A few weeks ago we had several answers to prayer in one day. We see God working a lot at the Besom but it’s times like these, when so many things happen in one day that we just cannot put it down to coincidence.
Firstly, we opened up our emails to find a referral for a washing machine. The next email down was an offer of a washing machine. Not only that, but once we rung the giver we discovered that he was in all day and we could collect the washing machine that afternoon. Not only that but the washer was a big one, and the lady who we gave it to has six children!
The next answer to prayer was for finding two projects in the Tang Hall area. We always have referrals for people needing gardening or decorating help. However, the ones we had in Tang Hall were either unavailable on the day the teams were coming or no longer needed help.
Later on, we received an update for a referral in Tang Hall – the recipient desperately needed some help with her garden.
A couple of hours later we received a phone call from a referrer for her client needing some decorating help, and where did she live? Tang Hall!
And there’s more! In the morning, we received a phone call from a giver, who had a cooker and a washing machine to give. Unfortunately she lived in Malton, just a little too far for us to come and collect. We took her details anyway and said we would let her know if anything came up. Not long later, we received an email from a referrer looking for some white goods for a client of hers in MALTON! We couldn’t believe it and put her in touch with the giver straight away.
God is good. It is wonderful when He matches gifts to recipients for us!
God is always at work when His people seek to do His will. That is our aim at the Besom in York and we are often amazed by God’s great provision and His answers to prayer. Here are just a few prayers that God has answered recently:
Van time givers – We have been praying for a long time for new van time givers, specifically for someone to drive the van during the day. We recently met a new time giver who is able to drive the van and is free during the day! A giver who has given in the past has also offered his time to do van runs during the day.
Christmas time givers – With the busy-ness of Christmas hamper season comes a lot of work, so we have been praying for a few extra pairs of hands to give time over this period. We have several individuals who have offered to come in and give time doing anything they can to help with Christmas hampers. We also have a church youth group who are going to give their time doing a hamper dash! One giver has also said that he would like to give time through the Besom on a regular basis, not just at Christmas.
Storage – This one comes from Bundles of Joy. Since Bundles began Rachel and Carly have been storing things in their own homes, but they are quickly running out of space and so we have been praying with them for some storage. Recently they were offered not one but TWO storage spaces in two different churches in York. This is a great weight off their minds as they will no longer have copious amounts of baby things stored in their houses.
We have been praying for some of these things for several months now and at times it felt like we were never going to find a new van driver or storage for Bundles of Joy. But God answered these prayers in His time. He wants us to be persistent in prayer; not giving up when it seems like He hasn’t answered but steadfastly trusting in His provision.
And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. Luke 18 v 1 (ESV)
Here’s core team member Kirsten Nott with our latest blog…
A few weeks ago, I wrote about the beginning of Christmas hamper season in the Besom in York office. Since then we have had quite a few referrals for hampers and we have also had lots of offers to make them from givers.
Here is one story to encourage you in your giving this season:
Yesterday my fellow core team member Katie Harman received an email from someone saying that this year their small group at church were interested in making a Christmas hamper for someone with special dietary requirements.
We don’t normally get referrals that specify dietary requirements, so Katie was a little doubtful as to whether we would actually find a recipient to match their hamper to.
However, within half an hour of this email arriving, Katie received another one, this time from a referrer whom she had spoken with earlier in the day. The referrer said that the recipient they had put forward would love to receive a Christmas hamper but that it would have to be gluten free!
Katie was so excited to share this with the rest of the team and it was a great encouragement to us. This is nothing that we could have planned – only God could make this happen!
We love how God takes care of the small details. Even when it comes to dietary requirements!
At the Besom in York, we love to help and enable churches across the city to give to those in need. In this week’s blog we feature York City Church, who we were able to help with exciting consequences as members shared God’s love and saw Him at work.
On Sunday, York City Church had their first Give Day. The day was designed to enable every person to give; for every adult and child to spend the morning giving in our city.
We want to tell you about the many specific ways that God provided for 100+ people to give that morning – it left us in no doubt that it was God who was providing and that He is the great giver Himself.
The church started with a list of the different ways that people wanted to give and prayed for the specific recipients to give to. Here are just a few of the ways we saw God provide:
Two dad and son teams were set to spend the morning building new bunk beds. We identified two recipients. As we offered the bunks both recipients were in tears – overwhelmed. One recipient, who had health problems, said that there was no way she’d have the strength to build a set of bunk beds for her boys. The other mum was about to go to a ‘weekly payment retailer’ to afford some bunks. (They would have charged her £546 for a bunk bed worth less than £200. It’s a sickening fact that often the poorest in our midst have to pay more for things as they can not afford to pay up front. I love that we were able to give her a better set of bunk beds, with mattresses and bedding and construct them for her, all for free!).
