NEW LIFE IN CHRIST AT ST ASAPH CENTRE OF MISSION
Every day we see the incredible difference our evangelists and staff make to lives up and down the country. We wanted to tell you about a couple of the many people your donations are helping in North Wales.
Megan (14) lives on the Caia Park estate in Wrexham, where Church Army evangelists Chris Lawton and Josh Smith started our St Asaph Centre of Mission three years ago. Caia Park estate is infamous for rioting and racial tensions and is one of the most deprived areas in Wales. Unemployment, family breakdown and debt problems impact the community daily. There is little hope. Josh says, “The kids here feel like ‘I’m from Caia Park, I’ll never amount to anything’”.
Megan regularly attends the ‘Tin Can Youth Hut’ – an old metal chapel gifted to the team - where Chris and Josh run much of their outreach. With little Christian witness on the estate this was the first place Megan ever heard about Jesus or has had positive role models to look up to. Last summer she went to a Christian camp with a group from ‘Tin Can’ where she gave her life to Christ.
“Josh took us on a camp and we learned about how Christians are, what they believe in, their faith and stuff like that. It was really good. Over that summer I started to believe, and now I’ve got a Bible that Josh gave me. My favourite verse is from Philippians, you can do all things through God because he gives you the strength” she says.
Megan has since attended Youth Alpha and is slowly exploring her faith. Josh hopes to run a youth Bible study in future and eventually start a youth church. Alongside the youth club, Chris and Josh lead assemblies in the local schools, run a foodbank, Dads’ clubs, offer football coaching, host special community events as well as leading services in the local church. The work here is tough and slow to bear fruit, but lives are being changed. And it’s not just young people encountering God.
Gill (59) has lived on the estate for the past 32 years. She’s known throughout the community, and despite her numerous ailments and personal challenges, she volunteers tirelessly alongside Chris and Josh. After a few tough years, and walking away from her faith, she has come back to church and to God.
“The welcome back (from Chris) meant a lot to me. When you’ve been away from church you’re scared to go back. I know the boss – God - doesn’t judge me but other people...” says Gill.
Chris says “She’s so fired up for the Lord now. It’s been gradual, but God has been breaking down those barriers. It’s not easy but she keeps going and more than ever she has this new life in Christ. If we have played a small part in that, I say praise the Lord”.
That’s what motivates us to keep working. To have the opportunity to play even a small part in people encountering God, and seeing their communities begin to be transformed, is our honour and privilege.
These two stories show how we’re there for people, enabling them to discover new life in Christ. But, we want to do so much more. If we had your support we could reach more people like Gill and Megan. Please make a gift today. Your donations really will change lives.
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