God has been, is now, and will be faithful

IMG-20160725-WA0004How 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.

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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.

Changes

img_0455This 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.

Rob Ainsworth

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Offering the gift of friendship

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At the Besom in York, we are all about giving – and specifically enabling the church to give to those in need. Sometimes that takes the form of one person giving a sofa, while at other times we are able to help an entire church family serve their local community. The latter proved the case with York City Church recently and here’s what happened…

A couple of months ago we had our second Give Day as a church. The Besom team asked us to write a blog and tell a story of what we learnt. So here goes…

A Give Day basically involves us doing something different to our normal Sunday morning activities and creating an opportunity for each and every person within the church family that enables them to give in York and grow in the heart action of giving.

We had a wide variety of activities ranging from delivering flowers to building bunk beds, from giving free photo shoots for new babies to constructing compost bins and laying new carpets to unpacking boxes after a house move. A lot of this was widely resourced and set up by the Besom in York team, who helped find recipients for us to give to.

One of the main things that we’ll carry away from the Give Day, (hopefully for the long-term) are new friends. If we’re honest this has come as a bit of a surprise to us!

We had 120 people with ages ranging from just a couple of days old to 60+ years giving to 15 groups of people in York. Of those 15 groups, we’re still in touch with seven of them and we’re really grateful to God for each new friendship.

Each of these friendships look different. So far it’s meant going for coffee, arranging to eat together, restoring a table and chairs for a family, helping another move house, visiting at home, welcoming some to our toddler group and even some to church on a Sunday.

I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. John 15 v15 (NIV)

Jesus’ words in John 15 are a good reminder to us that it is as God’s friends that we go out to serve people on Give Days and it is with new friends that we have returned.

York City Church

‘I have realised again just how much the Besom taught me’

sam tyndallOur 10th birthday party prompted a number of former ‘Besomers’ to get in touch with their reflections and testimonies. Here are two to encourage us as we look ahead to many more years of helping the church in York to give.

“I’m so grateful to God for my time involved with the Besom in York. I learnt so much and grew significantly as a Christian from spending time with the core team, with givers and with recipients. It was an invaluable time for me.

“I’ve been preparing a talk on money for church this evening, and have realised again just how much The Besom taught me and got me thinking about money, giving, generosity, and poverty. For me personally, through the Besom God also grew in me a love for His church, which has led me to train for church leadership, which certainly wouldn’t have happened without my time at The Besom (as well as the encouragement and support of the Besom team).

“I know I’m just one of many givers that God has used The Besom in York to teach and disciple. Praise God for all he has done, and will continue to do through The Besom in York.”

                          Sam Tyndall, curate at St Barnabas Church, Linthorpe and former core team member

Picture 022“I just want to say thank you [Rob] so much for all you’ve given to the Besom. My three years will always be some of the best of my life.

“The spiritual support of working with you and Sam and Jo especially in those beginning few years truly carried me through some dark times. And I’m so pleased to have had you there to encourage and challenge me.”

Becky Griffin, former core team member

Celebrating what God has done

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It was amazing to celebrate our 10th birthday party at the Belfrey Hall on Sunday and reflect on all that God has done over the past decade. Around 75 of our supporters enjoyed afternoon tea and birthday cake as we looked back to the start of the Besom in York in 2007.

Phil Armstrong from Ed Mezzetti on Vimeo.

We launched at the same venue in February that year with the vision to help the church in York to give. That vision remains the same today and we pray it will do for years to come.

Neil Hulse, the chairman of our trustees, reminded us of the motivation behind the Besom. He said: “It’s giving because we’ve experienced the love of Jesus.”

a compilation made for our 10th birthday party

Posted by The Besom in York on Sunday, May 21, 2017

Neil highlighted what a blessing it is to give, as Paul states in Acts 20 v 35.
He added: “At the heart of the Besom in York is prayer. God is an attentive listener.”

Jo White from Ed Mezzetti on Vimeo.

The Besom in York’s co-ordinator, Rob Ainsworth, shared some of his highlights such as how the giving of local churches over a year period had blessed a mum with eight children. Since we started, thousands of recipients have been blessed through the church giving and this has been a real reminder of God’s heart for the poor.

Chris Cullwick from Ed Mezzetti on Vimeo.

