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A community held together by Christ; loving God, supporting one another & bringing hope to the world.

Bringing hope to the World at Home and Overseas

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It's 11:30 p.m. - my warm bed and comfy p.j.'s are calling me, but I pile on a few "layers" instead.  I open the door to see if it looks like it's going to be freezing tonight and run back in to dig out some gloves just in case.  Heading off in the car at 11:45 p.m. seems strange, but it's great driving through Belfast without loads of traffic!  The rest of our "Friday Night First of the Month Team" have already arrived and are pulling out all the gear to set up.  Another team has been through it all the night before and it'll all be used tomorrow by the Saturday night team!

A few people fill up the flasks with tea, coffee, and hot water for cups of soup.  Others spread chocolate biscuits on trays.   There's some good natured ribbing between the "lay them neatly in rows" individuals and those of the  "just dump them on there" persuasion.  By 1 a.m. we're out - the light is plugged in and the table set up, just in time to catch everyone heading home or waiting for taxi's.  Less than 30 seconds later we've figured out we're going to have to hang onto the styrofoam cups tonight so the wind doesn't blow them away!

One guy just wants a quick cup of soup and he's off, then a few friends want to stand and have some craic before their night is over.  A girl wants to wait with us till her friends catch up with her.  A young lad sings us a song his grandmother taught him much to the amusement of his friends!  We have a few regulars and if they don't show up, we wonder if they're doing okay.  A couple of guys need a cup of tea with their kebabs.

A guy on his own asks some hard-to-answer questions about God.  Two girls wrap their hands around cups of coffee to keep warm while they wait for their taxi.  Later on a young man wants to talk about a friend who died and gives us a thank you hug when he heads off.

Some people try to pay us and can't understand why we won't take money.

"Are you from this church?" they ask, pointing to the building behind us.  Sometimes they shake their heads in disbelief when we tell them the teams are made up of people from different churches.

Without fail we hear one question many times a night, "Why do you do this?"

It doesn't seem to satisfy them when we tell them that not only do we enjoy it, but we want them to get home safely and to have something to keep them warm on the way.  And now that I'm heading home at 3:00 a.m. with feet like ice cubes, I'm kind of asking myself the same question!

But I can't seem to get around the thought that if Jesus were alive today, He'd be hanging out on the street on Friday night giving people something to drink.