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Blog: GNFC Thanksgiving, Prayer needs, News and other thoughts

This is a space to share and celebrate what God is doing through GNFC. God is loving and merciful to us everyday, leading us to worship Him and declare of His goodness for us and those whom we serve. God is inviting us all to be part of the story, what is your part? We would love to hear from you, if you would like to contribute to this page please email mail@gnfc.org.uk to get in touch.

Please check back regularly to see the latest updates.

I would like to share a prayer letter and appeal that we have sent out to the friends, family and supporters of GNFC, I hope that you are inspired and encourage by what God is doing. Please consider how you could respond to this current need.

Prayer and Appeal Letter – February 2018

For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, he will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you.
 2 Corinthians 9:10 NLT

Dear Faithful Friend and Prayer Partner of GNFC,

We have a special request to ask you – in addition to your prayer support, please could you help to spread the word about the work of GNFC and particularly this appeal for the annual purchase payment for Oldfield Farm? It is imperative at this time that we grow the number of supporters of GNFC in order to sustain the work in the future. We need your help to reach more people so that this ministry can continue to offer love, support and shelter to women with the most complex needs and their children.

Work with the women we serve at Oldfield Farm is progressing very well.  Compared to national statistics the outcomes are incredible for the residents, because God is in every part of it.  These women are desperately seeking and are at the point when they are willing to give up the struggle with addiction and face the pain involved in the recovery journey, even though this may mean leaving their children and family behind for the duration of the 6-12 month programme. They know that unless they do something drastic to change how they are living, their lives may be at risk, or at least their relationships and family life; as addiction not only destroys the person themselves but their whole family and those around them who love them.

Oldfield Farm is an amazing place in a beautiful setting; where the sense of God’s presence and love is tangible, lives are changed and God’s love is expressed in His creation. We are in no doubt that Oldfield Farm was chosen by God to bless and change the lives of these women and children and the men and women who participate in the farm projects.

There is so much to celebrate with all that God is doing at the farm through His love expressed by the staff team and the Christian based structured recovery programme.

Our MP visited this week and a current resident just moving into Stage 2 told her that at Oldfield Farm she feels that she is loved and treated as a real person, not just a statistic as she did at a rehab she went to previously. Although she isn’t a Christian, she says that she has especially benefitted from the spirituality of the programme and the daily devotions which she intends to continue when she leaves. She and her whole family attended the baptism service of another resident last Sunday. She asked if she could share in the service and quoted verses from Ecclesiastes 3 about friendship and that two are better than one, for when one falls down, the other will lift him up. She has experienced this in the friendship and fellowship that is shared within the homely setting of the Recovery Centre. Another ex-resident told the MP that her time at Oldfield Farm in Stage One and then at Charis House in Stage Two of her recovery, had changed her life and also her daughter’s and has led her out of addiction into working in the Christian project that referred her. She was here to visit a current resident with whom she had lived in chaos as an addict and who she referred to Oldfield Farm recently through her role as a support worker (see attached testimony). God is good and it is He who has brought healing and restoration to this family and many others through the ministry of GNFC.

This is where your partnership in the gospel is so important! Your prayers and commitment to GNFC are crucial aspects of enabling the team on the frontline to fulfil their calling, sometimes under huge spiritual and practical pressure and without your partnership, it cannot successfully go forward.

At the time that we were seeking God prior to the founding of GNFC, He spoke to us of how he had an army of pray-ers who would pray for and support this ministry if only they knew of it (at that stage we hadn’t sent out any information of what God was stirring within us). That was a long time ago – more than 25 years, as we are now approaching our 24th Anniversary in November. Many of you became our prayer partners through that original communication and have faithfully supported GNFC from the outset. If you are one of those people, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for believing in the calling and ministry that God was giving to us and being a part of birthing  and providing for the purchase of Charis House in those early years of GNFC. Without the generous sacrificial support you gave and have continued to give, GNFC could not have become established or have given input into the lives of the almost 3,000 people we have had the opportunity to serve and to share the good news of God’s love for them.

