Today I went in for volunteer duty with a local agency and took with me four books written from a Christian perspective. We have a box marked “free books – help yourself” and clients can take and keep anything they want while waiting their turn to be seen.
At the end of my 3 hour shift three of the four books had been taken away.
I had a long conversation with one woman client who was going through life’s trials and had recently split up with her lesbian partner. She showed me two severe injuries her partner had inflicted and for which she had needed lots of stitches. She was very open to talking with me and admitted she found there was a spiritual dimension to our conversation that she really appreciated. In fact she said she sensed that God was in our encounter in a very real way. I was surprised to hear this, as I hadn’t said anything particularly spiritual up until this point.
She then picked up a little booklet “Finding Hope” and put it in her bag, saying that was exactly what she needed. She had experienced quite a bit of rejection in life, so I told her that Jesus was the only one who truly loved her and that he would never reject her. I also told her about an encounter I had where Jesus had appeared to me when I was distressed many years ago. She seemed quite touched by this. I asked her: “would it be OK if I gave you a hug?” She said that would be good, so I did and she also hugged me tightly back for a few moments. Before she left she saw the book box, picked up the one at the front with the title “Finding God” and said with a laugh: “this has all been planned!” I agreed that it had, so she left with the book on a high, and a big smile on her face.
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.
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.
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.
A guy I recognised came in for food. As he chatted about his life he told me he had been in 22 children’s homes from the age of 2 until he was 18. From a young age he had become increasingly violent and recalled smashing every single window in one house at the age of 5. He gradually became more and more violent and disturbed as the years went on, relying on and trusting no-one. Fortumately, he said, he’d never gone to prison
He told me he had been a priest in a local Satanic temple but was in the process of turning his back on Satanism and exploring Christianity. He was in the middle ground, so his old life was not causing him too much harm at present. I told him that things would get much worse when he had fully turned to Jesus and was serving him. He realised that, but reckoned it held no terrors for him. He had been there and done it all, so knew the way things worked. He had become disillusioned with Satanism and said it was like being on a treadmill – from first thing in the morning you’re on the go all the time. Some people might find it exciting, but it had worn him down. The way he described it, I could see there was no peace in it for him. I shared some of my testimony with him, and he could relate to some of the things I said. I also told him of my encounter with the reality of God’s love, and how Jesus had appeared to me on one occasion in my bedroom.
He had started attending a local church and they were giving him some practical jobs to do. He said one of these was restoring the original wooden cross that dated from when the church was built as a mission church over 100 years ago.
I told him about Doreen Irvine who had been “Queen of the Witches” in England at one time, but became a Christian. She had written a book “From Witchcraft To Christ” I offered to get him a copy and he said he would like to read it. He gave me his details and I said I would send a copy on to him. He had some questions about the Bible and we chatted about these for while. He is due to start an Alpha course in a couple of weeks time.
Having looked back over some of my older posts, I decided to re-post the entry detailing my first encounter with a prostitute. Not your average encounter, I dare say. Unfortunately, I never met up with her again. Here goes……..
Today Jesus gave me the great honour and privilege of meeting Lisa, a tattooed drug-taking prostitute newly diagnosed with AIDS. Not only that, I found myself weeping after praying for her. She seemed really touched at the sight of a guy in this state! I then gave her some hugs which she really appreciated; I told her these hugs were from Jesus. I shared some of my own testimony and she listened, quite enthralled.
She was brought up by atheist parents and her childhood was one of “no rules, no boundaries” She could do what she wanted, whenever. No wonder she lives a life out of control! She was over the moon when I gave her the booklet “The Atheist Test” by Ray Comfort.
The good news is: she has met a born-again Christian at the B&B where she is living. This lady gave her a picture of Jesus, which she now has above her bed. She plans to go to a large church tomorrow and light a candle. I shared the gospel with her and she heard it readily. I explained about the need for forgiveness of sin, how Jesus took our sins when he died, and how we can receive forgivness because of what Jesus has done. I suggested she might like to list the sins she would like forgiveness f0r, then once Jesus has forgiven them she can set light to it, since Jesus will have forgotten them then anyway.
I also gave her a Gideon New Testament and she said: “my favourite is Psalm 13″. (I read this again myself tonight, and can understand why she likes it.)
I felt this was a real God encounter and look forward to seeing her again next week. No wonder Jesus loved the prostitutes and they loved Him – I think I have started to see why now!