60 and a half

Well, I’m now one twentieth of my way to 70! Or halfway through 60@60. So here is a short update of progress so far:

*26 activities completed so a bit behind target but 3 ongoing. Some ideas have been held back a bit by lockdown.

*£3 400 raised or 57% of target

So thanks so much, that’s fantastic. I am pretty shattered physically at the moment but have a few more ideas that I’m hoping to start implementing soon. So watch this space!

Today it snowed in Shoeburyness. Apparently the first proper snow ❄ here since 2009. Cold but beautiful! And gave me the chance to make a snow angel!

Today I saw a green woodpecker-only 4 birds to hit the 60. And recipes are well into the 30’s; last night I made broccoli and celery soup…

All of this is pretty peripheral to the main purpose of the whole thing which is to stand alongside and support persecuted Christians. The picture of the snow and berries above reminds me of blood and purity. Of Jesus’s death for us but also the suffering of North Korean Christians in the Labour camps.

I have attached another clip. This is another reminder of why you and I are doing this together:

In case you ever want to make a donation the best way to way to do so is via justgiving. I am under AdrianSmith6060. Thanks.

https://home.justgiving.com/

For such a time as this…

Were you on your doorstep at 6pm to clap for Captain Tom? Who would have thought a year ago that this virtually unknown 99 year old would be catapulted so dramatically into the spotlight and capture the nations heart?

2 500 years ago a young Jewish girl 👧 was similarly catapulted into the spotlight. Her name was Esther and she became Queen to a Persian King. She risked her neck to stop a genocide with her Uncles words ringing in her ears “Who knows if you weren’t born for such a time as this.”

For such a time as this….You rarely know when your special moment is going to come or what impact your choices will make. But it is important to step out, however small that might initially seem. I wonder what you are being called to do or when that moment may come? £33 million may be somewhat out of my sphere but I still hope to reach £6k.

I can’t remember if the straggly succulent in my kitchen has ever bloomed in all the years I’ve had it but it has this year. It’s moment has come….

I always remember meeting Father Douglas in 🇮🇶 Iraq in 2015. He had previously suffered terribly at the hands of kidnappers in Baghdad and had moved to Erbil. A few months later IS invaded the Nineveh Plain and thousands of people fled to Erbil. Father Douglas had to act fast. He accommodated 125 families in his church compound and set up a school, a library, training area, etc. He was so positive and set about, with support from Open Doors building what he called a family, not a camp. For Father Douglas it was “such a time as this”. One man, making a difference to the lifes of many…

Perseverance

This morning I went for a run. The wind was howling and the rain was lashing and I must admit there were moments when I would have like to have stopped. But it was important to me to keep going and not give up. Often we give up just when we are nearly there, in our work, our personal life or whatever. This video shows us that we should never give up (though sadly the whole event was probably caused by the drone operator scaring the bears)

I also love the song by Mandisa called”Overcomer”. The lyrics are great and a reminder to not give up however hard things are. And for many things truly are hard- if they are for you now I pray you will find strength to keep going.

Persecuted Christians around the world suffer everything from death threats; torture and beatings through to ostracism and rejection. For the 50-70k christians held in labour camps in North Korea it can be a life and death situation. It takes a lot to be an Overcomer in such a situation. But they have a higher call in their lives , one who they believe is worth it all. And when you’re struggling it means so much to know there are others there supporting you and willing you on, that you’re not alone…

I am thrilled to report I’ve nearly sold out of cards with 90% gone. Do let me know if you are still interested in buying any as I can order more. I know some were interested in the cross ✝️ card for Easter but maybe I should have a sunrise one too for the Resurrection (two suggestions though the bottom one is a sunset)! So let me know so I can gauge interest. Thanks.

If you ever feel you want to donate direct please go to the following:

https://justgiving.com/fundraising/AdrianSmith6060

Thanks as ever for your interest and support.

3K day..

A very quick one today. Exciting news is that the donation level reached £3k today. It’s halfway to the target so thanks for all your donations.

The cards are starting to go fast now with over half gone. Some designs are of course a bit more popular than others. But still quite a few left so let me know if interested.

So it’s a halfway there day and much to be thankful for day. So thankyou! But I’m reminded of running my one and only marathon-it was great to finish the first half but still the same to do again! But with perseverance, your support and God’s help I will get there…

Today I heard that attacks on christians in Democratic Republic of Congo by Islamic extremists are killing 100 people per month. It is causing great fear and anxiety. The needs are great worldwide keep spreading. Your donations enable us to make a difference.

An extra one…

An extra photo that I forgot to include yesterday. It’s of hops, essential to beer drinkers. So this is number 25 if it’s of any interest…

This morning a colleague sent me a video of winter flooding washing away the tents of Syrian refugees. Kids with limited clothing in the snow. It took me back to 2017 and visiting a refugee camp in Lebanon 🇱🇧. The heart breaking stories but the incredible work being done by a local church with help from Open Doors. Schooling, feeding medical provision; mental, physical and spiritual support. Making a difference. And that support is still so needed.

Or Amina in Nigeria 🇳🇬. Seeing her husband killed in front of her by Boko Haran and her sons seriously injured. Then about 3 years later being on a bus that was attacked, the men killed and being abducted for 8 months. Open Doors gave her physical support and trauma counselling. And she is one of many.

Thanks for making a difference.

https://justgiving.com/fundraising/AdrianSmith6060

Greetings cards..

As promised, I’m letting you know that the greetings cards have arrived from the printers. Yay! There are over 20 different designs to chose from so no complaints about lack of variety please! All are pictures I’ve taken since August and come with an envelope and a biodegradable plastic wallet. I’ve only done ten of each design at present but can re-order if necessary though a bit more expensive than buying in bulk.

