12.9.05

A Day full of lives - Jesus Army life, Day 61

A day full of lives yesterday. In fact it's been a busy weekend... On Saturday we went to Nottingham to support the church in that city. It was a good time to make friends with one of the guys we met on our recent evangelism campaign. I like him, there is an innocent nature about the man and hopefully we'll see him again soon. Many of the teenagers were there too, it definitely feels like we are a growing family.

Still, if Saturday was full of activity, Sunday was more so...

We had a house-family breakfast which focused on prayer rather than sharing on a heart-searching issue. It gave the event a different feel but the prayer was motivated by the question: "Do you care?" I think we responded in the only real way we could.

During the morning church meeting a rival gang of teenagers turned up. Any tension was quickly dispelled when a young disciple invited them to White Stone for lunch. He moved in love and it worked, credit to him. So we had more young people for the afternoon than usual! But I missed half the sermon because of all the teenage activity (someone decided to get their lip pierced in the car park) and ended up having an extended 'quick word' with a young lass about not flirting. Not the wisest thing to do.

Later, after helping a friend move some of her boxes (she's moving out this week, more on that another time...) and chatting to our domestic manager about a few home issues, I typed up some notes for a friend who is thinking about our church covenant. He's asking some important questions about what he believes which is good. I know I went through a similar questioning process when I joined this church so it will be interesting to see what conclusion he comes to.

At the evening meeting I sat down at a table with a mate who has such a chummy nature, you feel like you're old friends, but I didn't stay long, I was roped into some amateur dramatics, and then I was called outside... I found a young lad in a crisis. He was crying because someone had pulled a knife on him earlier in the day . I don't know if it was the right thing to do, but I immediately called over the lad I knew was responsible. This second teenager hadn't threatened the boy himself but had involved some of his nastier friends in their dispute. I wanted to face him up to his trouble making. The instigator was repentant but I don't know how deeply. He himself is homeless and trying to cope with a number of problems. Hopefully the result will be there won't be any more trouble, but it did little to comfort the first chap. I found a little later still crying, something to pray about I guess.

I actually ended up praying for the second teenager instead. He was cold turkeying from alcohol withdrawal so I prayed for him and sorted him out some blankets for sleeping on the streets that night. I was frustrated because I felt powerless to do any more for him. He came back to our house for a meal before we dropped him off in town. At least he's visiting a drugs and alcohol centre today for help. He is due to get a place, but there have been complications. I've since spoken to our house-leader about the situation and we're going to see if he'd like to stay with us until his accommodation is sorted.

I didn't mention that I met the young woman in trouble whom I wrote about the other day. It was the first time I'd met her so I didn't let on that I knew what she'd been through. The latest news is that things seem to have cooled off for her.

At ten o' clock that evening, after an enjoyable supper, I gave the brother of a White Stone resident a lift back to Rugby. It meant I didn't get back till an hour later when everyone had gone to bed. Everyone that is except one friend who I found sobbing downstairs. Knowing they were going though a fairly private issue there was not much I could do. I made a drink for this very dear friend, offered some reassurance and encouragement and make my way to bed. I know this friend will find Jesus in the midst of distress. One of the strange lessons of Jesus Army life is knowing when to help people and when to let them work things out for themselves.