My overnight stay with the microYPS
Last weekend (Friday 14-15) I had the privilege of being at the York and Hull microYPS weekend at the Old Mill Centre, near Richmond. Luckily I had no problems whatsoever with my train to Darlington in fact I arrived a minute earlier than scheduled!
Although my taxi journey to the Old Mill Centre wasn't as lucky as prior to the weekend we had been told to not follow the SatNav instructions as you would end up in the wrong place. I had mentioned this to my taxi driver a couple of days before but that advice seemed to have gone right out the window! Though I did arrive at the Old Mill Centre eventually.
For those of you that have not had the pleasure of staying at the Old Mill Centre, it was absolutely stunning set in a idyllic place with greenery surrounding it - stunning.
The old mill centre accommodates 20 people and as the website so aptly puts it:
"The Old Mill Centre offers an opportunity to step away from the chaos of modern living – providing space for you to rest, recuperate and reconnect. You can relax and enjoy the beautiful countryside of the Yorkshire Dales in quality accommodation, with specialist facilities available at affordable prices.
We recognise that the demands of life can be exhausting, and in some cases debilitating. That’s why we’ve set out to create an environment which is conducive to a sense of wellbeing. Our hope is that you will feel revitalised and empowered, ready to tackle the next chapter of your journey in life – especially those of you living in difficult circumstances." I really could not have put it better myself so if you ever needed a place for spiritual reflection this would be it!
Once everyone had arrived, the interns of the mircoYPS explained their roles to me and it was refreshing to hear that their projects centred mainly around the Church or spreading the gospel to make it inclusive for others. Listening to all the work that they were doing, some were ensuring that the Church they attend was more technologically advanced, engaging with children, engaging with young people, looking into ways to worship more creatively, using Sport as a way of engagement, using their local café to host events, etc. Their work really inspired me and gave me a renewed hope for the young people across the connexion. Having been a an OPP last year I was familiar with training weekends but with the microYPS the weekend was more for reflecting, spending time with God and enjoying fellowship with one another.
After the introductions we were told to hand over our mobile phones so we can give our time freely to God - I was expecting a public outcry but the young people put their phones into the basket without even a second glance. For me personally I felt liberated by switching off from the outside world.
Seeing as Friday was Valentines Day the theme of the weekend was LOVE and on the Friday event I did a session on Love the World. Within this we reflected on the scripture of Salt and Light (Matthew 5:13-16) encouraging them to be the light of the world and then following on from this I had set up stations of the work that I have been focusing on my year so far: 3Generate, the One Programme, Street Child World Cup, The Youth Representatives and just to inspire them the Kid President: Change the World video. I showed them the work that happening within these specific subjects through videos, posters, pictures and written text. The aim of this was to inspire them that although they are young they can make a difference in their local setting...actually why stop there that they can make a difference nationally or even internationally. Afterwards we got together and they shared with me what inspired them from the stations, the interns was so engaged in my session and were so responsive I really could not have asked for a better group of young people.
To end the first night we had a group night prayer and then there was social time and to my shock horror the majority were in bed by 12am, so I had an amazing sleep and the beds were also very comfy too!
Saturday morning started with a cooked breakfast by previous intern Hannah J and discussions of what they have thought about their year so far.
The morning session was hosted by Andy Lindley who was hosting the weekend alongside Karen, Carol and Peter. In this session we explored Briggs Meyers type theory which looks at personality types and we also spoke about how people may prefer different surroundings such as: the city, the countryside, a seaside town and its ok to do so. Following on with the theme of Love he also spoke about the 5 love languages (Words of affirmation, Receiving gifts, Acts of service, Physical touch or Quality time) and how some people are drawn to one rather than the others - I have since self-categorised myself as liking to give people words of affirmation :). Continuing with this theme as the session ended Andy asked us to all write our names on a piece of paper and asked everyone to write words of affirmation for one another, they also wrote down encouraging words for me also, It was really sweet thank you!
After this session we decided to go on a walk to Richmond town centre although it was a rather chilly day it was lovely to get some fresh air and also to see the countryside. We stopped mid way to have communion and afternoon prayers. Then it was decided if people would like to carry on walking or take the car to the town centre. I have to admit I did choose the car but only because I had to leave after lunch! Richmond was a lovely little town and Hannah B, Alice and I decided to go to sit down in Costa Coffee with our amazing drinks and Greggs food :) then it was time for me to leave.
I had such an amazing time at the microYPS and although one of the encouraging words they used for me was inspiring, I beg differ because in the short time that we spent together they really did inspire me. Thank you so much for inviting me to your weekend and please do keep me updated with how your projects are going! Until we meet again, much love Tamara xxx