Beth is currently taking part in Soul61, a 10 month leadership course at Soul Survivor in sunny Watford. As part of the course Beth works on the Active Compassion placement, which involves working with vulnerable people and showing them Jesus’ love. We caught up with her to find out some more about the placement.
If you had to listen to just one song for the rest of your life what would it be?
Tough choice! It would either be ‘Sweet Disposition’ by The Temper Trap or ‘Sweetest Thing’ by U2.
What different activities do you get up to as part of Active Compassion?
We do loads of different things. We’re really involved with Watford New Hope Trust, which is a homeless charity in Watford. Our main role in this charity is to just build relationships and get to know the people who use its services; for example me and another guy on our placement play pool and go shopping every Friday with one guy which is always fun.
We are also quite involved in Christians Against Poverty (CAP) and we’ve all been trained to be money coaches which means we can run and assist money management courses. Girl About is another charity that we work with, which provides lunch clubs for girls in secondary school, where we get to chat and discuss different life issues with the girls.
Our placement is also involved with a service called God After Dark which runs once a month on a Friday night and aims to look after people who can’t look after themselves on a night out or to look out for the homeless people who just need a coffee before sleeping rough for the night.
Do you have any interesting stories from your placement?
I think one of the highlights was one Friday at God After Dark when a christian homeless man who we were familiar with came in. He was high on drugs and it was heartbreaking to see as he has been making loads of progress. He sat down and we got talking to him and one of my friends asked him how he became a christian. He started to tell us his testimony but his mind kept wandering off because of the drugs he had taken. Then halfway through he just said “God I know this testimony will be for your glory, so please bring me back so I can tell it” and after that he told it perfectly- it was like he was a different man. God’s spirit just overtook him and he started speaking such profound words.
He used an amazing analogy of a watch, saying that a watch’s purpose is to tell the time, but it can only do this by all of the tiny pieces that make up the watch being held together. If the watch was smashed into lots of different pieces it would lose it’s purpose, and this is what we’re like in front of God- we’re a mess but when we meet God He starts to bring us together and makes us whole all the time reaffirming that He made us with a purpose.
I found it amazing seeing God use this guy to speak his hope to us. I find that incredible- even though that guy is really broken, has some addictions and maybe isn’t what we consider to be in a “right”place, God uses him and is clearly working in him.
What is your favourite part of placement?
Going to the WNHT day centre, which is a drop in centre for people who are either homeless or just finding things tough, where they can see a friendly face and get a meal. I remember the first time I went I was terrified- I walked into this room with 40 men which was pretty intimidating. But after going for a few months I’ve built good relationships with the people there and it feels more like family every time I go. I’ve had some incredible conversations with people about their lives and there’s never a dull moment!
What have you found most challenging?
I think the biggest challenge for me this year was facing the fear of working with people I would never have thought to speak to, from drug addicts to people with mental illnesses. At the start of the year I was scared but excited at the prospect of what I had to do on my placement, but I knew that God wanted me to step out in loving everyone, not just those who are easy to love. Admittedly it’s really hard at times to love someone who seems to get it wrong lots and sometimes it seems like they don’t really want to get it right; but I think that God has really changed me and taught me that love is not just a feeling, but it is also a choice and we have to choose to love those who seem unlovable.
What does it take to be part of Active Compassion?
I think the only requirement to be on Active Compassion is having a passion for God and His people.