Escape and Evade challenge completed: Part 2

Realising that we had no-where to stay, may have made us a little anxious or even worried. However, we were excited about the next part of the journey and we knew this was part of the challenge. We still had options.

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Finding the train station was the easy part. Late at night, looking at the train timetable, we could see that there were several trains heading north. Even though the ladies at the train station were discouraging, we still thought there was no lost to ask the conductor. Trains came and went. After pleading we them, they all refused ( which, at the back of our mind, could happen). One particular train company were extremely rude to us as well as paying customers: one conductor completely ignored me and wouldn’t look or talk to me.

After several failures, we knew we weren’t going to have any luck with the trains. Wandering back to the coach station, like we were going round in circles, we discovered there was a National Express coach leaving at 2 in the morning. Perfect. We would try this.

Putting on extra clothes to accommodate with the slightly cold weather, we rested our eyes in the coach station. Unfortunately, we got kicked out as they close once all the local buses had finished their routes.

Feeling a little weary but mostly cold, we decided to go back to Travelodge to see if we hang out in their reception as the receptionist we spoken to earlier was extremely friendly. Walking around the peaceful, quiet town of Peterborough, I felt safe.

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Nervously, we pressed the buzzer for the entrance of Travelodge and the kind women let us in. Climbing to the top of the stairs, we were welcomed by a different receptionist from earlier, who offered us a cup of tea. You don’t get that sort of service anywhere.

As we slouched in the comfy chairs, a man came over to talk to us. We explained what we were doing and he generously gave us his pizza he had just brought and a little money to go towards the charity. After realising that we had no-where to stay he offered up his bed, while he would sleep in the reception area. Guilt ran across our faces. We couldn’t accepted this kind mans offer: he had work in the morning. Refusing his generous gesture, he adamantly asked us to find out the cost of the coach for all three of us on the internet. Shockingly, he gave us money to cover the cost before leaving us to go to his room. We were in complete amazement: what a generous man!

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When the coach arrived, we pleaded with the coach driver and he kindly let us on his bus. Finally, we were getting out of Peterborough. After a couple of hours of rest and shut eye, we arrived at Stansted Airport.

Pacing around the airport, we asked several coach companies but we had no luck so we looked at the train times. There was a two hour wait for the next train. Therefore, we got comfy on some airport seat and had a little nap.

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At this point, unfortunately one of my friends decided to leave whereas the two of us carried on the journey. Next, we managed to get a train full of quiet commuters into London Liverpool Street at 6 o’clock, where we were starting to fill the effects of no proper sleep. It was time for a hot cup of tea. Yes we managed to persuade a manager of a cafe to give us one.

Knowing that public transport was going to be busy due to rush hour, we relaxed on the steps outside the station, drinking and eating a pastry from the night before. Contemplating, we decide we would try and complete some of our challenges in the centre of London.

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Part 2: Faith through Art week

Looking back on Faith in Art week, it was amazing to see the children reflect, explore and question what they believe.

Another activity my class did was that they were given a picture of the journey of life and had to discuss:
– what they thought the picture was
– what each part represent or symbolised and why
– which shop they would go in and why (dreams, hope, joy, wealth)
– what advice would they give others about life
– which direction they would want to go round the map

This was interesting to see how the children would interpret this map as well as reflect on their life and open up to each other.

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During the week each class had to decorate two wooden crosses based on the ‘I AM’ statements in the bible, which would later be hung in each classroom:
– John 6:51:”I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever;”
– John 8:23: And He said to them, “You are from beneath; I AM from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world.
– John 8:12: Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I AM the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”
– John 8:58 Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.”
– John 10:9: “I AM the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.”
– John 10:11: “I AM the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.
– John 10:36: “do you say of Him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’?
– John 11:25: Jesus said to her, “I AM the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.
– John 14:6: Jesus said to him, “I AM the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
– John 15:1: “I AM the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.
– John 19:2: Therefore the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but, ‘He said, “I am the King of the Jews.”‘”
– Acts 7:32: Stephen speaking of Moses’ encounter at the burning bush “saying, ‘I am the God of your fathers– the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ And Moses trembled and dared not look.”
– Acts 9:5: And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” And the Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads.”

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Year 5 – I am from above

Part 1: Faith through Art week

At school in this moment in time, we have a week devoted to ‘Faith through Art’. One thing I absolutely love about my school is the Christian aspect: many teachers have a Christian faith; we can openly share this with the children; we can base assemblies on what we believe.

