Mission Diary – Sicily 2018

…On the sixth day,  God accomplished His work and, pleased with all the beauty He had created, He took the Earth in His hands, and kissed it. There, where He put His lips, that’s Sicily.  Renzino Barbera, 1923 – 2009 Poet, writer, artist, actor

Hey guys my name is Jason and I get to give you the update on the Form journey as of the last 4 weeks. You may recall Annie left off in the run up to Sicily, specifically regarding our various fundraising endeavours. So as you may have figured from the quote, I will predominantly be reflecting on the Sicily mission trip with a few of my personal revelations mixed in…

Upon arriving in a gorgeous villa we were introduced to our hosts: Rachel & Josh Ballard, they and their kids have been on mission in Sicily for over 3 years doing incredible work and hosting and serving many teams throughout that time. If anyone wants to keep updated or get involved with their ministry then you can find their newsletter(s) at: https://us12.campaign-archive.com/home/… (I would highly recommend). We were also introduced to the man; the myth; the legend; Marco, and his wife Cinzia. Having done Form over 15 years ago, he is a living testament to what Form is about, and the love he has for Jesus is inspiring. Truly one of the most inspiring and incredible men of God I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting, he moved to Sicily over a decade ago to set up a church plant called Jesus Generation but if you want to hear more about it then you’d probably be best hearing it from him at: http://www.jesusgeneration.it/english-version/


The mission trip pushed us into breaking and stretching spiritual muscles that many of us (especially me) never realised we had. However, the mission trip started with some more physically strenuous activities. We were based at the “Agape house”, “Agape Mission” being one of Jesus Generation’s various ministries. This house had been provided by God and is well placed in a hugely disadvantaged part of the city where the mafia has a huge hold. The vision for the garden in which we worked is to provide an opportunity for disadvantaged people to grow vegetables in plots so that they can learn life skills but also make a living. We as Form were able to come to this site last year as well and thus it allowed us to appreciate the work and the effort that has been invested over the last year. Below is a before and after of just one of the rooms of the building.


The following two days included a splendid church service, where we were able to take communion with the church, and Form Network leader: Josh Cutting led a incredibly poignant talk on “Fear of the Lord” and being “Pure of heart”. We also engaged with prayer ministry in the city streets. Armed with a beautifully crafted prayer map (designed by one of the missionaries with us) highlighting areas of the city which are in particular need of prayer, we set out to pray for the city. Over the two days we walked for a total of 9-10 hours, over 18000 steps. We prayed and ministered to many people throughout the two days. I was personally involved in a conversation with a sparky Muslim chap who went by the name Bobbi Brown, and in this conversation God really highlighted where I personally needed growth as an Evangelist. He revealed this as a key area in which I need to grow and develop. Fortunately I was not left on my own and one of my fellow Formees who was just incredible managed to carry the conversation regardless of my own floundering – it’s an absolute delight to see people flourish and I never cease to be in awe of my fellow Formees. However the main focus of the street ministry was to invite non-Christians, to the Jesus Film which was happening later that day. Despite the horrendous downpour and the last minute advertisement we had a far better response than we’d expected with 9 people coming to watch and discuss the film.

The two ministry orientated days were sandwiched by two labour based days so come day 5 we set to work on “The Land”. The Land is one of Marco’s biggest visions that God has given him. Listening to the passion and the energy with which Marco talks about it is incredibly inspiring. There are countless miracles surrounding the land, most of which are included on their website (linked above). The vision is a place where people can come to learn and live whilst being discipled. Marco recognises that Sicily is a central point in the world with many people coming through Sicily to get elsewhere, thus this land is to be a hub from which they can minister and disciple others. I believe that I speak on behalf of all of us when I say Marco’s humility and faith was absolutely inspiring. To paraphrase him; We trusted God for a few hundred Euros, and he provided, so we are trusting Him for the million or so it’s going to take to complete the project, because in God’s hands what’s the difference between a few hundred and a million?!
I along with the majority of the team spent the day pulling up and burning dead cacti, with another group working on producing some kind of toilet for the site. I must confess that I was particularly in awe of our Ipswich leader Rich who was an absolute machine, actually asking if he could finish cutting back the weeds when everyone else was shattered and just wanted to go home.

