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Published: September 2nd 2007
I have found adventure in flying, in world travel, in business and even close at hand. Adventure is a state of mind and spirit.
Home sweet home. I finally have a place to unpack my suitcase and somewhere to legitimately call home, where I am now longer a squatter! The Otford Manor was built in 1920 by a man who was not too keen on people, and so built it very much like a rabbit warren. It has been used by various organizations over the years, but as of 20 years ago, has been the headquarters and offices from which Oakhall operates.
Oakhall is an organization that has a variety of opportunities. It was started by Ian and Judy Mayo in 1960, when they decided to take their youth group away on an expedition - to learn more about God and have some good fellowship. This first trip to Switzerland was such a success, that more and more people became interested in joining these trips. The first vehicle was an old London ambulance, purchased with the funds obtained by selling waste paper. As more and more people started joining the expeditions, larger vehicles were required. Often, most of the
year would be spent just making the one vehicle road worthy, and able to undertake these long journeys. Over the years, as Oakhall grew, it also started providing opportunities for people to not only get away with other Christians for a time of refreshing, or for non Christians to come along and see how much fun Christians can be (as well of course, as hearing the Gospel, where they may otherwise have never heard it), but ATOM started. This is “A taste of Mission” for people who would probably never otherwise “go abroad on mission” - to participate in the practical and verbal sharing of God’s love, and so to come home inspired to “make disciples of all nations” within the context of their own communities.
10 years ago, a Bible school was started in Serbia - by Ian’s son, Andy. And since its opening, over 200 bible students have graduated, and been sent out into Yugoslavia and areas previously dominated by communism, to bring the light of the gospel into these dark areas by starting their own churches. We live in exciting times. The spirit of God is moving in areas where it seems impossible! Oakhall also does
Stunning view over kent
mission trips to Peru, Thailand and South Africa (pmb!!)
But back to the manor. Not only are there about 25 - 30 team members living here permanently, but it is often host to “unlocking your bible” and “trip reunion weekends”. Both of these provide further opportunities for people to dig deeper into God’s word, and to fellowship with other believers. For those who have gone on trips - it is a great venue for a reunion. Not only are there probably about 100 rooms at the manor, but it is set up on a beautiful hillside in kent, overlooking little English villages, and has about 100 hectares of woodland behind / around it. Much fun and excitement to be had! I spent the first 2 days getting so lost, just trying to find my bedroom - and then once I’d found it - to find my way back to the offices or the dining room! Just like a rabbit warren - with so many secret passages, small trap doors and hidden rooms… could spend a life time just discovering them all!
So I have now arrived to serve “behind the scenes” for these trips. Oakhall is staffed by
volunteers and so depends heavily upon people giving any time they have to come and help out. I am expecting to be in the offices, or perhaps helping out in the house team. I am really excited about the fellowship and community that the next 3 months promise - having spent the past 18 months or so, moving from city to city, I have missed the fellowship of believers. It feels a bit like I’ve come home. I’m not too sure what the next few months will hold - but there was a decision to be made - and that was whether my relationship with God, or the pursuit of pleasure, was most important. A tough question - but for some reason, it feels like I’m in the right place - as much as I’d love to be off traveling somewhere…. God knows our deepest desires - as He made us and put these things there. So just gotta wait and trust.. and “seek first his kingdom, and all these things will be given to you as well..”
I soon realized that no journey carries one far unless, as it extends into the world around us, it goes an
Home sweet home
The back of Otford Manor, and home base for Oakhall Expeditions
equal distance into the world within
Ps 121 v 7 -8 the Lord will keep you from all harm - He will watch over your life, the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forever more.
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