We recently had a tough patch where one of our guests – one of our friends really – passed away as he was sleeping in a church yard. He died within walking distance of Webber Street. A very gifted man, his death had a deep impact on the regular guests who knew him well and on us as a team.
As we talked through our grief, one of the things we shared together the many times over the years where it has been Webber Street team members who have been the last ones to offer love and support to people.
People usually arrive at Webber Street when they are at their very lowest, the worst point in their lives. Things don’t get much lower than sleeping on the street and losing contact with family and friends.
When they’re no longer in touch with any family, friends, no one else is helping them, we’re the ones that are still there for them.
That goes to the heart of what we’re about. For 60 years we have been here to show that there is hope. However, bad things have got, however difficult times are, there’s always hope. That’s really the message that our team share with anyone who walks through our doors every day.
The nature of our work is that we don’t always see the impact or the big successes in this ministry.
Some of the great stories come after people have moved on from Webber Street. They sometimes come back and tell us about the part we have played in their restoration and the grace of God that has been at work in their lives.
In our day-to-day work we look for small victories in people lives. Sometimes it’s things such as someone accepting that they have a problem to deal with, or coming to a Bible study. That might be a huge personal step forward for them.
One thing that I’ve learned in being involved in this ministry is that the further, the deeper we go with trying to support someone who is in need, is that people’s lives and needs are really complicated; you have to go really deep, and a lot of support is needed.
A guy who’s been coming in for a few years now has a very difficult background of living on the street. For people like him, we don’t expect instant results. And although God can do this, we don’t necessarily expect for the staff to explain the gospel and in a miraculous moment turn his life around. Instead, over a long period of time quite a lot of people are around him, gently supporting him.
He’s been through the pandemic with us. During the lockdowns we were having great conversations on the street in which he started asking serious questions about faith. Since then, he has been on a slow journey towards Jesus.
Now he’s growing in his faith and developing a faith of his own. He’s going to the church where one of the team members is involved and is now talking about wanting to get baptised.
It is such a joy for me to see God at work restoring broken and damaged lives and I’m so grateful for everyone who is on this journey with us.