STORIES FROM THE FRONTLINE
We love hearing stories of where our workers are pushing through the current obstacles and even using them to be God’s hands and feet to people where they live and work. It’s even better when we get to hear those stories first hand from the people who are there.
Lockdown has been incredibly frustrating for many of the Church Army evangelists . Our work is by nature people focused and not being able to interact properly has certainly provided many challenges.
This is certainly the case for Ruth Hills, Evangelist in Southampton who had just started to gain momentum with a group of people from the Townhill estate where she is ministering to. A lady Claire* had given her life to God a few months earlier, through Ruth’s outreach and wanted more teaching. Another woman, Jo* really wanted to know more after she prayed for healing and her prayer was answered– she has since given her life to God. Ruth was amazed and delighted.
The face to face groups Ruth had been running were really starting to take off, then lockdown happened. Ruth and her team of church volunteers decided to continue using Zoom which was a challenge in itself since many in the community are not highly technical and don’t have computers. Most managed by using phones. One girl was provided with a basic tablet which enabled her to join meetings.
Ruth realised that one group ‘EDGE’ (evolved from a children’s activity session) the parents really valued the Zoom meetings and wanted to meet together more often. An offshoot of EDGE evolved, enabling the parents to talk better. This group then converted to an online Alpha course by popular demand.
Lockdown has been very difficult for many of the families, especially home schooling; one family had no pens or paper at home-something that Ruth could help with.
Food parcels, emotional support, and a monetary gift to keep a car essential for work on the road have all been part of Ruth’s work over the last few weeks including support for battered women.
Where a need is identified this is carefully considered and where some giving is required. This can be posted on online church groups, for example Jo recently injured herself in a fall at home and was on full bed-rest and unable to cook for her husband and five children. Volunteers from the church rallied round and a meal rota was set up. Elsewhere a team of volunteers were mobilized to help sort out a flat which was in poor condition; this prevented children from a vulnerable family potentially being taken into care.
God has been doing wonderful things in peoples lives. He is Lord of all even lockdown and Zoom! Please pray that through Alpha, the regular gatherings and support people in Townhill are experiencing that more lives can be changed and we will see many more surrendering their lives to God.
Our Church Army rep’ is Dave Fowler.