Right across the UK our Eden teams are sacrificially living out the love of Jesus in word and deed in some of the toughest to reach communities. They’re dedicated to getting alongside their neighbours and seeing their communities transformed by the love of Jesus – but deep, relational transformation takes time.
We caught up with Alex from Eden Bow (London) who shared her thoughts about being in communities for the long-term and how this helps make the most impact for Jesus.
‘When you’re passionate about something and just starting out, I think there is an expectation to see immediate results but when I moved to Eden Bow, I knew I needed to be here for a minimum of 10 years to see real change. Even with knowing this, I still wanted to see results after three months, and in the early days, often felt disappointed at how long things were taking. But looking back over the years, I can see how God has done so much in the community as we have built lasting relationships with families and journeyed with their young people.
‘I remember one big project in 2011 where we invited all the teenagers in the area along to an outreach event. But no teenagers came – only a group of primary school children. I was so frustrated that I wasn’t immediately connecting to the teenagers in Bow! But fast forward 10 years and those primary school children who came along to our events became the key teenagers we worked with as they grew older, and who enabled us to connect with so many more in the area. Through the years, we journeyed with them through secondary school and are now cheering them on at university, college and in the workplace. I now see how God was using me back in 2011 and see it as a huge privilege to journey with those young people as they grew and explored faith for themselves.
‘Another young girl we have been working with is Taryn*. She has been coming along to our events for nine years and over the years has felt hopeless, had poor school attendance, was bullied and had very challenging mental health difficulties. Now she is a confident young woman, exploring faith and completing a college course, unrecognisable to when we first met her! We are so thankful to have played a part in Taryn’s journey as she becomes more like who God wants her to be.
‘It can often be hard to see the bigger long-term picture when you’re living each day but, looking back, I can see God’s handiwork in our lives, in our Eden team and in the lives of our neighbours. Restoration takes time and, in many cases, we don’t always see the end result but we just need to trust in God and faithfully play our part showing the love of Jesus in all we do – and God will do the rest!’
Want to find out more about Eden and even get involved with one of our teams? Find out more at message.org.uk/eden
*Name has been changed