Heart attack

My Heart Attack

I'm new at this. Well, there's a first time for everything, I suppose. At one time the very thought of a computer would bring me o...

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Better Together Campaign

Last Sunday Milton Keynes Christian Centre began a campaign called "Better Together." It's actually based on Rick Warren's campaign. He's an American pastor at Saddleback Church in California. It's aimed at getting church out into the community. Each Sunday for six weeks we'll have a message from one of the Elders which is the basis for a weekly small group in homes all over Milton Keynes. I signed up on the first Sunday, with the intention of eventually having my own Life Group (called 'Cells' or 'House Groups' in other churches. They meet once a week, or sometimes monthly or bi-monthly, to do Bible studies and usually connected to what we've heard in church the previous Sunday. A good way to build fellowship with other Christians.) Unfortunately most of these groups are in the evening, usually starting at 7-7.30 p.m. As Carol and I get up at around 6 a.m. each morning, and Carol finishes work at 4.45 each evening, it is very difficult, if not totally impossible, to get to one of these groups. I'm generally unwinding and wouldn't manage to stay awake for a 2-hour session, what with my heart condition as well as the effects my medication has on me. So this was a good opportunity to set up a day-time course of some sort, to hopefully attract other retired people, or, at least, those who do shift work and can't possibly get to a Life Group due to work commitments. I'd signed up to run mine mid-week, on a Wednesday, and beginning at 2.30. The Better Together campaign uses video messages, recorded by Rick Warren, and members of the group can follow using a book, similar in some ways to the Alpha Course, which we had running at M.K.C.C.C. last September (in actual fact, I've now done the course twice at M.K.C.C., first time round as a helper, setting up the evening, and dismantling, and the second time, last year, as a participant. But I have done the course several times before, a couple of times at Rutland Road Church in Bedford, and once at Brickhill Baptist Church.)

I wasn't sure whether I was going to get anyone to join a group. I wasn't really that sure whether there was any demand for a group to be run during the day. I then had an email from church informing me that a lady called Maria had signed up. I then attempted to contact her, just to let her know I'd received her inquiry. It took some while before I get a response. I had emailed and got nothing back and then I sent a text message. Some people had this technology, computers, smartphones etc etc and are on them constantly. Then there are those who have them, sign up to have email, text etc etc but hardly use them. They don't check their emails or text messages regularly. I know that some people are addicted to these things. You see it out on the street, some people who don't communicate with the world around them, constantly looking at their mobiles. Obsessive-Compulsive in some cases. Sad, really. But there again, the technology has it's uses.

Anyway, after a few days I decided to ring Maria's phone number. I didn't get a response. not even a voicemail service, so I couldn't even leave a recorded message. There again, it's no use having this technology if you don't listen to it. So I had to leave things for a little longer. It was beginning to get closer to the day (yesterday) when the course was going to begin. I had been given the DVD with all the video talks on it as well as the book which goes with the course. Because I was hosting the course in my home I wasn't expected to pay for the materials.

I decided to have another go at phoning Maria. On this occasion she did answer, thank goodness. She had to pass the call over to her husband, Ted so he could write down my address. So, at least that was set up and I didn't have to concern myself with non-communication.

I had a second prospective attendee. I had their name and mobile number in an email from church, but when I called she didn't realise the starting-time of the group was during the day, so she couldn't come along, unfortunately. There is, of course, a good chance that more people might join, but it would have to be within the first couple of weeks, otherwise they wouldn't be able to catch up with the video talks.

Yesterday I got myself all ready for the first session at 2.30. I had cleaned the lounge, got some biscuits in for refreshment and got the kettle filled and ready. It got closer and closer to the time. If I'd been going to someone's house for the first time I would have got there a good ten minutes before the time the session was due to begin. 2.30 came and went. I thought, 'she's not going to come now.' Then it was 2.40 or there about and then Josh, from M.K.C.C. (It was him who gave me the lift to Sainsbury's a month or so ago when our car broke down, you might remember, if you read these posts on a regular basis.) He said that he had Maria and her husband there at church. They had got to my door and were knocking, but I wasn't answering. Well, they couldn't have done, because if they had, I would have seen them. I had been standing in the kitchen, looking out of the window, and no car had drawn outside and no one had got out and certainly hadn't knocked on the door. If I had seen them and they'd been there, I would obviously have let them in. It turned out that they'd been knocking on the wrong door, another house entirely, further along the road! I couldn't believe it. He asked for my house number, so I gave it (which I clearly gave to them when they'd rung a few days previously.) Josh said that they'd be with me in about 15 minutes.

So they turned up and parked on the drive at the front of the house. Maria was initially set to attend the session on her own, but Ted, her husband, came in and we ran through the session together, so I hope they are both able to come for the next five weeks of the course. Unfortunately, because they had been around 20 minutes late, we didn't manage to get through all the questions in the book, but at least we managed to run the two videos on the DVD. My television set has a built-in DVD player and we had a problem getting the videos to run as we wanted. It was difficult finding the first session on the disc, but we eventually got it running correctly after a few false starts.

I had to keep Alfie, our Yorkie, in the kitchen. It was clear that Maria wasn't that fond of dogs, and I would never expect to have him in with us as we did the course. Unfortunately Alfie doesn't like being shut in on his own, perhaps even more since Poppy has died. He kept scratching on the door, so I gave in and let him in. He becomes very determined to get attention and can manipulate you to get what he wants. So he sat with us, mostly sitting on Ted's knee. Not what I would have wanted, but it was far better than him constantly scratching on the door and doing more damage to the paintwork and apart from anything else, making it quite difficult to concentrate on the video talks.

So, all in all a positive afternoon and I hope it builds over the next few weeks. Keep watching my blog posts for further details as the weeks progress.
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