This weekend I received another mailing from Christians Against Poverty. We support various charities but this one is closest to my heart.
I don’t even know why that should be so; there are so many groups doing so much good work in Jesus’ name. Yet the CAP mailing with their true stories of debt, depression and desperation in the UK almost never fails to move me to tears. Tears of sadness that life should be so for ‘the least of these’, and tears of joy that CAP’s debt-counsellor-cum-evangelists can be used to make such a difference.
The tears this weekend were for a young couple, teenagers who were now living together in a council flat after a childhood in care and then hostels with little post-16 education and a string of short-term badly-paid jobs. As they spiralled deeper into debt, they argued more and more, using alcohol to stave off the pain of the desperation and bury their heads in the sand. They stopped answering the phone, stopped leaving the house and some days starved themselves. All because of the debt.
They are not the only ones who are in that place today. When I cry, I cry not just for this couple but for others like them in a country where you’d think this just shouldn’t happen.
But I cry also for joy. Joy that when someone gave this couple the number for CAP, CAP sent a debt counsellor round straightaway. Joy that CAP set a budget for this couple and established just one account with CAP for them to lodge all of their different debt repayments, taking over the responsibility of interacting with the couple’s creditors and agreeing viable repayment plans on their behalf. Joy that this couple were invited on a free Discovery Break with CAP where they heard the gospel and responded to God’s offer of forgiveness. Joy that they have become incorporated into a local church and have now experienced the adoption by God and his people that was never given to them as children whose parents were not there. And joy that one day, like so many other CAP clients, this couple will be debt-free.
Although theirs is only one story of debt and its spiral of pain, theirs is also only one story of the joy which God has begun to work through CAP as it partners with local churches. I read another two stories of hope and redemption, in its fullest sense, both bodily and spiritually, this weekend. You can read one here or watch some videos here.
I wouldn’t normally do this but I feel strongly about the work of Christians Against Poverty, so let me ask you to consider this week whether you might be able to support them in some way, whether financially, in prayer, or perhaps – if it turns out that one of your local churches has a CAP debt centre – by volunteering to befriend a CAP client. This is a truly amazing charity working primarily through partnerships with the local church; what a privilege it might be to share with them in their joy as they preach and work out a very practical gospel!