Last week a woman came in for food. She was clearly upset and was trying to keep tears at bay. In conversation she revealed she had a drink problem and was about to be ostracised by her mother in a week’s time because of her addiction. Her young son had been taken from her, but she was upset each time she heard him in the school playground near her home. As she left I said: “when you come back on Monday there will be a lady who will be happy to chat with you.” I then went out with her to her pick up point outside, where her mother was waiting in her car. As we got there I said: “Do you believe in God?” She said “Yes, I do.” I replied: “Well, at least He’ll never reject you and cut you off”. I then said: “Would you like a hug?” She replied: “Yes please!” I hugged her, then she got into her mother’s car and they drove off.
He told me he’d just served five and a half years in prison for carrying a gun in his car, taking it for a friend to use (keep in mind that this is England, UK). Back outside, he now was sliding down the slope of alcoholism, waking each morning with the shakes and needing to drink. He opened his rucksack and showed me the chemical rot gut he was drinking “that has never seen an apple in its life”. He also showed me the scars on both his wrists where he’d tried to do himself in.
I told him straight that only God could sort out his life. I then shared some of my testimony. I gave him a few gospel illustrations and then asked if he’d like me to pray for him. He said he would, so I called over a colleague and we both prayed that God would set him free and that God’s kingdom would be made known in his life. We didn’t pray for healing, nor did he say he had any pain. But as soon as we finished praying he told us straight away that the pain in his liver had completely gone. I told him that was the reality of a loving God who cared for him. As he left, I advised him to read the gospel tract I gave him and to pray the prayer at the end, if he wanted a new life. On a practical level, I put him in touch with the Army welfare system, as he was an ex-soldier.
Ten minutes later we had a new guy and his partner in for food. The man had terminal cancer and was in constant pain. I shared that we’d just seen the alcoholic guy’s liver pain get taken away. The new guy said: “I don’t believe in God” I said: “that’s OK – we do!” He then let us pray for him, which we did several times, on different parts of his body. He felt some reduction in pain, but not a huge amount. We asked his partner if she had any pains. She said she had some in her neck, which was probably stress. We offered prayer and she agreed, so we laid hands on her. She too felt an improvement. They then left with their food.
While we were laying hands on the woman I said to a third guy, newly arrived, “you’re next!” He laughed and said something I didn’t catch. We finally moved on to the third guy, who explained he was an atheist and believed in evolution and science.
We then had a long chat about these things while his food parcel was being prepared. We also talked about the conscience (con=with and science=knowledge) and how we have this inbuilt guidance system. I gave him my website card and offered to send him a link to a Ray Comfort video where Ray challenges US scientists on evolution. As he got up to leave, the client had a hard job getting on his feet. I asked what’s up and he said “it’s arthritis”. I said: “come back next week for a further chat and we’ll pray for you”.
His Roman Catholic mother encouraged him to seek help through prayer. He told me: “I prayed a really desperate prayer to Jesus asking him to help me. Soon afterwards I got a place in a drug rehab unit and it really seems it was an answer to prayer. I got clean and stayed in a dry house for 17 months, until one day I went out and had a couple of pints of beer. This was reported and I had to leave the dry house and all the good mates I had made. At one time I was praying to Jesus every day, but lately I’ve been backsliding.”
My friend accepted he was the author of his own downfall. However, he doesn’t want to get back into the dark place he was in before. His mother has told him she will have nothing to do with him if he goes back the way he was.
I told him I knew a local church which had a support group for people with addictions. I gave him the details and he was really pleased. We then went outside where I offered to pray for him and he agreed. He was really grateful after the prayer and thanked me most profusely.
A guy I’ve known on the streets off and on for several years came in for food. Under the rules he had already received his full quota of food parcels (each parcel equates to 3 days of worth of food). As we chatted, he told me he was at the end of his rope. This was literally true, as two days before he had climbed up a local hill and put a noose round his neck. For whatever reason, he hadn’t gone through with killing himself. The good news was that he was booked into a rehab unit in a week’s time.
I put the manager in the picture and we gave him a further 3 days worth of food. As he left I gave him an evangelistic booklet “The Missing Peace”. I hope he reads it. He’s a likeable guy, but keeps falling by the wayside in terms of drink and drugs. With Jesus there is always hope while you have breath in your body.
Two women came in later on. As they were chatting to each other, one explained that her 3 kids were by two different men. The other woman replied she had 4 kids by 3 different men. What complicated lives people lead!
A few days ago I discovered reports of an “Outpouring” in South Wales, UK, in a town called Cwmbran. The church has a ministry to those with addictions. It’s happening in Victory church and evening meetings are being broadcast on Livestream. I watched a couple and from what I saw and heard it seems like the genuine article. This is the church website with a message from the Pastor: http://www.victorychurch.co.uk/outpouring-message-from-pastor-richard The background to the Pastor and recent events is here: http://daibach-welldigger.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/outpouring-in-cwmbran-2013.html This blogger has also added an update: http://daibach-welldigger.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/the-cwmbran-outpouring-continues.html
If you want to follow evening meetings live you can do this on Livestream: http://new.livestream.com/home and search for “the welsh outpouring” Lots of salvations and healings are being reported. They are making every effort to keep Jesus as the focus of everything that happens and make sure that no man gets the glory for what the Lord is doing.
We had a succession of clients in for food today who’d all just been released from prison in the past few days. Problem is, they come out having been given around £50 and have to get on with it. One guy was clearly “out of it” on drink, as he took a while to make it through the door! One young guy, who was no more than 23, said he’s just done his SIXTH prison sentence.
One of the ex-cons was a woman, who I recognised as being in before. She recognised me too. She has a drink problem and inevitably ends up fighting and getting arrested. When she’s sober, she’s a lovely girl, like today. She plans to move to an area outside town, to get away from “the wrong people”. I told her about a church plant in the district she’s going to, and said how friendly they were. She took the phone number, so I hope she goes along. She doesn’t have any church background whatever, so I hope she goes!
An older woman came in with one of her children. She was a single mum, with five kids altogether. Her partner of 16 years had been shown the door after getting another woman pregnant. The client said this was the last straw, as he’d had 12 affairs with other women in their 16 years together.
On Wednesday this week we’ll be giving our annual Christmas lunch and individual Christmas hampers to 7o homeless/drug addicts/street drinkers. We’ll have carols too, but the solos from the floor (and sometimes from the mic) are always the highlight, as you can imagine!
It’s always pretty chaotic, but they love it and appreciate what we do. God bless them – every one! Each year a few are missing because they’ve died of their addiction, gone back to prison or, in one case, been found floating in the canal. New folk have since arrived, so will take their place. We always give a short gospel message or testimony to make the folk think. It might be the last gospel message they hear this side of the grave.