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.
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.