In the media we often hear about 'the privileged few', usually in the context of material possessions.


Well, I'm delighted to say that, for me, today has been one of those days when I've been able to recognise that I belong to the ranks of 'the privileged'!


Now, don't get excited, I haven't suddenly become a millionaire and nor have the Circuit bought me a manse to live in; it's none of those things but today I have felt privileged and blessed.


I spent this morning in a Rotary Club committee meeting exploring ways we can help and encourage young people in our town to realise some of their potential. WHAT A PRIVILEGE !


For a couple of hours over lunch I shared in the Chairs team meeting. This is a meeting between Loraine Mellor, our Methodist District Chair, Paul Worsnop and myself (Deputy Chairs); the meeting is a mixture of fellowship, support, action planning and dealing with challenging issues. I still find it hard to believe that I have the privilege of sharing in this. WHAT A PRIVILEGE !


On the afternoon came the greatest privilege of all as I looked after our 10 month Granddaughter Piper for several hours, all by myself ! We walked, played with toys, and towards the end she cried with tiredness, but I ask you, “Is there any finer privilege ?” than to be a Granddad trusted to look after such a precious one.



And I reflect on the many other privileges I have, of family, of friends, of a wonderfully supportive Circuit, of taking school assemblies, of Worship opportunities, of being healthy, and of being healthy enough to have worked in Romania last week.


Sadly there are many in this world who don't have what I have in such abundance, and so I give thanks.


As we enter into another new day let us all look for the privileges that we have and be grateful

Poiana days 5 & 6

Day 5. The house is finished ! Yay ! Saturday morning saw the final painting and the realisation that the house had gone from this………

To this……..

And all in less than 5 days !

Afterwards we celebrated by organising a traditional 'British' sports day which the youngsters thoroughly enjoyed.

It concluded with the 'fun' game of soak the Pastor as Alex and I sat in chairs to allow wet sponges and full buckets of water to be thrown at us. The youngsters thought this was great. I'm still drying out !!

Day 6, Sunday. Began with Church worship at which I was given the honour of preaching. Knowing how protective ( and rightly so) Alex and Heather are of the congregation here I always take it as a real privilege. Heather led the worship beautifully: wonderful time.

And so it was time for goodbye with tears, hugs and promises to return. I don't know how many of the team will return next year (some folk may take a year off before returning, and others may choose for good reason that they've done their bit) but Alison and I are committed to this as we feel it is a calling from God to do what we can. As the years go bye we too will find it harder (finance for two gets harder each year), age will one day take its toll, other callings by God may begin to dominate, but for now we're focussed on Poiana.

Spent this afternoon by the Black Sea at Mamaia, chilled and then closed the day with pizza in Ovideu.

Tomorrow we'll go to visit some families before setting off for the airport and home. It will be hard to leave this precious place which has played a large part in my life, hard to leave Alex and Heather who are truly inspirational, and to leave the villagers whose Christian journeys we pray for each day.


But return we must, to the luxury of the West, to the petty squabbles of the church and life and to the things which are about want rather than necessity.


Lord let us never forget what we have seen and experienced this week.









Poiana day 4

Long, tiring day today as there is a determination on the team that this house must be finished before we go home. Today should have been the day off but instead we set to and worked from 9.00 til6.00 ish with a short break for lunch. It was totally worth it as the house finishing line is definitely in sight.

What a privilege to be a part of the work of the Chalmers family as they seek to serve Jesus by blessing others. Christian witness should always be about lifestyle, self-sacrifice as well as speaking about Jesus.
Theirs is a truly incarnational witness; moving in amongst the people they seek to bless and not by throwing money into the village, but by throwing themselves in, instead.
I have such admiration for them.
And finally the view of their street in Poiana.
Below are two views from the house we're renovating, looking out over the very dry fields (it hasn't rained to any great extent for about 3 months. In an agricultural area imagine how devastating that will be to many families.


Poiana day 3

Back to the house again for further work. The shape of the walls has made it very difficult to fit the polystyrene tiles easily, but Alex keeps reminding us that other houses are even more difficult !

Keeping cool (& looking cool) in the hat
Alison earned the title of best slapper ! It is not appropriate for me to remark!
Still, by the end of the day the team had completed just about all the walls and Heather was able to start skimming the walls. We had hoped to have Friday off but instead we plan to go and see if we can make further progress.
As usual we also ran the children's club where more youngsters turned up, to be taught about patience, trust and perseverance.
We concluded the day with a visit to Eugen and Laura's house for a meal. They have worked so hard, and God has blessed them in their new house, and all they wanted was to share that blessing with us. It was so good to see them again, and their children Deanne and Lorenzo (who we've known for a good number of years). Lorenzo is 17 yrs now and quite the young man.
One of the team gave him the present of a shirt from the second best football team in the world. Yes Burton Albion are in Europe now.

C'mon you Brewers !!!!!!!!!


Poiana day 2


Work continues on the house today; learning new skills, not remembering any of them ! Lots of laughter and enjoyment: plenty of frustration over imperfect walls but a sense of satisfaction about how this will help a young family. It's estimated it could save approximately 40% on heating costs and when income is tight or non-existent that is a vital saving.
On our team we have an absolute star in young 14 year old Marcus, who has thrown himself into everything. Willing to graft hard, had a go yesterday at teaching the young children, joining in the fun and banter, he always has a huge grin on his face. In many ways he epitomises the nature of teams that come out here. All Alex and Heather ever ask is that people try their best, work hard, 'have a go' at new things and enjoy themselves. Marcus, you are a star.
And then onto the children's club wher Graham showed the youngsters how to juggle, and Graham shared in the teaching. Towards the end the youngsters were given jelly to eat and we closed with Alison and I teaching on prayer, involving giving Alison a BIG kiss: well, that's what mission works all about isn't it ? The young boys didn't seem too keen though. Lol
We had some visitors too as Sebi, Gaby and Andrea called in to see us. Now all grown teenagers themselves, these are youngsters we've known since their early years. Andrea was 4 when we first came and Seby was 7. Great to see them again.
Please continue to hold us in prayer as we enter day 3 with aches and pains from muscles we didn't know we had ! Please pray for the young family this house will help and pray for the young people's club this evening.