Ann and I are now almost done with our time away. We have visited cathedrals and small local churches, big prayer gatherings and small events, read books listened to CDs, watched live stream events and so much more. We have seen and learn stuff that will make us think about Prayer in a different way for years to come.
I guess we have all seen the news reports of the increase in Knife crime in our cities especially London and the suggestions that it is spreading out as far as Southend. Over the weekend we watched a utube interview of a gang leader in London explaining just how easy it was to recruit youngsters into his drug gangs. How they were keen to join because they saw him and the other gang leaders as role models to follow, they could earn more in a day selling drugs than they could working a month at Mc Ds. This really isn't new news as for years gangs have been actively recruiting young teenagers into their ranks to commit crimes knowing that if they are caught the courts do little if anything to punish them. What astounded me was the assertion that the leaders were seen as role models by kids on the streets often from single parent families.
In our church we have kids who moved out from the city to get away from this and even moved country to avoid being involved in something far worse. These families have settled with us because we are positive role models for their kids, and they know that that will keep them safe.
There will be hundreds of families within a short distance of our church that are scared for the safety of their kids, some will be praying each night in one way or another that their kids wouldn't get sucked into gangs. We need to find ways that say that there are alternatives, that there are great role models for them to follow and a family, a church family, waiting to get alongside them without being critical of their life choices. We are that family, let's pray for them but also take every opportunity to let them know we are here and willing and able to stand alongside them.