We also extend our grateful thanks to those of you who have come on board to partner in this ministry over the ensuing years ensuring its continuation. So many of you have faithfully prayed and given sacrificially. It feels a big ask to come to you again and we understand that to keep on giving is not always possible, but now we pray that you will take a further step with us and help to increase our support base by passing on GNFC’s information and this specific current need to friends, church family and any other contacts, such as a business connections or groups that you belong to – in fact anyone who you feel may be interested and willing to support our work with women and children affected by addiction and domestic and sexual abuse.  If there is a church or a group that we could come to share the vision and stories of this ministry with, we will gladly come. Alternatively we can send resources to you so that you can share it with friends, start a prayer group, have a coffee morning and show a short promotional video of the work of the farm in particular at this time.

The Christian foundation that purchased the farm so that GNFC could set up a permanent home for both the Recovery Centre and the Farm-based Skills Projects in a timely way, stepped out of their normal pattern of giving to invest in this ministry to the women who live there and people who access the projects. We are so blessed to have this wonderful facility and don’t want to let them down through being unable to meet the instalment, yet at this moment in time we once again have a significant shortfall and pray that God will multiply the seed of faith that has been placed in Him for this purchase. We know that God is faithful and when He calls us to step out for Him and miraculously opens the way as in this case, He certainly will not see it abandoned. Our prayer is that together we can seek the release of all that is needed to ensure that the foundation receives the due amount and that this work that is life-changing for so many of the residents and the participants in the farm-based projects can go forward and grow from strength to strength as indeed the women and children who benefit from it are given their opportunity to do.

You may remember about an ex-resident who moved into her own property a year ago having successfully completed Stage One and Stage Two of her recovery journey. Since then she has kept in touch and has remained part of the Creative Well-being Group and Thursday Church as well as helping at Charis House during the week. Throughout all the time we have known her, first at Oldfield Farm and then at Charis House, she questioned issues of faith and struggled to come to conclusions about her own beliefs. To all of us watching, it has been so plain to see that God was at work drawing her towards Himself and over the past few weeks, we have metaphorically watched the butterfly struggle her way out of the chrysalis as she has taken step after step closer to her new birth, until she finally told us recently that she now truly believes. She became involved in a local church and just last week couldn’t wait to tell us her exciting news that she has decided to be baptised. There was much rejoicing at Charis House as well as in heaven!

2 Corinthians 9:11 continues with a further promise from God when we share our lives and resources with those in need.Yes! you will be enriched in every way so that you can always be generous and when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will thank God’.

Thank you for your generosity in standing together with us in prayer, for believing and for making the need known in the coming weeks and let’s see what God will do through His power at work in us and through us.

Thank you once again for your prayerful support for GNFC and we pray for God’s  blessings on you.

We have had a great time this Christmas, being able to stop to reflect and celebrate the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, we praise him. With each new day that comes, we are privledged to see our God move in the lives of the women and children whom we serve. It is only by His grace that he chooses to do this through us, that includes you 🙂 we thank you so much for your prayers, donations and the time you give. We have had fun in the snow, games, songs, laughter and a few moments of quiet and a few bouts of flu thrown into the mix.

Paul planned to visit in December, however his visit was postpoed, therefore the progress with the much awaited GNFC book and planning for the anticipated film has been slowed down somewhat. Paul has visited this week and has been capturing more stories from current residents, ex-residents and staff. He tells us that “it is so rewarding to see how lives are changing and to share with the women at Charis House and Oldfield Farm, they make me feel so welcome and I am blessed and privileged to be able to spend time here. We have also fixed the date for filming in April when a professional crew will be with us for around three days.”

After a hectic and whirlwind week of listening to and recording stories, seeing familiar and unfamilar faces and the occational trip to a favourite chocolate shop; tomorrow Paul takes the long drive back to Wiltshire with a laptop full of stories which he shall write up into chapter 7 of the GNFC book and will start planning for the next visit and for filming just after Easter.

Thank-you Paul for your support, input and prayer. We are excited to see how God is going to use you in the work.

Soft play Centre!

