Our workers share their own encounters with Jesus and how he called them to share the gospel with others.

Jason O’Shea is a missionary in Lewisham, working in partnership with Ecclesia and other mission staff to reach the local community through youth clubs, schools work, toddler groups, food bank, door to door and street outreach. He also hosts a gospel music show on Sundays 7am-9am on Buzz FM, a local secular station.

Tell us a bit about yourself...

I live in Nunhead with my wife Tayo and our three children. I might look able-bodied but I have epilepsy and fibromyalgia, meaning I’m in constant pain. Sometimes it gets really bad but when I’m weak, God is strong - he sustains me and gets me through it.

Tell us about how you came to know Christ...

As a young boy, I tried to kill myself twice because of epilepsy and abuse. Both my parents were alcoholics and my mum left when I was 13. I had to look after myself which led me into a criminal life for several years. I’ve seen people killed and tortured. I’ve been battered, stabbed, and even had a contract on my life to kill me - a heroin addict took me to derelict flats to stab me in the heart but suddenly started apologising and stole someone’s car to take me back to where I wanted to go. God spared my life on many occasions for a reason, but I didn’t know it at the time. Eventually, I became a Rastafarian and stopped being a criminal. I heard about Les Isaacs (founder of Street Pastors), a Rasta turned Christian. So I went to a meeting to take the mic off him and tell him he was a fraud. When I got there, each of the testimonies was a bit of my life and brought water to my eyes. Next thing I feel this hand on my shoulder... it’s Les Isaac and two of the pastors asking if they could pray with me. It was like the blinkers came off.

But I didn’t get rooted or grounded and even though I was baptized, I completely went off track.  I was playing for the biggest sound system in Europe for several years until someone challenged me saying, ‘How can you be a Christian and be in the dance hall environment?’. God arrested my heart with the image of the fisherman leaving everything to follow Jesus. I realised I had to quit the Sound, get rid of all my records and equipment and follow Jesus. Robert (Prendergast), who’d come into my shop a year earlier, came in again and I started attending his Bible study and that was it.  

Tell us about how you began working for LCM...
Jason at Ecclesia
Jason at Ecclesia

While attending Calvary Chapel, Westminster, Robert and Efrem Buckle (now two of LCM's trainers) were sent out as pastors to plant a church in Lewisham, Ecclesia. God led me to join them. Though I was running my own business, I wanted to do more ministry. They told me about the LCM Pioneer course and when I heard it was paid, I was like 'Yo! That can work!' For years I'd struggled to do outreach but financial provision was always off my own back. I gave away my sound equipment hire company and joined the Pioneer course. By God’s grace, that year changed my life.

Tell us about the work in Lewisham...
Tea and Topics at Ecclesia
Tea and Topics at Ecclesia

Being able to do ministry full-time, to reach people with the gospel continuously is like a dream. I have to keep pinching myself and saying, 'Hold on - are we being paid to do this!?' Lewisham is very deprived with many needs - gang culture, drugs and violence, mental health problems and more. It’s not nice - people don’t want to live here. But it’s an area we are called to be. LCM is needed to partner with churches -  to remind them of the mission, to help get them going and to start doing the outreach. If one church is doing good, others will see it and follow suit. The hope is that Ecclesia, in partnership with LCM, will spur others on to love and good works (Hebrews 10:24-25).

There’s so much we could do, but we’re working on what we should be doing. We’re not social workers. We’re here to share the gospel, that Jesus is the only answer.

This article is an excerpt from our quarterly magazine, Changing London. Read the full interview and much more...

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London City Mission

 

Because London needs Jesus