Ok, I’ve joined the bandwagon and started doing roundrobin letters. Thankfully (you might say, although others might disagree) there’s only me to talk about, so I’ll stick in the first person.
2005 has been an interesting year, to say the least. I’m going to pick up on a couple of highlights…
January was a surprisingly busy month. I spent the early part planning the logistics for an evening the Church of the Resurrection planned with Adrian and Bridget Plass in Fisherwick Presbyterian Church. Armed with the friends who make up the XtremeEvents team, we arranged tickets, posters (courtesy of Ruth Strong), a bookstall, sound, and I also did a bit of photography. This was before I learnt that you get best results without a flash… Anyway, pictures are on the XtremeEvents.org website (http://www.xtremeevents.org). Such as they are.
January also saw me join the team for Lifespring, a weekly event in Lurgan Town Hall with which I remained involved until July. Each week it featured one or two Christian bands and a speaker with an evangelistic message or testimony – my turn to give my testimony finally came in July at my last Lifespring. Inbetween times, I designed and ran their website, designing the above (very basic) logo. A competition was run to replace it. Sadly, they did not survive October, and Claire Preston and Caroline Sloan are now waiting for God to steer them to wherever’s next.
In March, we converted XtremeEvents.org into a Limited Company, but not without problems. Having arranged to incorporate it via a reputable company, we discovered problems with the legal documentation that would have left the company unadministerable – so my money was refunded and the issues sorted out. Something to do with being responsible to the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister, which has a very specific meaning in Northern Ireland, even if neither person currently exists. The company has largely lain dormant since, possibly to the relief of those involved, as Ruth Strong, Sarah Reid, Dave Lowry, Jemz Kirkpatrick, Rob Elkin and Mark Railton have all had a very busy year, but I will be looking at advertising and getting our name out there in the New Year. I hope. If your church or Christian group needs help to run something… that’s what we’re there for. Plug over.
A very memorable day was the Global Day of Prayer in May up at Stormont, after which I infamously wrote to the Belfast Telegraph quoting the Bible to the Evangelical Protestant Society, who had decided that Roman Catholics going to an event would stop the Holy Spirit from turning up. It’s somewhere in my writing livejournal at http://www.livejournal.com/users/andyb_writes. My main blog is also at livejournal – http://www.livejournal.com/users/andyboal.
Other highlights during the year included my twelfth Summer Madness, something few have been inclined to attempt as staff (still, hardly unknown!). In the New Year, I plan to redesign my website (http://www.andyboal.co.uk) and put some photographs from Summer Madness up … I also recorded seminars (including Darrell Scott) and pressed buttons to show movies this year.
My life suddenly lit up in May when I met Becky Squibb for the first time. Becky, who is 26 and a teacher from Woking, Surrey and I had chatted online for a few weeks, and she came over to visit at the end of May. We hit it off, thankfully, and we’ve been exchanging monthly visits ever since, except July.
Things have been quite up and down at times – indeed, at the moment we are kind of in limbo. Becky is flying over again on Wednesday, and while we are both looking forward to it, we have issues to tackle that will either make or break the relationship. Please pray for us, as while we love each other very much, love might not be enough if we can’t live with each other (particularly if we can’t tackle some of my oddities, most of which I can deal with with a bit of thought), and certainly we want to follow God’s will for our lives.
The autumn looked like being quieter, until I heard about the plans for the Belfast Boiler Room (see http://www.24-7prayer.com) – we’ve been meeting every Thursday night, not so much to plan, as just to chill out, pray for each other, worship etc, and carry out a couple of prayer walks. I’ve met friends, old and new through it, and it is so exciting to think of what God will do in Northern Ireland – and Ireland in general!
I also did my ninth Autumn Soul in October, once again helping Peter and Kate King do lights – but this time I had a certain young lady friend to keep me company (wonder who she was?!)
Also in October, my health took a bit of a downturn. The doctor revealed that my blood pressure was up to 165/100, which is rather high… a few weeks ago, it was down to less than 140/80, which is all right, but not where we’d like it to be. So I have to lose weight. Yikes. My headaches did decrease, but they are still there, and a recent cold left me very tired and run down. I’m back at work, but by no means fully recovered.
Talking of work… I’m looking for a new job. A few opportunities have come up – I will learn on 9 January – my birthday (of all days) – whether I have been successful in gaining promotion after an interview earlier this month, but I wouldn’t mind a complete change from the Civil Service. The hunt goes on!
At church, I did sound for a while inbetween playing bass guitar. I don’t get to play piano as much as I would like, which can be frustrating, but we shall see what happens. I’ve given up doing sound for now, as it is so far on the periphery of my abilities, and the stress has been getting to me.
I guess prayer subjects for 2006 (and for that matter, the next week as well!) are:
• My relationship with Becky – that if it’s God’s will, we would work out and be able to move forward together as we both hope
• My search for a new job
• What to do re church and music
In all these things, it’s about God’s will and trying to discern what it is, and then actually following it. God is of course unmistakeably in control, but I want to make sure I’m not trying to push him out of the way. He will of course remind me if I do!