With the help of the Bingham Trust and many of our generous supporters, we have raised enough money to install a soft play equipment in the GNFC Nursery Hall. Firstly, we want to say a huge Thankyou to everyone who has contributed to this addition to the services. We will be opening a Play Centre in the New year, it will be open to the community and aims to be a space where children (under 5s) can play freely in a safe place, parents and carers can relax with friends and a cuppa and where we have the opportunity to share of the love of Jesus.

We are so excited about this development and pray that it will be an avenue to see change in our community.

You are invited to come to see (and children can play!) the soft play area during our Christmas Coffee and Cake event with your children on Thursday 21st December at 1.30-3.30pm. Father Christmas will be here too!

We have spaces available in the Ofsted registered nursery, which was praised by Ofsted for being a bright, motivating and stimulating environment where children achieve well. If you are looking for a nursery for your child, we encourage you to come and visit with your child. You can phone 07811 660272 to arrange a suitable time

We were blessed to see so many people on Saturday at the Anniversary. It was a time where we felt the tangible presence of God and heard many stories of what God has been doing through GNFC. We are so aware of how privledged we are to have your support through prayer, practical ways and finances and thank God daily for each of you. We have told you before about the book that our friend Paul has started to write, which will record some of the GNFC highlights and stories of those who have been involved and impacted by the ministry. Below is on of those stories that will be told in the book. We praise God how His name is glorified through this story – as with everyone that will be in the book.

Janine’s family were Christian and her upbringing had taught her Christian values, but after her parents lost their faith they were declared bankrupt and her father became addicted to alcohol – the family atmosphere had seriously shifted. During her teenage years, Janine was the life and soul of the party, attractive to men, ‘usually the wrong type’. She married a man who misused drugs and was violent. He was abusive towards Janine and she had a period of using Amphetamines and Cocaine.

Eventually taking her new born baby, she fled. Then came the battle of accusations that she was harming her child as he had marks on his hands that looked like cigarette burns. She says that girls entering Charis House are at a point of being ‘the most lost you have ever been in your life’. That was where she was when she walked through the door for the first time.

It was essential for her own protection that she needed to sever her past life and Charis House provided a sanctuary where she felt safe and cared for. She says she didn’t realise just how her life had been saved until she had been there a year and had been helped into her own home. Then she could look back objectively to her experience.

In Janine’s own words, ‘I was saved from going back to drugs, GNFC helped me every step of the way including attending court to fight for my son to be returned and cared for us both’. Her son was returned to her after it was proven that the marks on his hands, were in fact Impetigo, exonerating Janine from accusations despite knowing all along she had not and would not harm her child.

GNFC staff helped Janine make a successful bid for a house in the local community and she says her year living at Charis House also rekindled her faith, it was early days and she was still fragile, but things she had learned as a girl were refreshed in her and she started to journey into faith once more.

Janine says that she was once told by a counsellor that if she found a man who didn’t hit her she’d grab hold of him and she did, he was a kind man who fathered her second child; but he was immature and left one night. Janine is philosophical about this and says it wasn’t all his fault, she was still suffering from the traumas of the past and he had neither the experience nor the maturity to deal with it, but it hurt nonetheless. It was, ‘an up and down year in my faith’, says Janice. She shares the battle to forgive and be forgiven that she has faced, but is undoubtedly on that journey to peace with herself and those who have wronged her.

The amazing part of the story isn’t just how GNFC helped and supported Janine, but she says she has friends for life in other former residents who were in a similar place in their lives to her. She says, ‘You see each other at the lowest point in life and you see it through together.’ She is in close touch with others and describes how they support each other in life and the journey of faith. ‘One girl was baptised four months ago’, she says.

Now her journey has taken her to a new level, relationships are restored with her family, however the GNFC family is a constant in her life and she feels called by God and strong enough now to start to help others and has volunteered her time to Charis House, as have others before her. Her comment, ‘it feels like I have been on this journey and that it is now time to use the experience to help others’.

Janine has the assurance that God loves her and that she has been and still is loved at Charis House, she says, ‘The door is always open and I still feel a part of this family, where I am welcome’.

If you saw Janine at the school gate with her two boys, you wouldn’t guess the life she has had, or that she still has some health issues, her nails are painted, her hair is healthy and she takes care of her appearance in careful way, she speaks with confidence to share her story and is an ongoing work of grace, like us all.

