We love to hear stories about churches who faithfully serve their communities, and partner with organisations in their city to see God’s will be done! Here’s one story that Steph from Foyle Vineyard shared with us.
“When Foyle Vineyard began, we knew that we wanted to establish a rhythm of service and generosity to bless our city but we weren’t sure where to start. We began to pray and walk the streets, looking for something to invest ourselves into and we came across Foyle Woman’s Aid – an incredible charity that provided safe houses for women and children fleeing emergency situations, sometimes domestic violence and other times human trafficking. As we talked with the incredible staff we discovered that people often showed up at their doors without any possessions because they would flee in a crisis and need to grasp any opportunity to escape. Our hearts began to break for the women and children fleeing harm or captivity, and we were reminded of the clear mandate of the Church to bring good news to the poor, to proclaim liberty for the captives, to bind up the brokenhearted and comfort all who mourn. We loved the idea of posturing ourselves low and serving and blessing something in the city that was already establishing the good order of Jesus outside the walls of the church, and so Boxes of Hope were born.
We provide boxes of emergency essentials and comfort for the women who arrive through the doors of Foyle Women’s Aid. Items include nighties, socks, toiletries, tea, coffee and treats. Most importantly, perhaps, is the postcard included in every box that speaks hope over the story of every woman receiving one, a reminder that this moment is just a sentence and that God delights in creating beauty from ashes when we allow Him into our stories.
We provided Boxes of Hope to Women’s Aid anonymously for 4 years and never heard a single story from it. Then one night, at a birthday dinner for some friends, two ladies in our church heard the story of a lady who had left her home amid awful circumstances and ended up at a woman’s shelter. She described how in one of the lowest moments of her life, she opened a box she had received upon arrival and read the postcard enclosed, explaining how she felt hopeful for the first time in a long time. The two ladies from Foyle were so excited and exclaimed ‘That’s our church!’ They got chatting to this lady who went on to share how she had since got her own home, started working, joined a church and even been baptised.
When we heard this story we were completely overjoyed! Our hearts prayer is that this is the case for so many precious women and children, time and time again. That in a moment of deep pain and despair, the hope and peace of God would come and meet the hearts of those who are broken and alone, and that these little boxes would serve as catalysts for the restoration of all things. That God’s Kingdom would come here, in Derry, as is it in heaven.”