On the last full day we got to rest, and we were able to head into a nearby town called Taormina. Unfortunately I wasn’t on this outing as I was too exhausted to even leave the villa, which sadly meant missing the baptism of one of our Formees. However I managed to catch the baptism on live stream. I heard stories of double and even triple rainbows, of the weather pausing just for the occasion and truly it brings God joy each step we take closer to him, each inch into His arms and His warm embrace is huge. On the last night we were allowed to pray for our hosts and it was a truly beautiful night full of glorious worship and the presence of God was just overwhelming. We may have gone to Sicily as missionaries but truly we left as a family.

Written by Jason Mansell

One of Formees Henry compiled an incredible motion picture to document the mission trip which you can find at: https://vimeo.com/265526288. Much of the credit for the pictures included has to go to Henry who did an incredible job at documenting the mission trip, you can find more about his personal Form journey and his account of the mission trip at https://www.facebook.com/HenryDoesForm/ 


Mission Trip Fundraising at Form Sheffield

Hi everyone,

On 22nd March Form Network will be going on mission to Sicily. This last month on Form we have been focusing a lot on our fundraising for the Sicily Mission Trip. We each had an individual target of £400, as well as group projects which have encouraged team work and community spirit. We have done many bake sales, doing several in the run up to Christmas and more recently we held one at Kings Centre in which over £100 was raised. A jumble sale was held at St Thomas Philadelphia in January where people donated clothes and items to be sold and over £150 was raised from this.

There has been more focus on the Talents Projects recently, with both Team Spark and Team Serve working hard to make the best use of the project time. Team Spark put on and hosted a Ceilidh, which was a massive success, with a turn out of 75 people. The evening was filled with dancing and laughter, led by an evangelist from California. The total profit came to £205, with many relationships formed, particularly amongst students and people from other churches across Sheffield.

Team Serve have been making meals for communities with an Italian theme. They have served two communities, cooking for a total of 25 people, and encouraging the biblical principle of eating together at meal times. As part of their project they also made handmade, Bible themed verses and sold them in Church as gifts, many of which were sold for Christmas presents. They have made over £270, almost doubling their initial Talents money investment.

Framed verses

There have also been individual efforts from the interns at Sheffield. James is doing a penalty shoot out in after Church this Sunday, hoping to involve lots of people from the Church community. Annabel is baking cakes for a local, very generous business who has sponsored her to do this. Hyland has been doing babysitting and cleaning. Other people have been asking members of their home churches for donations, and have been overwhelmed by their generosity.

We are currently 83% of the way to hit our target, with money still coming in. We look forward to a fruitful trip of serving, evangelising and building relationships to further the message of the gospel.


Written by Annabel McKenzie

Half-way point

5 months of Form have gone by, another 5 months are yet to come. Now as we are entering the second half of an intense 10-month-year of discipleship, events that we have been looking forward to are coming closer and some of them have already taken place.

One of the days to look forward to was the “Men and Women’s Day“ which we spent in Liverpool together with the Form Network community from Ipswich and Liverpool. An interesting morning of teaching on God’s creation and how humans and relationships were meant to be in the first place was followed by some time for questions. We had been given the opportunity to anonymously hand in questions on everything we wanted to know about relationships, sex and suchlike beforehand and a diverse team of people at different life stages and experiences tried to answer all of them. After lunch we split into groups of men and women. The women talked about what Kairos they’d had during the morning and prayed for each other.

Only a week and a half later, Form Network met again, this time in Sheffield for the Encounter God weekend. A month before we had filled out a questionnaire about various parts of our life where we wanted to see break-through. On Friday evening the weekend officially started with worship and teaching. The teaching by Annwen and Andy Stone continued on Saturday morning. It was all about the Prodigal Son and his older brother, and of course the father who loves both of them incredibly. The fire tunnel (which basically means people standing in two lines and praying and prophesying over you) that all of the Formees could walk through was a very intense time as well. It was just amazing to see the Holy Spirit breaking out and filling people with joy, love, comfort, peace and a whole bunch of other good stuff that we can’t list here because the post would become too long 🙂

 Encounter God - anointing

After lunch, all of us went into Prayer Sessions which meant that two people were praying with an intern at a time and we could talk (and pray) about the things that we had written down in our questionnaires a month ago. From what I’ve heard all of the Prayer Sessions were different but everyone could feel that God was wanting to change things. Not everything was easy to be talked about and many things were brought up that we absolutely didn’t expect to be talked about. But all I can say is that this afternoon gave me/us a great feeling of freedom and peace, and I am convinced that this is not just a feeling for the moment but that it will stay and that “He who began the good work in us will continue His work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns“.