Ah, I hear you say, but I don’t send cards, I’m a digital person. At 5 inches x 7 inches they look very nice in a frame too!

Each card is digitally printed on 300gsm card so it looks professional and is slightly glossy (but not too much)!

I have tried to select a variety of views from East Sussex up to Northumberland. The majority are from around Shoeburyness though!

If you are interested in ordering any do let me know. You can chose any combination you like. For ease of numbering I have grouped the photos in the post in fours. Starting from the top they would be numbers 1-4 in a clockwise direction so the sunflower 🌻 would be number 3 if ordering. For the second group of 4 photos featured, Dustanburgh Castle top left would be 5 if ordering the cliffs at Beachy Head no.7. Etc, etc.

In terms of donations it would be a minimum amount of £1.50 each card plus p&p. If donating for the cards via justgiving.com please don’t gift aid as thats not allowed in tax terms. But you can for a normal donation so please feel free to do that too 😉

This is yet another one of the 60@60 activities! As ever, it’s had its challenges. However it’s not about me setting up a card making business (!) but another way of raising awareness and money for persecuted Christians. That’s what it’s all about! The number of persecuted Christians this year has increased from 260 million worldwide to 340 million. The need keeps getting greater and you and I can make a difference.

Snippets..

I hope that you have had a good few days. There is a lot happening in the world 🌎 today with the American inauguration; Covid and flood risk in the North of England. Lots of challenges in the world.

Not a lot of 60@60 news in comparison to that! I have received a donation for growing the beard though I don’t think I will reach the Zeus standard. Maybe a Geography teacher!

I have received my sample greetings card. It looks good! I shall be ordering quite a few more and letting you know how you can order them. Lots of other photo designs too. Tweets, Facebook and texts are now our preference for communication but a card is still nice to receive. 🙂

Thanks as ever for your support. Every donation makes a difference to persecuted Christians, which is what this is all about.

Blue Monday..

Apparently all the research suggests this Monday in the year is the one where we feel at our lowest 😔 Oh dear! How has yours been? I must have started early as I didn’t manage to do my normal Sunday posting as I was drained! And today I did have a trip to the dentist for a cracked off bit of tooth and was having some computer problems and must admit to feeling flat this morning. So it was good to hear on the radio about taking a positive approach to life and believing God is for us. How do you deal with Blue Monday blues?

For many persecuted Christians every Monday is a blue Monday. Their external circumstances are unlikely to get better from a human perspective. But their hope within frequently shines bright despite the surrounding gloom. They frequently say not to pray that circumstances would ease but that they would stand strong, like trees planted by water.

I haven’t got lots new to report other than there is quite a lot going on behind the scenes. One of these activities is trying to produce a series of blank greetings cards. A few technical issues but a proof is currently being printed. I’ve got over 20 photos lined up for 5×7 inch cards. Watch this space but here’s a taster…

Well, I hope that the only way is upwards for you this week. However dark things seem let’s be light and hope bringers. Here’s the full you tube video clip of last weeks world watch list launch to MP’s-some very interesting and challenging talks, including from those experiencing persecution…

Thanks as ever for your interest and support.

The World Watch List 2021

Today was the parliamentary launch of the Open Doors 2021 World Watch List hosted by Theresa Villiers MP. It was great to be able to watch it live on YouTube as it was a virtual event. To hear about what is happening in Nigeria, Iraq and China was sobering. You can catch up with the presentation on YouTube-it takes a little while before the presentations start when you open it but worth the wait.

I was struck by some of the statistics given. The number of persecuted Christians has shot up over the last year to 340 million, that’s 1 in 8 of all Christians worldwide. The number of countries with levels of high or above of persecution is now 73. Awful but thats why it’s important to make a difference. In a very small way that’s what 60@60 is all about. As Father Daniel from Iraq said “We remember those who stood with us”. You and I are holding up the arms of those who struggle to stand.

North Korea 🇰🇵 remains the most dangerous place on earth to be a Christian for the 20th year. Prison camps, internal exile and sometimes death await. Very dangerous for Koreans and for Chinese Christians who try to help them.

So your donations via my justgiving link make such a difference. It seems a little banal after talking about all the serious issues above to mention the latest plans but these include producing gift cards (watch this space); a quiz sheet about all things 60 and reading chapters and verses from the Bible with 60 in them. Some have questioned whether the growing of a 60 day beard counts but I reckon as I have to cope with the itchiness that it does! Proof of the first 13 days worth is below. It’s obviously sending me a bit cross-eyed too…!

Thanks as ever for your interest and your support for our persecuted family.

Little things..

I hope that you have had a good weekend. Yesterday morning I went for my weekly 10k run; really didn’t want to but when I did it was it was a cold but beautifully atmospheric morning…

I know I have produced a calendar but some people have started to ask about books and/or notelets and cards. But they can be expensive to produce so I wonder if there is any broader interest out there? Let me know!

In terms of activities I keep plugging away at various things. Half way through random acts of kindness and was thrilled today to spot two more bird species after biking to a local nature reserve. Only five types of birds to go to hit 60! I already had a heron but this one stood there in a pond for an hour so couldn’t resist a photo. Shame I couldn’t zoom closer…A picture of patience!

This Wednesday at 4pm is the launch of the Open Doors World Watch list 2021. I know I have plugged it before but well worth joining in (and inviting your MP too). This will show where persecution has changed. A reminder that this year the presentation to Parliament is going to be live 😃 on zoom with the opportunity to hear speakers from Syria 🇸🇾 and Nigeria 🇳🇬. It’s a really good way of picking up what is really happening and what your contributions go to. Do tune in.

https://www.opendoorsuk.org/persecution/

Thanks as ever for your interest.