An Extract from 'A house built on love' By Ed Walker, the story of Hope into Action.

Occasionally, I am able to stop, take a look at all God has done and wonder in amazement at what has come to pass. I remember how we started this journey during one of the greatest financial crises of the last 50 years. I think of the budget cuts to local government, services and charities, and I consider the number of charities that have folded since we began. When I reflect on all of this, I realize that, if nothing else, the Hope into Action story is one of constant manna landing from heaven, sent by a God able to provide immeasurably more than we can hope or imagine. It is also a story of church after church stepping up, seeing the need, hearing the voice of God and responding to the call of Christ to go to the other side of society and keep giving.  

Yet I am also reminded that this is the space we are called into. Following Jesus, it strikes me, is traumatic. The disciples got into the boat and were terrified by the storm; when they reached dry ground, they encountered a violent and aggressive man; then they watched the extraordinary spectacle of 2,000 pigs rushing down the steep bank to their deaths: more shock, trauma and mess. Jesus led them through all of that for the sake of one homeless man! We can therefore conclude that Jesus will lead us into storms and trauma. He calls us, repeatedly, to the other side. This is not a blase comment. I repeat: we need to look after ourselves and our staff well. However, getting to heaven without bruises might risk the following comment from a battered and bruised angel: What? No scars? Was there nothing down there worth fighting for? 

Although much of the work seems hard, that is often because our minds spend more time chewing on the negative than celebrating the positive. Every year we run our stats, and every year we come out with the same results: roughly 90 per cent maintain their tenancy; roughly 90 per cent of those who have been inside stay out; over 80 per cent of those with drug misuse are improving; nearly 50 per cent have built stronger relationships with their families, and nearly 20 per cent are engaging with a faith. We are a truly holistic organization. 

We are building the kingdom. The crowds are being fed, the homeless are living sustainably, family relationships are strengthening, former addicts are staying clean, former prisoners are staying out of trouble, the vulnerable are finding love, church members are out of their pews, healing is occurring, churches are sharing their wealth with the poor, faith is rising, the kingdom of God is advancing. 

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