So far this trip has been absolutely AH-MAZING!!! The team; Ben, Amanda, Tyson, Randell and I are having an all around Scottish good time!
We have had the opportunity to volunteer every weekday with Glasgow City Mission (GCM). Those days consist of helping run various clubs. The clubs I've had the chance to help out with are the I.T. and Internationals Clubs as well as the Young Mens' Club. GCM also offers cooking and baking clubs, art clubs as well as use of the gym and bathing facilities. So far I've had the opportunity to get to know many of the service users, share parts of my story and pray with them. Most of my days consists of listening though. They all have different stories; some know they've made bad choices, others have simply given up and some have had bad bad luck. Many of those that seek provision at GCM are either homeless, asylum seekers from other countries trying to find community or a place they can learn English, or hopelessly addicted to alcohol and/or drugs.
At night we also volunteer at GCM, but instead of running clubs we prepare a meal and that is when the mission receives the most foot traffic. The doors are open from 8:30 to 10:30 pm. Right around 9:30 one of the staff members or volunteers presents a short 5-10 minute long message either consisting of testimony or a short devotional of some kind. I volunteered to lead the message for the women's dinner next Friday; I'll let you know how it goes!
During the dinner service they do split up the men and women, giving the dinners a completely different feel. Though the women's dinner is much smaller, it is much more emotional. The first women's dinner I helped with, two women cried, another was so affected by some substance she could barely stand and she told me a story of how she got kicked out of her last hostel (the housing the government provides for the homeless) because she attacked another girl and was found holding a knife to her throat, though she was so drugged induced she has no recollection.
Not that I want these stories to be scary at all, but I do want you to know that the group of people were are working with are completely broken and poor not in money but in spirit. They believe in their cores not that they are loved and worthy because God loves them, rather that they are completely worthless and incapable of ever providing for themselves. If you are reading this and there's one thing I could ask of you, it is to pray for healing of their broken spirits. Not that I know what that looks like. But that somehow through the mission, through the love and blessings they receive there, that one day they will begin to feel worth more than the nonexistence they've come to know. The zombie-like drudgery of 'sleeping rough' as many of them call it.
It may sound heavy, but many of those that I meet that come to the mission are fun and funny and I enjoy my days there. As a team we've had the chance to explore Glasgow a bit and also got to hang out with Graeme and Stuart of Rodent Emporium (for those of you that don't know them, they are rad Christians who have come to Scum before and form a band, Rodent Emporium, that has performed at Cornerstone the past few years). This week on my day off I am meeting up with some friends from Glasgow Uni from when I studied abroad in Glasgow in '06 and can't WAIT! I'll try to keep you updated with all things Glasgow!!!! Stay happy and contact me if you want, would love to hear from you!!!!