The door at GNFC do not close behind former residents when they leave, but is always open and events such as the Creative Arts Group the Thursday Service and monthly Coffee Mornings provide valuable contact points, once in the family they are always a part of it.

As the GNFC team are getting ready and preparing for our 23rd Anniversary (the 18th November by the way!), it is a significant time to remember and pray for all those who have supported the charity since it began – without their input through prayer, financial giving and practical support GNFC would not be in existence. We are also prompted to stop and pray for all those who have been through the doors, for whatever reason they needed support we trust that God touched them then and continues to work in and through their lives.

Below is a piece written by our faithful friend Paul, who has recently been inspired to further support GNFC by using his skills to support the ministry by compiling a collection of stories to create a book. This book will describe and demonstrate some of the history of GNFC and testimonies of those involved past and present. I hope and pray that as you read this that you will be inspired and promted to consider if God is prompting you to respond and contribute to this cause, which God really does use to change lives.

In preparation for writing this book, we would love to hear from anybody who has made GNFC what it is today. If you are a current resident, ex-resident, supporter, current staff or former staff member, professional who has worked with a resident, or maybe even the postman then you are probably in the perfect postition to add your bit! Your contribution can be big or small, showing how God has used GNFC in your walk or journey. We are looking for testimonies or stories that are transformational, inspiring, funny, encouraging and those which at times may be difficult. If you have something to say, please email us at mail@gnfc.org.uk. Now for Paul to say his bit…

For twenty-three years GNFC has been the vehicle to serve more than 2700 people, it is a rich tapestry of love and endeavour by many people from Sponsor Partners to those who do the work at the sharp end.

It starts with an incredible story of faith to buy a former hotel in Buxton, Derbyshire and is brought up to date with the addition of a farm to broaden the potential to serve others and provide skills.

This is not a story about theology or theory, nor is it intended to glorify human endeavour, but a story of human compassion and a reflection of the love that God has for his creation. This story isn’t one story, but many stories brought from different perspectives and therefore rich in content gleaned from those who have lived GNFC, maybe as former residents, volunteers and workers and not forgetting the all-important sponsors who make it possible to keep the doors open to all who have need.

This is a story of women abused by others, victims of violence, homelessness, hopelessness, drugs and alcohol. It’s the story of sanctuary and restoration, of tears and laughter, of love and compassion, of sacrifice and going the extra mile to save even one from a wasted life. It is a story to inspire the next generation to pick up the baton and run the race, the ministry will change and evolve to need, but will always be to the glory of God and the release of captives.

When the sun shines over the farm and the horses are in the fields, the chickens roaming free and the sheep on the grass, the view across the valley bathed in warm light, every resident there can see the miracle of creation and can sense hope for the future. The world can regain a colour to replace the greyness that substances provide and the clear fresh air clears the head as new skills are learned and … there is a future.

The book will celebrate hope and the faith in Christ to succeed in His mission to love our neighbour. Our Lord Jesus came to set the captives free and this story celebrates freeing captives, namely Mothers and their children, to fulfil their potential and purpose.

If you have anecdotes or stories to share for possible inclusion, we would be delighted to hear from you.

Job Vacancies

Are you, or is someone you know seeking an opportunity to allow God to work through you to make a real difference in people’s lives. Working for GNFC is rewarding and enriching, with no day being the same.

GNFC works with the whole family in a way that will bring them hope, encourage strong relationships and motivate and empower people for real and lasting change that will break the cycle of dysfunction for the next and future generations.

Please consider if you or if someone you know could be part of the team. Staff accommodation may be available if needed.

Currently, there is a vacancy to co-0rdinate the Ofsted Registered Nursery. We are looking for a dynamic and motivated individual with vision and passion to help in the development of this area of the ministry, use this link to find out more. We are also looking for someone to work with the Recovery manager to co-ordinate the Structured Recovery programme to work with women and children, providing opportunities for real and lasting change, use this link to find out more.

To enquire, please contact Hazel Guest or Jo Collier on 01298 24761 or email mail@gnfc.org.uk

See the Autumn Newsletter here for the latest news and updates