photoSoul 61 update – written by Deborah Watkins
“Every year a whole bunch of 18-24 year olds gather in Watford as they begin the ‘leadership course’, our 10 month christian gap year. They come from all over the world but are united by two things: a love for Jesus and a serious desire to influence this world for Him.”

It’s been nearly three months since I moved to Watford, and I’ve been having the most incredible time. On the 1st November I was one of twenty-six 18-25 year olds to start Soul61 2015. Since then I’ve had two days a week of teaching on theology, communication skills, leadership skills, character, values and vision, and praying so stuff happens.

Recently in teaching we’ve been hearing the Soul 61’s give 10 minute talks. For many of us this was the first time we’ve preached. I gave mine just before Christmas on ‘Insecurities and Ungodly beliefs’. I really enjoyed sharing my thoughts and getting really useful feedback. Since Christmas we’ve been looking at the gospels with Andy Croft and Father heart ministry with Jeannie Morgan.

As well as that we’ve been on placement, for me that’s the pastoral placement. We help with the Mums and toddlers group, the Alpha course and visiting people who are too ill to make it to church. We also started Street Angels last Friday night, we wandered around Watford until the early hours of the morning helping vulnerable people. And on Wednesday I’m going to start going to Watford general hospital to shadow the chaplain.

I’m living in a house with five other girls from the course and we’ve found out that it only takes a table cloth, a couple of throws, three British gas visits, a plumber, a new washing machine and two fumigators to make home home! But there’s no other house I’d rather be in because then I might not be with the new family that God has blessed me with (if you’re wondering why my idea of a family is noisy, chaotic, weird and slightly mad, I’m sure you can ask my parents).

Debs and friends

At the moment I’m trying to raise funds to go to Durban, South Africa with Soul Survivor. If I get the chance to go, I’ll be visiting LIV village just outside Durban. LIV is a community set up by Titch and Joan Smith to provide a home, a mother, an education and healthcare to orphaned and vulnerable children in South Africa. During the trip we’ll be going into the surrounding townships to serve in creche’s. We’ll be in teams of eight, four will be doing building and decorating work on the building itself and the other four will be looking after the children, as they obviously can’t be in the building while we’re working on it.

I’m looking forward to seeing everyone when I’m home in February, love from Debs xxx

If you feel that you would like to contribute towards Deborah’s trip to Durban, I know that she would be so grateful. You can speak to Caroline or email her at Caroline@fathershouseshaftesbury.co.uk to give as much or as little as you are able.