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Showing posts from June, 2011

Tomorrow, You're Only a Day Away!

So Real starts TOMORROW!!!
Can't wait - although I did dream last night that I fell asleep on the sofa on Friday evening and missed the whole thing!!!

Please would you join us in praying for Real?.."unless the Lord builds the house, we labour in vain" so we need God's hand, His heart, His ideas and His Holy Spirit in everything we do as we prepare and experience Real 2011.

Praying for Real   30.06.11

Thank you for praying for Real.... Specifically today:
Please pray for Sue and the whole team preparing for all the women coming. Lots of practical preparations as they take deliveries, organise and sort, move furniture, make the place look beautiful…All the “day before” tasks. Also all the creative elements and final tweaks.
Pray for energy, strength and joy - Kerith will be buzzing!

Thank God for a great technical rehearsal last night, and for such willingness to serve amongst that team of gifted volunteers.
Please also remember to keep  praying  for  Numbers…each person bookin…

2 / TWO / Deux More Days!!!

The Conference is in Safe Hands ?!?!

Praying for Real   29.06.11
Thank you for praying for Real....
Last night’s rehearsal was great – the worship on Friday and Saturday is going to be amazing…and you’ll love the performance songs!!!
Helen wrote this late last night “4 1/2 hour rehearsal for REAL 2011. Exhausted but soooo excited for Friday. Amazing to be part of a community with so many talented people giving it back :)”
Specifically today:Please pray for
-Tonight’s Technical Rehearsal…timings, flow, sound, movement off and on the platform…all things techy!
-Relationships, Energy, Strength and Capacity for everyone involved in today’s preparations
-Please also remember to keep  praying  for  Numbers…313 yesterday plus the sponsorship of 2 teenagers
Thank youMuch love    Catrina  x

Life-Changing Moments

As we anticipate gathering together at Real on Friday and Saturday, I wanted to whet your appetite for this year's theme: Moments.
Women who are part of Unique's Writing group, Exposition have written some short pieces, sharing significant moments in their lives. Enjoy reading their experiences, and let it lead you to a prayer for yourself - that at Real this weekend, and throughout your life, you'd look for God's grace and love in every moment; and you'd know His help.

Crossroads As my beautiful, sweet-smelling, perfect son was placed into my arms, a flood of emotions coursed through me…..bliss, excitement, apprehension plus a feeling of wholeness.

Only a few hours later, this joyous occasion was ripped apart on hearing these words:
“There was an accident and Betsy and William were killed”…

Disbelief, horror, sheer panic and a swift realisation that life will NEVER be the same again.Two precious and dearly loved children, one of them our God-daughter.

Whilst lying awake…

Teenage Girls Welcome at Real!

Thank you for praying for Real....wow we're in the final week now, can't wait for Friday!

Sue and I loved meeting lots of women at Kerith on Sunday (did you like the daisies?) 
- really great to see lots more names added to the list! We're now over 300, and believing God for many more to book in this week.
It was so encouraging to hear of people booking friends in; of a teenage son buying a ticket for his mum; of a mum buying a ticket for her daughter.

Is there someone else you could invite, and perhaps pay for?
I'm particularly thinking of the teenage girls.
Do you have a teenage daughter, niece, friend or neighbour? Is there a girl in the Church you could pay for? Or could you pay for a sponsored place?

Teenage girls: if you want to come,and are planning to pay for yourself and you don't have the finances, then please come and see Debbie at reception, me or Sue and we will offer you a special discount rate of "whatever you can afford!!" We just really want yo…

Precious Message in Clay Pots

"We carry this precious message around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives"      2 Cor 4 v 7
Working on my Talks for Real today (now that I have a shiny, new, coffee-free keyboard!)
It's a privilege to spend the time thinking, praying, studying, reflecting and focussing on God's Word.




Praying for Real   24.06.11
Please pray for the whole team today..everyone involved in planning, preparing, serving and hosting Real


6 In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. 7 If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. 8 If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.

9 Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. …

Moments

"Every moment is an opportunity.  There is a choice in every moment.  A choice to do good, to do what’s right, to think the right thing, to act on something correctly, to speak to someone (or not), to act in a loving manner or gracious manner.  Moments are opportunities to get closer to Him and impact my own life and the lives of those around me.  We can choose to grasp each moment and make the best of it or let that moment pass by and not be anything special."

These words from a friend's blog were the catalyst that the Holy Spirit used and developed in me for this year's Real theme : Moments

Please join us in praying that Real will be an incredibly significant moment, and series of moments for all the women coming.

Our God is Greater

Last night I went to the Top Secret practice for the Real Opener - it's going to be such a brilliant start to the conference - can't wait! (make sure you are there early on the Friday, as we'll need to shut the doors and won't be able to let women in whilst it's on)

At the same time in Kerith there was a meeting about the Rocknations event; the Parenting Course; and the Act For Justice group were meeting and praying against Human Trafficking! So glad to be part of a Church  that  showed just on one Tuesday evening that it's so committed to teenagers, to families, to justice. Praise God that he moves people's hearts to stand in the gap, to pray, to act, to serve and sacrifice for others. 

