Category: Compassion

Through the eyes of a child

On Saturday the Hankey family went to the cinema in central Cardiff. After the film we hurried back to the car along St Mary Street in two units – me and the girls in one, Michelle and the boys in the other. As we dashed though the drizzle we passed several homeless guys sat on grubby blankets in doorways seeking shelter from the elements. Having spent many years in Cardiff this sight was nothing new to me, so I just walked on by as quickly as possible in a bid to get the kids back to the car before they got too cold and miserable.

But that’s when Anastasia spoke up:

“Daddy, why aren’t we helping those men?”

I was stunned to a standstill.

“What’s wrong?” Asked Michelle?

“Ana wants to helps those homeless guys.” I replied.

“Yeah, Ezra just said the same thing!” She replied.

So after a brief family street conference we decided that we should offer to buy the men a hot drink each, and Ezra accompanied me to go and take the order, which I phoned through to Michelle and the others in a nearby Costa. I then went with the kids as they delivered the drinks to the grateful guys. It was a beautiful moment,but one that I have to confess challenged me deeply!

Why did it take the intervention of my 5 year old twins for that to happen?

I mean I had seen the same men as they had just seen. But whereas my instinct had been to rush on by, theirs was to reach out and help. My response was the most cost effective – we could have saved time and money if we had just passed by. Their response was more costly…but certainly more compassionate!

Now I know that historically I have not generally been indifferent to the poor. Indeed much of my  ministry has involved a great deal of serving the impoverished and the downcast. And certainly when I was younger and less time-pressured I’d regularly take time to sit with, eat with and pray with the homeless in Cardiff and beyond. But not on Saturday. In fact the truth is – the thought hadn’t even crossed my mind!

Why not?

  • Have I got cynical about helping the homeless over the years.
  • Have I lost sight of the world beyond my immediate family and their needs.
  • Do I deep down feel the need to protect my kids from the realities of the streets?
  • Is there a lack of love in my heart towards other people right now?
  • Am I just too busy?

To be honest, I’m not sure if it’s any, all or some of the above. All I know is that I have much to be thinking and praying about (and probably repenting of!) And as we begin our new gospel adventure in the inner city of Cardiff, I thank God that He has blessed us with beautiful kids whose eyes are open to the broken world around them, and whose hearts are soft and courageous enough to dare to believe that they can, and should, do something about it!

Father, forgive me for being so cold-hearted, bitter, cynical, busy and selfish that I don’y always see the opportunities that you surround me with to make Christ known in this broken world. Please forgive me for the times that I have modelled the example of the Priest and the Levite more than the good Samaritan to my family. Thank you for the lesson you have taught me this week through the faith and kindness of my precious kids. Please bless them. And please give me the grace to once again see the world through the eyes of a child. For your glory. Amen.

“Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” – Jesus

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Refugee Crisis: 5 ways to get engaged

My previous post has generated so much interest and sparked so much discussion about how best to respond to the current European refugee crisis that I felt that a further post was necessary. Here are 5 ways to get engaged:

1. Get clued up

I was going to put prayer as the first thing we should do, but controversially, I’ve put this ahead of prayer. That’s not to downplay the importance of prayer. Far from it. Intercession is the most crucial thing that we can do! But I’ve put this point first because I believe that getting clued up will help us pray with more clarity and more compassion.

How do we get clued up?

Well obviously the news is a good place to start, especially right now as we are being bombarded by a torrent of information from pretty much every available news source. But there is certainly more we can do. A really helpful thing to do would be to speak to those who are already on the frontline of local outreach to refugees and ask them to give their perspective on what the greatest needs are. Similarly we can read articles and books from experienced practitioners. Furthermore we can contact our local councils and others who are responsible for policy making and coordinating emergency provision. Getting educated from these kinds of sources will really help with the next point…

2. Get on your knees

If you’re anything like me you probably look on at the refugee crisis as it unfolds and feel totally overwhelmed. What difference, if any, can I make? This is actually a healthy place to be as it’s when we feel small, weak and incapable that we are perfectly positioned to cry out to the only One who is wise enough to understand the situation in its totality and strong enough to do what’s right. Sometimes prayer can feel like a token gesture that we do when we don’t know what else to do. That is the wrong perception of prayer. Prayer is where the power is at:

“The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”
– James 5 v 16

Can I encourage you, if you haven’t already, to take God at His Word and to spend some serious, considered time on your knees on behalf of those who are suffering right now. (If you don’t know what to pray, the Evangelical Alliance have written a model prayer you could use).

