London borough Barking & Dagenham, Barking town centre today experience a new light:“You are the light of the world.A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others,that they may see your good deedsand glorifyyour Father in heaven.” (Mat 5:14-16).
A team of 24 Mercy Ambassadors (disciples) stormed Barking Town Centre on this bright sun shining day of MERCY. One by one as the disciples arrived there was already a great sense of victory and an abundance of zeal from the disciples excited to serve the local families in the Barking community. After a powerful prayer lead by evangelist Coltin Rohn, the team was ready to take on the privilege of displaying Christ’s compassion for the poor, something not commonly witnessed in the East End part of London town before. A brief charge was given, and then the team split into two groups on a mission to capture the hearts of local shoppers. It was amazing to see the disciples whole-heartedly give themselves to the cause, both in approaching customers and never failing to radiate their joy in working for the Lord: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart as working for the Lord, not for human masters” (Col 3:23).
Barking Food bank was initiated by Barking Churches Unite in association with The Communion Church, run in conjunction with churches across Barking. A food bank is a type of storehouse which receives long shelf life/packaged/tinned foods donated by the local community, churches, schools and private and corporate donors. By working with the frontline agencies, these foods can access by families in crisis through the provision of 3 days basic emergency supplies.
God blessed the efforts of the Mercy Ambassadors with a collection of 1.5 tonnes of food from UK’s leading local superstore, ASDA. When asked what it meant to have MERCY Ambassadors involved in such a project; Barking Food bank Co-ordinator Michael Obi stated “We do not take Mercy’s support for granted because there are a lot of families who ask for aid from social services and family centres and are told that they can’t be helped. The only place they have to come to is the food bank. Having Mercy Worldwide come to help collect this food is a massive encouragement and support to the Trussell Trust Food bank. It is something we cannot repay you for. This is the first time we have ever had this many people volunteer to help us and because of the number of people from MERCY today, we collected the biggest amount of food we ever have! Thank you, this food is going to help families who really need it”
A young mother, Lauri stopped to thank one of our Mercy Ambassadors for their work saying “Last year, I slipped through the cracks of the benefit system and found myself unable to provide for my child. The food bank is a lifeline for me and my family”. Equally as inspirational was the way God moved the hearts of the customers as they walked by. Many cheerfully donated bags of food they had bought and several contributed funds to the cause. Some, who couldn’t give at all, gave their encouragement and open hearts to know more about God. With the disciples reaching out to passing customers, Mercy’s project proved to reach both the community’s physical and spiritual needs as God blessed the disciples with over 10 contacts.
Leading the Foodbank team was Michael Ochwa and Kia Pope, Mercy Worldwide UK Project Co-ordinators and with them were Michael and Michele Williamson, the London Church Leaders, Coltin Rohn, the Evangelist for new Boston Church planting this summer, and a team of joyful Mercy Ambassadors from the London Church. Also part of the team was a young lady currently studying the Bible, Mimi. Mimi served joyfully, expressing her commitment to becoming a mercy ambassador. Michael promised to give her a Mercy T-shirt as a present on her baptism; prayerfully she will be our sister soon.
Mercy Worldwide UK Project Co-ordinators, Michael Ochwa summarised the impact the project had on the Mercy Ambassadors and the inspired future prospects “With 24 disciples and 2 children, this has definitely been a successful project for Mercy. What I’ve learnt is the compassion people have for the community and the amount of work there is to be done in the community. It was great to see all the disciples giving their hearts to serve the community, even our pregnant sisters; women’s ministry leader, Michele Williamsons and Denise Kukoyi joined in serving wholeheartedly. It is clear we have made an impact on the community in Barking inspiring us with vision for even greater future MERCY projects”
Mercy Worldwide UK is proud to be part of a project that makes a real difference to the lives of those in crisis. The food we collected today from shoppers is taken to the distribution centre where it will be sorted, bagged and distributed to families without money to buy food. The beneficiaries are young and old alike, singles and families from all background and ethnic origin, without prejudice. The clients are treated fairly and with dignity. Mercy Worldwide looks forward to future projects in liaison with the Trussell Trust Foodbank.