Amanda Marenger

Serving IN WADEBRIDGE, UK

My journey with the United Kingdom first began six years ago when I attended Calvary Chapel Bible College to finish my last semester of school in York, England. I had always hoped to visit the U.K. and when I arrived there, my heart for England only grew stronger. After waiting four years, I was finally able to return, but this time to a town called Wadebridge, a small community in Cornwall, to serve for two weeks at Creation Fest. The next year, I was given the opportunity to serve as an intern with Creation Fest and live in Wadebridge the entire summer. During that time, I made connections and relationships with a local church that I attended. I’ve now been given the opportunity to live and serve in the U.K. long term, working with the church as their children’s and youth liaison and project coordinator for all of their involvement with Creation Fest. I am so excited to live within this community to build relationships inside and out of the church and share the hope of Jesus with all that I come in contact with!

Update September 11, 2019

Hi all!

It has been a long while and I am much overdue for an update to everyone! Its been such a busy spring and summer so I just haven't had the mental capacity to sit down and write!

But I'm happy to say that we've had pretty great weather and as much as I miss everyone back home, I did not miss the triple digit heat of summer out there in Sacramento... sorry guys.

Creation Fest was great this year! I was able to help out at the creation fest office on Tuesday afternoons for the month leading up to the festival and that really consisted of a bunch of admin work and any odd job they needed help with. Was a nice break from the norm and to have some new scenery around me and chances to meet new people as well as. catch up with friends from years past.

The week of the festival I was serving in the Big Top, a circus tent turned music venue. This was a big change from doing the kids work that I had done the three years in a row prior, but I was looking to do something a bit different this year and really enjoyed assisting the woman who was running the entire venue. It was a week full of greeting bands and taking care of any need that might pop up for them, chatting with attendees and closing up the venue every night as we held all the late night events.

It was also a wonderful time of seeing friends that I hadn't in a year and of course seeing the team from Metro was just the best. So nice to have a little piece of home here in Cornwall! The week was full and tiring and so encouraging. I'm so thankful I was able to serve again as well as have time to catch up with friends, as well as have time with Josh and his family as they were camping and attending the whole week! Unfortunately I only managed to take one picture on the very last night of the festival so I don't have much to show for it, so you'll just have to take my word it was a great week!

One really fun testimony I'll share is this- We actually had a crazy big storm rolling in for the end of the week that caused the festival to close a day early... because of this storm another huge festival in the area called Board Masters was cancelled entirely. So there were two ladies who were looking for something to do in leu of this, and they found Creation Fest. They came for one day, and ended up coming to know Jesus! One of the ladies said about getting saved, "This is way better than Board Masters!"

It was amazing to see the Lord use even the disappointment of closing early for his good and to reach more people because of it!

A few weeks ago I planned a social for the youth here at the church- a treasure hunt and ice cream social! It was great fun and we had 20 kids from the church come which is a really good turn out, especially with having a few families away on holiday. The kids just loved it, and had so much fun running around all three levels of the church finding clues that lead to the treasure at the end. (it was just a bunch of sweets, but it was in an actual treasure box haha)

Messy Church has been on hold for the summer but we are back on this Sunday and I have planned a few science experiments our activities for the evening. Doing a bit of a back to school theme for the night, and I'll be doing a short talk with a little visual using paper and glue which shows how Jesus is the way for us to be close to God and together with him forever.

Richard Curnow, who I am lodging with and has been the pastor for about 15 years here at WCC, retried at the end of August and Drew Cox has officially been commissioned as head pastor here. So it has been a lot of change but it is so exciting to see what the Lord has in store for WCC in this new season moving forward. We had a lovely celebration and commissioning ceremony last Wednesday evening, and it was so sweet to see how living faithfully to God's calling actually effects so many people and that was evident as we looked back on Richard and Carly's life and ministry. What a blessing they have been to so many and how many have come to know God through them doing simply what God asked of them. Was a challenge and encouragement for me as I walk forward in what God calls me to, even if its just a day at a time in the smallest of things, I want to honour God in it all because I may have no idea how he will use it on this side of heaven!

Miss you all dearly and can't wait to see you in just about a few months time. I am so so thankful for all who have been faithfully praying for me and supporting me. It does not go unnoticed by me or by the Lord.

