God's Geek

Reflections and random thoughts of a geeky youth worker in North London...

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Gas Man

SO, I was thinking about killing this blog, as we now mostly blog as a family here. But, although I am keeping a journal, I thought that it would be beneficial to me to think through some of the new things that I am experiencing. Let's take a step back... 2 weeks ago, me and my family moved to Peru. We are working with a church plant in Cusco, involved with youth and children's work. I have never done overseas mission before, yet here I am, a long way away from home with my hubby and 2 small children. Y hablo un poquito Espanol. Even thus far, I feel challenged and closer to God, but I want to use this space to be real about the highs and the lows of this adventure that God has called us to. Check out the other blog for photos, this is full of my ramblings without pictures!

In Peru, there aren't gas mains and instead there are gas bottles. When they are empty, someone delivers new ones. The other day, Neil popped out with the mission worker who has been settling us in and I was left at home with the kids, waiting for the delivery - all I had to do was let him in and pay him - simple enough. The bell went and I realised (so I thought) that Neil had the key for the gate - which I thought was locked. I know very little Spanish and could think of even less, as I ran out shouting 'espere uno minuto, por favor, perdon, perdon.' I scrambled around for a spare key, which I couldn't find, and I tried to call Margaret but the battery was dead on the phone. Daniel, bless him, was shouting at the gate, 'wait a minute, Mummy is coming!' And all the time, I was getting more frustrated and cross, with Neil for taking the key, and with myself for not charging the phone. Most of all, I felt so frustrated that I couldn't do anything - I couldn't communicate on the most basic level and complete a very simple household task. How can I be any use here? Whay has God called me here when I feel so useless? I then realised that the gate wasn't even locked and I felt even more stupid. He came back a few minutes later and everything was sorted, but it was just so hard.

I was disappointed that I had got so panicky and cross. But, this whole experience is the best lesson in humility that I have ever had. It is helping me to rely on others and accept their help, with out (much)pride. In training, we were told that at first we would feel like babies, and it is so true. There is a beauty to this; I feel like I am seeing the world in such a fresh way, a simple trip to the shops is full of adventure and new sights and sounds. I saw a humming bird the other day land on the garden fence, and I could have cried as it was so beautiful and so far from my normal experience. But it is hard to be so dependent on others, on fellow mission workers, shop workers and most other people that I encounter! It is also wonderful to be blessed as they shower us with time, patience and understanding.

I hope it is helping me to empathise more with others. I hope that God is showing me how to love poeple on the outside, where there are cultural and language barriers. Don't worry, I know that my ethnicity, class and nationality mean that I will never encounter the barriers that many people face. It just feels right now that part of this whole process is an extreme way of God showing me a glimpse of waht it is like for many people in this world. Maybe it had to be extreme for God to really show me.

Jesus comes as the servant king, choosing to be stripped of power. In some small way, I feel that coming here has stripped me of power. I am blown away once again that the Son of God came to Earth as a baby, weak, defenceless and utterly dependent on others. Washing his disiples feet was only a part of it. I just pray that as God forms my character through this, that I allow him to use it to bless others - to point them to the servant king.

As I write this, it sounds all sewn up and like a good conclusion. But I am a work in progress. I know that I will lose my cool again, will get frustrated again, but I hope I come out more humble at the other end...

Sunday, July 04, 2010

The Magical Mystery Tour

I have just come back from a great day out in London. I am trying to do some special stuff with the young people before I leave, and today I took a group out in London for a mystery tour and it was just lovely. We travelled up and down the Picadilly Line and first went to Coram's Fields. Here I am meeting an escapee goat. We then went to Covent Garden, and took stroll to Trafalgar Square, despite there being no water in the fountains and the lions being fenced off. We then went to Ed's Easy Diner for milkshakes near the Trocadero. After a lot of fun on the dodgems, we took the tube to Holborn to My Old Dutch. It is a gorgeous pancake house and I had a huge apple, bacon and maple syrup pancake. It was a great day full of memories and one of those times when I rememer why I do what I do.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Mary Magdalene - the wrong woman

I have just had an article posted on the Sophia Network about Mary Magdalene, a subject close to my heart. If you are interested, click here!

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Ropers in Peru

I have just set up a new blog the Ropers in Peru detailing our big Peru adventure!

