At London City Mission we’ve been caring for the whole-life health of children and young people since we started in 1835, because we believe that London Needs Jesus.
One of the young people we are in regular contact with contact demonstrate the importance of initiatives like this, and the reality of the burdens that even the youngest people in our city bear.
The way Liam thinks is scary. He’s been connected to us for about 2/3 years, more or less since the start of the school. We just had a conversation with him on Monday, and one of the things that he said which is really disturbing is that he doesn’t want to live past 30. Because he said he doesn’t want to die, but that when he’s 29 he’s going to go on a real rampage from the North to the South. He wants to be known, he wants to be famous for just doing a whole load of stuff, illegal things, robbing banks.
He has no vision or picture of himself past 30, which is heartbreaking.
Liam is 15 now, and you just think to yourself that he has no hope. We’ve been working with him for a long time, and he has a lot of mental health issues – he listens to music, and the music he listens to is very angry, lots of foul language. And he listens to that, he says, to calm himself down… He’s got older siblings in their 20s, but mum is in denial – everyone else has a problem, the system is wrong, everyone is just picking on him. We work with him one to one, but he has no desire to learn, or do anything academic, yet he wants to go to college. It’s quite contradictory. So looking at him, where is he? How is his mental health? You speak to any other 15/16 year old, and they want to have a job or have lots of money. And Liam’s made it clear that he doesn’t want to have children or family. He likes sex but doesn’t want to have a girlfriend. I think that it was scary that he had no aspiration to live and kind of enjoy life.
We need to pray for Liam.
We’ve found that in order to engage with children and young people wrestling with their mental health, it’s really just showing them love, first and foremost. And being willing to take on almost anything that they throw at you. That’s not necessarily without correction, but it is definitely loving.
When we talk about Jesus loving everybody, that is what you’ve got to do. A lot of them don’t feel loved and they don’t know what that is. And initially, that love that you show them is something that they are very suspicious of it, so it takes a long time to work through these things. It can take two/three months before they can even begin to trust you, because of what some of them have been through.
(Names have been changed to protect anonymity of the child and the mission team involved. )
LCM has been ministering to and with the children of London ever since we started. The primary way you can support our work in this area is, of course, through prayer. Why not sign up for our Together Prayer Update, or add LCM to Prayermate.