End of the Year

photo 2.JPGForm has ended and God has done immeasurably more than we all could have asked or imagined! We are all very thankful for every person who has poured into our lives this year and each of us look more like Jesus than we did when we started. On our final weekend away, we each shared a testimony of our journey over this year- the highs and lows, expectations and breakthroughs and, of course, the tears and laughter. This was a powerful way of sharing with our Form family how God has transformed our past hurts and experiences of life by healing us, restoring us and setting us free. We have learnt about who we are as sons and daughters and are excited that this is only the beginning of walking out everything we have learnt this year and running hard after Jesus.

“They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31

Here are some testimonies of what God has done this year:

Brandy: “It’s hard to summarise everything God’s done through my Form year. The past year has been a journey of trust. He’s continued to show me that I can trust Him, even when things don’t make sense. I now know He’s trustworthy because He’s begun to show me how much He loves me. I know He is constantly with me and working towards my good. This year has given me a foundation to carry on from. I know I can handle anything life throws at me, because His strength is made perfect in my weakness.”

Rachel: “I can hardly believe that Form is coming to an end, what a year it has been. A year of resurrected hope and reassurance of my faith. At the beginning of the year we were asked to share our hopes and dreams for Form 2015/16, I was wrapped up in so much disappointment from the hand I felt life had given me, that I had no hopes to share apart from one-I held on to faith that I would have hope and dreams reinstalled this year, it has been, and continues to be my daily prayer. With my Father being a faithful one, I have seen a shift in my life, a shift that allows me to put my hope and expectation in Him, releasing me to hold things lightly and step up and out into trusting the One who has the best for me.”

Louise: “God has spoken His truths over me this year and it has been so powerful in healing my heart and allowing me to step into the freedom that He has for me. It hasn’t looked like I thought it would at all, I think I expected there to be these moments where everything would change, looking back there has been a few of those moments but actually He has shown me that there is joy in the journey with Him and He is so gentle in the process of healing us. I am so different to who I was when I came to Sheffield. I have learnt that He knows what is best for me and to trust fully that He is always good. Coming to Form felt like a battle to choose God – it felt like giving up everything for Him, putting off starting my career, my future, a husband. I thought I was putting my life on hold for a year… that seems ridiculous now looking back! I thought I was giving things up but God has shown me that actually I have gained everything. I’ve learnt that I have an inheritance as a daughter of the King.”

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Sicily Mission Trip Testimonies

So we’re back! We’ve had an amazing time; we’ve seen miracles, many 13103276_575407742642197_7549237077780747916_n (1)people blessed, grown close as a family and eaten too much gelato! We are very thankful to all who supported us financially and with prayer. We really appreciated the generosity and could not have done it without you! I could write thousands of words on what we did, who we met and where we went! But I shall sum it up as briefly as possible and share some testimonies of God’s goodness and impact.

We stayed with Josh and Rachel Ballard and their 4 amazing kids – Macy, Liberty, Ryleigh and Titus. They shared their home and lives with us for the week and we were incredibly blessed by them all and the conversations we had with them. Marco Basile, Cinzia and their daughter Sophia were also hugely welcoming and Cinzia made us so many amazing Sicilian meals! Marco leads Jesus Generation, the organisation we worked with, as well as leading a local church.

The first couple of days we worked on the new team house, building and cleaning in preparation for teams this summer. In the evenings we joined Marco, Josh and their team in two outreach projects, once to feed and pray for the homeless of Catania and once for the girls to go out with a fantastic lady called Carmen to talk and pray with women who work in the streets. Both nights were eye opening and incredible, both to join with the mission and see how these guys do mission.

On the weekend afternoon/evenings we did some outreach in a popular park. Occasionally Marco sets up a mechanical bull, using it to attract a crowd and then taking the13015322_10153404804871356_3990214688996357874_n-001 opportunity to share the gospel with people. They were great times of sharing, conversation and building relationships despite the language barrier! We also spent time being part of their family and helping out where help was needed – whether that was the boys pulling out thistles on the land or the girls attending a women’s prayer meeting. There was so much that we did and we learnt a lot! I could go on but here are a few testimonies from the week instead:

Jess – “I was really impacted by the sense of generosity and family the Sicily team invited us into. They modelled an unconditional love and embrace. This was really powerful. Personally I was also very blessed through their hospitality and came away feeling completely refreshed and restored. God spoke to me deeply about being in the heart of who he is, inhabiting the deep places of God because of who he is and how he sees us- accepted and loved!”

