A few weeks ago, I was walking through our main office when the phone rang. “Good morning, Birmingham City Mission. How may I help you?”, I said. “Have you got time to listen to my story?” came the reply. The voice belonged to an elderly lady, who sounded well spoken and cultured. Certainly not a born and bred Brummie like me!
The lady went on to explain that she was 91 years old and was very concerned about her 59 year-old son who lived in Birmingham. He was living in a mobile home which didn’t have electricity or gas and she hadn’t heard from him for some time. She had tried to drive to the city, but the police had advised her to stay at home. She was at a loss to know what to do and asked, could we help?
I took details of where her son lived and later that day gathered some appropriate food from our ‘Basics for Life’ food store. He was located a few miles outside the city centre. I had to turn left at the garage and then there was going to be some corrugated fencing, behind which was her son’s home. As I turned into what I hoped was the correct road, I could see that it was leading to some industrial units.
After a few hundred yards I could see some metal fencing on my left, so I tentatively parked my car. Donning my mask and gloves, I picked up the bags of food and slowly made my way to what I discovered were two gates, locked together. I banged and rattled the gates and almost immediately I was aware of a person moving quickly towards the fence from the other side. This made me jump back as a man appeared, also wearing a mask.
It was the lady’s son; and he was well. We talked for a while and I explained who I was and what BCM was all about. He had been there for some years, but as his mom had said, he didn’t have all amenities connected to his home. He appreciated the food and I said that I would call back to see him in a couple of weeks. As I drove home, I rang the gentleman’s mother and you can imagine the joy and relief that she expressed in knowing that her son was ‘alive and safe’.
Every week during the last two months, we have been asked to deliver food to individuals or families who have been isolating, or to collect medication for others who have been ‘shielding’. We have been to hotels where needy people have been located and to houses of multiple occupancy, where residents have been struggling. In most of the bags we have inserted Christian literature and when we have been able to, we have had conversations.
Please pray that as we respond to requests and help people practically, God will work by His Spirit in people’s hearts and draw some to Himself.
Wes Erpen, Chief Executive