Letter from Rev Yangsun Yi

Dear sisters and brothers in Christ

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

We have already spent the first half of the period of lockdown and the other half should go if the lockdown is eased on the 2nd December as promised by the prime minister. 

I wonder how you are and how you have spending your time since lockdown? One of my friends retired some years ago always had answered me he is reading books whenever I rang him.  How about you?  Have you been busy for collecting the fallen leaves in your garden?  Or have you been reading more books than ever before?  If latter, what kinds of books have been reading and what are your favourite genres?   My friend who almost always answered me he is reading books related to Christianity.  Similar to my friend, I read books in relation to the Bible especially social, cultural, ritual background and systematic theology.  Whatever a genre of book we read, it gives us joy, peace, excitement and nurture our knowledge of humanity and the nature.  Sometimes, it changes our thoughts that influence to our way life.  Then, how much more the words of God in the Bible can change our thoughts and our way of life and our life.  This is for all scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

I have recently heard a story of a man who’s been changed his life from reading the Gospels.  In the late twentieth century, one man from the Bible society of Zimbabwe went to a village to distribute the copies of the New Testament to the villagers.  The man from the Bible Society said to a man that he can give the copy of the New Testament for free.  The guy said, ‘If you give me the copy, I will roll the page and use them for rolling cigarettes.’   The one from the Bible Society still wanted the guy to take the Bible with him.  So the man from the Bible Society said I will give you this copy with one condition.  That was the guy promise him that he is going to read the page of the New Testament before he rolls it for cigarettes.  The guy had promised him, so the man from the Bible Society gave the copy to the guy.

A few years later, the same man from the Bible Society went to the village and was preaching people in a tent how the Bible could change their lives.  One guy among the crowds suddenly stood up and said his life has been changed for the copy of the Bible.  He said he is the one who took the copy of the Bible for rolling cigarettes.  He continued to say, ‘I promised to read each page before rolling cigarettes, which I did.   So I smoked my way through Matthew.   And I smoked the whole of Mark.   And then I smoked Luke.  I started smoking John, but when I came to John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life”, a light shone in my face.  And now I believe in Jesus

The words in the Bible has power to justify and sanctify us up to the stage of perfection.  This is because no words in the Bible came by human will but men and women moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God (2 Peter 1:21).

We are living in the time of winter when night is much longer than day light and of lockdown due to Covid.19.  So it is natural to feel loneliness more than any other seasons especially if we live alone.  According to C. S. Lewis, British writer and theologian ‘We read to know we are not alone’.  I fully agree with him.  I believe the more we read, meditate and contemplate the words of the Lord, the more we find God is with us.  And He provides us a great love, hope, peace, comfort, as well as proficient, equipped for every good work.

In this sense, I’d like to invite you to read the Proverbs in the Old Testament. I pray that the Word of the Lord is a lamp to your feet and a light to your path,

The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you;
 the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace

With lots of love,

Yangsun Yi

Steps of Hope

Steps of Hope is a voluntary group of Christians from different Churches, who work as a team to provide food, toiletries, and clothes to the homeless in Liverpool City Centre.  The team have, over the years, also provided emotional support, through letters (for the ones in hostels) and phone calls, and prayer through building relationships with our friends.

Before Covid-19, we were called the trolley dollies, as everything for our friends, such as toiletries, clothes, drinks, and food such, as sandwiches, crisps, biscuits and lots of chocolate, were all in pull-along trolleys.  We followed a certain route which our friends soon got to know.   Some of them used the night shelter called Labre House, where, once a month the team cooked a meal for as many as 75/80 for which the staff, and the recipients were grateful.  A Sunday afternoon bible study was also set up for our friends to meet at the Tree of Life Christian Book Shop in Slater Street in Liverpool.  There was lots of cake, drinks and a place for them to meet and listen to short bible messages and testimonies.   The work has evolved to accommodate the needs of our friends on the streets.

All this changed as the country went into lockdown at the end of March.  At the start of Covid-19 lockdown, The Whitechapel Centre moved the rough sleepers into self- contained accommodation and our visits to Liverpool were cancelled in line with Government guidelines.

There is definitely a spirituality among the homeless, some of them are open to reading literature and gospels, which we provide for those who want them, a lady has joined the team after being homeless herself, she is now in her own house and has given her life to the Lord.

After risk assessments were prepared, at the end of June, it was decided to work from the Tree of Life bookshop.  We offer hot stew, sandwiches, fruit, cake and chocolate biscuits in take away bags each week on a Tuesday 4.30 – 6.00 pm. Downstairs in the basement all the toiletries and clothes are kept.  There are about 8/9 people each week.  Two people take orders for food and drinks outside, with tables between shop and friends, runners take food and drink to them, one person ladles the stew into take away cups and is served with a spoon.  One person sorts the drinks out, one person is given orders for toiletries and clothes.  We are fortunate to have a couple join our team who are outside conversing, listening, and offering prayer to all our friends, this has been amazing as they are truly gifted, and we in turn can learn more about their hardships and concerns.

A prayer chain receives all the names of the people we meet and pray for them each week, we are also covered in prayer each week.

Steps of Hope would like to thank Greasby Methodist Church for all their donations of money and clothing to support this outreach work.  We will continue to work from Tree of Life bookshop during this second lockdown as the café will be open for takeaway only.  It is amazing how God has provided, and blessed this work, and it is a privilege to be part of it.

June Boardman