Equipping for Life for a better future

Letters and Reports 2021
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October 15, 2021: from Brother David
David Jardine's email to VTs and Prayer Partners (15th October, 2021)

Hello, Brothers and Sisters.  I want to begin my email on this occasion by emphasising the next day of prayer for EfL, next Friday, October 22.  We invite people to choose a half hour, or more, between 8am and 8pm (or outside those hours if you wish ).  In the early days of EfL we were getting nearly 400 slots filled at every day of prayer.  I would like to match that effort on this occasion.  Please let Pat know which half hour you have chosen.

We have not been able to go into schools for 18 months, but we spent a good part of that time planning for the future and praying.  Because of that we are coming out of the pandemic strong as a ministry, ready to go.  It is the quiet day by day prayer which has put us in that position.
I heard someone say one time that in any war 10% of the soldiers do not want to be there.  Another 80% don't want to be there but accept the fact that they have to be.  And then there are 10% who really want to be there because they love fighting.  It is that final 10% whom you are counting on to win the war for you.  In Equipping for Life we want a good percentage of prayer warriors to be like that.  They love praying, will spend time in prayer, believe that prayer is making a difference.  May many of you receiving this email be like that, praying not just on special days of prayer but every day, on behalf of EfL.
Don't forget to make that phone call or email to   pat@equippingforlife.org.uk   or    07889572800
Getting back into schools
Our VTs went into Forth River last Friday.  It went very well, with all the protocols in place.  Another 4 schools have also given us dates to start.  I have no doubt we will soon be back in all the schools on the Shankill, with all the precautions in place for our protection.  So that is good news.
David Jardine's health
I have been slower to recover from surgery than I expected.  However, I am still going in the right direction.  Doctors and physiotherapists are confident that I will make a full recovery, but it could take another 12 months.  I am grateful to those of you who have been praying for me.  Could I ask you please to keep on praying?  That is the very best thing you could do for me.
Appointing a tennis coach
We are in the process of appointing a tennis coach for the Shankill.  We believe that we have got a good man.  His responsibility will be to introduce tennis to all the schools on the Shankill.  That will then open up the path to introducing tennis into summer schemes.  The future looks good.
As you know we have had a tennis coach teaching children in Forth River during September and October.  It has gone well, and children who participated will receive a certificate on the last day, Wednesday 20th October.
Boxing on the Shankill
Boxing used to be a big sport on the Shankill.  They produced many champions, even world champions.  But boxing facilities are no longer good in that area.  I would like to see that process reversed.  One of the main jobs will be to help people to make applications for funding.
This will be a project for the future, but we can start thinking about it now.
Shankill Mirror
The Editor of the Shankill Mirror, John McVicar, has been giving us good publicity.  In the last two editions there has been an article and pictures of tennis in Forth River.  We are grateful to John for this good publicity.
Messages from our Co- Director and our Area Support Officer
It has been an absolute privilege to join the EfL team since the beginning of October. Unlocking potential in the lives of children alongside people of amazing faith – Brother David, Pat, Darrin and the volunteers – brings joy, laughter and thanksgiving each day.  We are building on a strong foundation and I pray that Kingdom seeds will continue to be planted in hearts, homes and communities across Northern Ireland.  Exciting steps each day meeting with Church & Community Leaders and Schools Teams.  We are welcomed with open arms as we explore opportunities to support and align projects.  
Audrey Curry: Co-Director 
I am delighted to report that my first few weeks with Equipping for Life have been both enjoyable and exciting. Enjoyable because Brother David, Pat, Audrey and the volunteers are wonderful to work with; the quality of the people associated with EfL is exceptional and their love for Jesus pours out of them. These few weeks have also been exciting because I am beginning to see the work that we are all doing is life-changing for the young lives involved. There is so much work to do but, by praying for God’s kingdom to come in these people and in these areas, we are engaged in God’s work.
Darrin Barr, Area Support Officer
Collection of food and baby basics for Shankill Methodist Food Bank
This will take place on Friday, November 19 (10am to 12 noon ).  This will help the Food Bank to build up stocks for Christmas.
Brothers and Sisters, I want to thank you for all your prayers and practical support for EfL.
                        O High King of heaven
                        Have mercy on our land
                        Revive your Church
                        Send the Holy Spirit for the sake of the children
                        May your Kingdom come to our nation
                        In Jesus' mighty name. Amen
May God's peace and strength and healing be with each one of you.
                                    David Jardine
September 21, 2021: from Brother David
David Jardine's email to VTs and Prayer Partners ( 21st September, 2021 )

Hello, Brothers and Sisters. There has been lot of uncertainty, even recently, about when we can get back into schools. However, we have been in touch with some Head Teachers personally and at this moment two schools want us back in the month of October. We will be in contact with the other schools later this week. We are asking Head Teachers to let us know the safety protocols which they have put in place, so that we can guarantee the protection of our Volunteers. What we are aiming for ourselves is that each pupil and VT will have a copy of the same book, so that they can be socially distanced and still read from the same text. This will be possible as there are plenty of copies of that very good book, Friends With God, in the office. Every VT is entitled to a free copy of this book. If you have not got your copy yet please ring Pat and arrange to collect it.
If they have not already done so the team leader in your school will be ringing you to check that you are still happy to go into school at this time. We will not be putting any pressure on anyone. But we can say that, in co-operation with the Head Teachers, we are doing everything we can to ensure your safety.
I am confident that we will be back into most schools on the Shankill during the course of October and November. May I say that our current enquiries seem to point to the fact that most of our VTs are still willing to serve. We are deeply grateful for that. It is another indication of the high quality of people working with us.

