Over the past four years, the Lifewords booklets have proven to be a valuable source of support at the YMCA hostel for homeless individuals of all ages where John volunteers with chaplaincy support.
John, a voluntary member of the chaplaincy team of OneYMCA, shared: “As I meet with the 140 people living there and we talk together about their life experiences, hopes and fears, and personal faith, a Lifewords booklet invariably seems just right as a little reminder and stimulus for further personal exploration.”
He often gives You Matter to residents. The booklet speaks of returning to God and offers good news for people everywhere – if you come to God, he will welcome you. As John tells the residents he works with, "The title says it all."
Many of the residents the YMCA have experienced street-homelessness in the very recent past. John regularly shares One of Us with these individuals as they arrive, encouraging them through this resource to “see their life as a journey towards God and hope.” One of Us shares the message of how Jesus became one of us, so that he could bring “good news to the poor” through his words and actions.
Illustrated with photos of life on the streets, this booklet was developed in partnership with Brighton and Hove City Mission and Off the Fence Trust, specifically for ministries serving people who are homeless or marginalised.
The breadth of the resources that Lifewords has on offer enables John to share booklets that respond specifically to each residents need and experience of the Bible’s words. In John’s words: “For some, Words for the Journey (one of our past resources) is a good step by step journey in itself, and Daily Strength and Day by Day help them continue the journey. Others need to find the first step. Finding Hope, Living with Loss and Why Me? all begin to answer some of the many questions that we all ask, especially those for whom life has dealt some severe blows of broken relationships, bereavement, depression and homelessness.”
John actively shares Lifewords resources with his church community too, and has found Little Book of Prayer, Little Book of Faith and Follow Me to have been well received by visitors. These resources have garnered positive feedback not only within the church but also at the local hostel, where both staff and residents have expressed appreciation for them.
Lifewords seasonal resources have also provided opportunities to share the hope found in the Bible’s words at key points in the year too. The True Light was John’s resource of choice over the Christmas period, “so much better to share than just a Christmas card”, whilst The Easter Journey has proved popular for the spring.
The Easter Journey tells the story of holy week in the Bible’s own words, from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday. It’s a story of a journey from hope to despair and back again, a story of betrayal, sacrifice, infinite love and redemption.