Today Danielle officially became a “Grey”, as girls who attend The Greycoats Hospital School for Girls are called. We woke up at 6.15 am to get ready (sheesh – this used to be normal for me when I went to school, but it was HARD today). Of course, being the first exciting day, we were both ready by 6.33 – to leave for 6.55 (out schedule was very precisely worked out by daddy!) After taking the “new uniform” photos (by the front door):
The New Grey
We left home at 6.52 to walk to Brockley Station. Crossing to platform 1, we caught the 7.01 (instead of the 7.09 as planned) train to Whitechapel. We arrived at Whitechapel, and “followed daddy’s gut feeling” and went to the District Line platform 3, where we waited just 2 minutes for our tube to St James’s park. (So much for the effectiveness of the Tube Strikes!)
We got to St James’s park at 7.45, and then tried to follow daddy’s iphone “Google maps” app to Greycoats. After going the wrong way a few times, and around the block twice, we asked for directions (which Danielle had suggested doing as soon as we got off the tube!). Less than 5 minutes walk later, we arrived at the school….
… where Daddy proceeded to embarrass Danielle to her new teachers for the first (of probably many) time(s).
She had forgotten to have a drink at breakfast, and as the tooth fairy had raided Daddys wallet for Michael last night, he didn’t have any change to buy her a bottle of water, and as we don't know the area, we decided not to take the time to walk around looking at Daddy’s Google maps app trying to find one. (Who says I don’t learn from my mistakes?!) Instead, daddy suggested Danielle go to the bathroom, and grab a drink from the tap while she is there. Danielle got a look of absolute HORROR on her face as daddy went up to a random member of staff and asked if she could go to the toilet. To add to the embarrassment, the teacher said :
“I’ll take her, and then later we’ll have a chat about when you can and can’t go to the toilet.” Trying to rescue things, Daddy said “Well, I’m very sorry – it was my fault not hers for not taking her earlier.” (!!!)
I kissed her goodbye, and left her walking shamefacedly off with the teacher trying much more diplomatically than daddy did to rescue the situation saying “Thank you very much. I’m sorry about this!”
Of course, in all the drama, I forgot to take a picture of her going in the doors for the first time. Will have to rememdy that with a picture at the end of the day!
Oh… and then I texted her to say I hope that I didn’t get her in trouble, to which I got the hasty reply:
“No turnin off fone”
Probably a wise move…
Here is a school assembly Danielle and I did with puppets this morning. Danielle helped me write the script and do the puppets, and Keliah provided the beautiful artwork (Click the pictures for a full size version – lots of detail on them).
Good morning everybody! This morning we have a very special treat for you. 2 of Michael and Keliah’s friends from summer childrens week have come to visit, and they have asked me if they could come with me this morning to tell you a story. Would you all please give a big clap for Gerry and Fiona.
Fioooooonnnaaaaaaaa... Fiooooooonnnaaaaa... where are you? (Pauses, noticing the audience.) Oh hello everybody! (Wait for them to say hello. If they don’t “I said... “HELLO EVERYBODY!”) Have you seen my sister Fiona? I can’t find here – and she is supposed to be telling me a story this morning. (Wait for them to answer. If they don’t – “I said (say it very slowly) Haaavvvee.... yoouuuu.... seeeeeen.... myyyyyy...... siiiiisssstttteeerrrrr.... Fiiiioooooonnnnnnaaaaaa......?”)
Well.... maybe if we call her she will come. Everybody tofether now. 1....2....3.....”FIONA”
Oh my! What is all that shouting about. Gerry – why are you making such a noise?
Oh there you are, Fiona. The children and I are waiting for our stoooryyy.
Children? What Children? (looks at Gerry and ignores the children.
These children, Silly! (Looks out over the assembly) The ones from St Stephens.
Wha...? Oh! Hello everybody! I didn’t see you all there. Now, whats this about a story, then?
We all want a stooooryyyy. Could you tell us one then?
