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#JOMO

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Dear Inner Circle,

It is with a heart full of gratitude that this note is written for you. From the young to the old, to people who have lived through domestic violence and left a home to save their life, and for families who believe that life isn’t complete if you don’t leave this world better than when we found it. Many of you have been walking our Long Walk Home this week in solidarity with people experiencing homelessness and isolation. A browse through the stories that have been shared in our Long Walk Home Facebook group will bring joy to your heart – even if you haven’t participated. To the walkers, your footsteps have carved a path to a better world. Thank you also to those who couldn’t walk but have sponsored others to do so. I thank you all on behalf of the many people you will most likely never meet, and yet you will have a profound impact on. If you haven’t given so far, please give a last burst of encouragement to Leon, our team captain, who is walking 28km this week, after living on the streets for decades.

When Lisa and I were taking in people into our house over the years, we were often asked by those who stayed, “What’s the cost?” Naively I used to think all they were asking for was the expected amount they would have to contribute to the bills. When naivety ran into reality, our hearts silently broke. Last week Wayside helped a woman who has been couch surfing for years to settle into a new place. Amongst the furniture was a brand new mattress and sheets. After she set up the bed she took particular care in fitting the fresh linen, then after preening them, exhaled deeply. This was the first place she could call her own in over a decade, and as the reality of no longer having to rely on the “kindness of strangers” dawned on her, she broke down. Her life, and many lives like hers, have changed course for the better, because of your generosity.

Thank you last week for your well wishes, it was lovely to take a week off, to spend time with family to read books for pleasure and to picnic with friends. Is there a word for when you read a passage that takes your breath away? There should be one, there is no experience quite like it. If there’s one thing I have learned to appreciate since lockdown it is the simple pleasures. It’s hard however not to be swept away by the idea of life returning again in the coming weeks and the JOMO (the Joy of Meeting Others).

Restrictions are easing at exactly the same time that infections are increasing amongst many of our vulnerable people. We at Wayside are carefully planning how we will respond over the next few weeks. The wisdom of Solomon will be required at a minimum, as love, in many ways is the greatest risk we will ever take in life. But love should never cost lives, so we will do everything we can to keep people safe. Thankfully we are observing that for the few of our visitors who we know have tested positive and been fully vaccinated, they are managing to make it through without serious side effects. Many who we love have serious underlying health issues, so we will continue to focus our efforts on helping them get the jab. Please keep us in your thoughts over the next few weeks.

Thanks for being on the journey with us, our precious Inner Circle.

Jon

Jon Owen

Pastor & CEO
Wayside Chapel

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