So here I am back in Derbyshire after my 3 month sojourn working with Compassion and living with Rebecca in Surrey and I am finally getting around to telling some of the stories of my time away.
It started with God taking me down “memory lane”, since Rebecca had invited me to stay in her new flat in Leatherhead and Leatherhead is where I was living when I first started working with Compassion on 15 August 2005. Not only that, but Rebecca’s flat is just a 5 minute walk from All Saints Church on Kingston Road in Leatherhead.
During 2005 I had been part of a group of people from different Christian denominations in Leatherhead who prayed together for the town at 9:00 a.m. every work day morning, in the different churches in the town. As most of the group were elderly and All Saints is a little way out of town, not so many of us made it to All Saints on Monday mornings. On one particular Monday morning there were only three of us – the lady who was the keyholder for the church, the Vicar and myself. The Vicar asked if either of us had a personal prayer request and I said I would like a job. His response was to pray and to bring me some job adverts that had been sent to him as Vicar. One of those adverts was for a job with Compassion and that is how I had come to work for Compassion in 2005.
And just a few minutes along Kingston Road from there is the office block where I had my last day of work (in March 2005) before joining Compassion in August 2005. I tell the story of this in “The Writing is on the Wall”.
Just a few yards from Rebecca’s home in the other direction, at 205 Kingston Road, is a charity shop called B@titude. I remember when Jenny was looking at renting this shop. We were invited to pray with her about it and I felt strongly that it was the right place and God gave me a word of confirmation in that it would be a place for a “meeting of needs”. There seems to be an historical divide in Leatherhead between North and South; the richer people living in the South and the poorer in the North. This shop is just over the bridge into North Leatherhead and I felt God was saying that the parents in South Leatherhead needed to dispose of high quality clothing their children had grown out of and that B@titude could take that clothing and distribute it to the parents in South Leatherhead who could not otherwise afford such high quality clothing for their children. The previous name of the shop, when it sold combat-style clothing, was Attitude and thus Attitude changed into B@titude (from a symbol of War to a symbol of Love).
I had been to the Mount of Beatitudes (Scripture Reference –Matthew 5:1-12) in Israel (in Autumn 2000) with members of the church Jenny and I had attended (Pioneer) and I remember that we sang a very special “prayer” song, Jesus Be The Centre, when we were there.
We also sang this song in Rhodes in October 2002, when I went on a Christian Holiday for my 50th Birthday.