I noticed the woman in the leather jacket had many horizontal scars on both arms where she had cut herself with a blade. She had lost both her parents in a car crash when she was 7 years old and was then brought up in an orphanage. She became a Christian 16 years ago, never regretted it and subsequently married a Christian man. She showed me the inside of both wrists that had Bible verses tattooed on them. One was from Isaiah, the other from the Book of Acts. She told me God had never left her. When she was homeless on the streets of Bristol for 6 months He had looked after her and she never suffered any harm.
When she told her husband she was transgendering to a male he freaked out and started abusing her. As a result, she ended up in hospital.
She told me she wanted to find a church. Some churches she had been to had struggled to relate to her situation and she had become discouraged.
Suddenly I was overcome with compassion and was fighting back the tears as I absorbed her story. I instinctively gave her a hug and she clung on to me for a long time. She said no-one apart from her husband had hugged her for over 2 years.
She said she had legally changed her name (to a man’s name) recently, but church people didn’t want to use the new name.
I suggested a local church which I thought would accept him and his new name in a loving and compassionate way. We looked up the phone number of the pastor, whom I knew, and I suggested he phone him and explain his situation and ask about church services. He said he would.
He’s now a grandfather, but his early days were horrendous. Abused physically and sexually by his father, he grew up confused, angry and feeling unloved.
No surprise therefore that he spent a total of 20 years in prison, five of them for armed robbery. He went down the drugs route, ending up on crack cocaine.
man behind bars
Now he’s moved on and slowly getting a sense of perspective and that it wasn’t all his fault. Thankfully he treated his children and grandchildren in a more loving way.
I told him that I knew someone who loves him as he is, and has always loved him. I shared about God, Jesus, sin and repentance. He told me he recently went to church. I told him about the church I attended, and he said: “that’s near where I live”. He couldn’t come this week, but might be able to come next Sunday. He took away a gospel tract.
One woman came through the door saying:”you prayed for me last time I was here!” I said: “I pray for lots of people; can you remind me?” It gradually dawned on me who she was. She had been running away from an abusive partner that day and knew no-one in our town. She was so grateful for what she received last time that she asked today for more prayer. We held hands and she got a friend with her to join with us. She said afterwards her new male friend was looking out for her, but he had his own problems. The other day he said to her “cuddle me”. She did, and he explained afterwards that he wanted to be held because he’d been hearing voices in his head telling him to kill her.
We gave out many food parcels to hungry clients today, enough to feed 74 people for three days. In addition to normal food, we added bags of Christmas food as a Christmas bonus. People were thrilled.
One woman was gently trembling and told us she was suffering from various injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder following a car accident. Her car had been stationary when she was hit from behind by a car travelling at 40 mph. I offered healing prayer to her, which in reality turned out to be me just holding her hands while I shared other healings I’d seen Jesus do. She was grateful. I suggested she come back again if she wanted a top-up.
What a privilege and honour God has given me to minister to people in various states of distress and suffering!
A young woman with a 7 week old baby told me she was looking forward to marrying her partner soon. They’d been sweethearts since she was 14. She needed to save up the £145 or so to get married. She really touched my heart! I asked for her address – which she gave me – as I said I’d drop her a card.