Sunday, September 16, 2012

Nurses and Indians (and Scotsmen)

Last night I ventured out into Fremantle with a fellow senior Chaplain and two new recruits. A mature couple from an inner city church. They were on what we call an 'observor' night. As part of training all new Street Chaplains have to come out as observers and accompany two senior chaplains.

We headed to Ginos (the local cafe) to get to know one another after praying outside the police station. The police both in Freo and the city must be starting to get accustomed to Chaplains praying in a huddle outside their central stations. I always marvel at God directing us to do so in full view. Unashamedly praying. Something of  a rarity in our secular world to see out in the open. Especially late at night outside police stations.

Sitting in Ginos I was encouraged to learn that our two new recruits were both from Scotland. This now increases the quota of Scottish Chaplains to four in Fremantle. Of course I am totally non-biased. Aye right. However further to that the lady chaplain had been a nurse for twenty years and had recently retired. Here I sat a trainee nurse realising God was also blessing the ministry with another highly experienced recruit. Whilst she may have known little of Street Chaplaincy, the skills of handling people as a qualified RN who had studied in Edinborough (the epicentre of medicine) was certainly a blessing. If that was not enough 'God incidences', as opposed to coincidences, they had both been on a missionary trip to India. Where I am headed next. The connection of Scotland, Nurse and India  was clearly being heard from God. Subsequently we all got along very well.

During the night God started to use us as a team.  We escorted a young girl on her own who was walking down the street at 1am trying to get a cab. As a Chaplain you have a duty of care for females and thus when you see girls on their own - you do not leave them. She let us walk with her and we hailed her a cab. Saving her a long wait in the taxi rank. She was sincerely thankful, which showed in her eyes as she got in the cab.

Next we approached a homeless man on a bench. For five weeks I have been carrying a knitted blanket (a donation by some ladies from a church somewhere). Just waiting for the right person to give it to. I offered the man water initally. He didn't want it. We then said would you like a blanket? Yes - he could use a blanket. He took it thankfully and said he was he was headed off to get some sleep. The blanket went to the right person at just the right time.

Nearer the end of the night a young man sat with his girlfriend with a mishapen broken nose. We gave him an icepack and reassured him it was ok. Both myself and the other Chaplain showing him our own broken noses from our own misspent youth! We encouraged him to go to the hospital, andhe assured us he would. We told him he was still a young handsome man, which seemed to be his main concern!

Again many thanks were recieved for the acts of kindness. All of these little acts preordained by God, in full view of CCTV cameras, the police and the revellers. Contagious kindness. I pray you catch it.

God Bless

Monday, September 3, 2012

More Encouragement

Yesterday was a difficult day for me. For some reason I felt disheartened. Almost like my efforts were not achieving anything. There is no giving up though. As Peter said to the Lord Jesus "Where would we go? You are the Holy one the son of God". In other words, there is no where else to go - other than hell - not the wisest of options. Been there and done that before I knew God. The now and not yet of hell it is called theologically. When hell is in your heart and you do not even know it. You just live as an empty vessel chasing happy 'fixes'. Some call it bipolar. Fitting - the ups and downs of secular 'no meaning life'.

Thanks but no thanks. God is good - even when we are bad.

I cried out to God, asked for encouragement. Asked for help. Asked for forgiveness for selfish thoughts that had entered my head. Did God respond?

you decide...

That night I walked in to ChurchFreo, a wonderful ministry that feeds the homeless (and the servants!) here in Fremantle. A young Doctor that goes to my uni invited me to read out a particular psalm. And to give it conviction. The psalm was about crying out to God and asking for his help. I looked at her and said "God is talking to me through you, this is exactly how I feel"

The service was good, lots of Scripture and all about about God's patience and forgiveness and grace. One drunken man kept disrupting the service. We all had to show patience and forgiveness and grace. Sometimes the Lord is so near yet we can be so dull to His actual presence. He was literally orchestrating a physical occurrence to support the spiritual message. Just as He did his entire life on earth.
The Children in India
Afterwards I was encouraged and walked home. The following day (today) it rained.

I Adore rain. It is a blessing. being Scottish it doesn't bother me. Without it we would all die, the Israelites also called rain a blessing. When it rains I feel joy. I thanked God for the rain and watched people scurry about like it is acid. It isn't. its water.

Today myself and a friend received our results for a paper about Florence Nightingale. A high distinction. We thanked God . The encouragement was building.

A close friend in New Zealand emailed me to tell me she had read the whole bible. All of it. And she had stopped smoking. Two things I was always encouraging her to do. More Encouragement.

But the best news was still to come. Pictures from Cambodia and India. (Headed for India next). God sent through incredible photographs of baptisms, people receiving bibles and the Indian orphans being well looked after. It encouraged me to the point of tears. God's kindness leads us to repentance. None of it is deserving. The day before I felt like a useless wretch. Today on a High. God is good - all the time.