Sam – “God really gave me joy in serving and showed me the pleasure He takes in a heart serving with love” 

Jenny – “God was showing me more and more throughout the trip how incredibly big he is and how he will keep blowing my mind and not let me put Him in a box. Anything from just looking out over that amazing, breathtaking view, to seeing the people we worked with laying down their lives to serve homeless people and refugees just because they know they’re so loved by Him”

David – “God really challenged me in my identity, in who and what I belong to. He really spoke to me about gender norms, and how it’s not important if I identify as male or female, that it’s all about who I am in Him, that although I can’t change the culture, I can affect how they see me.”

Van story – We were on our way back from Taormina and everyone was dozing off when suddenly the van jolted and woke us as we dribbled off the road to a stop. Marco said “oh, we’re out of petrol…” He got out to talk to Josh in the other van and they sped off to get us moDSCF2504re fuel – it should have taken about 20 mins. As we sat there I prayed, “Jesus I ask that we can run on you, just like I’ve heard stories of people going for years without re-fueling” everyone else was praying too. Marco decided to try and get us further off the road because every time a car went past the van rocked! After a couple of tries he managed to start it up. Then it just kept going and going! It was amazing! We started singing worship to God and the power that we accelerated up the slip road with was ridiculous! We passed the others in a petrol station on the other side of the road, waved and continued – still singing. 3+ km after we’d run out of diesel we got to the station and filled up. It was incredible; it had just got better and better as we went along. Wow. God is good!

This blog was written by Mary O’Connell

 

Mission Trip Fundraising

We’re excited to be travelling to Sicily for our Form mission trip this year. The dates that we are going are Monday 18th to Tuesday 26th April. We are really excited to go to Sicily and reconnect with Marco & Cinzia who are good friends of the church. You can support us by clicking this link.

You can read about the vision of Marco, Cinzia and their team here.

Samuel TimLike many short term mission trips, it will be important to remain flexible in order to help the community there in the best way possible during our stay. There are lots of different things that we could end up doing – one primary thing being reaching out to and spending time with the people of Sicily. This could be with the church community there or getting involved with the projects that help refugees, homeless and prostitutes. We will also serve the church and community there in various ways – helping with building and working on their land. Our youth and energy definitely won’t be put to waste. Depending on each of the team’s individual gifting and passions, some of us could end up leading worship there, baking, or making up some skit to perform for the children there. The possibilities are endless. The key thing is us staying open to whatever ways we can bless the people of Sicily.

To make this mission trip happen we need a lot of prayer.

Please pray for practical details such as:

  • Provision of money for the trip plus enough to bless Marco, Cinzia and the team we’re working with
  • Organisation of the tripPete Marilyn
  • Naomi Stanhope, the member of the Form team who will be leading the trip
  • Prayer for good health

Please pray that God would guide us:

  • How are we going to reach out and help the people of Sicily in the most efficient and loving way?
  • How can we make a change in their life and bless them with what we’ve got?
  • How are we going to be able plant more seeds and help people grow closer to God?
  • Prayer for us to have a mindset like Jesus: not to judge people on how they live their lives, what choices they’ve made to be where they’re at.
  • Prayer for us to be able to see the people as our own, that we all will acknowledge our identity in Christ as followers of Jesus and work together as one community to make Sicily a better place.

Please pray for us as a group:

  • Pray for us as a team – that we’ll grow closer as a group, that we’ll work as one, that we’ll be able to work out whatever conflict that come our way as smoothly as possible. But also that we all will have a great time serving others as we’re serving the kingdom of God.

Thank you for all of your support.

Form 15-16, Term One

We’re coming to the end of our first term here at Form so we thought it would be good to collect some of the stories so far from this year. The beginning of Form is exciting but God also begins to bring up significant things in all of our lives. It has been great to watch people from Form, Form 2 and the Form team engage with what God is doing. God is working in each of our lives! Let these stories encourage you this Advent season and please keep praying for our Form interns!

