Mission Highlights: England
By Ashley Binneboese, Director of England Operations, Director of Administration
Navigating London at 3:30 am is an adventure, even with a small team of four. A surprising number of people are still out and about and the night bus is (mostly) on schedule. This time we use a taxi so we aren’t late to meet the rest of the volunteers waiting for us behind the blue door on Cleveland Street. There are some quick, groggy introductions and then it’s time to get started!
Thirst teams have the honor of helping a wonderful organization called ASLAN. One of ASLAN’s ministries is an early Saturday morning tea run that helps to provide warm drinks, warm breakfast, lunch, socks, coats, sleeping bags, and ongoing relationships to the “rough sleepers” (homeless) across London. It is amazing to watch the team in action–they know most of the people they serve each week and have lots to talk about. Our teams are able to fill in when regular team members are on holiday which allows this ministry to consistently serve these men and women who need them.
During the Tea Run our team members have the opportunity to talk with people from all over the world. We can take the time to really hear their story, pray for them, and be confident in the follow up that will continue through the ASLAN team. This unique opportunity is well worth the early wake-up call.
Many of our church partners in England run some form of English classes. People are constantly moving in and out of London and it is common to hear many different languages while you walk down the street. The churches have recognized that all of these immigrants need a community, a place to belong, and a way to understand the city around them.
These English classes look different throughout the city. Some are structured ESL classes with trained teachers, others provide open times of conversation and tea, while others seek to provide a place for people to learn English while enjoying art or choir. Though these classes look different they all help grow the local church by providing pastors an opportunity to connect with people they wouldn’t normally come in contact with.
Each English class has been eager to have our teams come and join them. People are excited to practice what they are learning and they love to hear our American accents. Each time we’ve helped in these classes people have decided to come to our other events at the church as well, giving us the chance to connect these wonderful new friends with church members. We are thankful for the opportunity to help grow the local church by showing people that it is a place where they can belong.
For more information on serving in England with us in 2018, please click here.
Ashley Binneboese is the Director of England Operations and the Director of Administration at Thirst Missions. In her spare time she enjoys baking, playing violin, and spending time with her husband.