I know God’s heart is towards the poor because I read over and over, from the beginning of the Bible to its end, of God’s care with instruction to provide for all, especially the poor and marginalised. Also during periods in my life when we have had little money to go round God’s presence and provision has been particularly significant. We read that we are made in the image of God. Maybe that is why we get so cross at injustice, discrimination and poverty. We see and hear of shocking atrocities, here on our doorstep and around the world. It was never God’s purpose for human beings to treat each other so badly.
Becoming aware of the reality of hardship and slavery in our modern world led me to volunteering with Azalea. Azalea is a Luton based charity that exists to right some of the injustices locally and internationally. Azalea; ‘Freedom from Sexual Exploitation’. Recovery from the tyranny of homelessness, abuse and exploitation, has become Azalea’s focus.
The vision is huge and so prayer is at our core. We want to be conveyors of God’s love to bring hope, significance, identity and choice. I attend a drop in session each week which begins by praying as a small volunteer team. We pray for each other, acknowledging our own need; we are dependant on God but also each other. Because of the practical love and prayerful support from many churches and groups, when the Drop In doors open we can offer a safe, warm, welcoming space for local women and so much more. Follow the link to the Azalea website below.
Although I am there to listen, befriend, signpost etc, I have comparatively few answers to the challenging problems experienced daily by our women. One thing I have and can share is the message that God cares a great deal for each woman. He longs to be our father, to wash away hurts and pain, to give fulness of life and a sure future with Him. I have led a wonderful little group looking at the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. I was involved in a rolling weekly Alpha Course where home make food is enjoyed around the table and God’s truth is unfolded. The whole hearted singing around that table that followed has been the best!
I learn much from the thankful and warmhearted spirit of the women who visit us. At the end of the Drop In we would have shared a little of life together and I will have witnessed again beauty coming out of ashes. Each woman has her own story to tell, her current lifestyle never her choice.
If you would like to become involved please contact Azalea through the website below. Azalea exists because of a huge amount of support.
For more info visit; azalea.org.uk
Written by Sue Lightowler