This week, we have had the opportunity to share and explore our beliefs through art. At the start of the week, I introduced a national art competition called ‘Art in heaven’, where the children have to create a work of art about a particular theme. I decided to choose ‘Worship’: what is worship? Who worships? When and where do people worship? How and why do people worship? I have some fantastic responses where children really thought about their own time of worship and why they worship. Then I gave the class a choice of the type of art work they would like to do: video, PowerPoint, painting, watercolours, song, dance. I had a complete mixture. After, they had to write an explanation of their art work: what they had done? Where their inspiration came from? Why they had done it? How is it linked to worship. I was just mind-blown by some of their description: there were some deep thinkers amongst them.

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Another activity (which would improve their presentation skills) was to test out different typography. Before this, we discussed the different ‘I am’ statements that Jesus said in the bible. We explored what they meant and how this can help us in our faith: purpose and giving our life to God. After they created a poster of different ‘I am’ verses on a poster using different fonts.

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As well as wanting the children to think about what they believe and where they were on their spiritual journey, I was curious to find out individuals faith. Showing my class the blob tree, they had to decide on their own which blob they were and why about their faith. I gave them several examples including mine, where I was the person who was hanging on to tree as I wanted to do my own thing but also have Gods approval. Recently, I feel like the blob half way up the tree looking happy with life, my surroundings, my future: wanting to understand my beliefs more; letting God take over my path and guiding me through his plans to impact the world around me. I found that many children, who I thought would have a stronger faith, had slightly different perspective on their lives.

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Reconfirming my faith

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It is good to question what we believe as this only makes our faith stronger. Sometime going back to the basics and re-evaluating helps us grow on our spiritual journey.

A couple of months ago, I was struggling with my faith because of a few things that had happened and the fact that I wanted to be in control of my own live. I started going back to my old ways; knowing from my past experiences, that these wouldn’t satisfy me or bring me closer to God. With this in mind, I still decided to do the things I wanted to do. Even though I still went to church and still socialised with other Christians, I put a block between my relationship with God.

At school, after Easter, there were a number of assemblies about if Jesus really died and if he did, where is he now? This really got me thinking. I know that I believe in God; I know that Jesus was real; I know that he died on the cross. However far away I get from my relationship with him, I will always believe these truths. If I just believe this, I am not an everyday Christian: I’m not living out my faith. I am just turning into a Sunday Christian. What’s the point in going to church on a Sunday, if I’m going to live my own way the rest of the week.

Even as I started to ponder these basics, I had more thoughts that questioned my faith: why do I need to be saved from sin? Could we not just have a relationship with God without Jesus dying? Is it just a figment of our imagination? Why do we need to worship God? How can God be in a relationship with everyone at the same time? Is God actually real?

As I have delved deeper into these questions, it has made me want to find out more; have a stronger relationship with God; encouraged me to pray and read the bible more.

I will explore these questions in more detail: what I have found out; what it means to me and my thinking behind it.

Faith without feeling

What a start to a new series! This message completely confirms what I am going to be doing over the next year.

Now faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see – Hebrews 11:1

Faith has to start from now, not later or tomorrow or next week. Before we can have faith to believe, we need to have hope. What hope have we got? What dreams have God put inside us?

God has sown dreams, desires even passions inside us. He has not put these in us to leave and dwell over, but to take a step off faith; take the hope into the unseen. We can follow them as we have God at our side: protecting us. We don’t need to worry as God has gone before us; who can be against us if God is for us. God wants to take the dreams of our heart and turn them into reality.

Society tells us not to dream big otherwise we will be disappointed. Actually God has placed these unrealistic dreams inside us so we have to trust God with our future; rely on him. Faith inspires us to dream. Too often we stay in hope but we have to jump off that cliff.¬†Faith doesn’t depend on our society or others or our circumstances: it only depends on God’s word and trusting him. However, fear can take over us and stop us from taking that step.

I know I have huge dreams, most people would see them as unrealistic but I know God has written these hopes on my heart. I want to travel. I want to teach. I want to work with children. I want to help and care for those in need. I want to share my beliefs.

I have recently stepped out in faith with my future. I know God will open and close the correct doors. I have put my trust in him before and he has taken beyond my expectation. I will do this again. I have no choice but to trust God with my life. I will not be able to do this without God at my side: guiding me, protecting me, giving me wisdom.

I’m not going to lie, I am extremely excited but at the same time, slightly petrified. I have chosen faith above feeling or comfort. I want to affect others lives in all I do.

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