3. Get in touch

One of the most simple yet practical things you can do is to write to your MP / AM and express your concern for the current situation. Tell them that you, and your church, are burdened about what’s going on. Ask them what they are doing about it and implore them to press our government for meaningful action. Furthermore, if your church is willing and able to help out practically let them know. There are some helpful pointers on what you could offer here. You’d be surprised how encouraged they will be to know that there are people in their communities who are ready and willing to serve. It also testifies to the life and love of the local church. Finally, you can also put pressure on the government to act by signing this official home office petition.

4. Get your wallet out

There will always be opportunities to give financially. Already my inbox is pinging with messages offering opportunities to respond. Tear fundWorld VisionOxfam and Open Doors are just a few of the organisations you could give to who have people at work on the ground. However, you might also consider helping to support a local ministry that is serving refugees and asylum seekers who have already made it to the UK. I guess this is where I’d like to raise one specific opportunity for those of us in South Wales to consider.

My friend Liz Perret-Atkins runs an outreach in Cardiff. Every Thursday she and her team of amazing volunteers at the Rainbow Centre bag up loads of food and give it out to the scores of asylum seekers who attend. They also faithfully share the gospel with these guys each week. I have had the privilege of speaking at the Thursday morning outreach and it is incredible to see how the work is growing as more and more men, women and children from all over the world come to receive food. Apparently they had 75+ there this week and there will be more again next week. I was there last week and the demand was so great that they started to run out of food. Liz shared with me that it is becoming increasingly difficult to finance the work as it is entirely donation based and funds are short. If you have some money that you would like to donate to a gospel-centred practical outreach to refugees and asylum seekers then I can personally vouch for Liz and the ministry at the Rainbow Centre. If you would like to give then get in touch with me (contact details are here) and I’ll put you in touch with her. Alternatively you can text a donation to 70070, citing “Matt25” plus  “£ (amount)”.

5. Get the red carpet out

Finally, we can get involved by opening our hearts and out homes. If you live know of any refugees who have come into your area, why not make every effort to welcome and befriend them. Be the one who chats to them at the bus stop or in the park. Smile at them. Serve them. If you don’t personally know of anyone who has come to this country under duress, find out what is being done for refugees in your area and volunteer you help. If no one is serving refugees in your area – you and your church should start something up. Serious! A coffee morning. Toddler group. Anything…

Finally, a few crazily radical ideas on how you could roll out the red carpet for refugees and asylum seekers:

  1. Could / would you host an individual or family in your own home at your own expense? Could your church building be used as emergency accommodation? If so, tell your local council. Tell your MP. Obviously be wise and realistic, but also be compassionate and courageous. There’s more chance that the government will let refugees into the UK if they are persuaded that they will not be alone in having to make provision. How beautiful it would be if the church of Jesus were at the front of the queue to serve in this way!
  2. Could / would you be willing to provide emergency, or even long-term, foster care for unaccompanied asylum-seeking children? If so, Home For Good are collecting names of those who are interested here.

A gospel response to the refugee crisis

tragedy

For several days I’ve been considering writing a post about the refugee crisis that is currently gripping Europe (I call it a ‘refugee’ crisis, not a ‘migrant’ crisis as the press have been referring to it as, because the difference is significant!) However, having just seen a horrifying photograph of the corpse of a tiny Syrian child washed up on a Mediterranean beach, I’ve decided I need to write!

Thing is…I honestly don’t know what to say.

There are so many voices speaking into the situation right now – from those pleading for mercy to those screaming ‘bolt the gates’. I must confess that I was tempted to launch into an undignified rant about how our nation is selfish, mean and has lost it’s gospel heart. But I don’t want to merely be another voice amidst the cacophony of conflicting opinions. Neither do I want my words to wasted. Rather, I want to bring bigger and better words to bear than my own. I want to hear what God has to say about what’s going on.

I want to let the Bible speak.

Now, this is by no means a comprehensive study on what Scripture has to say about refugees, but it should be a good start. So here goes:

(more…)

Written in Kings at Costa

soul sessions jun 2015

I love good coffee.

I love great music.

And I’m passionate about the work of Compassion!

So I’m BUZZIN about the event that we are hosting this coming Friday evening. We have booked out Cwmbran Costa for an evening of live music, gospel challenge and Compassion promotion. We have invited an amazing band, Written in Kings, to come and bless us with their musical goodness and will present a host of ways that people can engage with the ministry of Compassion. If that’s not enough, £100 of drinks will be our treat, so the earliest punters will be blessed with a beverage too!