If you can please continue to pray:

-for me to continue to pour into where I am, even with just a few months left and I do feel a bit tired!

-for my plans in the near future. There are still quite a few unknowns- like what I will do for work as I come back home and figuring out exactly what is next as Josh and I look to plan for our future together with him in the process of joining the Royal Air Force

-for my heart and mind; its going to be really hard to leave Cornwall, and especially the UK, to have to say goodbye to everyone, to Josh and his family for at least the next six months, possibly a bit more. There is a lot to process and I want to take it a day at a time, trusting in God's grace for it all.

Please don't hesitate to reach out or ask any questions!

Love you guys! Cheers!


UPDATE MARCH 9, 2019

I can't believe its March already, February got away from me so sorry for the lack of an update last month!

February was a busy month filled with planning for a few different events coming up in March. One of which was a pancake party we had this past week for Shrove Tuesday, the last day before the start of Lent. I've learned that pancake day is a big thing over here, because lent is widely observed all over the country even amongst people who aren't religious. So we wanted to take this opportunity to reach out to the young families in our community and offer free pancakes, crafts and games at the church to celebrate Shrove Tuesday. This was the first event that I planned and organised myself. That meant putting together and posting all the publicity for the party, planning and prepping all the games and crafts, buying and putting together the supplies and reaching out to people in the church to serve and help at the event. To be totally honest it was a bit stressful trying to gather volunteers when I still making connections here at the church, but in the end of it, the Lord totally provided everything that was needed, down to the last pancake that was made (which was around 70)! We saw about 40 people come through, most of them kiddos, which was very loud and chaotic because they were full of Nutella and marshmallow topped pancakes, but it was a lot of fun. And at the end of the day, that was my hope, that the kids would come here, have fun and be comfortable enough to come back! There were a few moms who came whom we've never seen before, so we were able to invite them to Messy church and our Mothering Sunday service this month. Overall we were happy to have exactly who God planned for to come out to the pancake party and hope it leads to more connections with the unchurched families in our community.

I really love Wadebridge for how small it is, in that I can walk to work and see three people I know in the 10 minutes it takes me to get there, even after only being here for a few months. That's something I rarely experienced back home, so its fun having the chance to see people outside of church or the events we put on. But at the same time it can feel very isolating not being able to get out of Wadebridge; where normally I'm used to just getting in my car and going wherever I need of like, so that has been a huge adjustment for me that I didn't even think about before I moved! So when I have the opportunity to get out a little, I take it! A few weeks ago Josh came out to visit with a car and we were able to have a day trip out to Exeter, which is a pretty small city about an hour away, but it felt HUGE. There were actually people out and shops were open... that can be a rare thing in Wadebridge where everything, and I mean everything, closes at 5 or earlier, and definitely are not open on Sunday. So I was thankful to have a small refreshing getaway and spend some quality time with my Josh :)

Tomorrow is a busy day for me, I'll be teaching in Kingdom Kids in the morning. The church just started a series on Joseph, so every area of church is going over the same bit of scripture. I was lucky enough to get to write a lesson plan on Genesis 39, Joseph and Potiphar's wife... that's a fun one to work around with kids! But the Lord really blessed my time in preparing for them, focusing on Genesis 39:2, that God was with Joseph, in his success of running Potiphar's household and in his time when he was wrongly sent to jail.

In the evening we will have our Messy Church service for the month of March where we will be celebrating "mums" in honour of Mothering Sunday coming up. Please be praying for that evening, that many families will come out and that it would continue to be a connection to Jesus and to the church and prayerfully to the point where they would be comfortable to come out for a Sunday morning service as a family.

Thank you to all who are supporting me through your finances, without which I wouldn't be able to simply live a life out here in Wadebridge. And thank you to all who I know are praying for me, there are times when I truly believe I am living off the prayers of those who love me and are encouraging me from an ocean and country away. I am beyond grateful for everyone of you; please don't hesitate to ever reach out and say hi or ask any questions about what is happening out here, its easy to miss the details of everyday life in a long update!

Until next time!

