Petra Zimmermann gets to the Covent Garden the tourists don’t see.
Covent Garden is a prime tourist destination; within its hundred acres, however, is a resident population of between six and seven thousand people, with a wide range of social and ethnic backgrounds. It appears to be a fashionable and expensive part of town, but it does contain a fair number of council flats and Peabody housing association properties.
Spiritual hunger and thirst
I have been working in Covent Garden for about ten years now. I have met most of my acquaintances and friends there while going from door to door in the area.
I knock on doors with the intention to engage in conversations with people. This allows me to listen for spiritual thirst, and to learn who is currently spiritually hungry. It also gives me the possibility to share the gospel and pray with people or invite them to church. I also want to find out practical ways in which I can meet some of the community’s physical needs.
For example, I met Kyla when a colleague and I were knocking on doors in her block of flats and she invited us in. Kyla was recovering from surgery, and felt lonely and isolated; she had hardly any friends, and her family does not live in London. Today she is well, but she still suffers from loneliness.
Kyla has a low literacy level. We have a good rapport, and a few months ago she decided to give reading a try, and that I should teach her.
Earlier this week, we were reading and talking about the creation of the world. Today I had the opportunity to tell her the story Jesus told of the lost son. But, she told me, ‘I have done nothing wrong’.
Please pray that she continues to enjoy learning. But far more importantly, please pray that God will open her eyes and that she will recognise her need for forgiveness.
A version of this article first appeared in the Spring 2016 issue of our magazine, Changing London.