Possil Park Mission Update – December 2017

Possil Park Mission Update – December 2017

Davina Lawson writes:

May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you.

Hello friends,

I can’t believe it’s already been two months since I last wrote to you. So many things have happened in these first few months and I’m excited to share them with you! I hope that by reading this you will get a little taste of my life here in Possil.  Here it goes…

Here I am standing outside my block of flats and as you can see I am still on my own.  Someone came to view the flat at the end of September but it didn’t work out for various reasons.  I was pretty disappointed but then a few weeks later I received a very generous financial donation that has allowed me live in this flat on my own.

It has actually been such a blessing.  I am out all day with people and so having my own space to wind down in and having a spare room has meant I can have guests!

I have been reminded of this verse in Matthew 6:8 that says “your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”  I was praying for a flatmate but God knew that for this season I needed a space to myself where I could really rest.  I am so grateful for this home and for God’s abundant provision.

There is a wee community garden just down the road from my block of flats called the ‘Back Garden’.  It was built in 2014 to make use of a derelict bit of land and to create a productive space that would allow people to connect with the environment.

People from the community can get a plot in this garden or just go along to the drop in sessions and help out with whatever needs doing.

I spend a couple hours each week in the Back Garden working on our team plot and just helping out with other things.

It’s a great way getting to know people who go to the drop in sessions.

There’s also a nearby canal just a few minutes from the flat and I love to go walking along it.

Learning

These first few months have really been a process of learning about life in Possil, getting to know people in the church and in the community and taking part in the various activities that our team runs.  These include, mainly music (a music group for 0-5’s and their parents or carers), international cafe (an informal English class for internationals), Groverz (a kids club) and Youth Café (a youth club). Taking part in all these activities has given me a good opportunity to get to know various people in the community.  It has been challenging though.  Learning is busy and often overwhelming.

Not only am I learning to live in a context so different from what I am used to.  I’m also learning how to get to know people who I often feel I don’t have anything in common with.  I think we are used to defining people, even subconsciously, by their socioeconomic background so when we encounter people who are different from us in those ways we think we don’t have anything in common.  It’s a lie but it’s sometimes hard not to think that.  It’s definitely how I felt.

Being here however, I’m learning to see people the way God sees them, not defined by socioeconomic background, but as children of God created in His image, just like me.  I’m learning to see people truly for who God made them to be.  I might not talk to people about what university they went to, but I can get to know them for who they really are, what they like doing, what they are good at and what their fears and hopes are.  I love the people I’m getting to know and I’m excited to see how God will use me in the relationships I am building.  After Christmas we will be reviewing what we are currently doing and I will be discerning what areas I want to invest more of my energy into.  I am so grateful to have been welcomed into the community here and so glad that I get to share life with people in Possil.

Here are some of my church family. They are a wonderful bunch!

Meet The Team

Top Left:  Ben & Faith (they are married and have Theo who is a year and a half),  Simon.

Bottom Left: Reuben, me, Moira (married to Simon) with daughter Isla (5 months old).

We are eagerly waiting for the Longs to arrive;  hopefully they will get here in Feb/March next year.  Please keep praying for them as they prepare to move.

Missionary Quarter

The InnerCHANGE year is divided into 4 quarters, missionary, contemplative, prophetic and integrative. Right now we are in the missionary quarter, so as part of our learning community we have been reading and discussing a book called ‘When Helping Hurts’ by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert.  In this book, the authors reflect on how often times when organisations or individuals try to help the poor they generally end up doing more harm than good to the community they are trying to help.

A reason for this is due to our understanding of poverty.  We generally view poverty solely as a lack of material possessions, food, shelter etc so poverty alleviation tends to focus on providing for material needs.

In a survey conducted by the World Bank, however, they found that people who are materially poor define poverty in psychological and social terms. Poverty is understood to be more about isolation, shame, fear, humiliation and hopelessness.  Alleviating poverty then is not solely about focusing on the material needs of people or just fixing the immediate problem.

In a community like Possil that is marked with low material wealth, low self- esteem and a culture of dependency, alleviating poverty means walking alongside people, restoring peoples dignity and hope, and empowering people into their God given potential in the hope of seeing long term change, not just a quick fix to lack of material wealth.

The ‘quick fix’ option is often tempting though, we want to see results and change, but this often creates more harm in the long run.  So please pray for patience and humility for us as a team as we seek to walk alongside and empower people.  In a community that has often been handed a lot of services a big focus for us is trying to empower people to be involved in our activities, in the planning and implementation of the things we do.

A couple ladies from the church volunteer with our mainly music group and international cafe.  They love helping out, and volunteering at these groups is helping to empower them and giving them a sense of purpose.  It’s been really great working alongside them!

Youth Café

We have also been working to empower our youth.  In our Youth Café we have been going through the topic of leadership.  We asked them at the start of the term if they ever thought they could be leaders and the unanimous answer was ‘no’.  But through the course of the past two months we have been showing them various people in the Bible who God chose to be leaders that were unexpected and often times young.

Together we have been planning a Christmas family fun night which will be on Friday the 15th of December.  We asked them if they wanted to put on an event of some sort and they came up with the idea of having an evening of fun and games for families in the area.  It’s been really cool to see the change from their doubts of ever being able to lead, to their excitement for leading this event!

Youth Café used to be lead by Moira (one of the team leaders) but she has stepped down from leading this whilst she is on maternity leave.  A girl called ‘Sarah’ who is my age is leading it alongside a woman from the church called ‘Laura’.  Sarah lives in Ruchill which is a neighbouring community to Possil and grew up going to a youth club there run by Laura.  I’ve been hanging out quite a lot with Sarah and I’ve loved getting to know her, so please pray for our friendship to grow.

On a Tuesday morning a local artist has been coming to the Grove and doing Christmas crafts with us. It’s been a lot of fun!

SU Lunch Club

Unfortunately there is no high school in Possil, but lots of kids from Possil go to one in the west end called Cleveden.  In this high school there is a SU group, a Christian lunch club, that meets on a Thursday.  I have started helping out at this as a few of the kids from Youth Café go along so it’s been a cool way to get to know them more.  It’s also been a great way for me to get to know other youth from Possil.

On the 19th of December I will be helping to run the school Christmas assembly with some of the other SU leaders.

Christmas

Christmas is fast approaching and for many in Possil this is a hard time.  It’s a time when family divisions are highlighted/aggravated and people get into a lot of debt.  There is a real honour/shame culture here in Possil so people get into significant debt at Christmas time just so they don’t have the shame of not being able to provide the best for their families.

Clay Church is having carols by candlelight on Christmas Eve and some of the team will be at the Grove on Christmas Day singing some carols and just spending a couple hours celebrating Christmas with our friends in the community.

Prayer Requests

  • please pray for the youth leading the Christmas event that they would feel confident in leading and that it would be a night of fun and joy
  • that I will continue developing good relationships with the kids at the Youth Café
  • that I will have opportunities to get to know more youth from Possil
  • for discerning what areas I want to invest more energy into
  • for a good friendship to grow with Sarah
  • for a restful Christmas break
  • please keep our friends in Possil in your prayers this Christmas

At the end of our morning prayer we say this Celtic blessing over each other:

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you,

Wherever He may send you

May He guide you through the wilderness

And protect you through the storm

May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you

May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors

Writing this newsletter has given me a chance to reflect on all the wonders God has shown me in the short time of being here.  Please rejoice with me!  Thank you once again for your faithful support and prayers; I am so grateful for you all!

May God bless you this Advent and Christmas season.

Much Love

Davina