Recently EBC’s Storehouse van (which we fondly nickname “Thunderbird 2”) has been out on a few proper “International Rescue” trips!
A few weeks back we were contacted by another local church (Kerith Community Church) who asked if we might help with a co-ordinated effort to help a refugee family. Not long after, the van swung into action loaded with all manner of furnishings – which completely “wowed” the council people who were involved on the day. It’s very hard to resist the temptation to say something bluff and offhand when this happens (“Think nothing of it Ma’am… all part of the service…”) but deeply gratifying to know that our little branch of God’s mighty church can do it’s bit in the most desperate of circumstances.
Sometimes we watch the news and can feel helpless when we see tragedy and devastation in troubled parts of the world and locally – but, if you’re part of the church, know that you’re part of the solution already.
A week later, Storehouse was in action again, this time assisting the police – not with their enquiries you understand…. We had been contacted and asked if we could help another refugee and victim of modern day slavery. Out went another vanload… and again came the “Wow” reaction.
Towards the end of last week, Rob Lea and I had a full day with the van, first loading up with boxes of schoolbooks (kindly donated by Fox Hill School – thanks again!) and then to fetch 90 (yes, ninety!) computers which the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) had generously donated. Then it was back to EBC to fill the remaining space on the van with a keyboard, lighting rigs, more computers and more books plus school furniture which we had stowed away in the shed ready for this day!
Fully loaded, we then drove about 80 miles to a place called Rockel Shipping, where we unloaded the lot with the help of a chap who was not only deceptively strong (seriously strong!) but seemed to be blessed with an uncanny ability to fit very many computers into very few boxes as if completing a ginormous Rubik’s cube….
Rob and I had a great time that day, not only because we had hours to chat (and, to be fair, it’s safe to say our views on life, the universe and everything are not entirely dissimilar…) but also because despite the hard work of loading and unloading, despite the long journey, and despite Rockel Shipping’s base of operations being slightly less salubrious than Tracey Island (see pics)… it was a day of proper ministry!
Yes, it was a long day and hard work, but the beauty of it was that all that stuff is now bound (via Rockel’s good offices) for the distant land of Sierra Leone, where our good friend Abs Dumbuya will be waiting to distribute it to the children and young people of the Leonard Cheshire Home in Freetown, Regent’s Road Baptist Church and its school, the school at EBC Tombo and, I dare say, the Dorothy Springer Trust where there may conceivably be some preliminary work to be done on some of the computers (for which, as designated driver, I take my share of the blame for any – ahem - damage-in-Transit…).
Tired but happy, we finally had a well-earned coffee and headed home. As the boys of International Rescue would say: FAB!
One empty van – except our manly Storehouse toolkit (bottom right) - and one happy Rob!