What an amazing, but terrifying commission! Released by the Methodist Church to work among the poor, politicians and party-goers. A blank canvas – but where do you start? Where do you make the first mark? For me, it was with prayer; daily, asking God to lead me to the streets he wanted me to walk and to meet the people or person he wanted me to encounter.

I met ‘M’ begging while I was on patrol with Street Angels. She was homeless and an alcoholic – drinking 16 cans of high percentage lager a day – and claiming to be an atheist. After spending time gaining her trust and building our relationship, I was able to help find her accommodation, supporting her to work through a number of issues. She is now alcohol free, in a stable relationship, volunteering at church and saying grace at her meal table.

Jesus met people where they were at. I try to spend time building relationships where broken people are – street corners and doorways, hostels and soup kitchens. I am privileged to meet many damaged people, cast out by families, loved ones and society into dark places. I try to see people as Jesus would see them, my brothers and sisters in Christ, reminding them they are loved, they are precious.

God dwells amongst the poor (financial, spiritual and emotional). As I spend time with the poor, I see God at work, touching and transforming people’s lives, releasing people from addiction, restoring relationships.

What excites me? Witnessing Jesus at work in people’s lives. Seeing blank, despondent, hopeless people grow in stature and self-worth, vacant eyes becoming shiny. Jesus said “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10, NRSV)

We all have our part to play, in enabling others to experience life to the full. I thank God for the small part I have been called to play.

This article originally appeared in the connexion magazine, issue 5.
Banner image and photos : © Mark Kensett, TMCP