I’m very thankful to the people who prayed for me, and of course to God who met me in just such a gentle and also funny way. I could go on about how good God is because there is so much more to say, but I think we will all experience in the next weeks how we now get to live from that place of freedom and everyone will have their own exciting story to tell. After that session and lots of cake and coffee and chats at “Couch”, we all came together again to finish the day with worship, testimonies and the double anointing with oil. And when we got to say goodbye to everyone from Form Network, we knew that the next time we would see each other again would be on a plane to Sicily. Exciting times!

Written by Ann-Sophie Widmann

Looking at leadership

What is leadership? That should be a good question to ask a member of the Form team! I have been a leader on Form for 18th months now, and I’m also currently leading a household of young adults with my husband. I have been thinking about leadership recently and what it really means – what makes someone a leader? Aren’t we all leaders?

I think we are all called to lead in life and leadership is not about having a title. Many people who don’t think of themselves as leaders are taking the lead in the workplace, in their communities and in their families. So how do you lead? Here are a few thoughts I have from my observations as a leader, and as you will see they are by no means exhaustive as this is a blog after all and I’d like to keep your attention to the end!

Take responsibility

Leaders tend to be people who naturally take responsibility for things. They observe that something needs to be done and they get involved. They like to take initiative, and they are willing to step out and try new things, even if they discover that the thing they tried isn’t working.


Leaders in truth are actually servants. The more you lead the more you realise that you are serving the people you are leading. You give your time, energy and inspiration to others in order that they would see or hear something that inspires or awakens them.

Speak up

Leaders share themselves with others, they know that they don’t have all the answers, but if they have testimony or insight they want to share it. They are willing to have the difficult conversations or speak out about something if they feel it isn’t right. Not in a rude offensive way, but in love, and often speaking up for those who aren’t able to speak up for themselves.

Be yourself

Leaders should be people that others want to imitate, and it’s a lot easier for someone to follow you if they know who you really are. Leaders don’t try and become someone else, they know who God has called them to be, and they see in others who they are or who they could be. They get alongside people to challenge and encourage them, in order that they would have a revelation of who they truly are.


Written by Nadine Simms

Christmas with Form

I can’t believe its Christmas already – time is going so fast! Feels like a month ago since I came to Sheffield, and so far, it has been a journey with God, Form family and people I’m living with. We have become a Form family that is telling jokes over lunch and standing together in difficult times. For me Christmas is about family. Time for the family to be together, without stress. Many of us are going back home this week. I’m going back to Norway to celebrate Christmas as my family does. I think this year Christmas will be a little different. This is the first year I have lived away from my family and also I have learned a lot in the last couple of months that I will take home with me.

Christmas tree decorating

As a team we started the preparations for Christmas by decorating the Christmas tree in church. It was funny to see who took the lead and who was happy to just help out. With Christmas music playing, a Christmas tree to decorate, and hot chocolate – advent was definitely here. Advent is a time of preparation for Jesus to come. We started advent by learning about “The art of celebration” in one of the leaders’ home. The house was decorated for Christmas and I got a lot out of the teaching that day. Advent and Christmas look different for everyone and it is important to understand that. This day we were challenged to think about what is important for you. For some of us this is the first advent without our family. That makes you think, what do I want to do? Which traditions do I want to take with me and what traditions do I want to start?

Christmas craft

This time of year is a good opportunity to think about giving love to people around you. It can be a smile, an encouraging word, a hug, a cup of tea or doing something together. I wanted to bless the family I’m living with. The family already has their own traditions and it has been good to see what they are doing during advent. I wanted to spend a couple of hours to be creative together. The kids where decorating a gingerbread house and made hot chocolate reindeers they could give to friends or other people they wanted to bless during advent. It was good to spend some time as family and just enjoy ourselves.

There are so many other opportunities in life to celebrate; Christmas is only one of them. I used to be a person that could do something special on an ordinary day if I wanted to – now I want to be that person again.  I’m going to do something special to celebrate on the day I got my driver’s license, on the day I got baptized and also to remember a family member that is not with us anymore. Every day is worth celebrating because I have Jesus in my life. I know it can be tough, but try to find something you can be thankful for in this season. I’m thankful for Form so far, and looking forward to coming back in January, but most of all I’m thankful that I can go home for Christmas. 

Written by Veronika Aaserod



Into the Internship

As the temperature starts to drop and the nights draw in, it’s prime time for Forge Sport to reach the young people of the city, showing warmth and kindness to those who just want an opportunity to play football and express themselves. This is the internship that I chose and which in turn chose me in September, at the start of my Form adventure. For me, it has the perfect mix of football and working with young people – combining a life-long passion with the new experience of youth work.