Amanda x

Prayer requests:

-Messy Church every second Sunday of the month
-The Mothering Sunday service on 31 March, I'm helping plan and doing a very small teaching during this service
-That the Lord would help me to make connections in the community and that He would provide a few solid friendships that encourage me and that just come easily
-My heart and mind, in the moments when I feel really lonely, missing my family, friends and Josh. And that I would trust the Lord with plans for my future after this year is done.

UPDATE FEBRUARY 7, 2019

Hey all! Thanks for being patient as I catch up on a long awaited update from my first month living in Wadebridge, Cornwall. It's hard to know where to begin... I'm working at a local church called Wadebridge Christian Centre as their children, youth, and family intern, so that means I am essentially over most things that fall under that umbrella. 

I'm leading and planning lessons for the children's ministry, Kingdom Kids, twice a month. This has been a fun challenge because we have one room and one lesson for kids ranging from ages 5-11, that's a pretty big gap! We have around 10-15 kids every week and its been really sweet to start getting to know the kids and pray through how I can serve them best while I'm here. The Lord gave me Matthew 19:14 for my time here, "But Jesus said, 'Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.'" It's easy to feel like you're not doing much when working in children's ministry because there isn't always fruit that you can see right away, but being reminded that I came here to simply bring the little children to Jesus and He will do a work in the heart of these little ones as I'm faithful to that calling.     

Another ministry that we have here that I am now coordinating and heading up is called Messy Church, which is a whole family service one Sunday evening a month that has crafts, games, dinner and a short message/discussion, all in hopes to reach unchurched families in our community and to help encourage them to do things and have discussions together as a family. And ultimately that they would also come to see that church isn't about a stuffy, religious building, but that there is a God who loves them and died for them and wants relationship with them! It's a really fun and relaxed time, and a huge investment into the lives of these families. From this we are hopeful to put on an event once a month separate from Messy Church, to invite and continue to build relationships with these families who come to these "fringe events" but aren't quite ready to come to Sunday morning services yet.     

This past week I was able to go to our local primary school with my line manager Drew, who is one of the pastor's here, for an assembly that we get to put on once a month. The school has allowed WCC to come in do whatever we would like, and that includes sharing the Gospel with them, in a public school! So Drew just introduced me and did a quick interview with me, I told them about where I'm from, why I moved out here and how my faith in Jesus has helped me to adjust to all the big changes that have just happened in my life. It was so sweet to see all those kids (especially because they are all in uniform and look like they are in a Harry Potter film, so cute), but God is continuing to remind me that they are the reason He brought me here, to make him know to these kids and everyone I come in contact with.

It was a huge adjustment moving out here and to be honest my first few weeks were very overwhelming. I felt like I made a huge mistake moving away from everything I knew. I missed my family, my friends, my church community as well as my boyfriend Josh who lives four hours away by train. It all felt very lonely and isolating and I just didn't feel equipped for the job I came out here to do... I really didn't think I would have that hard of a time coming out here, so I was a bit surprised with myself and really just felt mentally, emotionally and spiritually tapped out. But God, two of the sweetest words, met me where I was, and so graciously reminded me of His goodness, and that He had sent me here at this time in this place and that I could trust that His plans are good even though I was feeling anything but good. As He's changes my perspective and reminds me of His goodness, I'm able to draw on Him for strength and joy daily. Some days its a very conscience choice when its a bit harder because I am homesick or feel overwhelmed with some of the work thats ahead of me, and others I am so happy to be here and serving where I am. But at the end of it all, I am learning more of His goodness and grace in this season and am praying that He would be glorified because of it in the end! Miss you all and thank you so much for your prayers, I could tell so much more but I'll spare you the novel of information update I could write!

Some things to be praying for:

  • My heart and mind on the days when I struggle with fear or loneliness of missing my family, Josh and my friends; to continue to believe and trust God's goodness. 

  • That He would equip me and give all I need for work and to best serve WCC

  • Pray for the families that come to Messy Church, its every second Sunday of the month, that they would come to know Jesus and takes steps of faith to seek more of Him

  • The school assemblies we will be doing once a month

  • My wrist and ankle have been in a lot of pain as I've strained them both, healing for them

  • That the Lord would provide a car for my time here, its not a necessity but it can feel a bit isolating not being able to leave Wadebridge at all because I can only walk, so would be a nice gift to have to use to travel a bit more to surrounding communities and meet up with people in them 

Until next time, cheers!