Prayer meetings by zoom
These have started again on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 10am. Tuesdays are run by Jenny Hurst and Wednesdays by Danny and Lorraine Graham. I am very grateful to Jenny, Danny and Lorraine, and also Jackie Mitchell ( who organised the prayer on Fridays ) for keeping these meetings going during lockdown. That is part of the reason why, after 18 months of pandemic, EfL is still in a strong position.
If you would like to take part in one of the two prayer meetings on zoom please contact Pat at the office.

Tennis has started again on Wednesday mornings in Forth River. I went last Wednesday to observe and was very impressed. The enthusiasm of the children was terrific.
Malvern school has also invited us to introduce tennis there. Our aim is to bring it every school on the Shankill.
Darrin Barr is in charge of this new project. He is the man to contact if you would like to be involved.

Day of prayer
The next day of prayer for EfL will be on Friday, 22nd October from 8am to 8pm ( or outside those hours if it suits better ). We ask people to take a half hour slot. All of the prayer is done at home. Please let Pat know which slot you select.

New publicity leaflet
Darrin is working on a new publicity leaflet as the last one is now a bit out of date.

Tommy Stewart
Our faithful and much valued adviser, Tommy Stewart, has had an operation. He is recovering well, but I am asking people to pray for him. Tommy was with us even before EfL got off the ground. His contribution to the ministry has been immense.

Collection of food and baby basics for Shankill Methodist Food Bank
This will take place on Friday, November 19 ( 10am to 12noon ). This will help the Food Bank to build up stocks coming up to Christmas.

New Volunteer Tutors
Just recently we have done all the administration to clear 20 new Volunteers to work with us. Once again the Lord is sending us very good people.

David Packie Hamilton
David is well known in Christian circles and beyond in Northern Ireland. He is a former long term prisoner who was converted during his time in Crumlin Road Prison. David has had a very powerful ministry for almost 40 years.
In recent months he has been battling serious illness. Just recently his condition improved and doctors are confident that he is going to make a good recovery.
I told David that I would ask you to pray for him. He thanks you for your prayers. David has been living in Manchester for quite a few years now, but he coming back to live in Carrickfergus in October.

Ministry to the disabled
While watching the Paralympics from Tokyo I was so impressed by all the contestants that I felt we should try to do something for people in the areas where we work who are disabled. This may well be in the future, but I just mention it so that we can be thinking about it.

Brothers and Sisters. These are uncertain days politically. So I thought it would be good to finish with the Ffald-y- brenin prayer for our country.

O high King of heaven,
Have mercy on our land
Revive your church
Send the Holy Spirit for the sake of the children
May your Kingdom come to our nation,
In Jesus' mighty name. Amen

Brothers and Sisters, may the Lord bless you and keep you.

David Jardine

the operation.  But Audrey Curry reported back to me and said that they got off to a great start.  Indeed the word she used was amazing.  So that is a great answer to prayer.
Tennis will continue every Wednesday this month in Forth River.
Thanks for hanging in there with Efl and for everything you do for this ministry.
                                             David Jardine
June 9th, 2021: from Brother David
Hello, Brothers and Sisters
I hope this email finds you well.  I have some good news to start with.  On Monday I emailed all Head Teachers in the Greater Shankill area, asking if we could start to make preparations for going back into schools in September.  Inside a matter of minutes seven out of the ten schools were back to me to say that they very much want us back in September, unless of course there is a setback in the meantime which we sincerely hope will not happen.  Some of the schools said that it would probably be the end of the month before we get in, to give them time to get things organised.  That is all right.  The good news is that we will almost certainly be in in September.  And we can start to make preparations now.  Hallelujah!
Cards from VTs to children
We are planning to send a card to all the children whom we were taking for reading.  I think your team leader will have contacted you about this.  The date we have picked for everyone to send the cards is Monday, June 14.  If you have forgotten the surname of your children I am sure your team leader will be able to provide it for you.  I hope everyone can send out the two cards as we do not want any of the children to be left out.
Places opening up a branch of EfL in September
Castledawson  -  Rev. Colin Welsh
Downpatrick  -  Rev. Adrian Dorrian
Portadown  -  Canon Terence Cadden
East Belfast  -  Canon Norman Jardine
Carrickfergus  -  Rev. Nigel Kirkpatrick
I really want to thank my clergy colleagues for their hard work and willingness to set up a branch of EfL in their area.
In co-operation with Bryson Social Services we are now up and running in Ballyduff. The representatives of EfL, Heather Boyd and Dorothy McClean, are happy at the way the project is going.  Relationships with children, parents and Bryson representatives seem to be very good.  Please pray for Heather and Dorothy as they try to move the project forward.
Food Bank
The collection of food and baby basics at the Methodist Food Bank went very well last Thursday.  We collected a large amount of food.  Sincere thanks to all who were able to contribute.
Next Week of Prayer
We want to get off to a strong start after the summer break, so I am calling a Week of Prayer from Tuesday, August 31 to Friday, September 3.  People can take half hour slots.  And we normally encourage everyone, if they can, to take a slot every day.  I have not included Monday in that week because it is a Bank Holiday.
If it is appropriate and completely safe I may book the Argyle Business Centre for one day of prayer during that week.  We will know closer to the time what is possible.
Books to children
We have over 200 copies of that great children's book, Friends with God, in the Centre.  So we have decided to give one copy to each of the children whom we were taking for reading.  It is a wonderful book.
Article on Forgiveness
We have an attachment this week - an article that  I have written for the magazine Plain Truth.  Hope that you find it helpful.  Forgiveness is a very important subject.
Personal request for prayer
I mentioned before that I am having a hip operation on Friday, June 11, St. Barnabas Day.  I would be grateful if you could pray for this operation and also for my time of recovery.
Prayer for children
We have been given permission to say a prayer with children before they start to play tennis.  It is the same prayer which we use in the reading classes.  I will just remind you of it : 

