No I haven’t disappeared off the face of the earth, I’ve just been super busy with a variety of things including thinking it would be a good idea to decorate all three bedrooms during this half term (Ha!).
Anyway, having taken a break because I can’t contain myself another minute I’d grab a cuppa and get comfortable because this is longer than I’d meant it to be.
At the beginning of last year I knew I wanted to do more than personal makes and workshops with my crafting skills. Having trained as a Peaced Together facilitator I know the benefits creativity can bring to a persons overall health and wellbeing. I love being a Pathway mentor as well as being a volunteer at the Grace Cafe and St Mary’s Community Cafe, all areas where my listening skills are used but I still wanted to do more. I’ve had a vision for some time about sharing my folk art and craft knowledge with others and have a particular heart for those often overlooked – not always because of ignorance or unkindness, but sadly, because of funding cuts. Many centres in our area for people with mental health problems and/or learning disadvantages (and I’m sure across the country) are no longer available.
Although my prayer life has been a bit sporadic for a while it was there and whether hourly, weekly or just when we remember, our prayers are still heard. I was encouraged and comforted in my impatience for things to happen to be reminded by Psalm 32:8
I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you
to cut and set stones, to work in wood and to engage in all kinds of artistic crafts,… Exodus 35:33
A long story short, a few weeks ago I met Penny at the Grace Cafe. We got chatting and couldn’t quite believe how we both had the same desire to help lonely, hurting people including those with learning difficulties and/or mental health issues. We both had a connection to South Town and a desire to bring a bit of love and kindness to those in this area. We met for coffee and decided to approach a couple of venues. One in particular would be ideal but a couple of ‘Jo Blogs’ rather than an organisation we had to plead our case for the community room hire rate and were blessed to be given it. So stepping out in faith we decided to go ahead and had a ‘taster session’ on Friday 26th October.
Although the group was small it was such good fun and I have since heard that one of the gentlemen seen here was still wearing his handmade broach when spotted the following day. How sweet is that! 😊
Now to an even more amazing part of the story so far.
A registered Christian charity (which I will name when details have been finalised) asked me to meet with their Trustees to ‘pitch’ my vision for the group with a view to discussing whether they might be able to help support us. This support could be in a number of ways, including but not limited to funding, resources, volunteers etc. I did my bit and then left so they could discuss the viability of supporting further and to offer the situation up to God in prayer.
You cannot begin to understand my shock and amazement when only a few hours later I received an email from one of them. Well to be honest, having seen the first few lines in the email preview window I genuinely thought it was going to read ” …thank you BUT…”, what part of it actually read was:
So we discussed different options for moving forwards, and the Lord intervened with a ‘left field’ option we hadn’t forseen! There are two bits of good news:
- An anonymous donor wishes to cover the cost of your room hire and refreshments for the first year, or until alternative funding is secured: whichever is sooner.
- I received a favourable response to an enquiry I made to the ????? Fund (My note: more info when details have been completed), who have previously funded the set up of the Grace Cafe and the Space. They have encouraged us to apply to them again for your funding for the first year.
I should never have doubted God was indeed in this and should have remembered…
Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine… Ephesians 3:20
That said, my feelings are still fluctuating between being overwhelmed (with gratitude), amazed (thank you Lord!) and so very excited about what is to come. There are so many people out there who just need a little portion of kindness.
A listening ear.
So Friends of South Town has not only been formed but we can now guarantee people in our area a full year of running our Friday Cafe where we aim to…
When God moves, lives change and I believe He will bring those to the group whose lives need changing for the better, however small or large that change is – and I’m sure in the process ours will too.
I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. Isaiah 43:19