God at work - how Jesus is changing lives
Church Army's ONE series of stories and films is unpacking journeys of faith for people, one at a time. Becky and Lauren tell their stories ...
Bringing people to a living faith in Jesus Christ is at the heart of Church Army’s new ONE series of stories and films as we celebrate how God is impacting people throughout this nation.
We hear from Becky and Lauren in the North of England at our project for women who are vulnerable, addicted or involved in prostitution ...
Becky’s story – a volunteer at Church Army’s project
“The women we work with are some of the most vulnerable in our city: abused, sexually exploited, drug dependent and grieving for their children who have been taken into care. Faced with all of this, they are left heartbroken and desperate to see a change in their life.
“At the project we aim to build long-term relationships with the women and share the Good News of Jesus and his radical grace. The project has its own house and weekly street outreach in the red-light district, as well as one-to-one visits.
“The house is a place of refuge and belonging, a place where women experience sanctuary from the chaos of life on the streets. We aim to welcome, embrace and love unconditionally and without agenda. It is in reflecting the patient love of the gospel and walking alongside women in the valley and on the mountain, by being honest and real about pains and joys, that we see lives transformed by Jesus.
“The house has a dedicated prayer room, living space, relaxation room and provides a drop-in facility with food, advice, craft activities, a listening ear and spiritual support. Just as God the Father welcomes us into his family through Jesus and prepares a place for us in the kingdom, we model a concept of ‘home’ and ‘family’ that is different to the one many women experience. It’s here they can realise their potential and are empowered to make positive choices, igniting hope for the future.”
'I found Jesus in prison'
Lauren* has been visiting Church Army’s project for a year. She shares her story.
“I didn’t have a conventional childhood. My mother has depression and I left home aged three and moved in with my grandparents. I moved into care at 11 and left at 16 into independent living. I’ve been in hostels and was homeless for a while on the streets. I ended up in prison for something silly but Jesus was very much with me and I found Jesus in prison.
"When I really sat down and thought about Jesus I realised that, in hindsight, he’d been with me through everything. When I was a child in need and as an adult through the mistakes I’d made, he was with me all the time. Jesus was there always. When no one else cared or loved me, he did. Jesus’ love is unconditional. If it hadn’t been for the project I wouldn’t have met people who are great, love me for me and have given me belief in myself.”
Lauren is now attending a local church and has returned to college to study psychology.
* Name changed
A poem from Lauren about her faith, which she wrote in the project’s chapel
When I shout out you hear me
When I cry you are near me
When I am in pain you heal me
When I’m weak you believe in me.
When I am in darkness you are my light
When the day beckons you become
When I struggle you are my might
When I get lost you show me
When I need guidance you are my
When I’m sad you comfort me with love
When I’m alone you send your
The Holy Spirit flies like a dove.
When I am angry you are my shield
When I don’t want you, you know how I feel
When I’m afraid, I pray to you and kneel
You know what I think and what
You are higher than the sky, wider than the ocean
More courageous than a lion, stronger than any emotion
You’re gentler than a swan, more loving than any being
You’re the best vision that is beyond
To watch a film of Lauren’s story, visit www.churcharmy.org.uk/one
Get more inspiring reading
Our print magazine for INSPIRE is currently on hold while we explore new funding options for a relaunch later this year. If you'd like to be kept up to date with developments, ready to order the new title once it's available, email email@example.com