A woman with children came for help and while she was waiting to be dealt with she picked up a small book called: “Thoughts and Prayers For Lonely Times”. She seemed interested in it, so I said:”you can take it away with you if you like – it’s free. She replied :’yes please it looks interesting’. Like all other clients who came today she also received a Christian newspaper with a gospel message inside it.
I also had a chat with one of our new volunteers today. In explaining the wider context of what we do, I told him it included praying for people for healing. He was bought up as a churchgoer, but no longer attends. I gave him a few testimonies of how some people had been healed while they waited to be seen. I hope my chat with him gave him a wider perspective on Christianity – namely the exciting life possible when compared to the passivity and inactivity of dull times in the pew listening to a dull sermon.
As an 8 year old child his father showed him how to clean and assemble a handgun. As you can imagine, from then on things went from bad to worse and he ended up addicted to drink, drugs and violence. He told me he had served 20 years altogether in his 47 years of life.
Amazingly, he has come out the other end and is now going round schools warning children of the dangers – and consequences – they face if they go down a similar route. He told me doesn’t hold back when he describes prison life in all its messy details.
What brought about this remarkable change? He met Jesus in prison and is now a born again Christian. Needless to say his father is at a loss to understand him and has rejected him. He told me that God had never let him down and, although he has never had a lot, he has always had enough.
I was really touched by his story. I gave him my website URL and invited him to send me his testimony, setting out what he was like before he became a Christian and the change that happened in his life afterwards. We discussed local churches and I suggested one he might like to try out. Finally I prayed for him that God might use him powerfully to reach others.
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.
In my post on 19th October I recounted how I’d offered prayer to a team member who had a problem with a ligament on her leg. After praying she had signs of healing, but said she’d report back in due course. A few weeks later I saw her and she said: “have your ears been burning?”. I said “no, why?” She replied: “I’ve been telling people at my church – if they want healing to come to you!”. She went on to say that her ligament problem had indeed gone. I assured her that Jesus was the healer; I’m just the instrument. But it’s wonderful being the instrument!!
On the theme of healing, I recall reading of a Christian man called John G Lake who set up a healing ministry team in the USA in the early 1900’s – in Seattle I think. If you wanted to join his healing team you were assigned a patient suffering from a terminal illness. You had 30 days with the person to minister healing. If you got the person healed in the allotted 30 days, you were allowed to join the healing team. If they died……………..
Makes me think how few people are prepared to go for long term healing prayer. In my experience, if no results are seen from healing prayer after a few minutes most folk go off and consider it a failure. Yet if these same people were prescribed a course of pills – one a day for 28 days – they would normally persevere and finish the course of pills!
The book I promised the Satanist I met Friday last – “From Witchcraft to Christ”, plus another one “Dancing With The Devil” – arrived by post this week. He’d given me his address, but also said he was going to ………………Church on Sundays.
I decided to go along to ………………. Church today, and who should offer me a coffee as I walked in the door? Yes, my Satanist friend was serving the coffee! I gave him the books, had a brief chat and sat down.
After the sevice we had another chat. He was due to start ……………….. church’s Alpha Course this week. He told me he was really ill that day and couldn’t make it. Sounds like the enemy didn’t want him to go, so put the pressure on. In general chat, he was aggrieved that the local Christian City Mission had stopped him trying to talk to one of their female teenage volunteers. He wouldn’t accept my explanation of their supervisory role in her welfare. Lots of street guys will try to home in on our young lady volunteers, sometimes trying to follow them home. But my Satanist friend has suffered from years of rejection, so to him it’s just another one in the face, sadly. He described the City Mission’s actions in Jesus’ words as “a kingdom divided cannot stand”. I hadn’t the heart to tell him that he was still in another kingdom, as I didn’t want to add to his feelings of rejection. No doubt the church he’s going to will make that clear. The minister is devoted to outreach, so won’t be slow in explaining his true position, I’m sure.
I commended the books to him, so hope he reads them.
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.
In town I met a non-Christian guy I know on the margins of society who has a badly damaged leg. He goes into hospital for a 3 hour operation tomorrow, with a long recovery period following. He was really worried about it and I offered to pray with him which he gladly accepted. He thanked me and said:”when I recover I’m coming to your church!”.
I then met up with a Christian lady in our Street Mission as her team were going round town and we chatted to a couple she knew. The wife was a Christian, but not the husband. He talked abut the various illness he was suffering from, and said he was suffering pain in his neck from an accident. I offered to pray and his wife encouraged him to accept. He eventually agreed and I spoke to the pain and told it to go. He got some improvement, but not a great deal. I told him to thank Jesus throughout the day for what he was doing in his body if he wanted to see further improvement.
I had an e-mail today through my website from a guy who said he wants to become a Christian. He asked me to send a Bible and some Christian books, but didn’t give an address. I asked for his details, so am waiting for his reply.