Core team member Becky Lewis hopes to apply lessons God has taught her in York as she heads to South Africa.
Through the Besom in York, God has shown me that whatever someone’s situation, they deserve the very best. Not hand me downs or half-hearted help. Jesus never disregarded someone because of their position, in fact He sought out the people everyone else rejected. He never gave someone second best. So I’m taking these lessons with me, I’m going to (with God’s help!) give it my all whilst we’re out there.
God has also taught me that there are people in need right here in York. That I don’t have to go abroad to serve those in need. But it seems He is calling me to South Africa and has been for a while, even if it’s just for two weeks. So I’m excited for what he’s going to teach me out there and the lessons I learn, I’ll bring back to the Besom.
In a few weeks’ time, two other youth leaders and I are taking five of our young people from York Community and St Paul’s churches on an 18-hour flight.
There’s a significant backstory to why this is happening and without sounding too clichéd, it started when I was around eight years old. It was Red Nose Day and I was watching the programme on TV with my family (mainly for S Club 7’s appearance…) Next thing I knew I was angry, crying and my parents had turned the TV off. This was my first experience of seeing absolute poverty. My lasting memory was seeing children my own age starving, orphaned and lonely.
This was the start of God breaking my heart for the poor, lost and broken. Throughout my life I’ve found God putting me in situations that have been uncomfortable but so necessary for me to understand poverty. From social action projects as a teenager, to getting involved with helping the homeless at university, to finding myself doing a Besom project two weeks after moving to York, to being on the core team at the Besom and helping people help those in need.
I first went to Soul Survivor (a huge Christian youth festival in Somerset) in 2009 when I was 16. It was there that two people called Tich and Joan got up to speak about a village they were building for orphaned children in South Africa. They spoke with a beautiful humility and passion for these children. They also couldn’t quite believe what God had called them to. It was the exciting start of LIV village.
Over the years I’ve been back to Soul Survivor and each year we’ve heard the progress of the village. Last year, we took York Community Church’s (YCC) young people to the festival and there were Tich and Joan speaking of God’s faithfulness. It is now home to 154 orphaned and vulnerable children and is on its way to becoming completely self sustaining.
There was also an invite to come with them at Easter to visit and give time to the project. Through the Besom in York, I’ve worked with people in poverty in this country. There is so much need, even here in York, but sitting on the floor with 6,000 other Christians around me, I whispered “God, can I go?”.
I didn’t tell a soul. A few weeks later three of our YCC youth approached us and said they wanted to go. Things sort of spiralled from there! Now there’s eight of us, and we fly to Durban in a few weeks time.
Please pray for us as we travel, serve and spend time at LIV village in April.