One small group were set to make up a Bundle of baby things for a mum but also wanted to do something practical as both men in the group are trained joiners. The recipient we’d found for a bundle had also asked for a garden shed. In nearly 10 years of the Besom in York, we’ve never been offered a shed, so we weren’t full of faith that we’d be able to provide one. But in the week leading up to the give day we were offered our first shed, perfectly sized and ready to erect in her garden.
A team had offered to fit a carpet. They needed to be within walking distance of the church building and be bought within a £200 budget. A recipient was found, we took her to a carpet shop and let her choose which carpet she wanted. She chose and came in at bang on budget at £200.
Three guys went out on the van to do a regular van run – initially it was hard to find anyone to collect from. Being a Christian charity, most of our givers are at church then! But God provided a giver who goes to church at 9am and her things were a perfect match for a recipient who’d been rehoused for the second time in a matter of months.
Another small but encouraging answered prayer came in the form of a bingo machine! A group had organised to go to a local residential home to have some fun, sing some songs and play bingo with some of the residents. We were encouraged to receive an offer of use of a bingo machine that they took with them!
In organising this give day, the church were encouraged so many times along the way. There were numerous incidences where God showed Himself to be present and very much cheering us on. It was clear that he had these things lined up years in advance and was just waiting for His people to discover them.
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2 v 10.
Next week we’ll be sharing stories and testimonies from those who gave on the day.
From time to time we like to devote the blog to small but significant answers to prayer & ways we’ve seen God provide in and through the Besom office. There is no particular story to follow or specific givers sharing their story but rather small snapshots of God’s great story working out in York.
One morning we had a phone call asking for some double bedding. Kirsten checked the cupboard to find we didn’t have any. A phone call a couple of minutes later offering double duvets and sheets.
Last week on the van we were offered a microwave we weren’t expecting, only to find the next recipient on the van sheet needed a microwave.
Two weeks ago we had one fridge and two homes, later that morning we offered a fridge that was pretty much brand new. The recipient said, “it’s really nice to be helped out”.
We had been offered a freezer and didn’t have a home for it – after some prayer, we met a new recipient who had the perfect spot for it in his kitchen.
We were asked for a triple sleeper bunk bed by a large family. Another family offered a bunk bed that turned out to be a triple sleeper – exactly what the recipient asked for – we look forward to delivering that one very soon.
Recently we’ve been praying for links with new churches – so far we’re booked into speak at 4 churches in the Autumn term.
The Bundles of Joy team bought a new stroller for a recipient (for £50). Less than an hour later £50 cash was dropped in an in-tray to be used for Bundles of joy!
We’ve been praying for a whole load of furniture for a recipient – Matt*. Last week we delivered a wardrobe, microwave & freezer. This week he’ll receive a chest of drawers, TV stand and a washing machine.
We’ve prayed for a recipient who’s had a really hard time recently. Last week a group of time-givers went to continue working on her garden – she was overwhelmed by the love shown to her to the point of tears.
We’ve been able to give a bed base to a recipient – her referrer said this: “I saw it yesterday when I visited Debs* thanks a million. It will make such a difference as she is struggling with a bad back.”
We are thrilled by the way that God has provided for us to equip givers across the city. So in this blog Rob shares how God has provided and what we have learnt from him through his provision.
Nellie – our long standing van-helper went to the scrap yard. On a regular van run in Acomb, her head gasket blew meaning it was not worth fixing her. We’re incredibly thankful for Nellie and those who financially provided her!
We’d been praying for a new van for years, not knowing how long Nellie would carry on, but knowing that God is our provider. Despite the temptation to worry about how we were going to be able to continue helping people to give without a van, we didn’t panic but instead we continued to pray.
We’d actually been offered a van from another Besom only the week before! The Besom that offered us the van were in a process of working out if they needed a van anymore or if it would be better to pass it on to another Besom. We didn’t say yes to the offer at once, we wanted to pray first and ask God to provide for the running costs of the van.
Yesterday I went to collect the new van and bring it back to York. God had amazingly provided financially for us to run the van.
So what have we learnt?
Just over a year a go we were burgled at the Besom office (you can read about it in a previous blog here), at that time God taught us an awful lot of things. As I’ve reflected I have come to realise that the Besom in York was actually in a better place post break-in than what is was before. I’m not saying that I hope we’ll be broken in to again but I’m thankful that God used that situation to shape us as individuals and a team and produce fruit.
The fruit that I’ve seen formed in the team is that of steadfastness – specifically a steadfastness to trust, rely and lean on God all of the time – to have a greater faith and trust that he will provide for our needs.
