Paul Coles, Youthworkerish type guy. Present location: Targu Mures, Romania. Married to an amazing girl named Fiona. I'm on a JOURNEY and have no idea where I'll end up other than in the hands of God.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

A poem - it doesn't really need an introduction - have a read...

When I became a Christian I said, “Lord now fill me in. Tell me what I’ll suffer in this world of shame and sin?”

Well He said, “Your body could be killed and left to rot and stink. Do you still want to follow me?”

I said “Amen… I think.
I think Amen. Amen I think. I think I say Amen. Look, I’m not completely sure, could we just run through that again?
You say my body could be killed and left to rot and stink? Ah yeah, that sounds terrific Lord. I say Amen, I think.
But Lord, look there must be other ways to follow you,” I said. “I really would prefer to end up dying in my bed.”

“Well yes,” he said, “you could put up with sneers and scorn and spit. You still want to follow me?”

And I said “Amen… a bit.
A bit Amen. Amen a bit. A bit I say Amen. Look, I’m not entirely sure, could we just run through that again. You said I could put up with sneers and scorn and spit. Well yes, I’ve made up my mind and I say Amen…a bit.”
Well I sat back and thought a while and then I tried a different ploy. I said, “Now Lord the good book says Christians live in Joy?”

“That’s true,” He said, “you’re going to need the joy to bear the pain and sorrow. Do you still want to follow me?”

And I said “Amen…tomorrow.”
“Tomorrow Lord, I’ll say it then, that’s when I’ll say amen. You see I’ve got to get it clear, could we just run through that again? You said that I’ll need the Joy to bear the pain and sorrow? Well yes I think I’ve got it straight, I’ll say Amen tomorrow.”

He said, “Look I’m not asking you to spend an hour with me, a quick salvation sandwich and a cup of sainted tea! The cost is you, not half of you but every single bit! Now tell me, will you follow me?”

And I said, “Amen… No… I quit.”
“I’m awfully sorry Lord,” I said, “I’d like to follow you but I don’t think religion is a ‘manly’ thing to do.”

And He said, “You forget religion then and think about my son and you tell me if you are man enough to do what he has done?
Are you man enough to see the need? Are you man enough to go? Are you man enough to care for those that no one wants to know?
Are you man enough to say the things that people hate to hear and battle through Gethsemane in loneliness and fear?”
And listen, “Are you man enough to stand it at the end, the moment of betrayal by the kisses of your friend?
Are you man enough to hold your tongue?
Are you man enough to cry when the nails break your body?”
Are you man enough to die, man enough to take the pain and wear it like a crown, man enough to love this world and turn it upside down?
Are you man enough to follow me, I ask you once again?”

I said, “Lord I’m frightened” but I also said, “Amen! Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen!” I said, “Lord, I’m so frightened but I also said…Amen!”

Author unknown... via Michael Frost, Nov 06

Friday, August 18, 2006

Maybe the next Ronaldinho will come from this pitch?
(Niall, Matthew and Stan with the boys)

This is the field in the middle of a group of 11 state group homes where over 80 kids play every day of the year. It is very uneven surface but typical to most latin countries there is a small area about 20 x 40 feet in the middle where they have stomped out a makeshift football pitch. The goals are made of metal posts they "found" somehwere... but to them it might as well be Anfield because it's where dreams are made of one day playing for Stiaoa or their country. Matthew Shaw turned out to be quite a hit here with his bag of tricks. I would love to see a real pitch here someday and maybe a play ground. This place makes Langley playground look like Club Med.

This picture was taken the Saturday before we left. About 20 of the kids from these houses were part of the camp we ran. It's always great to be able to go and see the kids where they live after we spend a week partying with them at Sadu. The kids will remember this for a long time to come and Im sure the Edge team will as well.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The worlds youngest breakdancer.
Sorry about the quality. Its a bit dark but I thought it was worth a look see anyway. This is Florin who is 4 years old and very funny. He is the strongest, most agile 4 yr old I have ever seen. This video was taken on the last day of camp with the Edge team... more pics and updates to come.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Some more pics...

The Saturday before our team came Fiona and I took a day trip to go hiking in Brasov, it's Romania's answer to Hollywood... only without the music and movie industry... but they have their own sign. You can't really see it from this photo but the sign on the hill says BRASOV in about 30 foot letters. It actually a really nice city. You would think you were in Germany or Austria. We got some great ice cream and we took the telecabina up to the top and then walked down. It was a great day out.

It has been really good having the Edge team here so far. They are doing great and we had a blast at an orphanage in Zau yesterday. We are heading to camp at 7am tomorrow so I will be back with another update next weekend... and maybe some more pics.

Friday, August 04, 2006

The End is near...oh no sorry, I meant to say "The Edge is here!"

The Edge team arrived here yesterday and it has been great to have some familiar faces around. The craic is always mighty when we are together and this team has been no different so far.

We did have a few firsts for Edge Romania trips however. We had our first ever lost baggage. When they arrived yesterday Leigh Duffiled's bag was nowhere to be seen so we talked to the airport guys and they told us they would get it by the next day. To this comment we though "yeah right" this is Romania afterall but to our enormous surprise... TaaDaaaaa!!!! It arrived this afternoon. I think that is an airport record in baggage recovery. I might just give the folks at Guiness a call... the world record people, not the brewers... although I might give them a call as well just for good measure.

But the other first was a bit funnier. We had our first ever team members go M.I.A. When I went to collect the "delayed" bag from the airport today the rest of our team had gone to visit the kids at a group of 11 group homes. The team had been there for about an hour, playing football and other games with the kids when I get this call from fiona saying, "Ehmm Paul, do you know where Nicole is... we don't have her here. We think we might have left her back at the office and she's probably locked inside."
OK....I so I am about 15 mins from there at the time and head head off to check it out when a couple of mins later I get another call. "Ehmmm, we don't seem to have Andrea with us either."

So off I go and after about 20 mins of bad traffic I finally arrive at the office to find the two girls sleeping on the couch. They were in the back toilets when we got the taxis to leave and didn't hear us yelling to go. And then in all the commotion of getting 5 different taxis and arriving at the homes to see almost 100 kids running out to meet the team, they were not noticed until everyone had to go inside bacause of a thunderstorm about 1 hour later.

Very funny and I'm actually surprised that both of those events are firsts for taking teams of teenagers to another country. In the end the girls just emailed for a bit and then had a sleep, figuring we would come back sooner or later.

Oh well. Its great to see such good friends and Im sure many fantastic times are ahead.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Getting a little toasty!

It has been very hot here for the last couple weeks, getting into the high 30's most days so we decided to take some of the kids from the group homes to "The Weekend", everyone from our Edge team loves this place. Its a great place to hang out and get a bit of sun while taking the occasional dip in the green sludge. Actually the water is a lot cleaner this year so it's all good.

Anyway we took about 10 kids from one of the houses a few days ago and we had a blast. I mostly played around in the kiddy pool (73% pee, 27% water) with two of the little boys, Funel and Sergieo. They are so funny and I was laughing almost the whole day listening to them talk unintellegibly in their slurred Romanian. The only problem was that it's hard to keep the sun screen on when you're in the water the whole day so I ended up winning the "Mr Burnt Romania" contest. Ouch! It actually wasn't that bad but I was a nice glowing shade of pink for the next day or so.

The picture above is Funel wrapped in his towel and Ibi posing behind. Good times were had by all, we beat the heat for a few hours and we gave the house moms a bit of a break, so everyone's happy.