                         A Blessing Prayer for the Children
                  I bless you in the name of Jesus that He will help
                  you to learn well, to play well and to make good 
                  friends, so that you will be happy at school every day.
                   I bless you that you will be fit and healthy, and that
                   your body will grow strong, knowing Jesus loves you 
                                           and protects you.
                   May the good Lord bless you and keep you.  Amen.
Tennis at Forth River school
This started today Wednesday.  I was not able to go because I am self isolating before the operation.  But Audrey Curry reported back to me and said that they got off to a great start.  Indeed the word she used was amazing.  So that is a great answer to prayer.
Tennis will continue every Wednesday this month in Forth River.
Thanks for hanging in there with Efl and for everything you do for this ministry.
                                             David Jardine

May 4th, 2021: from Brother David
David Jardine's email to Prayer Partners and VTs (May 4, 2021)

Hello, Brothers and Sisters
It is good that with the vaccine for Covid being widely rolled out we can look forward to lots of areas of life which have been closed for more than a year being opened up again. We need that good news because on the political front there is once again uncertainty in the Province, with the removal of Arlene Foster from her position as DUP leader and also First Minister. I was concerned about this when the news broke, but as I prayed about it I felt the Lord say to me, ' It's all right. I have the situation completely under control. '
My way of praying about situations like this, which are uncertain but also important to me, is to hand them over to the Lord and leave them with Him. That usually restores my peace, but also gives the Lord freedom to work and to bring healing.
I think the advice Paul gave to the Philippians 2000 years ago is very relevant here - ' The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep guard over your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. '

Since my last email I have been down to Portadown to seal the arrangement to open up a branch of EfL there. The host church will be Seagoe Parish. They were having difficulty finding someone to take charge of administration, so one of our VTs, Julie Foy, kindly agreed to do it for them, to get them up and going. Julie came with me to meet Canon Terence Cadden, the Rector. It was a very good meeting and we hope that we will be able to begin in the local school there in September.

Week of Prayer ( May 17 - 21)
Our next Week of Prayer will soon be upon us, May 17 - 21. I am hoping that our supporters will agree to take a half hour slot every day of that week. Prayer is that important. Maybe you could start now to make your booking with Pat. It does not matter if more than one person takes the same slot, so long as prayer is going on.
At the last Week of Prayer during February 400 slots were filled. That was very good, but I would like more on this occasion.

I think one of the things we need to pray for is a deeper motivation amongst people in areas like the Shankill to take advantage of educational opportunities being offered. If that were to happen then things would really progress.

Zoom Prayer times
Tuesdays at 10am
Wednesdays at 10am
Fridays at 9.30am

Pat can give you the link.

Tennis in every school on the Shankill
We are making good progress in getting tennis established in Forth River School. Although it is short notice we are hoping to start in June. There are still some things to fall in to place, but we are hoping... We will start in the school playground, to get things going, but will eventually move to tennis courts. In the winter we may need to transport the children to covered courts on the other side of the city.

Audrey Curry has agreed to run this project for us. Audrey is a member of the Board of EfL. She has been teaching in Stranmillis College for more than 30 years, and is going to give one day per week voluntarily to work with us. We are very grateful to her.
We also have a number of very good people who have volunteered to work with us on this project, but if anyone else would like to be involved they will be very welcome.
Please pray that the children on the Shankill will enjoy playing tennis, and that this venture will be a great success.