“Coming to Sheffield I had my walls up, high and thick, not letting people in or feelings out. In Form I quickly found myself surrounded by remarkable people, leaders and friends I felt I could trust with my fears, shames and mistakes within just a few weeks. I found family. God has, through these amazing people, helped me Samueltear down my walls, engage with and process several problems and issues in my life, which has brought me great freedom and a deeper understanding of myself as a son of God. During these past three months He has become so much bigger to me. He keeps taking me to new places, showing me more and more of who each person of the Trinity is. The more I get to know God the more I realise how much bigger He is than I thought He was and how little I actually know Him. He simply grows faster than I can explore the depths of Him and that’s just so exhilarating and exciting. Even though there are struggles I can’t wait to see what more this year holds for me as I grow in spiritual gifts and relationship with Him and my newfound family, letting the Holy Spirit make me look more like Jesus.” – Samuel Bergner

 “My biggest Kairos moment so far this year came after the first weekend away. It was intense and draining – especially for an introvert! I was exhausted as we went to church the next morning, and was having a bit of an internal panic about what I had let myself in for with Form. This had left me feeling a bit distanced from God, but as we started worship the song ‘My Guardian’ came on and God really spoke to me through the words ‘trust and obey.’ I realised I had to lay down this year to Him, and to hold on to the knowledge that he can see the wholekatie miller picture. I then had a really incredible encounter with the Holy Spirit. I had a picture of a ball of light heading straight for my chest and then I just completely lost control of my entire body and was on the floor!! It was the most bizarre thing, something that would have been terrifying but I felt 100% safe and loved. I went home and read the start of Acts where the apostles were baptised with the Holy Spirit at Pentecost and realised that this was what had happened – I never thought being in the Spirit could feel like that!! I was so full of the Spiri

t that I was still manifesting God’s presence by twitching the next day, but it felt as though God was really saying “look what I can do – I can take control of all of you and I am in all of you, so don’t worry about a thing because I have got this.” I feel as though God used this experience to start to change my heart, to heal some of the wounds and to give me something to ground me throughout this year when things get hard – something I am very thankful for now as things haven’t exactly been plain sailing! I hold on to that knowledge of how big and amazing He is, and how safe and utterly loved I feel with Him. I wouldn’t trade this journey with Him for anything, wherever it leads me” – Katie Miller

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Jess (left), Brandy (right)

“I have learnt that God wants to get to know me and not for what I can do, or for
what is in the future.”
– Jess Rees (Form 2)


“Moving to a new a country is hard enough in itself, but adding Form to that as well is simply exhausting! Form is a crazy, intense, and tough process, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. God has really begun to show me more and more of who He is everyday and that there is nothing I can do to please Him more! As I fix my eyes on Him and run to Him more, He reveals more of who He created me to be. I came here completely broken and had no idea what I had to offer, but slowly He is giving me a new identity. And I am so excited to find out what that is!”
– Brandy Desjardins

Form Update November 2015

Form Weekend Away PhotoHappy November!

Who can believe that October 2015 (the month where Marty McFly visited the future!) has now been and gone, we’re in the middle of November and we will soon be celebrating the birth of our precious King, Lord and Saviour?!

We arrived in Sheffield in mid-September – a fresh intake of eight new Form interns from all over the place – America, Scotland, Sweden, Oxford and, of course, Sheffield! We also have five returning Form 2 interns who are looking to grow as leaders. Coming from all walks of life and aged between 18 and 29 years old, this bunch of young people are eagerly pursuing Jesus and looking to learn, love and lead.

At the beginning of October we had our first weekend away. This was filled with fun, laughter, games, epic word and worship. We thought about our expectations for the year, and how we may learn, change, and grow whilst we embrace all that Form will entail.

As we committed to the year ahead, we looked at the Form vision and values. This year our values are hunger and humility. We want to be a new generation of abandoned worshippers and therefore we must be hungry for the things of Jesus and position ourselves in humility before the Creator of the whole world, and allow Him to work in our lives.

There are many stories of God beginning to do this! One of our fellow interns Louise has spent the first few months of Form reflecting on her relationship with God. She’s begun to respond to the invitation to draw closer to her heavenly Father: “So far on my Form journey God has been teaching me about having a closer intimate relationship with God as a Father. This has brought revelation about my identity as a daughter of the King of Kings and the access I have to His Kingdom.” Very exciting!

We’ve all begun to realise that transformation in our lives doesn’t come just by taking in lots of information but by hearing what God is saying and putting it into practice. We’ve started to use the Learning Circle to do this. Jesus said in Mark 1:15 “the time has come, the kingdom of God is near, repent and believe the good news” and the Circle is a discipleship tool that has helped us to put the process of repent (change the way you think) and believe (step out in faith) into practice. As we put into practice all God is teaching us we are realising that Jesus is the answer in our lives – always.

