As I once again drove into Carlisle the familiar sights and sounds hit me; the smell of gingerbread from the Mcvities factory, the Old Castle and of course the Old Vicarage; home of YWAM Carlisle. I was warmly greeted by Elsa who was once a trainee with me and is now part of the staff team for the present discipleship training school. I also saw Dortje who was one of the leaders on my school and then Willem who I met in South Africa. We all caught up and I then met this year’s trainees. I happened to be here for the ‘Father Heart of God’ teaching week, which I thoroughly enjoyed on my DTS, so I decided to join in. Robert and Vicky taught about the true nature of God and how we are Gods children, sons and daughters highly valued. I was surprised in ministry time to still find hidden hurts buried deep within my heart; it was great to have this time of healing. I found the week provided an opportunity for openness before God and for a further understanding of his grace, love and forgiveness.
One of the highlights of the week for me was street ministry in Botchergate the club and pub centre of Carlisle. We were able to meet, stop and chat to many people out for a night on the town. We gave out free tea and coffee and made ourselves available for people to talk to and ask questions if they wanted. I was surprised at how many people couldn’t understand why we were giving out free hot drinks and therefore found it hard to accept. This reminded me of Jesus and his free offer of forgiveness and eternal life. Why do we assume that nothing is for free but we must earn it, pay for it? I spent some time explaining God’s gift to us and was pleased to receive such positive responses from people. There are many people out there searching, with a desire to know the truth, to be spiritually filled. I felt so privileged that people chose to open up to me and discuss what they thought, their fears and their want to have more faith; to really know God.
There was one girl in particular that stuck in my mind, her name was Charlie. She began to tell me how she once believed in God but since her son was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, she found it hard to believe that there could be a God. I asked her if we could pray for her and her little boy and she obliged and so we stood there in prayer, asking for healing and God’s hand of protection. Later that night I saw her again, and she said that she had been telling people how she had met us and how she couldn’t believe we took the time to pray for her and her little boy. She explained how it meant so much to her that we, as complete strangers, would stop to care and pray for her. Surely, as Christians, this is what we are called to do.
– Joanna Kindred