Food Bank
We have arranged with Rev. Colin Duncan to invite members of the EfL family to make donations to the Food Bank at Shankill Methodist on Thursday, June 3. Donations can be left any time between 10am and 12 noon. Shankill Methodist is about 200 - 300 yards past the lights at Agnes St. and Northumberland St., on the right hand side of the Shankill Road ( on the corner of Berlin St.)
Baby Basics can also be left at Shankill Methodist. That would be a valuable donation.

The Challenge Ahead
We still need 50 - 70 Volunteer Tutors before September, to take advantage of the opportunities being given to us on the Shankill. Please continue to look for possible candidates.

This is a time in our country when anyone who can should be stepping forward to make their contribution. There is a role for everyone. I have found in the past that making general appeals does not get much of a response. What we need to do is to make a specific offer to people, such as becoming a VT or offering to help with tennis.

Thanks again for being part of EfL, and for everything you do for us.

May the good Lord continue to be with you.

David Jardine

Oasis Foodbank: what we need
Ambient Foodstuffs.
Tinned - meats, stews, soups, fish, potatoes, beans, fruit, tomatoes, vegetables, rice pudding.
Packets – breakfast cereal, pasta, noodles, dried peas, lentils etc, stock cubes, cuppa soups, dried milk.
Jars – jam, marmalade, preserves, peanut butter, pasta sauces.
Drinks – tea bags, instant coffee, UHT milk, long life fruit juices
Also – salt, sugar, biscuits, crisps.

toothpaste, shampoo, shower gel, soap, toilet paper.

For Babies and Small Children
Disposable nappies (various age ranges),
Jars of baby food various ages.

Urgently Needed
Tinned meats, all types.
UHT or powdered Milk.
‘Afters’ – tinned creamed rice, fruit, custard.
Breakfast cereals.
March 26th, 2021: from Brother David
David Jardine's email to Volunteer Tutors and Prayer Partners - March 26, 2021
Hello Brothers and Sisters. I have been listening recently on the computer to Robin Mark's song, ' When it's all been said and done ' I first heard him sing this song at a funeral in the Christian Fellowship Church at Strandtown. The deceased was a young middle - aged woman who had taken her own life. She had come to our healing services on many occasions. She was a nice person, but she had also had a very hard life. Haunted by many demons she never quite got on top of them. And here she was now, at her funeral service. It may have seemed a tragedy, and large parts of her life were, but Robin Mark's song shone a different light -

When it's all been said and done
There is just one thing that matters
Did I do my best to live for truth?
Did I live my life for You?
When it's all been said and done
All my treasures will mean nothing
Only what I've done for love's reward
Will stand the test of time

Lord, your mercy is so great
That you look beyond our weakness
And find purest gold in miry clay
Making sinners into saints

When it's all been said and done
There is just one thing that matters
Did I do my best to live for truth?
Did I live my life for You?

Some new profiles for the website
I am constantly telling people about the wonderful people whom the Lord has sent us in EfL. And that is absolutely true. If you have any doubts just go to the website and look at the profiles of team members, and you will see the talent in this team. Just recently we have been trying to put up some new profiles. If they are not up already they will be inside the next few days. Have a look. There are also bible readings up for children.

Incidentally we are approaching 10,000 viewings on the website. All credit to Alan Graham, who does a great job in looking after the website for us.

Easter eggs and scratch cards
Heather Boyd and Jenny Hurst gave out 500 scratch cards and 700 Easter eggs to the schools on the Shankill. They were very much appreciated.

I have always had a vision of children on the Shankill having the opportunity to play tennis. So we are exploring the possibility of using the resources of a tennis club in another part of Belfast, combined with Forth River tennis club, to provide these opportunities. One school has already expressed their support, and I have no doubt that others will follow.
The Williams sisters grew up in a very tough part of Los Angeles. They learnt their tennis there, and grew up to be some of the greatest women tennis players the world has ever seen. I will be satisfied if the children of the Shankill just grow up enjoying the game.

Shankill Mirror
There is an article about EfL in the Shankill Mirror this month. Pat has already had an enquiry on the strength of this article.

Zoom Prayer times
Tuesdays at 10am
Wednesdays at 10am
Fridays at 9.30am

If you would like to join Pat will provide the link

Volunteer Tutors
We still need 50 - 70 new Volunteer Tutors to fulfil all the opportunities being given to us by the schools. Amongst your circle of friends and acquaintances please continue to try to find new VTs.

Day of Prayer on Maundy Thursday, for EfL
There will be a Day of Prayer for EfL on Thursday, April 1, from 8am to 8pm. This prayer is done at home in half hour slots. Please pick what slot you would like and let Pat know. It will give you an opportunity to spend extra time with the Lord on a very important day in the Christian calendar. And the children of the Shankill will be blessed.

A prayer on Forth River school website

This is our school
Let peace dwell here
Let the rooms be full of contentment
Let love abide here
Love of one another
Love of mankind
Love of life itself
And love of God.

Let us remember
As many hands build a house
So many hearts make a school.

This will probably be my last email before Easter. My prayer for you is that all of you may know the peace and power of the risen Lord Jesus over this Season.