God is working for our good and is way ahead of us. We were offered the new van a week before Nellie went to the scrap yard. God was already changing the shape of another Besom, showing them that a van is no longer needed. God gave us a van for £free!
God is working behind our backs. He is not only working before us but he is backing us up and building us through prayer. He’s taught us that when you are always reliant on God in prayer nothing changes when you hit a crisis. Crisis points then become moments of peace, patience and even faith.
God is loaded. The previous van was owned by a Christian in York who generously gave us priority use of it. This time we would need to run it ourselves but God came up with what was needed! One Wednesday we opened the to post to find a letter with a cheque for more than enough money to tax, insure, MOT and fuel the van for the next year!
God exceeded (and continues to exceed) our hopes and expectations. We’re grateful for the new van. But more than that we’re grateful for how it has widened our view of God and what he can provide!
We’re excited to see the new van be a vehicle that equips the church in York to serve those in need and help people to see God and all of his goodness.
Hudson Taylor once said “God’s work done in God’s way will never lack God’s supply.”
Jesus said in Mathew 6 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life… …But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
This week, Kirsten Nott, a core team member with The Besom in York shares two stories of how God has been at work in our city and elsewhere.
Here at The Besom in York we help people to give in whatever way they feel called to. This can be anything from giving time on the van, to doing a project, to creating unique pieces of art for individual recipients. God can call us to be extremely specific in our giving. He also has a way of providing for us in our giving.
Recently a team of givers from the House of Prayer in York expressed a desire to give. They wanted to do something practical and helpful for a recipient, but that wasn’t doing a project; they wanted to do something that would help them to develop a relationship with a recipient and build friendship.
The team were matched up with a recipient and before they went round to see her, they met with Besom in York co-ordinator Rob Ainsworth in the office to pray for the recipient and what they were going to do for her. Whilst they were praying, Rob got the smell of fresh fruit, even though there was no fresh fruit in the office. The team prayed about what the smell could mean, they believed that it was about the team bringing freshness into the life of the recipient after the tough year she’d had. When the team went to visit the recipient they got the smell of fresh fruit again, which turned out to be coming from a candle that the recipient had in her home, which was apple-scented. This fitted with the smell of fresh fruit that Rob could smell when they prayed for the recipient in the office.
The team asked the recipient how they could serve her and at the end she said “I just feel like I need a great light to shine down from above”. The team then went shopping and to raid the Besom office for items that they could give to her. They bought her some curtains, in the colour that she’d asked for, and while they were at the office they were offered a couple of trays of fresh food from a funeral wake that had been held in the church. One of the trays of food that was given was a massive tray of fresh fruit!
The team were overwhelmed at God’s provision; after they had prayed for the recipient and got the smell of fresh fruit, God had then provided them with a massive tray of fresh fruit to give to the recipient.
James, from the House of Prayer team, said, “We learnt that God is generous! The fruit platter was absolutely incredible.”
They went to deliver an entire car-load of things to the recipient, including the food that was given. James commented: “They were absolutely buzzing when we dropped it off”. The team also had the opportunity to pray with the family and explain what prayer is and who they were praying to.
They had a great time talking with them and building relationship with them. James said: “It was a great privilege to serve through the Besom in that way… Every time we’ve done a Besom project and given space for God to turn up, He’s done amazing things. Laura* was delighted with all that we were able to give her which was a real encouragement. And it was great to be able to pray and bless them as we left.”
When Rob went back to see the recipient to do an assessment for a decorating project, her son thanked him and the team for the food; they had eaten all of it and he had especially enjoyed the fruit. He also had the chance to tell the recipient that they had prayed for her before the team had gone to see her and that they had felt God prompting them to think and pray about fruit and freshness. Then God provided it. Rob was able to share this with the recipient and tell her that Jesus does answer prayer and that He cares enough to provide even small, simple gifts, such as fresh grapes for a boy.
Another story of how God pays attention to detail and provides specific gifts for specific people comes from The Besom in Runnymede. A few of years ago the Besom in Runnymede were given a painting by a diplomat who was moving out of the area. The painting was of an Indian woman and was worth a lot of money. People kept challenging them to sell the painting and use the money to buy things for recipients.
However Mandy, who runs the Besom in Runnymede, felt that they should not sell it but keep hold of it. A couple of years after the painting was given, Mandy felt that they should put the painting on the van with some food that they were giving to a recipient who suffered from anxiety and agoraphobia and so could not leave his house. It turned out that the recipient was an Indian man and that the painting was actually of a woman from the particular tribe or region of India that he came from.
Mandy had no way of knowing this at the time, she just felt that God wanted them to give him the painting. The painting meant a great deal to the recipient and was actually the key to him being able to get out of the house and engage with people.
God knows what we need and He provides for our needs, even down to the smallest detail.