Please keep us in your prayers over the next few weeks as we approach Christmas.

This blog was written by Rachel and Sam. Rachel attends The King’s Centre and is doing her internship there with Hungry the KC Young Adults Missional Community. Sam has come to Form from Sweden and has joined the Philadelphia Student team for his internship.

My Form Story

Form was an accident. It wasn’t in my five year plan. Not that I have a five year plan, but moving back to Sheffield to do
an internship with a church definitely wasn’t in it! Last summer (before I started Form), I was working full time. I kind of enjoyed my job – I could stand on my own two feet, I wasn’t really dependant on anyone. I occasionally went to church and I believed in God. What needed to change? (In reality, looking back, a lot needed to change!!)
Ending up on Form was the result of a series of “God-planned moments”. At the very last minute, I decided to go to Momentum and help on a stand in the exhibition (I’m not a last-minute type person). At some point, I bumped into an old friend who I hadn’t spoken to in a few years. He was just about to start Form and took me to meet the team. At this point, I had no interest. It was a ridiculous idea. I had a job. I had a flat. I was sorted. I was “happy”. By the last day of Momentum, I approached the team and asked what happened if “theoretically” I was interested. Long story short, I applied, was interviewed and turned up to work the next day and handed in my notice. Less than two weeks later, I was rocking up to Sheffield in my car packed full of all my stuff.
By the time I got to Sheffield, it finally sunk it what I had actually done, and I was hating myself for it. I’m not one to make decisions quickly or easily; my housemates will testify to that – the times they have spent trying to help me decide what to wear, or where to go for dinner… and I certainly don’t make spontaneous decisions that turn my life upside down!

In coming to Sheffield, I gave up the only identity I knew. My identity was my job title, it was the only thing that I knew I was good for, and I knew that I was good at my job. I’ve grown up being told that I was a daughter of God, a princess, but I have never lived as one. I didn’t understand what it looked like to walk as a daughter of God. Being in Sheffield with no job, I had no identity and I had no idea who I was or where God was.

Right at the beginning of the year, each of the Form Interns have a chance to say their “Form Prayer” which is an opportunity to ask God for what we wanted to see Him do in our lives over the year. Two of the things I said in mine was that I wanted to find a home and I wanted to know in my heart all the stuff that I only know in my head. Both of these things He’s done and I know that He has even more for me!
I would not have made it through the year had it not been for this “Form Family” that they talk about. If you’ve done Form, if you do Form, if you know someone that has done Form, then you will know what this means, but you won’t get it unless you experience it. At the beginning of the year, you look around a room of 25 strangers and someone stands up at the front saying these guys are going to be your family by the end of the year, you look around and think, how? What a random bunch of people!! But it’s true. Every single person brings something. If one person had been different, the year would have been different. We went on a mission trip in May, and for sure, we were a family! A beautiful family, that seeks to love each other the way that God loves each of us.
God has totally transformed my life. I have no doubt of it. I know that it was a hard journey to get where I am now, and I know that the journey is by no means over. (N.B Don’t do Form if you’re wanting an easy going, chilled out gap year!!) It’s been tough, there have been many times during the year where it would have been really easy to give up and go back to “easy” life. All through His life, Jesus challenged His disciples; He got them to step out of the boat, it wasn’t all fun and games for them.  Form challenges you, it takes you out of your comfort zone. I spent six months of the year hating this and trying to resist it, when hard stuff got brought up, I would hide (often literally!), I didn’t have any idea how to process things well, I would bury them and ignore them; dealing with things was the last thing on my mind. When I finally chose to let God do what He needed to do, when I chose to engage, and when I made the decision to deal with and process things, I know that God broke in. Having been adamant all year that I couldn’t hear God, and that He probably didn’t have anything to say to me, I started to hear God speaking to me. He told me that He loved me.
I remember coming into church late after a long drive back to Sheffield with various Form teaching rolling around in my head. I had completely encountered God on the journey and was absolutely buzzing as I told one of the girls about it. It had finally struck me – after battling with it for years, I had grasped the fact that God loved me. He didn’t need a reason! It didn’t matter whether I had read my Bible every morning for a whole ten days in a row or whether I had just made a huge mistake. He still loved me. It wasn’t dependant on circumstanc2015-02-27 16.17.58es. He loved me just because. Because I am His daughter. I am His precious princess. He loves me.


This blog was written by Katie Wooding Jones who has just completed a year of Form and about to begin Form Two in September.