On Monday, I’m on hand at the recently established Forge North Football at Concord Sports Centre, in the Shiregreen area of the city. On Friday, I coach an under 18’s team in the Sheffield Christian Youth League (SCYL for short) at Goodwin Sports Centre, only 5 minutes from my house! Add in some office time at Philly on Wednesdays in between, helping Chris with admin for both projects, and hanging out with the wider Forge team, is what makes up a unique week of interning.


SCYL isn’t something new to me, after volunteering to help Ben and Chris on a few occasions over previous seasons, whether as a referee or helping organise and coordinate, or even with the tea! It’s a fantastic project, allowing teams aged 11 to 18 participate in a weekly five-a-side football league at a top facility in the city centre; reaching hundreds of kids and attracting support of some local businesses. I help a team in the highest age group, encouraging and giving advice from the side-lines. It’s great being involved this way and getting to know the guys on first name terms and having more meaningful conversations with them. It’s especially interesting work for me as I would consider going down the football coaching route in future and this internship is helping me realise this as a viable opportunity, by funding me through the FA’s football coaching level one award – the first step towards becoming a qualified coach.


Prior to the Forge Celebration in October, I was asked to write down the main reasons why I volunteer to do youth work. I felt God prompt me on this, reminding me that he has a plan for all young people, no matter where they live or what their respective backgrounds are. Coupled with this, I’ve seen how God can use the power of sport to bring communities together, putting their differences aside. Additionally, it can equip participants with important life skills like communication, leadership and teamwork – and not just about how well they can strike a ball! Looking ahead, I will test my skills by leading several Monday night sessions at Forge North Football to gain experience in leading a new Forge football project after Easter 2018. Exciting times ahead!

Written by James Radford

Form 2017/18 begins…

It’s not even two months since Form started but I feel like so many things happened already! We’ve been to a weekend away with fellow Formees from Ipswich and Liverpool, started to set up our businesses within the talents project, talked about fundraising for our mission trip to Sicily, had lots of teaching, meals, social’s, fun, prayer and worship together, but the most significant for me is that I’ve found a family here.

First weekend away 17-18

I had never thought this was even possible but at our very first introduction evening when I met most of the people for the first time I already felt like that was home, where I’m accepted and loved just because that’s how it is. And people who although I didn’t know that well yet, I knew would become very close to me and that our shared goal for this year (following Jesus) will change our lives. This continued and during the past two months I have experienced community, church and family in a way I never did before. Being there for each other in simple but genuine ways such as praying, encouraging each other to give everything to God, reminding ourselves that He is above all and is mighty, accepting each other just as we are, not judging, truly caring for and loving each other and by doing this also creating a safe place where we can share all of our lives – both struggles and joyful moments. All of these seemingly little things make me be amazed and inspired by how team members are fully committed to love us and lead us towards Jesus and how Formees are willing to give up everything just so God’s will can be done here on earth.

The weekend away was also a big thing for most of us as we shared our testimonies and prayed for this year. I have to accept it was a bit scary at first and imagining being truly open, vulnerable and reading the prayer in front of people half of who I’ve only just met, and known the other half for only a month was not quite pleasant. But I saw that they’re not only our prayers but the prayers of the whole form family, I knew it was only for good and that it meant letting God to do great things in our lives throughout the year and further. Not only that, it helped us build the relationships so deep in such a short period of time that the only explanation is God’s grace. I’m sure it is a part of a bigger picture that we can’t see yet, but He can.

I feel like there’s a lot more to write about what God has already been doing on Form, and I can’t even imagine what He’s planning to do during the rest of the year if these were only the first two months! What a good God we have!

Form Network - first weekend away

Blog post written by Zuzka Niedelova

A look back at Form 2016/17

Form, what a year it’s been. This year has been full of ups and downs, filled with a lot of laughter and a lot of tears. This year has been an opportunity to build relationships that will last a life time. As I look back on the past three months it is shocking to recall all that has happened. From the emotional huddles, to the profound teachings, to the spontaneous times of worship, Form has been a time full of learning and being stretched spiritually.

Final weekend away

As I look back to our very first Form social night at the Cutting’s house in September, it is hard to grasp how far we have come as a group. We have gone from being 14 individuals who knew nothing about each other to being family. I am confident that this family is one that will stick together for the rest of our lives. Although we will not all be living close to each other, I know that I can always rely on this family for support and for prayer. In twenty years, I know that the brothers and sisters that I met this year will still be there to encourage one another to persevere, and run the race of life well.