David Jardine

Equipping for Life
Days & Hours of work:
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday ( Working from Home)
8.00 am to 3.30 pm
07889572800references or unsubscribe from this list.Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday ( Working from Home)


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March 5th, 2021: from Brother David

Hello, Brothers and Sisters.  I have been thinking again about the gift of forgiveness, surely one of the greatest gifts the Lord has given us. When we practice forgiveness our peace can be restored, no matter what anyone has done to us.  There is never any need to hold a grudge, possibly the heaviest burden any of us could bear.
R.T. Kendall has written a book on this subject, ' Total Forgiveness '.  He describes how when he was Minister of the Westminster Chapel in London he was hurt by a group in the congregation more deeply than he had ever been hurt in his life before.  He found this hard to handle and so he went to a friend Pastor Josif, seeking help.  As he poured out his heart, explaining what people had done to him, Josif listened carefully.  He waited, without interuption, until R.T. had finished, and then he said, ' R.T., you have got to forgive them. ‘This seemed to rouse something in R.T. and he started to explain other things that the people had done to him.  Pastor Josif jumped in immediately and said, ' R.T., you have got to forgive them.  Until you do you will be in chains.  But if you forgive them you yourself will be released. '
R.T. said it was not what he was looking for, but it was the most important piece of advice he had ever been given in his life.  I would agree entirely with that.  I learnt how to forgive more than 20 years ago, and this gift has on numerous occasions restored my peace, no matter what people have said or done to me. Indeed I keep in my prayer book a list of people who have upset me and I go through that list every day. I can honestly say that I have come to the point where I do not hold anything in my heart against any of them.  My way of forgiving is, when someone upsets or hurts me,  to start to bless the person as quickly as possible in the name of Jesus, and to keep it up for as long as it takes.  Sometimes my peace is restored very quickly.  On other occasions I have to work at it, but I can't think of an occasion in my life when my peace was not restored through forgiveness.
Week of Prayer (February 15 - 19 )
I want to thank all of you for taking part in this week of prayer.  400 half hour slots were filled, which I think is terrific.  Most people took a half hour slot every day.  Thank you very much.
Jenny Hurst, organising the bible stories on the website, said that a lot of things which had been causing difficulties, fell into place during that week.  Inside the next few days we should be able to let you know how to view these stories.
Possibly the biggest blessing was the huge amount of money that was donated to EfL during that week.  We now have enough funding to go out and look for the two new members of senior management whom we want to appoint.  What we have been praying for are two people who are passionate about the principles of EfL, who are competent to do the work, and who are easy to work with.
Next Week of Prayer
This will be held in the week before Pentecost Sunday (Monday, May 17 until Friday, May 21 ).
The next Day of Prayer, in half hour slots done at home, will be on Maundy Thursday in Holy Week ( 1st April )
Normally the hours of prayer are 8am to 8pm, but you can book outside those hours as well.  Please ring Pat and make your booking.
Weekly Zoom Prayer Meetings
There are three of these every week:
Tuesday at 10am
Wednesday at 10am
Friday at 9.30am
If you wish to join one of these groups contact Pat and she will give you the link.  It is very easy to get in.  The prayer meeting lasts just 40 minutes.  Even if you do not wish to pray out loud, but simply wish to participate quietly, you will be welcome.
Very important - finding new Volunteer Tutors
In order to take advantage of the opportunities given to us in the schools on the Shankill, with Homework Clubs and a new set of VTs going into almost every school, we need 50 - 70 new VTs.  I have suggested that if every VT could find one more VT that would do the job.  They need to be ready and cleared by September.  That does give some time, but we still need to be working quickly.  Please make a real effort to find one other potential VT each.  I have always said that the job we have to do when schools open will be a very big one.
Gifts to children for Easter
One VT has kindly agreed to buy 500 Easter eggs for children.  Another is supplying 500 scratch cards.  We will give 50 of each to each school.  All of this will go out in your name.
There was a meeting on Wednesday, March 3 with Bryson House about the work in Ballyduff.  They want to begin work there at the end of April or beginning of May.  At the beginning we will not need many VTs, but if anyone would like to volunteer we would like to hear from you.  I am praying that this relationship with Bryson will be a fruitful one.
Food Bank
From money given to us we are able to pay for another substantial amount of food to be given to the Food Bank in the Methodist Church.  This will be delivered on March 10 by the Henderson Group, who are giving the food at cost price.
May I finish by blessing you with a collect which I recently find myself using with people when I pray with them;
                            Guide us, Lord, in all our doings
                            with your most gracious favour
                            and further us with your continual help:
                            that in all our works begun, continued,
                                          and ended in you
                            we may glorify your holy name,
                            and by your mercy attain everlasting life,
                             through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen
                                      The Lord be with you,
                                              David Jardine
For further information please contact:

Pat Hutchinson MBE 
Development Officer
Equipping for Life
Days & Hours of work:
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday ( Working from Home)
8.00 am to 3.30 pm
07889572800references or unsubscribe from this list.Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday ( Working from Home)


