One of the guys is Sean, a 25 year old ‘recovering alcoholic’ who spent weeks living on the street just surviving, until his path crossed with Matt Lambert from Hope Into Action. He joined a regular home group meeting at Matt’s house and has now become one of the very first residents. “Matt never judged me, not once. I’d been to hostels and they just didn’t want to know you. Alcohol is still a daily struggle for me but now I’ve got people around me who care and I can talk to. A job is the next thing I need, but it’s difficult when you’ve got a criminal record. I need a break really.”
Matt takes up the story. “It’s worth stopping and reflecting on what makes for a successful outcome with the people that come through our houses. Is it that that they do not go back to using drugs or misusing alcohol? Is it getting people off the streets? Is it them getting into employment, education and training? Is it moving them on to independent living? Whilst all these things are fantastic, they are not the measure by which we judge success.
So what is a successful outcome for a resident of a Hope Into Action house? It is a resident who feels and knows that they are loved by the church. If there is one thing my wife Rachel and I have come to learn in the last three years, it is that most of the people we work with have been taught by life that they are unlovable. You can tell them till you are blue in the face that God loves everyone and grace is for everyone but they don’t believe this applies to them because they are not lovable.
If you can show them that you love them through actions and words to the point that they begin to believe that you love them, then you may just manage one day to convince them that God can love them too. Jean Val Jean a French catholic priest who started “L’Arche”, a charity that houses severely disabled adults said we are not called to do extraordinary things but ordinary things with extraordinary love.”
The vision for Hope Into Action Black Country is to have homes right across the region each supported by a local church who will care for the residents on their journey back into community life. The church that currently helps host their soup kitchen operation in Wolverhampton has just signed up to partner in supporting their second home. This property will become a home for some of the women who attend the soup kitchen.
An investor has also come forward to fund homes two and three, so the hunt is now on to find suitable properties. Matt added, “These are such exciting times and things seem to be moving quicker than we had originally anticipated so we would really value your prayers and support. We would also value prayer that God provides the funding that we need.”