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Thoughts and insights from Jubilee Church Wirral

Reflections of a Newday cook

By Yvonne Martin, Life Group leader and Jubilee Newday 2022 sous chef

Newday Cow Shed 2022

The Cow Shed at Newday – where youngsters would queue for upwards of half an hour for a custom-made milkshake

Vernon and I haven’t really been to Newday before.

Three years ago it was the first time that both our boys were eligible to go, so we made the most of an opportunity we don’t usually get and had a little break away for 4 nights.

We drove the boys down to Newday, left them there and flew to Venice from Norwich via Amsterdam. It was wonderful! We arrived back and joined our youth for the last night of the camp and drove home the next day. That was our only Newday experience, until this year.

Vernon has always been a good cook, thanks to his mum, but during the last two and a half years, he has been building on and honing his cooking skills. He agreed to cook for our 2021 version of Newday, held in the Jubilee Centre and somehow this turned into him being the main cook for Newday 2022 and me being the sous chef. There were, however, two conditions… we weren’t going to cook in a tent or sleep in a tent! We rented a house for the week, a 4 minute drive from the camp site.

The following are some notes and observations I made along the cooking journey, which is much longer than just the one week away.

Monday before Newday:

I am quite anxious. We are planning, I’m making endless lists, daily To Do lists but I have this Not Quite Settled feeling. I’m waking in the night worrying that we’ll forget to take something, forget to do something, we won’t be able to pull it off as we want to, dinner will be late etc etc…

Vern’s all “It’ll be good! Don’t worry!”

The menu was planned, re-evaluated and planned again. The shopping was ordered online, substitutes accepted or not, delivery slots confirmed…

I just wish it was all over and I can start some kind of rest in the summer holidays.

I want the boys to go, definitely! I want them to have an amazing time that ruins them for the Lord forever! I want them to have fun and overpriced milkshakes!

But whose stupid idea was it to get involved in the cooking?!? We could be joining the throng at airport security!!

Thursday before Newday:

Verse of the day… Philippians 2:3,4….” Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility, value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others.”

That’s me told, then! That’s why we said we’d do this – partly because forty people need to be fed every day but more importantly because sending our children to Newday is of heavenly worth. They need to be there (and cooked for) more than I need a few days away… it is of eternal value for our young people… not that they can’t experience God at home but testimony after testimony tells of God changing lives, saving lives, drawing young people to himself during a gathering such as Newday.

The Newday week:

Bonus! The house has air conditioning!!

I enjoyed seeing my boys and getting to know the young people and the youth leaders a little bit better.

We were pleasantly surprised to bump into a couple we knew in South Africa in the early 2000’s and catch up with them and we were able to spend a bit of time with my oldest friend Emma, and her family who are part of the Sheringham church.

Monday after Newday:

Yes, I’m glad it’s over.

Yes, everybody got fed… more or less on time and on the whole, the food went down well.

Yes, it was a learning curve for us and the two cooks who stayed on site and ran the kitchen in the marquee.

Yes, it was stressful and hard work, especially for my husband who worked early mornings, all through the day into late nights prepping, cooking and baking.

Yes, there were tense moments and disagreements.

I came across this verse the Monday morning after Newday …Colossians 3:12,13…”Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, cloth yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”

It reminded me of the Saturday night after we had driven back home from Newday; we were slumped on the sofa in front of the TV, watching the second half of the film, Evan Almighty. Evan’s (Noah) wife, asks God (Morgan Freeman) what she’s meant to do with the fact that her husband thinks God told him to build an ark.

He replies: “It sounds like an opportunity. If someone prays for patience, does you think God gives them patience or does he give them the opportunity to be patient? If they pray for courage, does God give them courage or the opportunity to be courageous? If someone prayed for the family to be closer, do you think God zaps them with warm, fuzzy feelings or does he give them opportunities to love each other?”

Although that’s just a fictionalised film about Noah and the ark, I think what Morgan Freeman says there is actually very true, that is the way God works. But He doesn’t let us strive in our own strength to do better, He has given us the Holy Spirit; the Spirit of Jesus, the Spirit of truth, our comforter, our helper, our power.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22,23

So, Newday is over for another year, and it’s safe to say – the young people aren’t the only ones who learn about and hear from God during the Newday experience!

Yvonne with husband Vernon

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