8.00 am to 3.30 pm

February 16th, 2021: from Brother David
Hello Brothers and Sisters.  Good to be in touch with you again.  Hope you are still coping well with lockdown.
A lot has happened in the last couple of weeks.  Possibly the most important is the letter I sent to Head Teachers in the Greater Shankill area last week.  I suggested some ways in which we could help in September when we get back into schools.  They all came back immediately, thrilled at what we had to offer.  Particularly they liked the suggestion about running Homework Clubs, giving an extra team of Volunteers Tutors for each school, and giving the children the link to Bible stories on our website.
I have worked out roughly how many new VTs we would need for the Shankill.  I have come up with the figure of 50.  In addition to that we may need to replace some already serving VTs who are shielding.  Taking into consideration the number of new VTs we have gained during the pandemic we will still need to find 50 new ones between now and September. 
I am asking the help of every already serving VT to try to find at least one person each.  This should not be too difficult, if all of us are prepared to play our part.  Please take this appeal seriously.  It will require a great team effort if we are going to reach this target.
I have been speaking to a Head Teacher this morning about the role of helping with a Homework Club.  She said it will be mainly supervisory, going to help only if the child requests assistance.  This particular Head said that she would limit the numbers in a Homework Club to 15 - 20.  We will probably put two VTs into each school in this role.
Week of Prayer
This began today, Monday.  Pat tells me that more than 355 slots have been filled.  This is an excellent response.  The vast majority of people are taking a slot every day.  This is very impressive.  The ministry will be blessed.
New locations in which to establish EfL
There are already 4 locations booked where we will be starting up.  These are guaranteed.  It is just a matter of building them up, but I would be confident that all will be ready to start in September.
I am exploring 4 others.  One of them have accepted our offer.  One more have agreed to set up EfL, provided the school are happy.  Two others are still reflecting prayerfully.  This is a good response.  I am hopeful that the two who have not committed themselves yet will come on board.  But no pressure.  This is the Lord's ministry.  The best thing you could is pray to the Lord about these explorations.
Bible stories on the website
Jenny Hurst is working hard on this one.  We need to be careful about copyright.  So getting this right is taking time.  Nonetheless, we do hope that the bible stories will be on the website inside the next two weeks.
Prayer leaflet
I have asked Carole Sleator if she would take responsibility for the prayer leaflet, which comes out every two months, and she has kindly agreed to do so.  I am trying to share as many jobs as I can with other team members.
Food delivery
There was a food delivery to the Food Bank in Shankill Methodist on Wednesday, February 3.  This went very smoothly, and we are grateful to Rev. Colin Duncan for his help and co operation.  We are also grateful to the Henderson Group for giving us this food at cost price.
There will be another food delivery to Shankill Methodist on March 10.
We were given £2,400 to specifically provide food for this purpose.  The delivery on March 10 will mean that all of this money is now used.  Maybe the next time we will get the team to bring food again to Shankill Methodist, if restrictions are lifted. That was a very successful enterprise the last time we did it.
I thought I would finish this email by sharing two verses from Lamentations;
                         Because of the Lord's great love we are
                                            not consumed,
                                    for his compassions never fail.
                                     They are new every morning;
                                        great is your faithfulness.
May the good Lord provide you with everything you need  to remain calm and steady during this time of pandemic.
                                             David Jardine

For further information please contact:


Pat Hutchinson MBE 
Development Officer
Equipping for Life
Days & Hours of work:
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday ( Working from Home)
8.00 am to 3.30 pm

Please visit our website


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February 3rd, 2021: from Brother David