Monday, March 08, 2010

Moving on...

The blog has been quiet for a while, and that is probably for similar reasons as Lewis. We too, are moving on and it has been quite difficult to write about things while it was uncertain. We found out a couple of weeks ago that we have been accepted by BMS to be mid-term missionaries in Peru! The plan is for us to move to Birmingham in September and fly to Cusco, Peru in January 2011. We should hopefully be joining the Williamsons and are so excited about how God will equip and use us. This whole thing is so far out of my comfort zone and I can't wait for the adventure of relying on God for our provision, safety and Spanish skills!

The goodbyes will be very hard; this is the place where both of my children have been born and the only home that they have known so far. We have lots of family and friends here, and it will be painful to go. But we have felt some gentle tugs for a while that he was moving us on, and despite the fact that I had felt since I was about 16 that God wouldn't 'call me abroad' God in his infinite wisdom and with his own particular sense of humour, decided he knew things a bit better than I did. In a recent Passion[fruit} service, we considered how Mary would have felt after she discovered that she was pregnant. We thought that she would feel a mixture of excited, scared and a bit freaked out. I said that this was often how I felt when God was on the move. I then realised that is how I feel about the whole prospect of moving to Peru. God is good and I look forward to seeing how this next part of the adventure turns out.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Roper Review of the Year

Well, it is that time of year again. Once again, we are saving paper and posting an update online and wishing you a very merry Christmas at the same time. So, for those that are interested, here are some of the highlights of our year and I will try not to make it one of those smug 'my family are perfect and I am writing this to make you feel like the parents from Outnumbered' ones...

A big hello to Sophia Amy

The most exciting part of our year was definitely meeting our lovely daughter Sophia. She made us wait, though, as she was 8 days overdue. And I tested out the theory of relativity, as I swear they were the longest 8 days of my life! She was well worth the wait though, as she is an absolute delight. Sophia has a lively and determined nature. She is crawling and very keen to walk, launching herelf off furniture and people whenever she has the opportunity. Sophia and Amy mean wisdom and beloved, so we are praying that she will grow to be a much loved and wise woman. We trust that she will know the love and wisdom of God: 'Don't be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and depart from evil. It wil be health to your flesh and strength to your bones.' Proverbs 3:7,8

Here is an early picture of brother and sister sharing a tender moment, and below is a photo from a couple of months back. Okay, I said I wouldn't boast, but she is very cute...

Our Drummer Daniel

Daniel has had quite a year. He is 3, going on 13, what with his love of drums and loud music - I didn't think we would be having the music volume argument for a few years yet. He started play group and swimming lessons in September, as well as being a page boy for his Auntie and Uncle's wedding. Although he remains laid back and chilled, he also has a determined streak and knows his own mind. I love our games of make believe and pretend, and am looking forward to Christmas as he is so excited! Here he is in the nativity at play group.

Me and Neil

Aside from having children, Neil found the time to finish a Degree in Children's and Youth Ministry and come top of the class. Alright, that is out and out boasting,but I am his wife and entitled to, right? Seriously, I am very proud of him. Somewhat ironically, just as he found out he had passed the degree, he also found out that Enfield Baptist Church were not extending his contract as Children and Families Worker. In God's perfect timing, Neil was offered work for a few hours a week looking after a little boy, which works really well around my job. It means that I can continue to work part-time at Enfield Baptist as Youth Worker, which I love. I came back to work after 7 months maternity leave, and still see it as a privilege to work alongside young people. Although Daniel thinks my work consists of eating biscuits and drinking coffee. As if. I also turned 30 this year and had a great time at my party.

There have also been lovely holidays, weddings and celebrations, which have been great. However, there are lots of normal, 'average' days, and these are often just as special with 2 young children that are changing all of the time. In all of it, as a family we try to walk humbly, act justly and love mercy, knowing that God loves us! Hope that all wasn't too smug.

Merry Christmas and a happy new year xx

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


I am only just reading Complex Christ by Kester Brewin and love it so far. In the opening chapter, it talks about the importance of waiting and how it may be frustrating, but that is how God works. He says it much more petically than this, but in this time of advent, it is a timely reminder that to wait is not a waste of time and it is often a time of learning.

Thoroughly modern mothers

Some thoughtful and thought provoking takes on the nativity scene here