Dear Inner Circle,

Close your eyes and picture what you were like at 10. If that’s a little foggy, think about your own children or a 10-year-old you know. Please, take a moment, even if you are reading this at work, I’m sure your boss won’t mind.

Think about the good that world was filled with. For me, it was filled with excitement, adventure and the awe of riding a BMX with a bunch of mates. It was fishing for tadpoles in the local creek, playing cricket till the streetlights came on and licking icy pole juice from my elbow all the way up to my wrist with glee.

Every 10-year-old’s life should be filled with adventures with mates, games, weekend sport, and a fair amount of chaos like that.

Now, I want you to imagine another 10-year old’s world. There is no white-picket fence, no video games or adventures, instead, picture an old mission-brown dwelling in a public housing estate. Inside is a fridge that is often empty. Next to which is a pin board full of bills marked ‘overdue’.

Imagine a loving mum sitting this 10-year-old boy down at their only table and telling her precious child that she’s dying of kidney failure. The young boy’s world collapses in that moment. He is a child that is suddenly weighed down by a responsibility beyond measure. Yet, his brave little heart rises to meet a challenge well beyond his years.

For the next seven long years, he takes on the task of caring for his mum as she gets weaker and weaker, carrying her from her wheelchair to the toilet, waiting patiently until she’s ready to be carried back to bed.

Listen as he whispers to his mum, “Don’t worry, I’ll look after you.”

He still doesn’t know yet that his world is spiraling towards its lowest point. In the background, his father isn’t coping. He kicks this young boy out onto the streets. But each time, the young boy returns home despite the violence to care for his mother until she takes her last breath.

Now a teenager, he dresses himself in an ill-fitting borrowed suit and heads to the cemetery to bury his mother. His home is no longer safe. So he turns to the streets, where he lives, until the day he walks into Wayside Chapel.

After years of sleeping rough, he credits Wayside as being the only constant in his life. A place of refuge and a place where he gets the love and practical support to piece his life back together whenever he loses his way.

When he reflects on that first time he walked through the doors, he says that “Wayside is like home.” A phrase I hear time and time again from visitors.

I am so grateful for every part of Wayside that makes it feel like home. From the bricks and mortar to the warmth and love that pours out of every person who serves here, through to you, our Inner Circle. Many of you read weekly about the lives we are reaching. The Wayside story is an interactive drama of which you are a part, we cannot share these stories without our wonderful community. I try to avoid asking you, but this is a week where I do, as you are a crucial part of keeping us going and part of our ongoing story. Your generosity at this time will ensure the warmth and safety we offer continues for people like that brave young man.

Please donate today
We are all looking for a place our hearts can call home. That place where you can arrive just in time to find yourself, in all your mess and magnificence, where you can give this world the gifts given to you as your birthright.

It takes a great deal of bravery to walk through our doors for the first time and call Wayside home. That’s why it’s so important for us to match that courage with an equal measure of commitment and compassion. If you can, please make a donation to our Winter Appeal today and help us provide unconditional love, care, and warmth to our community. For those who have already given, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Collectively we can provide love beyond measure.

Thank you for your support, our beloved Inner Circle,

Jon

Jon Owen

Pastor & CEO
Wayside Chapel

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