Living Well in Langley
‘Isaac reopened the wells that had been dug in the time of his father Abraham.’ – Genesis 26:18
In November last year, during England’s second coronavirus lockdown, Church Army launched the Langley Centre of Mission; partnering with the Diocese of Birmingham to bring hope to the streets in one of the West Midland’s most industrial areas.
Lead Evangelist Val Legg has moved to Langley and has been joined by Simeon Jarvis, the centre’s new Pioneer Evangelist. Simeon grew up in Langley and is currently looking for a house in the area. Returning to where he grew up will be the fulfilment of a word from God for him to return to his roots.
Prayer walking has been a huge part of how the team are preparing for long-term ministry in Langley. Even when lockdown has restricted travel to the area, Simeon has used Google Street view to walk down the roads he already knows so well, praying for God to open up opportunities for new ministry and services to individuals and communities.
Inspired by the Bible verse Genesis 26:18, to reopen wells, bringing water of life to a thirsty region, Val and Simeon have adopted the phrase ‘living well in Langley’. This also speaks to their vision for the people in Langley to have the opportunity to live well.
“God led me to the Pioneer Evangelist position online, really. I just felt a heaviness inside me at the logistics company where I used to work. I felt God was telling me it was time to leave, so I said “what do I go into Lord?” and then I went online. I can’t remember what I was searching for, but I spelt a word wrong in the search bar and felt God tell me to run the search anyway – Pioneer Evangelist for Church Army was the first thing that came up and I thought “wow, that’s better than what I was asking you for, God”. I had been asking God for a job that would fit in with what I thought I needed but God had this planned.
When I became a Christian, just over a decade ago, I felt God say to me that He’d send me back to the crowds from where I came. I wrote it down. It wasn’t until afterwards that I saw that the Pioneer position was in Langley and realised that God was sending me back to my old neck-of-the-woods.
I know the area really well and from prayer walking recently, Val and me are getting a sense that there is a big problem with unemployment and mental health in Langley. For unemployment, I want to create a place that could be used to help people into work, and also come alongside them with the Gospel. And with mental health; it’s an issue everywhere at the moment, with loneliness and depression throughout COVID-19 but particularly in Langley, it has been a problem for a long time.
We’ve also felt there is a need to work with ex-offenders. There’s a building in the area that is a sort of halfway-house for offenders; people coming out of prison and being rehabilitated back into the community. The building is just off the high street in Langley where I have been doing some prayer-walking and I feel a leading to that building – I want to help people with those sorts of struggles.”
This article was originally featured in Church Army’s Catalyst magazine – we’d love to send you a copy so you can be inspired by more stories of our frontline work and see the impact of your support! Get your copy of Catalyst.
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