This is a brilliant faith-building song! Our God is Greater by Chris Tomlin.."and if our God is for us, then who could ever stop us?.and if our God is with us, then what can stand against?."

Thank you for continuing to pray for Real

22.06.11   Please pray for our ev…

Magnanimous

‎'Magnanimous' - the new Kerith Worship CD shipped off to be printed yesterday! Sounding amazing - pick up your free copy at REAL 2011 or Kerith Community Church on 3rd July.
Well done to Helen and Dave Cottee, and the whole team - can't wait to hear it...and to see it in the women's hands at Real!



Praying for Real   21.06.11
Please pray for the Conference Speakers
"Faith is willingness to look foolish. For fear of looking foolish many have missed their biggest moments."
Pray that we as speakers (myself, Rachel and Liz) would be bold in following the Holy Spirit’s promptings – we don’t want to miss the moments!


Pray for our preparations; for our delivery; and for our health. Please pray protection. Pray for Rachel as she is ministering in the US right now, and flies into the UK on the Friday that Real starts!

Please also pray for Numbers…more please!
Worship Band and Tech team…as they practice the Opener and all the worship sets and performance items
Much love
Catrina …

Fathers

Another great day in Church yesterday! Loved the fun games - so glad I don't have to eat chillis whilst holding weights outstretched!! It was so good to hear Lee's and Ken's stories about what it means to be a man in the 21st century. What wonderful leaders, men of integrity, willing to take risks for the sake of following Jesus. Simon took us to David's story, and challenged us to consider and then let go of things we are "holding" or "wearing" that other people have placed on us, and replace them with what God wants for us.
I read an article this weekend in The Guardian, all about Fathers It was incredibly moving - some for all the right reasons, but many people were articulating their life long struggle to please their dad, or to receive his love. If you do read it, be prepared for the tears to come.
I'm so grateful for my Dad and my experience of being a daughter - I've known unconditional love (even when I returned home at 4am in his car…

Caroline's Story

"Last year I attended the Real conference; this was a turning point in my relationship with God."
Let your faith rise as you read Caroline's story. Believe in His power, love and concern for your life and for your circumstances too - He is able! My story This time last year I was in a really bad place. Although I had a wonderful family and loving, supportive husband my hearts desire was to have a child. We had been trying for a baby for three years and I had been diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome.After an operation and countless rounds of failed medication the doctors told me that my last options were to have a further operation which may not be successful and to be put on the waiting list for IVF. We were told that we would have one treatment on the NHS and that we had around a 30% chance of falling pregnant. True to my husbands character, he stayed positive, whilst I felt helpless, and depressed. I didn't like the person I had become as I began to feel resentfu…

@catrinabenham, 17/06/2011 22:39

Catrina Benham (@catrinabenham)
17/06/2011 22:39
2 weeks ago Zambia, last Friday at Retreat , today am home and in only 2 weeks time it's REAL!!! Can't wait - excitement is rising!

Prayers for Real

We've had a great couple of evenings praying at Kerith. Really enthusiastic pray-ers and the presence of God made for memorable and significant evenings.

I'd so appreciate your prayers over the next 2 weeks on the run up to Real - for the Conference, the Team and the Guests

Here are my prayer requests for Real (based around Isaiah 55)
Great expectancy in the (thirsty) Guests - all those already booked in, and more to book in please!
"Hey there! All who are thirsty, come to the water!" v 1

The Team to be open to the Holy Spirit prompting us - in the planning; on our feet during the conference; at every opportunity (from the Platform, in the coffee queues etc)
"I don't think the way you think, The way you work isn't the way I work" v 8

Pray for Rachel, Liz and me as we prepare to speak and share God's Word - that we hear from Him and that we "get out of the way"!
" Just as rain and snow descend from the skies and don't go back until th…

We Lift Up Our Eyes

Praying together last night was so good! Great to be together as Church, pray for the Gift Day; for Serenje; for Real. Great to share time and prayers with others. Great to take communion together. Great to start by worshipping - and with much of my focus recently on "doing" and "details" I really needed that encouragement to "lift up my eyes" . To look at Christ, and who I am in Him. To focus on Jesus, and the Cross.
It won't take long - just a moment - but take some time today  to lift up your eyes, off your own circumstances, off the busyness,  and onto Jesus
Who, oh Lord, could save themselves,
Their own soul could heal?
Our shame was deeper than the sea
Your grace is deeper still 

You alone can rescue, You alone can save
You alone can lift us from the grave
You came down to find us, led us out of death
To You alone belongs the highest praise

You, oh Lord, have made a way
The great divide You heal
For when our hearts were far awa…

He Loves Us

Do you know that when God thinks of you He has kind and loving thoughts towards you?

