Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage . . . They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion.
~Psalm 84:5

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

The King's Arms

For those of you who don't know, I'm spending the summer in Bedford, England working with The King's Arms Project. The King's Arms is a church here in town and the project is focused on ministering to the poor and homeless through two residential houses.
There is a night shelter that contains 18 beds. Men and women arrive at 7. If they stayed one night, then they are guaranteed a bed the next night. Otherwise, they'll have to wait until 7:15 and see if there are any spare beds. We haven't had to turn anyone away since I've been working, so that's good. We have a hot dinner ready for them when they arrive, but once coming into the Night Shelter they must stay. Otherwise, they may leave to get drugs or alcohol. Some of the guys have drinking, drug, or mental health issues, so that makes work a little more difficult at times.
Barton House is a transitional house run by Project staff members. It contains mostly guys who have stayed in the Night Shelter in the past. The staff of BH aim to create a home environment for all the residents. They also teach the resies skills that will help them once they're back of their feet.
I first visited Bedford last winter. My church back in Texas sent a team of 12 to work on Project for two weeks. Before my visit, I never thought much about England, especially when I thought about missions work. But the Lord quickly gave me a heart for the nation and I was so grieved to leave.
England has been in a spiritual decline over the last 80 years. The world wars left the nation broken and the people hopeless. They turned their backs on God, not understanding how He could allow such death and destruction. Pastors I have met give staggering statistics: Only 2-3% in the UK are active Christians; 1,000 young people leave the church each week; every week, a church closes its doors and is turned into a Muslim mosque. (Note: These are unofficial statistics gathered from various pastors in the UK)
I never expected to come back, especially so soon, but I praise God for working it out. I hope you don't mind if I use this blog to chronicle the rest of my time here (I've been here abt a month and have at least a month left)
Click on the link to learn more about The King's Arms

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