I have said many times that this period of restriction is an opportunity to prepare ourselves - to prepare plans for the ministry of EfL so that we are really ready when restrictions are lifted, and also to prepare ourselves spiritually.  Just on that theme I have been asking myself what it is that gives me most peace.  There are many ways of going about finding peace.  For me the best way is to take time to give myself completely to God again, and then to live in that spirit.  If there is something that is worrying me, even in the middle of the night, the best way for my peace to be restored is to give that completely to the Lord and leave it with Him.  And then in my prayers to take time to offer to the Lord the major things that are coming up in my life. As I give individual events to Him I let Him know that they are entirely His now and He is completely in control, however they turn out.  
There are many ways, even within the Christian faith, to find God's peace.  What I have described is for me the best - to surrender ourselves completely to the Lord, and then to find that there is peace in surrender.
New events
Exploring new areas in which to plant EfL
I have been in contact with clergy in 4 different parts of Northern Ireland, to see if they would be prepared to open a branch of EfL in their area.  Every one of them received me well.  They all asked for two weeks to pray about my suggestion.  I will ring next week to see what their decision is.
The people who will be taking EfL out will be 12 Volunteer Tutors who have agreed to become Area Development Officers.  Pat and I have begun to train them over the phone, and then when restrictions are lifted we will have 2 sessions together in the Argyle Business Centre. So things are moving.
Reading stories to children on the website
We are working on a plan to record VTs reading a bible story to children, which would then be put on the website.  The schools would then give parents and children the link to our website.  I have asked Jenny Hurst from Glenwood school to be in charge of this new venture.
Week of Prayer for EfL ( February 15 - 19 )
This is the first time that we have had a week of prayer.  The normal hours will be 8am until 8pm.  We are asking people to take half hour slots. 
What I would like, since this is the beginning of Lent, is that many people would take a half hour slot every day in that week. I hope you will be generous with your time.
Colin Dickenson
Colin has been working with us since September, 2019.  We are grateful for the work he has done.  I know that many Volunteers found him a nice man to work with.  Recently he has been doing good work on protocols and procedures, and that will be useful for the future.  His contract ends at the end of January.  We thank Colin for the contribution he has made to EfL and wish him well in the future.
Donation to the Food Bank
Volunteers brought very generous donations to the food bank in Shankill Methodist in November.  From money which has been given to us we are paying for a big delivery of food to the same food bank on February 3.  They will know the families who need this food most.
We have been in touch again in the past week with Downpatrick and Warrenpoint and Rostrevor about setting up EfL in those areas.  Plans are moving well and we should be ready to open in these locations in September.
Gerry Griffin, who is in charge of work in Rostrevor gave me a good insight recently.  Rostrevor may not be a disadvantaged area, but Gerry feels that because of Covid children in every area have been disadvantaged.  A good insight.
Further afield
I was encouraging you in my last email to think big about where EfL could go.  I felt recently that the next place to go to outside Northern Ireland should be Scotland.  They have many disadvantaged areas also.  Indeed, as I write this it just strikes me that to go to the border counties of Cavan, Monaghan and Donegall would also be a possibility.  Continue to think big.
I came across a quotation recently which expresses well what we are about in EfL.  It comes from Proverbs 31 vs. 8 - 9
‘Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.  Speak up and judge fairly.  Defend the rights of the poor and needy. '
May these opportunities that we have to spend time with the Lord deepen the sense of how much He cares and how He is looking after us and the children for whom He has given us responsibility.
                                                   Keep well,
                                                 David Jardine

For further information please contact:

Pat Hutchinson MBE 
Development Officer
Equipping for Life
Days & Hours of work:
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday ( Working from Home)
8.00 am to 3.30 pm


Wednesday, 3rd February, 2021
 Hello Brothers and Sisters

January 13th, 2021: from Brother David

Prayer leaflet Br David Jardine 13 January 2021

Give thanks that in spite of serious difficulties we have been able to keep EfL running over the past year.
--- that 25 new people have offered themselves as Volunteer Tutors
--- for the gifts of email, telephone, letters and zoom calls allowing us to keep in touch with our Volunteers and supporters
--- for the imaginative ways the Lord gave us over the past months to continue serving the people of the Shankill
Efforts we are making to renew contact with the children on the internet
Protection of children and their families
That we will get back into schools safely in the Lord's timing
The development of work in Ballyduff in partnership with Bryson House / our ongoing relationship with Bryson House - Chief Executive Shane Logan
Supporting the Food Bank in Shankill Methodist
Finding a Regional Manager - getting the right person and the funding
Plans to open in Rostrevor, Warrenpoint, Downpatrick and East Belfast
Team of 11 people being trained to take the ministry into other parts of Northern Ireland / that other towns will welcome us
That the Lord will give us other imaginative ways to serve people in areas where we are working
That people will volunteer to be involved with EfL just through reading the literature.
Finding a Director of Sport and Health on the Shankill
Prayer for the ministry

  • That this leaflet will be well used
  • The prayer meetings in Argyle Centre on Tuesday and Wednesdays (when allowed again)
  • Day of Prayer done at home January 15
  • Week of Prayer done at home - February 15 - 19
  • Prayer meetings on Zoom on Tuesdays (10am) and Fridays (11am)
Other topics
  • Restoration of family life in areas we are involved with
  • That there will be a new motivation amongst our people to take advantage of educational opportunities
  • That we will be well prepared when the lockdown is lifted
  • Trying to provide a wider selection of prayers to be used with children before we read with them
  • The Lord's guidance as to how we use £4,000 given to us to buy books for children
  • Finances - that the Lord will provide everything needed
Vision for the whole country
That people who have will be prepared to share with those who have not.
For many years I have been trying to practice the presence of God, to stay in touch with God all of my waking hours.  The biggest difficulty is a wandering mind.  But when I manage to keep focused on the Lord it is a wonderful experience.  It gives me a peace and strength, and allows me to pray for a great number of people.  Just recently I have been practising the presence in a slightly different way.  When I think of someone I pray for them by just blessing them in the name of Jesus - ' Jean, I bless you in the name of Jesus. ‘I call these arrow prayers and they only take 5 seconds.
May I make some suggestions;
1.  Turn thoughts into prayers, wherever you are.  When someone's name comes into your mind throw up an arrow prayer on their behalf.  When you think of EfL, or some part of the ministry, pray on the spot.  It only takes a moment.  If we do this we will be praying for possibly hundreds of people, situations, and aspects of the ministry in the course of the day.  What a blessing this will be to those we are praying for, and also to ourselves as it helps keep our eyes focussed on the Lord.  An additional bonus is that it takes our eyes off ourselves.
2.  We can pray this way when we are with someone.  I know a man who said to me, ' I could be talking to you and praying for you at the same time. '
3.  In the middle of the night, if we cannot get back to sleep we can pray for all the people whose names come into our minds.  I pray for a lot of people if I am struggling a bit to get back to sleep.
4.  Don't be afraid to let people know you are praying for them.
Be strong and of good courage, be not afraid, for I the Lord your God am with you wherever you go.