So please do join us if you can, and please help us spread the word as we really want to pack the place out!

Hopefully see you Friday.

Blessinz

Compassion Magazine

This morning the postman delivered the mail. Amongst the various bits and bobs that hit the doormat was the latest edition of the Compassion magazine! It’s always good to get the magazine as it’s a good read, but I was particularly buzzin’ about this particular edition.

Why?

Because it profiles the partnership between Hill City Church and our friends at BF201 in Burkina Faso.

I’ve pasted the article below. Hope it’s a blessing and an encouragement to you (NB you might have to double-click on the image to zoom in!)

Blessinz.

Great News From Ouagadougou…

Had such an encouraging email earlier today from Pastor Robert (the pastor of SIM Paspanga – our Compassion partner church). It was encouraging in 3 ways:

  1. It’s always good to hear from him – he’s a dear brother and phenomenal encouragement to me.
  2. He informed us of some extremely exciting news – just like Hill City, our friends at SIM Paspanga are planting a church in the very near future. Sakoula is a region that is also in Ouagadougou and Pastor Robert has been preaching there since July. He’s asked us to pray ahead of an evangelistic campaign next weekend, at which they will be showing the Jesus film. They have already secured a hectare of land and are hoping to plant in December! BUZZIN!!
  3. He attached photographs of the playground equipment and mosquito nets (see below) that our recent fund-raising drive has provided for those precious children. He also mentioned that they have yet to secure government approval for the building of the new classrooms, but reassured us with these words: “we are on it, we pray and work waiting that God opens the doors for his glory.” Haha!! Gotta love that!!


I seriously got emotional when I first saw these pictures. If you’ve followed the adventure of our partnership with the beautiful kids of BF201 you’ll understand why these images mean so much to us!

THANK YOU JESUS!!

Would you join us in prayer:

  1. Thank God for Pastor Robert and our friends at SIM Paspanga.
  2. Ask that God would bless the outreach mission next weekend and save mightily.
  3. Pray for wisdom, courage and provision for the forthcoming church plant in Sakoula.
  4. Rejoice with us for the playground equipment and mosquito nets that we’ve had the privilege of providing.
  5. Press in for a favourable response from the government regarding the building of new classrooms and for the remaining funds to be raised.

Hope you’re as encouraged as me! Bless you guys.

Buzzin!!

Are you One of the Hundred?

Are you one of the hundred?

I’d love you to be!

What am I on about?

OK, here’s the deal…

Over the last 12 months or so, we as a church have had the privilege of partnering with our brothers and sisters in Burkina Faso in multiple ways. To date we have sponsored over 30 children in Compassion project BF201 (a phenomenal achievement for a small church on a deprived council estate).

More recently, we raised £1,133.30 that has provided mosquito nets for every one of the 120+ children (and their families) at BF201.

We also raised a further £839 that will provide playground equipment for the children who have previously only had a dusty yard to play in!

It really is remarkable just how much has been achieved in such a short space of time. However, we’re not the sort of church that lets complacency set in…

So the bar just got raised again!

Get ready for 6 MASSIVE MONTHS!

Our next challenge is to raise the small matter of £25,866 for the construction of 5 new classroom facilities at Compassion project BF201 (read more here). What’s more, we need to find that amount by the end of June! In many ways even attempting to reach this target seems utterly ridiculous – there’s no way that a small church like ours can find that kind of money. However, we are firm believers that our extremities are perfect opportunities for God to flex His miracle muscles and blow us all away with His provision!

My own contribution to the fund-raising drive (as well as a 24hour sponsored DJ set later in the year) is the 21CLUB.

The 21CLUB is for people who are willing to make a 6-month-long commitment to contribute £21.00 per month towards the classrooms. We are looking for 100 people to rise to the challenge and join the 21CLUB. Together, 100 people would raise an incredible £12,600 – almost half of the total we’re aiming for (more with gift aid!)

Could you be one of the 100?

I appreciate that Christmas has just been and that we’re in a recession, but if there was any way that you could stand with us in this it’d mean SO MUCH to some of the world’s poorest children in Burkina Faso!! I want to personally guarantee you that every single penny will go to the construction project and we will not keep any for ourselves.

Thank you for considering this, and if you’re up for it:

WELCOME TO THE HUNDRED!!

God bless.

(Please post a comment or email me at daihankey@hotmail.com and I’ll get the forms to you).