At the beginning of the month of July, I along with 15,000 other people attended The Salvation Army congress in London. A chance to celebrate 150 years of our existence and yet again I wanted to sign up to the fight.
As I am now back in Rome and have spent a week with a young woman learning about this crazy ministry I get to be involved in; I am challenged to stand up and shout. Rosie wrote this on reflection after a week of living and working in Rome.
“…’vulnerable’ people come in all forms with very different needs. I really saw this this week as I went from listening to Estelle talk about international campaigns such as ‘Up For School’, to packing bags at a food bank, to an outreach programme working with people in prostitution.”
Way to go 17 year old woman to make me think. And so I am thinking as it’s Tuesday about the women I shall meet tonight and the team I will be with. The familiar faces that are missing when we pass by. The ones that we know by name and call out to us for a hug or a word or a smile.
Recently an interview was published in The Salvation Army UK’s magazine. Here is a small excerpt about The Green Light Project.
In December 2014, Estelle took the GLP to the streets of Rome. The first stage of this fortnightly outreach involves slowly forming relationships with the victims. She explains: ‘We take tea and coffee and chocolates to two areas in Rome and are slowly beginning to make some contact with victims of trafficking and prostitution. Already we’re beginning to see some great opportunities and we’re beginning to pray with people. Now they greet us with hugs and kisses and say “We’ve missed you, where have you been?”.’
Initially Estelle has trained officers from command headquarters (& other church members) to be part of this ministry, but the plan is to extend this to corps members as the project expands.
I know all the fancy words make it sound like I am doing something special but you know what makes it special, a woman calling to me and hugging me and telling me that we are the people they look forward to seeing as we speak from the heart and with love. With no judgement of the person in front. That’s a compliment, an encouragement and a challenge. I want to represent Jesus whenever I am out in this world. I want people to know that they are loved and needed and can be redeemed and life is not about the street corners and the car parks of Rome. I want them to know that Jesus can transform them and that I will love them and then love them a lot more.
I am challenged to be a light in the darkness. I am challenged that a simple “hello and how are you?” and “would you like a coffee?” can change the lives of individuals.
So where do I sign up? Again?