How do you sum up 10 years in 10 minutes? You can’t really, but recently at the Besom in York’s 10th birthday, Rob Ainsworth (pictured), our co-ordinator, was asked by our trustees to do that. Here are a few personal reflections from him and a bit of news about the future:
So, this is us the Besom in York. 10 years old. If the Besom was a child, we’d nearly be ready to go to secondary school! We’ve spent 10 years here in York being a bridge between those in the church who want to give and those in need. I couldn’t begin to try to tell every story or speak of every person who has been involved with the Besom in that time.
I still remember the feeling when we started. We had a Sunday evening with Besom founder James Odgers speaking at St Michael le Belfrey and then a launch morning. We’d prayed for 40 people from a mix of churches in York and that’s who came. James spoke, as did Steve Winks, who was about five years in to running a Besom in Sheffield. Then I stood up and shared how we felt it was right to start up a Besom in York.
We weren’t sure what it would look like or who would be involved or even if we’d be able to help anyone to give, but we thought God said go. So we did. The next day I was sat in my office, tumbleweed went by and then a referral came in out of nowhere. A mum of eight children needed her whole house decorating and nearly every bit of furniture replacing!
It took over a year, but in that time God gave us givers and we equipped them to help her and transform her home. We and those givers learnt a lot en route.
We stopped counting gifts a few years ago. We were in the thousands of givers, £100,000+ money gifts, thousands of items of furniture and thousands of hours of time, but here’s what we’ve learnt along the way. Each gift is individual. Each gift is personal. Each gift is a gift and not a number. A gift from God given through the people of York for someone in need.
Each is a reminder of God’s heart for people in need. His love for the poor, the fatherless and the widow.
God has been faithful
Ephesians 3 v 18 talks about the dimensions of God’s love. In 10 years we’ve seen the dimensions of His love and faithfulness – high, deep, long and wide.
High: Those instant answers to prayer, the unmistakable, thrilling God giving moments finding that we’ve been offered the exact gift someone just asked for. For the third time that day.
Deep: The tough times when the van was vandalised or the office was broken in to – God was there. He was faithful. There was always a great story waiting to happen!
Wide: God’s love and faithfulness has always been wide. Wide enough to include everyone. Wide enough to give each person value. Wide enough at Christmas to make sure we had enough hampers given for each person referred.
Long: Long enough to carry us through 10 years of giving! There has never been a day He has forsaken us! He has always supported and guided us. There were certainly days where we doubted and wondered what was going on but He has been, is now and will be faithful.
This summer there will be a few changes to the team at the Besom. Over the last six months the trustees and I have been talking and praying, listening to God. We’ve discerned that the time is coming for me to step aside from the Besom. We’ve also discerned that in Becky Lewis (pictured), God has given us an excellent co-ordinator to lead the Besom in York forward.
I met Becky five and a half years ago – she came into the Besom office as a student with the role of social action rep for the Christian Union. She had a huge heart for students to give to the poor. Even back then we thought – there is something different about this giver. What God will do with her!
So, in the summer I will be leaving the Besom and Becky will lead the team from September. Next week in the blog we’ll hear a bit of her story.