David Jardine
                                         Wednesday and Friday ( Working from Home)

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January 5th, 2021: from Brother David

Tuesday, 5th January, 2021
 Hello Brothers and Sisters
I hope 2021 will be a good year for you and that you are managing to cope with the restrictions.  May I begin by thanking you sincerely for the way you all rose to the task when we had a few different ventures in the last few months of last year, like giving donations to the Food Bank and cakes to school staff.  You really did make a terrific contribution, and I appreciate that very much.
As we move into a new year, with all its uncertainties, may I quote a man who through his writings has taught me a great deal.  His name is Frank Laubach, an American minister who made it his big aim in life to stay as close to God as he could every minute of his waking hours.  Needless to say practising this just transformed him completely.  In his diary he recorded on 1st January, 1937  --'Heavenly Father, I want to give you every minute of this year.  I shall try to keep you in mind every moment of my waking hours.  I shall try to let my hand write what you direct.  I shall try to let you be the speaker and direct every word.  I shall try to let you direct my acts.  I shall try to learn your language as it was taught by Jesus and by all others through whom you speak......'
I can't speak for each of you, but this is a word for me, not just during the next year but for the rest of my life.  What is it really?  Inviting our best Friend to go with us wherever we go.  What a peace, strength and sense of confidence that gives.  As the famous old hymn says, ' Change and decay in all around I see, O Thou who changest not abide with me. '
Day of prayer on Friday, January 15
There will be a day of prayer for the ministry, done at home in half hour slots, on Friday, January 15.  The official hours are 8am until 8pm, but you can pick a slot outside those hours if you wish.  I hope everyone will take a time of prayer, and then we will begin the new year with a volume of prayer surrounding the ministry. 
Please ring Pat or send an email.
Please continue to pray for the children you take for reading every day.
Our prayer meetings in Argyle will be postponed until further notice because of the latest round of restrictions.  It seems as well that the giving out of 460 food parcels on January 12 will also have to be postponed, or done through a Food Bank.
May I just say, on the theme of prayer, that I still pray for every Volunteer Tutor by name every day.
Volunteer Tutors
 Over the course of the pandemic we have gained 25 new Volunteer Tutors.  This is terrific.  Would you think of phoning some people whom you think would be good VTs?  If we all play our part our numbers will grow and we will be in a strong position to expand.
Think big
 We need to be thinking well beyond just going into schools.  In years to come our activities will have expanded into many other areas.  I have a vision for the Province that people who are advantaged will share with those who are not, in all sorts of areas of life.  There are many areas of the country where great rebuilding needs to be done.  All of us have a part to play.
We will be starting in Ballyduff estate soon, restrictions permitting.  This will be in partnership with Bryson House.  Heather Boyd and Dorothy McClean, both VTs in Glenwood School, will be spearheading this new work.  I will keep you in touch with how it is going.  Please pray that this relationship with Bryson is one which will grow and flourish.
Heroes of the Faith
 This is a magazine that I have been reading for a year.  They are based in Nottingham.  The magazine is absolutely terrific.  If you are interested ring them on 0115 824 0777.  We learn a lot from the stories of how other people live the Christian life.  There are 4 editions each year at a cost of about £18.

Prayer for Volunteer Tutors
 Heavenly Father, as we begin a new year of 2021, we want to thank you for calling us to bring Equipping for Life into being.  And even though we have not been able to go into schools for most of the past year we are deeply grateful that the vast majority of our Volunteers are still with us.  Lord, thank you for their willingness to answer your call, for their faithfulness in the midst of difficult circumstances, for the qualities You have given to them, and especially the love they have for children.
Lord, will you please continue to look after our Volunteer Tutors?  Keep them strong in their faith in You as the situation changes on an almost daily basis.  Protect them from the corona virus.  Help them to continue to use this period of restriction as a time of preparation for when we are able to be back with children again.  And, Lord, when that day comes, by your grace will this ministry flourish, will Volunteers be filled with your Holy Spirit, and may children be blessed in a new way, through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen
Maybe you would think of saying this prayer every day?  And as you walk close to Him may you go into 2021 with hope and confidence.
David Jardine

For further information please contact:

Pat Hutchinson MBE 
Development Officer
Equipping for Life
Days & Hours of work:
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday ( Working from Home)
8.00 am to 3.30 pm

Please visit our website

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