Mission Work changes lives. Since joining LCM as a Mission Associate two years ago, Abbie Jones has worked with teams at the Vauxhall Christian Centre, the Webber Street Day Centre and Hope Community Homes. Here she talks about what she has learned from God.
1 - Not My Mission
God is so kind in gently revealing how his ways are better than those I try to forge for myself.
There are days when I’ve slipped into self-sufficiency and thinking that I can do something my own way, and times I’ve come into work not knowing how I’m going to make it through the day. The latter have often been the days that I’ve known God to be at work through me most powerfully.
Whether it be a conversation with a guest who’s hungry to hear about Jesus, or seeing prayer answered left, right and centre, it sounds clichéd, but what Paul writes is true: God’s power is made perfect in our weaknesses, and he delights to use us in that place of weakness.
What a relief and a reassurance!
We fear when we lack trust in God, yet he is in every detail of our lives and our work – the stressful day, the challenging conversation, the upsetting story. Even more, he is working it all for good, and for his glory.
2 - People Surprise Me
Working with vulnerable individuals has reminded me time and time again just how broken the world we live in is. I find people infinitely fascinating, but it’s true that our lives are broken, complex and messy. It can be more externally apparent in some of the people that I’ve worked with, but the same is true for each of us.
Our behaviour can be unpredictable, irrational and surprising, but it never surprises our heavenly Father. Understanding this has taught me about how striking the grace of God is.
Some of the people I’ve met and the stories I’ve heard have opened my eyes to the wonder of this truth in a way that I hadn’t understood before. While sitting and chatting with a staunch atheist, an entrenched addict or a sex offender, I’ve learnt that no one is exempt from the love of God, nor too far off from his grace.
3 - Moments of Joy
Don’t get me wrong, frontline ministry is tough. But amid that, there are gems of hope and moments of seeing God at work that help me keep going: being with a woman as she finds out – against expectation – that she is not going to become homeless; hearing from a Hope Community Homes resident that his time here over the past six months has helped him to regain confidence that he thought was forever lost; hearing that the work we do has touched someone’s life; seeing someone moved from homelessness to being housed; witnessing lives changed as they come to know Christ.
These moments make the hard days worth it, and the reason I love this work.