We have now been living in Winson Green for two months. We moved to be part of an established community ministry which is based out of Newbigin House, at the heart of Winson Green. God is really opening doors for us and we are building a weekly schedule of community activities. One such activity that we are both involved in is an open house community meal on a Tuesday evening at Newbigin House, for any individual or family living in the area to have a hot meal free. This has been a wonderful opportunity to meet some of the locals and encourage them. We’ve had some people come with very complex needs as well as addiction issues.
Birthing from this, Chris will now be involved in a “Grow Group” aimed at the single men who have been coming regularly. This group will be a space for in depth conversation, mentoring and talking about life issues and faith.
Lorraine has been getting to know some of the families who have also been coming along to the meal. Some of the young mums have recently moved into the area, are in substandard accommodation, are possibly single parents, or have faced violence in the family. Some have no way of cooking or heating a meal up, and the community meals means that these families can have a few moments respite and enjoy fellowship and a hot meal.
Please pray for these Tuesday evenings. They are a life line for many members of the community!
Chris writes: “As part of my role as Short-Term Mission Coordinator, I have just finished leading a pilot eight-day outreach called ‘Whatever you did….’ (Matt 26: 40). Based in Birmingham, it gives the participants an opportunity to engage with the homeless and marginalized. Though just a small group of two, I was able to take them on soup runs, visit a food bank, a night shelter and drug rehab centre amongst other things. The highlight was being part of a Sunday morning service, along with a Salvation Army band, in a local prison. The band, I and the two participants got to visit a wing which has been cut off from the rest of the prison to give the prisoners a chance to get away from drugs. The music and conversations that followed meant so much to the prisoners.
“Some prisoners feel forgotten and alone, even in a place with many hundreds of others around them, often feeling they can’t practise their faith. The participants really felt they had been enriched and inspired from their outreach experience in Birmingham. I am now looking at repeating this Short-Term Mission in December for a new group of participants. I’m exploring chaplaincy opportunities as well.”
Lorraine writes: “As part of my role as Hospitality & Housekeeping Manager, I was kept very busy during the eight days Chris was leading the outreach. The participants were staying at the OM base in Halesowen. I like to make sure they feel welcomed, are looked after and that they had a good experience staying on the base. I’m excited to be starting back as a small group leader on a Tuesday morning, at ‘Mothers @ heart’, a local women’s group offering support and friendship. All these activities enable us to share life and faith with whoever we meet. The gospel is lifesaving and lifegiving which should be shared at any given opportunity.
“Please pray that we will have strength and energy to fulfil our roles; for the busy Autumn/Winter season with outreaches and guests at the base and that our planned extended holiday before the busy season starts will give us much needed rest and relaxation.”
Chris and Lorraine have been with Operation Mobilisation (OM) for six and a half years. They returned in 2013 from working as missionaries in Kosovo, and joined the OM team based at the missions training centre in Halesowen in September 2013. Chris is the newly appointed short term missions co-ordinator. He plans, co-ordinates with churches and leads short term out reaches throughout the UK. Lorraine is the training centre hospitality/housekeeping manager.
Pray for Chris as he is preparing for an Easter outreach. Pray for strength and energy for both Chris and Lorraine in their different roles. Pray for the OM community based in Halesowen, for OM colleagues and current ELCO students (English Language Cultural Opportunities) who are living and studying at the base.