As Paul writes in Ephesians 3 v 18, we have seen the full width, length, height and depth of God’s love in action.

Here are a few photos from the day. If you have any to add to either this album or the 10-year one, please email ed@thebesominyork.co.uk

Posted by The Besom in York on Sunday, May 21, 2017

Thanks for all your support and prayers.

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The Besom in York core team (from left): Katie Harman, Becky Lewis, Kirsten Nott, Ed Mezzetti and Rob Ainsworth.

Singing happy birthday from Ed Mezzetti on Vimeo.

The Besom in York is 10!

IMG_0033As of 25th February this year, The Besom in York is 10 years old!

We look back on the last 10 years praising and thanking God for everything he has done. We’ve seen hundreds of Christians giving their time, money, skills and things to people in need all over the city. We’ve seen people go above and beyond, giving incredibly generous things, building relationships with people, inviting them to church and going completely out of their way to make a difference.

This Sunday we’re celebrating 10 years of the The Besom In York and you are invited!

Where? – Belfrey Hall, Stonegate

What? – Afternoon Tea

When? – Sunday 21st May, 2 – 4.30pm

There will be lots of cake, givers past and present in attendance, friends from Besoms around the country and a short reflection at 3pm.

We would love to see you there!

 

Finding faith in Jesus

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This week our blog is dedicated to celebrating the saving work that Jesus has done in two Besom recipients recently.

Yes – you read that right, heaven has two more occupied rooms, two more individuals in York have accepted the redeeming, saving grace of God in their lives and are both now part of local churches.

We found out about Joanna* a couple of weeks ago when we got a text from a giver who’d been giving time at her house over a number of weekends. The message read:

“We thought you would be encouraged and delighted to know, that Joanna* decided to give her life to Jesus a couple of weeks ago. The Lord surely is gracious and compassionate and mighty to save!”

We were indeed encouraged and delighted to hear this news! Looking back – we can see that God had been working on this for quite a while. Joanna* has been the recipient of a number of gifts and prayer, over a number of years and in recent times her family had noted a difference in her after Besom givers had been giving time in her house. She is calmer and more peaceful!

The news of a second lady finding faith was a nice surprise for us at an early morning meeting. Angie* was another Besom recipient that we knew well and enabled a number of givers to give to over the last four to five years.

She had recently had her council flat re-wired and had a new bathroom and kitchen fitted and needed some help to redecorate after this. When we went to see her we noticed a ‘on your baptism’ card on her window sill. She was delighted to tell about the church she is now part of, the friends she has made and show us the photos of her baptism.

How amazing to see her again, now fully in the knowledge of her adoption as a daughter of God, loved and accepted, full of hope.

So what have we learnt at the Besom through these stories in the last two weeks:

  • God is in the business of saving people.
  • He hears our prayers for recipients to be saved.
  • No-one is too far away for Him to reach.
  • No person is not worthy of his love.
  • No life is too chaotic for God to redeem.

*Names changed

Rob Ainsworth, Co-ordinator, The Besom in York

Answers to keep us praying

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Introducing a new section of our blog…

Do you pray and then doubt God will answer? Do you pray and forget to even see if God does answer? Do you simply find it hard to pray? Even if we’ve been following Jesus for a long time, most, if not all of us, will go through periods like this.

We know that Jesus expects us to pray. Before giving His disciples the Lord’s Prayer, He says “This, then, is how you should pray.” Elsewhere in the New Testament, Christians are called to “pray continually” and “give thanks in all circumstances”  But all that doesn’t make prayer any easier. It can still be a great struggle.

One thing that can really encourage us, both to keep trusting in God and to keep praying, is hearing of answered prayer. It so great to remind ourselves that God is sovereign and, amazingly, He chooses to act in response to our prayers.

At the Besom in York, we want to commit all we do to God and trust Him to provide for the work He has given us – to enable Christians to give across our city. We love seeing how God answers our prayers and those of our supporters – and we hope you do too.

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We often share prayer news on social media. You can find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to get the updates. But we have also now started a new section on this blog called ‘Answered Prayers’. As the Ronseal man would say, it does exactly what it says on the tin!

You can check out the section here and we will be regularly updating it, so please keep coming back. We pray it will encourage you as you partner with us in God’s work.

God bless,

The Besom in York core team