would not have been possible.

Families without electricity or water are also facing the possibility of a winter without necessary fuel. It costs only £60 for a ton of fuel, but even that may not get a family through.

And here we are returning to affluence, to a new house, warm and insulated with plenty of food and water, and we complain about what we can’t afford; At times I am ashamed of myself.

We have had a great team of Chrissie, Tessa, Deborah, Jill, Ellie, Vikki, Alison and myself. I thank them all for what they have achieved this week in the children’s work, the teenage work, the ladies and the mens meeting, the visiting, the priming of the outside walls, the grass cutting (yes, I did break the wheel off the mower  !) and the house curtains,. You have achieved so much.

If anyone wants a speaker on this subject I or someoneels will be available.

Final apologies for this typing-the cat keeps jumping on the keyboard !

Romania 2010

Sunrise over the Black Sea
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Arrived here in Poiana after a long tiring days travel on Saturday; Usual warm welcome from the Chalmers. “Our home is yours for the next few days”

Sunday found me preaching in Church, amongst Romanians I’ve grown to love. Seemed  to be appreciated. We followed this with our day out in Constanta. This helps those who are in Romania for the first time to see the contrast between the wealthy and the poor.

Yesterday (Monday) was spent mowing the fields, putting the primer coat on the Church and house, and preparing fpr the children’s club, now called TNT.. Last night was the ladies meeting where a lot of ladies arrived and my Alison spoke (very well by all accounts). Alex and I went out for a coffee and a beer. I discovered how small a Romanian coffee can be !!

We’re now just praying for a break in the rain so that the children will turn up for TNT>


This could be my last post for a little while. In about ten hours the removal men will be at the front door looking to move us to our new house. It seems quite frightening what is left to do at the moment, because some last-minute things have just gone wrong. The main one being the dishwasher. We had planned to get the last dishes through it and then get it cleaned out ready for storage at our new house, but when we went to do that this afternoon it had blocked on us and I`ve just spent a few hours getting it `de-bunged`. Consequently we are now behind time. Still what doesn`t get done, just doesn`t get done and that’s the end of it.

Over the last few days I`ve experienced some real lows and some great highs; Ive never known a move be as stressful as this one has been: previously they have all been smooth and seemingly effortless, but this one seems to have been fraught with difficulty and anxiety. I declared the other day that “I`ll never move again” but I wonder how many other people have said that before me. The ironic thing is that as a Minister I know I`ll be moving on again in about 5-6 years time, if not before !

McDonald's nella Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II...
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The internet access is terminated in about 35 minutes so I will be reliant on free wi-fi from places such as McDonald’s for several days (it’s a hard life) and then next weekend Alison and I fly out to Romania for our annual mission week. This year it may come as a welcome rest !

I also won`t have telephone access so will be on my mobile until SKY have connected the internet and telephone line, but as soon as I`m sorted I will let the world know !  In the meantime I trust that you will continue to pray for the Redshaw family, especially tomorrow for the move and then later for our time in Romania.


Just to share some good news with you. After several months of preparing for our new amalgamated circuit, of closing down two manses and bringing all the records back to my own manse and then being frustrated by the slowness of buying our new manse, I can announce that we collect the keys in the morning and move on the 18th a few days before I fly to Romania for our annual mission work !

Praise the Lord

We`re off for some celebratory fish and chips !! 
Fish and chips with peas
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Roller Coaster

Why does life have to be such a roller coaster ??  In the grand scheme of things my concerns are not that important, but they are weighing heavily today. I am aware that the house move is inching ever closer, but I am getting seriously scared about it arriving in the middle of my Church Council season.

Usually a Minister would move in August and then have two or three weeks to settle in before starting work on Sept 1st. However, because of the delay on this house, I am not going to have that luxury. Consequently, when the move does happen I’ll potentially be loading up the removal van at one end and at the other partially unpacking, then nipping off for a Church Council, and then back again to continue unpacking. The probable week of the move I have three Church Councils, a ladies meeting (Circuit), an evangelism meeting and a visit to a Lyfe Cafe. It is probable that I will have a staff meeting on the morning of the move. At the same time Alison will have to fulfill her Parish obligations and her regular Chaplaincy work of 15 hours. After all that we fly out to Romania to work for a week (if we have the energy !). Comical isn’t it ?

And yet God remains good. I’m not one who entirely goes with the thought of God engineering things to suit himself, but I do believe in a God who brings good out of difficult situations if we let him and look for him.  Trouble is it isn’t always easy to see.

However, we hang in there and in the long run will look back and see just what he has done that we are missing at the moment.

Rotary District Conference

Rotary International emblem
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Just got back today from our annual District Conference of Rotary International. This year it was held at Southport and as our club President it is a special event. We have enjoyed good food, a great hotel (Clifton Villa, on Bath Street), good company, lots of laughter and even more rain ! All in all it was everything we could have wanted.

My club did me proud as seven members with their wives plus another friend from Inner Wheel travelled to the Conference; they looked after Alison and I and went out of their way to ensure we felt special. Photos are on Alison’s camera so I can’t show them just at the moment, but will try to ensure they get onto my website another time.

We learnt about the charities of Headway and Framework ( a homelessness charity in Nottinghamshire), about the students we sent to America and the ones who have travelled from China, Japan and India to spend a year in our District. We were entertained powerfully (and hilariously) by Gervais Phinn, by a sixties style group and by a jazz band, and on the first night a nostalgic look back at the war years with accompanied music. Trouble with the latter was one of the ladies in our party assumed that I would remember it all. Turns out she thought I was 67 years old the same age as herself !!

This morning we received an inspiring story from Richard McCann about how he has turned his life around. His Mother was the first victim of Peter Sutcliffe (the yorkshire ripper) and he explained the devastating effect this has had on him; he shared how it led him to drugs, theft, drug dealing and a spell in prison. Richard then went on to share how his motto became “I can”, playing on his own surname and how it led to his determination to turn his life around. He is the author of two books, the first one being “Just a boy”. Alison and I are going to try to get them and read them. He was truly inspiring.

We learnt about how the polio plus campaign is going with only four countries now reporting the dreadful illness and we heard about the children of courage programme that our Mansfield club run each year.

The only drawback to the weekend was the way the technology wouldn’t behave itself this morning leading to an extremely poor time of worship.

Still, I was proud to have been there, proud to be President of the Rotary Club of West Ashfield and proud to be a part of a movement that truly puts “Others before Self”