Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Report from West Mersea 24-7

Place: West Mersea, Essex

When: Sunday 18th March – Sunday 25th March 2007

Mersea Island is located on the coast of Essex and has a population of approx 9000 people. This is the first prayer room that has been done on the Island and we were all very excited by the prospect of it.

Sunday 18th March saw the launch of our 24/7-prayer shop with a service at West Mersea Free Church explaining who Stop The Traffik were and what they are trying to achieve. After the service we all walked down to the prayer shop (10 min walk) and began the week of prayer.

We managed to secure a vacant shop premises that was situated right in the heart of the community and the leaseholder was very generous in allowing us to use it for free for the week.

The vision for the week was that the shop would be a place where people from the community could come and find out about Stop The Traffik and its work in trying to prevent human trafficking. The shop provided information about STT and gave other information about the terrible state of human trafficking, which is happening on a global scale. We encouraged people to sign the declaration and put their handprint on our freedom wall. Alongside this there were many prayer activities for people to do and it gave opportunity for people to express themselves in prayer in ways that they may not have previously thought of.

Throughout the week people from the various churches in the area came and got involved and there was a real sense of fellowship between the many and varied Christian community. Fantastic friendships have been built as a result and we all believed Jesus’ prayer that we ‘may be one’ was being answered in some way as we all met and prayed together.

One evening a group of teenagers came in the shop. They would normally never step foot into a place that had something to do with God! They signed the petition, put their handprints on the freedom wall and stayed for an hour chatting. We pray that the conversations that we had are a beginning to seeing these guys again and again.

On the Saturday morning we handed out hot cross buns to passers by and encouraged them to come into the shop and sign the petition. Because we held the week of prayer in a shop people were much more willing to come in a see what it was about.

The week saw many different and varied people come to the shop to sign the petition and say a prayer. It has given people a real passion to see something like this happening on the Island week in week out. Time and time again throughout the week people were saying to me that this was a place that they could come to, no matter what time of the day and really meet with God and have fellowship with other Christians. We believe Gods Spirit brooded over the shop for that week and that lives have been changed as a result.

We finished the week sitting on the floor of the shop, everything having been packed away and the shop vacant again, and took communion together.

Huge thanks to Richard and Katy for sparking the vision in our hearts and helping to get the fire burning. A big thank you to Cas, Stuart, Claire, Andy, and everyone else who gave so much time in getting this shop off the ground and running.

Our prayer is what happens next. How do we keep this vision alive? How can we continue to support Stop The Traffik? How do we ‘flesh’ the gospel out?
Pray with us that we may know the heart of the Father.

Joe Haward

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