Well Gerry, I know YOU always like stories, but maybe nobody else wants one...? (Looks around at the audience while she is speaking)
Of course they do! (Looks at the audience) Don’t you, everybody? (Pause)
Ok then. How about one of the parables of Jesus?
That sounds GREAT! (pause for a couple of seconds)
What a parable?
A parable is.... do any of you know what a parable is? (Take answers from a few people.)
Explanation: A parable can be many things, but often they were stories Jesus used to teach people about himself or the Kindom of God.
Ahhhh! Thank you everybody for helping me to understand. Ok, let’s have a pa – pa - paba-LiL then.
That’s “PARABLE” Gerry. Ok then.
One day, in Teletubby land, Tinki Winki went for a walk...
Fiona! That’s not right! You’re supposed to be doing a pa-pa-pa ra bill.
Oh... whoops! Lets start again shall we?
Jesus told the people this story to teach them to be ready for his second coming, and what to do while they waited.
Once, there was a certain man who was going on a trip to a far away country. He called his servants together, and gave them each some money to look after. To the first servant, he gave five talents.
But I thought you said he gave them money. Now you are saying he gave them talents. Make up your mind.
Gerry, a Talent IS money. It is a measurement of money, like today, we talk about pounds. Pounds can be used to talk about how much something weighs, but it can also be talking about money. Talents can talk about special gifts we have, but in THIS story, it is talking about the master’s money.
Ok Fiona. I think I understand now.
Great. Well as I was saying, the first servant got 5 talents of money. Then, the master called the second servant, and gave him two talents to look after. Then, to the last servant, he gave one talent to look after. The the man went on his journey.
While he was away, the first servant went away, and used the talents he had been given to buy things and sell them for a profit. He did so well, that he managed to make another 5 talents.
The second servant took his two talents, and did the same thing. He was so good at selling that he also made another TWO talents.
The last servant, however, was afraid of making a mistake and losing all of his money, so instead of using it to make more, he went and dug a hole in the ground, and buried the money to try and keep it safe.
(Patiently) Yes, Gerry?
I don’t think that was a good idea. The money might get dirty, and he might even forget where he buried it. THEN what would he do?
Well, Gerry, you are right about it not being a good idea, but maybe you should let me get on with the story, and you can find out why it was a bad idea.
Ok Fiona, but....
Gerry, it’s nearly play time. Do you want to ask questions for the rest of the time we have, or do you want to hear the end of the story?
Ummmm..... maybe I can ask my questions later?
Right then... lets continue.
Well, a while later, the master came back from his journey. He called his servants together again, and asked them to bring his money back, and tell him what they had done with it.
The first servant was very excited.
“Master,” he said, “I used your money to buy and sell things, and I made another 5 talents profit!”
“Well done,” said his master, “That was a very good thing to do. You were so good at that with just 5 talents, I’m going to give you a new job taking care of much more!”
The second servant was also very excited to tell his master what he had done.
“Look!” he said. “I also took your money and used it to buy and sell things, and I made another two whole talents”
“Well done!” said his master. “You can also have a new job looking after more of my money. I am very pleased with you.”
Finally, the third servant came to his master. He was very scared though, because he had only the original one talent his master had given him. So he tried to think up a good excuse for why he hadn’t made a profit.
“Master,” he said, “I thought I heard scary noises one night, and maybe thieves were coming to steal your money. Also, I am not much good at maths, and I didn’t think I would make money buying and selling stuff, so I thought rather than let your money get stolen, or lose money because I am not good at maths and selling stuff on Ebay...”
(Interrupting) Oh wow! Did they have Ebay in Jesus days, Fiona?
(Clearing her throat rather loudly) Well, umm... no, Gerry. But I thought it might make the story more interesting!
Fiona, you’re not supposed to do that with the Bible! Tell it properly please!
Right, sorry Gerry. Anyway..
When he heard this, the master was very cross with the third servant.
“You silly man!” he said. “Why didn’t you put it in the bank and at least earn some interest? Now, because you were so foolish, I am taking your money and giving it to the man who had five talents. Maybe he will make better use of it!”