"And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God's love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow--not even the powers of hell can separate us from God's love.No power in the sky above or in the earth below--indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Romans 8 v 38-39 (NLT)

Prayer

“When you come before God, don't turn that into a theatrical production either. All these people making a regular show out of their prayers, hoping for stardom! Do you think God sits in a box seat? Here's what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won't be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace.” - Matthew 6:5-6 (The Message)

It's Prayer meetings this week at Kerith - a great chance for the church to gather together, share communion and pray. Prayer's a funny thing - so votal to our Christian lives, so essential to growing our relationship with Jesus and yet...it rarely feels easy...its sometimes hard to keep praying. That's one of the great advantages of coming to pray with others.

But we need to pray. I need to pray - for the Holy Spirit to help me be more like Jesus; for my family, friends, relationships; for my work an…

REAL Women's Conference ..coming soon!

So will YOU be joining the 229 women currently booked into Real this year? We're planning, aiming and praying for 500 women, and I would love YOU to be part of that beautiful crowd  of women of all ages - all stage of life, each woman unique. Last year we had over 100 book in to Real during the week before the conference...it blesses all our planning (and cake buying) if we know the numbers a bit earlier, so if you've been meaning to go online and book your place, please don't hold back and wait for that final week! Name check here, for woman no. 250...and woman no. ...300...350 etc!
Please don't let finance hold you back. Some women are paying extra in sponsorships so that YOU can come - they believe in you! Please just speak to me or Sue Ranger; or pop a note on the registration form at the Kerith reception. We don't want anything to be a barrier to you coming. Get thinking about childcare now too! Perhaps talk to a family member or good friend - you could help the…

19 Days to Go!

So it's LESS THAN THREE WEEKS UNTIL THE REAL CONFERENCE! I'm so excited - I can't wait to see all those women gathered, expectant and eager for all that God has in store for them  as they choose to put themselves in God's path for a (long) moment! The team are working hard and doing a magnificent job in creating what will be a wonderful experience for us all.

We still have space for more women to come and join us, so
- If you "keep meaning to buy your ticket" please do that NOW ..or tomorrow at Church!
- Tell your friends and family, colleagues and neighbours, your Facebook friends - let's invite all women and not keep it just for ourselves. Many women will come with a personal invitation and the offer of pairing up with a friend so they don't have to come on their own.
- Please do pray over these next three weeks - for all the practical details and for God's heart and voice to be heard - for Real to be a truly significant time for each and every woma…

Favourite Serenje Images

Some of my favourite Serenje images






Extraordinary Women

Loveness, Beauty, Charity and Leah
Four extraordinary women who are truly living out Micah 6

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humblywith your God
.

Old Friends New Friends

I am my sister's keeper Gen 4 v 9

TOGETHER

Serenje Hospital Operating Theatre

We were very excited to see the Operating Theatre equipment that recently arrived in a container from the UK organised by "Dr Howard". It is all working and ready for use. One of the incubators was in use later that day, caring for a premature baby!

Love Your Neighbour

Volunteers Gladys and Hilda opening their penpal letters from Kerith women. They received them with such joy! Gladys Mucosha is 33 years old. She is a Volunteer in the Chilisha district of Serenje. Her husband Bernard is a volunteer in Kashitu (travelling the 23km on a bike or on the back of Ian's motorbike) They have 5 children aged between 7 and 15. Gladys is a business lady; she has a market stall; she grows maize; together they are building a house in Kamwala Compound.In addition she has 5 clients and visits them every 2 weeks, supporting them and the children in the households. This is the love of God in action. "Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’This is the first and greatest commandment.
And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’Matthew 22:27-28

Serenje

We are safely home in the UK after a wonderful trip to Serenje.The team was fantastic - so enthusiastic and full of energy, questions and interest.  We visited schools and communities, and talked to lots of different people. We met new friends and reconnected with old friends. It was great to hear the good reports of families growing enough food to feed their children three meals a day; and to see the goats and kids; and the tall maize in the fields. We truly saw love in action through the sacrifice and hard work of the Volunteers, Pastors, Ian and Leah. This week I'll be posting some pictures and thoughts. "How precious is your unfailing love, Oh God!
All humanity finds shelter in the shadow of your wings."
Psalm 36:7

Serenje - Day Six (Thursday)

Today was a very full final day in Serenje. Highlights today included:

Visiting Mwansankano community including singing and dancingVisiting the District CommissionerGoing to the Pastor's FellowshipAttending a meeting of the Education CommitteeA meal at Bishop Kasele's houseSeeing the operating theatre equipment :-)It's been a fantastic day!

Catrina

Serenje - Day Five (Wednesday)

Another wonderful day - the longest journey today into the countryside towards the hills in Kashitu. Great to visit the school which has partnered with Crowthorne Church of England School, so Ruth (the deputy head at Crowthorne) was very excited to visit and meet the headteacher. We observed lessons and enjoyed listening to the choir.

However, THE highlight of the day was brave Zoe being presented with a huge chicken! I was so proud of her (and glad it wasn't me!).

Time is flying. Tomorrow we visit a community, see the District Commissioner, and very excitingly go to the clinic to see all the medical equipment which has been sent through Howard Reece-Smith.

More fish and rice later tonight. Now we have a meeting with Ian and Leah to debrief.

Simon.