Acts 435 Giving to anyone who has need

Christmas is around the corner and a sense of excitement fills many houses across the country. Yet we should not forget that for many others there is a palpable sense of dread or ever-increasing realisation of isolation and need.

Poverty Story #7

Maria came to the country as a legal migrant and worked as a nurse in the NHS. When the time came to renew her visa, she realised that her passport was out of date and sent it home to her brother, a powerful civil servant in her home country to be renewed (as she thought it would be quicker that way). He stole her passport, presumably to sell to someone else, and her leave to remain lapsed.

She was thus ineligible for benefits but also could not prove who she was. She has been functionally homeless and unemployed for 8 years as a result of this situation despite having qualifications in nursing and engineering.

Poverty Story #8

Craig had a really tough childhood. His mum died when he was 10 and his gran brought the children up, dad being at work all the time. Before an adult he lost his gran and then 2 siblings also became seriously ill. Life unravelled fast and Craig ended up first in prison and then in psychiatric care. Once back in the community, he found it very difficult to settle anywhere.

He met Rachel 4 years ago and they then starting moving around together, still struggling to settle and eventually ending up on the streets. With ill health a problem, they sought housing help from the local Council but were told they needed to return to where they were registered, back up North.

Craig's life changed dramatically in that journey back up North thanks to a chance encounter with someone who showed compassion to them and bought them some food. Once back 'home', doors were opened for them in miraculous ways through local charities and they found housing, and a local church to care for them and nurture them. Craig and Rachel are now new and exuberant Christians and have seen such a difference in their lives, their attitudes and their perspective.

There is always HOPE

A couple of weeks ago someone contacted me after reading some of our poverty stories with her story of hope. 2 years ago she was faced with feeding her gran baked beans on toast for Christmas lunch. She had reached rock bottom after an extended time of problems with health and unemployment. Yet, they didn't give up and a few days before Christmas she and her husband were both offered work meaning rent was paid, then bills, and then Christmas dinner!

She writes:

"Now 2 years later we both have full time jobs, it is low paid but with us both doing the same hours we are fine. Our youngest is married and is doing well on his meds and our oldest has now been told what is wrong with him and is getting the help he needs. We are clearing our debts slowly and are independent of any help. God has blessed us. Never give up even when it seems easy to do so."

Fourth Advent Candle