On the way into voluntary work I was praying that God would use me and that I would have love and compassion for those I would meet. I also prayed that He might work through me.Ten Minutes before we closed a homeless man came in. I gave him tea and some biscuits and he said he really could feel the energy flowing into him as a result of getting something inside his stomach. We chatted about where he slept at night and I gave him a list of places where he could get food during the day. Some churches and church based organisations do free food, also a local church provides very cheap food for people on the margins. Also, I noticed we had been given some vouchers for a restaurant in town that provided the holder with a full meal at no cost. I gave him one and he really appreciated it.
He said he wasn’t an addict, and I believed him. He was concerned about how sweaty he was and how he smelled of urine. Also his clothes were pretty grubby and he couldn’t afford money for a launderette. We had little clothing available, but we managed to find a tee shirt in his size which he gladly accepted.
He said to me:”how old do you think I am?” I answered: “61”. he said: “You’ve been looking at my paperwork!” I said: “No, I haven’t seen any of your paperwork” I went on: “but God knows how old you are, and lots of other things about you.” I chatted about how personal God was and he was quite amenable to talk about God things. He was a little surprised when I told him that the pass mark for Heaven was 100%. I explained why it was 100% and how it was possible for me and him to get the full 100%. He readily accepted that Jesus got the 100% and that when we follow him as disciples we qualify for 100% on the basis of what He did, not on our own goodness. I explained how the Bible calls our own goodness “filthy rags” and the need to confess all known sin as it holds us back from God and Heaven.
Before he left he thanked me profusely and, amazingly, commented how gentle and acceptable my approach had been as I chatted about God things to him. He blessed me and thanked me for all he had received from us. I wished him well.
A group of us from Church went into town sharing the good news today. I took some Million Pound notes with me as a conversation opener. In fact, while waiting for the bus to town I was chatting to a woman at the bus stop and gave her one. I said: “When you get home, give it to your husband and tell him you got this out of his bank account!” Some of the team also took one.
We also had envelopes with a (real) £5 note inside to give out with a little “This one’s on us!” leaflet inside. We gave them out outside coffee shops to those about to go in. Some people were a little suspicious about being blessed with a free gift, but they gladly accepted the money when they opened up! We told them we were from Clearspring Church, as it makes a surprising change for a church to give YOU money. As we all know, Churches usually WANT your money!
We also came across a homeless guy so we got him some food and drink from a nearby cafe. He knew the places around town that did free food, so we headed off. I had a long conversation with an 18 year old guy who is sitting A Level exams this year. He attended a local Catholic Church. He’d heard of “born again Christians” but didn’t really understand it. I took him through what Jesus said to Nicodemus in John’s Gospel Chapter 3. He said he was more scientifically minded, and found some things in the Bible hard to believe. I asked if he knew the pass mark for Heaven and he didn’t. He was amazed when I said “100%”, but when I explained how the imputed righteousness of Christ becomes ours as disciples, he began to see what I meant. The righteousness of Jesus becomes ours when we are born again of God’s spirit. “No-one can see the Kingdom of God unless he is born again” – the words of Jesus in the Bible, John’s gospel Chapter 3 verse 3. I gave him my card as we left, and invited him to get in touch.
All in all, a good morning in town sharing Jesus and His love.
A lovely woman from the local Homeless Team came in today on behalf of a client. As we chatted she mentioned that occasionally she gets a call from the coroner asking her to go to the local mortuary to identify the body of a homeless person. She knows nearly all the people on the streets. On one occasion she attended a homeless guy’s funeral and she was the only mourner there.
Later this afternoon a woman came in who was homeless and sleeping in a local car park. We warned her of the dangers she faced and to look for somewhere safer while she was being assessed for accommodation. A member of our team went out to his car and came back with a sleeping bag for her.
A couple came in later and the woman started reading out loud from a gospel leaflet on the table in front of her titled “Why Did Jesus Come?” This led into a conversation about being a Christian and forgiveness. She said God might forgive her, but she could never forgive herself for some things she had done. Her boyfriend chipped in saying “you should get things sorted out in your life” and “there’s lots you need to let go from your emotions”. She didn’t disagree. I mentioned to her about a free counselling service and she seemed interested. She gave me her name and phone number and I promised to text her details of how to contact them.
A middle aged black man then arrived. He was really chatty and in conversation he said all his family attended church except him. He was a very jovial, funny guy, so he laughed out loud when I said: “so you’re the black sheep of the family!” He said he might get round to the God thing one day. I suggested he might want to join his family in church and get sorted out sooner rather than later. I reminded him of the recent Germanwings air disaster where tomorrow never came for around 150 people.
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.
We had a Christmas outreach market stall on Saturday. During my time there I prayed for a homeless guy, a non-Christian. He recognised (without any pressure from me) that he had bad things going on in his life and was agreeable to give them to Jesus. I told him to imagine Jesus standing there in front of him, with his (Jesus’) arms open to receive his bad stuff. I asked my guy to hold out his arms and give it to Jesus. He did. We prayed and afterwards he said how much better he felt, having passed these things on. Amazing, really! I love the street guys and women – they’re very WYSIWYG.
Later, a rather timid Christian lady we know came to see us. The last time I saw her was around 2 months ago, when I prayed for her in a church about problems she had with her heels, causing her pain and making walking difficult. I’d had no feedback afterwards, until today when she said: “after you prayed for me that time I got healed, and I’ve been fine ever since” Isn’t Jesus wonderful?
A couple of stalls away from ours, was a stand run by a guy who managed a large out of town venue with snooker and a large hall for shows, etc. I noticed he had a poster displayed for a psychic medium show. I chatted to him about spiritualism and the spirits behind it all. I gave him a full explanation and he clearly had no idea what was involved. He was quite taken aback when I told him about the demonic spirits involved in it. I gave him and the woman with him (the venue owner’s wife) my website card and invited them to contact me. I could then direct them to detailed warnings from people who had been involved in it and got out of it, but not without a struggle!
On the streets today we met a 34 year old guy who walks round the country with his dog. He spent his childhood in care until the age of 14, when he walked out and has been walking ever since. It took him 3 weeks to walk to our city from South Devon. He normally covers 25 miles a day. As a result one of his knees is wearing out, bone rubbing on bone. We offered to pray for healing but he stubbornly refused it. He said God would do it when he needed it. We pointed out that God had already led us to this part of town and we were ready to do God’s will in offering him healing. Nothing we said could make him reconsider. He was short of a decent sleeping bag, so as there was a sale on in Blacks the camping shop, we went off there to get him one. We picked up a good one, reduced from £39.99 to £15. When I took it to the cash desk to pay, the guy behind the counter smiled and said “that will be £2.50 please”. God is good!
We took the sleeping bag to our friend and he received it gladly. He told us he had made a commitment to Jesus in prison many years ago and then had spoken in tongues. I asked if he still used tongues. He said he hadn’t tried. We blessed him and off we went.
While we had a coffee indoors in the market, the group on the table next to us saw our badges and asked what we did. We explained what we did and had a good conversation, passing them a couple of tracts in the process.
She was a white English girl who had been homeless for 2 years and yet she was only 16! When we gave her food she said “No pork,please, I’m Muslim”. I asked her why she had decided to be a Muslim and she said she liked the way they lived. I shared with her some differences between her faith and the Christian faith but nothing I said seemed to make any difference.