And so he did.
Oooh my, Fiona. That was a good story. But what does it mean?
Well, Gerry, it means that God gives us all different things to do in our lives, and different gifts and abilities to use. If we use them properly, then he will be pleased with us when he comes back one day. But if we are too scared to do what he asks us to, or if we don’t use well the gifts and abilities he has given us, then when he returns, he won’t be happy with us.
Oh! Well, Fiona, I want to make sure that I always use my abilities properly so God will be pleased with me when he comes back. My best ability is football, do you think that I can use that for God, Fiona?
Well, Gerry, yes I do. And do you know what? I think it’s play time now.... let’s go and practice using your football gift in the playground.
My Trip home from New Zealand has been broken up by a 20 hr stopover in Bangkok, Thailand. I am in a cheap and cheerful Hotel called Thong Ta. It is clean, cool (really lovely to walk into your air-conditioned room at 2 am when it is 31 Degrees Celsius outside!), and best of all I can sleep! Ahh – the bliss of deep sleep after 14.5 hours night flying if, like me, you can’t manage the trick of sleeping with your knees around your throat. Seriously, the space allowed for passengers in an Emirates 777 Boeing is faaaaar too little!
My room was exactly like the one shown, and the bed was comfortable, the air conditioning effective, the Fridge well stocked (although only the 2 bottles of water were complimentary, I took the Thai Crisps for the kids to try).There is also free “high speed” wireless internet, which I found sufficient for email and browsing purposes but a little slow uploading to my blog, and not suitable for watching streaming you-tube or uploading to you-tube.
Check-in/check-out time is supposed to be 12 pm- 12 pm, but as I was checking in at 2 am and wanted to check out at 4 pm the same day, they didn’t mind accommodating me for that.
The cable TV was pretty much all Thai, with a few rubbish English channels, and the only English news channel being the Al Jazeera one, which went on and on about all the Riots here in Bangkok (which I have so far been totally unaffected by).
Breakfast was in a lovely little Garden area
… and was nothing fancy (well, you get the quality you pay for, and it was free!)
2 pieces of white toast (no offer of brown or wholewheat) with a pack of butter and Strawberry jam, a suprisingly perfectly cooked egg, some very cheap processed ham, a glass of fresh Orange juice, a coffee or tea (with powdered creamer and sugar, no milk) and a plate of rather refreshing pineapple chunks which were lovely considering the early morning (9 am) temperature of 35 deg C.
Also included in the price of the stay was a shuttle from airport to hotel, and a return shuttle back tonight.
The only negative to the whole experience was the periodically slightly noisy aircon. Usually it ran smoothly and quietly, but every now and then it made a noisy throttle sound. Not enough to wake me from a deep sleep, but enough to be annoying if you are awake.
The best thing about this whole adventure was the whopping £14.81 price tag for 1 adult for 1 night. Incredible value for money.
Would I recommend it for a longer stay in Bangkok? No, but for an excellent value quick stop-over, it was surprisingly good.
Kim, one of the staff on the DTS very kindly did my make-up for this morning’s lecture. Here is the video of how it was done.
(WARNING: The following Video clip may be the most boring 4 minutes you ever spend in your life! Proceed at your own risk.)
The lectures went very well, and the face paint really made them memorable.
Today I begin my teachings on the book of Revelation. I may just have freaked out the speaker for the week on the DTS, who is teaching about Israel.
Just for those who are wondering – I use the face paint to sketch out the symbols of the day’s lectures for the students on my face. Today we are looking at the overall message of Revelation – is it about the Antichrist and the beast? Is the 666 significant? What about the 7 stars and the candlesticks? What is God’s plan for the beast, the Jews, and the church?
We will take a look at methods of interpretation, do Chapter 1, and then, if we have time, begin to look at the 7 churches.
Fun stuff! Please be praying for me. I know that there is so much bad teaching out there from the book of Revelation, and really want God to encourage and challenge the students by what I teach.
I’ll report back later!