Perhaps the most exciting thing about his past year, is the potential impact for the kingdom that is coming in the near future. Form has prepared us as a group to “go out and make disciples of all nations.” In this Form year we are releasing leaders, teachers, pastors, potential missionaries, and professionals in all kinds of fields. In the words of the great John White “we have the potential to make an impact on Earth, for Heaven’s sake.” Josh always reminds us that “Form is not about this past year, but about the next fifty.” Daddy God has ingrained a desire to see the kingdom come to Earth in this group of disciples. It will be a great pleasure to see where we go in life and the impact that we make for the kingdom.

It has truly been a pleasure to be a part of the Form family this year. This year will be a year to remember for the rest of my life! A year of learning, growing, laughing, crying, and being stretched farther than we all would have considered comfortable. But at the end of the day we all came out of this looking more like Jesus than we did in September.

Isaiah 40:31 “but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”


Written by Adam Smith

Sicily Mission Trip

Having all worked hard to raise funds for the trip, we were Sicily-bound…..

After being let in on the heart and vision that drive Jesus Generation and the lives of Josh and Marco and their families and church, we were on board and ready to put our all in to serving these families, the people of Sicily and each other.

The week consisted of various outings and tasks, for example:

A large derelict building close to the city centre has been purchased by Jesus Generation and other churches in the area as a safe place for the homeless and refugees to eat, wash, hang out, play basketball and be seen by a dentist or doctor if necessary. We worked in and around this building and got a lot done in the hours that we spent there during the week. I particularly enjoyed the vigorous, if somewhat aggressive assertion that went in to winning a fight against lino glued down since the 70s. “Leave that flooring, it will be hard work” was the advice, “no no, we’ve got this” was our response.

Sicily team - Agape House

We know that the power of prayer is real, so of course it took a front seat during the week. We were out on the streets blessing the city and the people who live and move through it. One morning we followed a prayer map that the Stanhopes and Louise had created. We spoke prosperity, possibility and provision over a huge piece of God-given land.  This will one day be a place of peace, refuge and hope for immigrants and refugees coming in to Italy from countries South and East of the island. What is impossible with man is possible with God.

Whether behind the scenes putting together an Ikea home to house future intern teams, out and about getting to know a mixture of immigrants and locals in and around the city, or going to spend time with families in the Roma camp nearby, we found it a privilege to get to serve and partner with what these guys are doing, and seeing firsthand how they are being led and blessed by an almighty God and loving Father.

Although a lot can be squeezed in to a week, it was only really a small glimpse in to the heartbreak and hope, separation and restoration and suffering and provision that seem to be ebbing and flowing side by side as God’s spirit and kingdom collide with the world.

Sicily - Roma Camp

We were struck by the hunger, sacrifice and selfless love that oozed out of Josh and Marco and we’ve been left encouraged and empowered to continue asking, seeking and knocking, running further in to the depths of God’s heart and advancing the kingdom of heaven on Earth.

With all the mission-trip boxes ticked off (a few cold showers, plenty of minibus-bonding time, the odd mosquito bite and let’s be honest, some “wees in the wild”) we returned home not only with a lovely glow and a few extra pounds, but of course plenty to process and celebrate as we get to step out in greater freedom and power as children of God.


by Steph Hilton-Turvey

Sicily Mission Trip – Fundraising Fun

At St. Thomas Philadelphia, there have been rumblings of a mission trip to Sicily commencing May 3rd. A motley crew of guys and gals brought together by a internship known as ‘Form’, have been fundraising these past couple of months to bring a portion of God’s love to the vulnerable and needy in Sicily. Many income generators of various description have been used by the Formees and team members to get the wonga flowing and here’s a few of them.

Our very own Thomas, has organised a football tournament where teams buy in to play league footie and the chance to emerge the victorious team. A less televised version of a famous dining show; ‘Come Dine With Grace’ has been offering a meal for two with Prosecco for a tidy sum and all going towards the trip to Sicily. As well as a sponsored silence that Jess managed to complete with the help of a whiteboard and pen. Not so silent was Beth and Frank appearing on the radio and paper to declare ‘Siselli’ to the whole of Sheffield. An auction pioneered by Beth, which included many items such as holidays, concert tickets a signed football and more.

Siselli Auction

Whole group activities such as bake sales, gardening, cleaning and car washes have been all part of the fundraising too. And if you fancy a bit of sponge action, Pete Gaunt will be offering up his head as a target for wet sponges too, this Sunday 30th April.

by Nick Wastie