Brian Perry from Birmingham Vineyard volunteers at a hostel local to him. He shared about his experience of letting God work in and through him, no matter how terrifying it felt!
“A few years ago, I retired from my work. I was looking forward to having more free time to slow down and do some different things that I wanted to do, but God had a different idea! He reminded me that there’s no such thing as retirement with him and said that he had some different opportunities for me to get involved in!
I started off working with the Foodbank at Birmingham Vineyard, then I helped with Growbaby, and I was also trained up to become a debt advisor. The opportunity then arose for me to go and help out at a local hostel.
To be honest, the thought of going into the hostel scared the life out of me! I had no previous experience working with people who struggled with mental health problems, drug and alcohol addictions or homelessness. But I felt God say to me, ‘Your ability doesn’t matter, your availability is what matters.’ I knew that he would work in and through me if I just showed up.
To begin with, I just went in to be friendly and make tea for the residents! Over the time I’ve been there, the guys have come to know and trust me as I’ve spent time with them, and treated them as normal people.
There have been lots of ups and downs at the hostel. I’ve had the privilege of praying with someone on their deathbed, and a couple of the guys who I’ve been journeying with have said their yes to Jesus, while others who I started to get to know really well have just left and moved on.
One of my favourite stories was when one guy at the hostel had a painful leg, and asked me to pray for him. To my amazement, God showed up and his leg was healed then and there! 30 minutes later, another of the residents heard this story and found me to ask for prayer for him too.
In the Vineyard, we say that ‘everyone gets to play’, that everyone is invited to partner with God and to see him move. It’s not just about the people at the front of a church service on the stage, but God is longing to work in and through everyone. I’ve loved letting him work in and through me at the hostel!