On the 4th of June 2020, I was called as the first service missionary in the UK and Ireland. Since then, I have worked on various service projects; they have been different from what I expected due to the Covid-19 pandemic. But different isn’t always bad. We have all lived differently in the past 12 months; different ways of working, living, worshipping, learning and, for me, how to serve a service mission.
One of my assignments has been to work in a local ‘soup kitchen’ with the charity Medway Street ANGELS. I put the word ANGELS in capital letters as these volunteers are really angels. The volunteers help the people who come, not just by giving them a meal and having a friendly chat, but by helping them get back on their feet. They give them a sure foundation to stand on. I can testify that the people we support at this soup kitchen are being watched over and looked after by angels; angels that our Father in Heaven has sent to look after them. I feel privileged and honoured to serve alongside them.
If I’m truthful, when I first started helping, I feared the homeless as they were different. I didn’t know how to approach them. I was afraid of what they would think of me. But those thoughts were changed. My heart was changed as I served them week by week. You genuinely grow to love those that you serve.
I have seen many acts of kindness working with these people and not just from the volunteers. I like to help at the cake stand at the soup kitchen, and it’s always tricky with rubber gloves on to open the bags we put the cakes in. One of the homeless men saw me struggling and came to help. Now, every week, he always opens the paper bags for us. When I asked him why he helps, he said, “I just wanted to do something.” That struck a chord with me. He just wanted to help in any way he could and being able to help someone made him feel needed and useful. On my mission, I will try to have that drive. I will try to be like Jesus Christ in any way I can.
One freezing October evening, as we were packing up, a man in his late 40’s came to us with only the shirt on his chest, the shorts on his legs, and the shoes on his feet. He had nothing else to his name. But he was the happiest person I saw that day. We were able to give him some clothes, a sleeping bag, and a hot water bottle. As we were talking with him, we discovered it was his birthday. He said it was the best birthday he has ever had with the small gifts we gave him. His attitude was one of gratitude. Then we all noticed someone who was not happy, and our new friend went straight over to this man. He told us that he would take care of him, and make sure that the other man got home safely!
In the months that I have served here, I have truly learned to see these people as the Lord sees them, as His children. I no longer look at their dirty clothes and addictions. Instead, I look on their childlike spirit and the warm smiles on their faces. I am reminded that we are all made in His image. Jesus Christ helped the beggar and gave time to the lonely. On my mission I am trying to become more like Him by doing the same. My mission is to help me learn how to help others feel Jesus Christ’s love for them.