On Friday 5th October a party of 17 of us set off for an Open Hands weekend away. A first for us!
17 people came, including 11 guys who all had either been guests previously or are currently guests in one of our houses or who were regulars at our Monday meal. We came from 9 different countries.
Our destination was Bonsall Camp, near Matlock, situated in the beautiful Derbyshire countryside.
Immediately upon arrival on Friday evening we could sense a lifting of the spirit in so many of the guys. There was so much laughter over the weekend. Everyone mixed well. Some enjoyed the table tennis, pool and table football in the centre. Uno is always a popular game, played very competitively and no grasp of English is required!
On Saturday we did a lovely walk in the surrounding countryside. The guys loved getting out into the fresh air and appreciated the beauty of the hills. Many had never got out of Sheffield into the surrounding countryside previously.
We ate well with fantastic food prepared by our resident chef, Sarah Bennett! None of us went hungry!
On Saturday night Rob Hawksworth did an interactive talk on the story of the prodigal son in which he manged to involve everyone. Using his skills as a teacher of English as a foreign language, Rob taught many of the guys some new words, as well.
The highlight for many was the walk, for others just being together in such a lovely environment.
However for some of these guys they return to Sheffield to face loneliness, separation from family and great uncertainty over their futures.
Pray for us as we seek to support them and that they will remember how much the Father loved his prodigal son.
This weekend is something we would love to repeat, although sadly we cannot do it every month, as one of the guys requested!
You can see more photos from the weekend on our Facebook page.