“Religion that our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” James 1:27
“Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.” Proverbs 14:31
Reaching out to the poor and marginalized in society is something that, I’m ashamed to say, has been on my heart for years without me having taken much action. Why? I always rationalized to myself that it was too difficult, and that I didn’t want to patronize people or treat them like projects. Experiences of stepping out and trying different things with none of them gaining traction have prevented me from trying again.
Recently, this ministry has been laying heavy on my heart and mind again, and I decided to just go for it, and not to overthink it or think myself out of action, which has happened before.
I was chatting with Mirjam Klop, who works with YWAM Kragujevac, which is a few hours away from us in Užice, and she mentioned that she had started taking banana bread out onto the streets, prayer walking, and chatting with anyone she came into contact with who was in need. That was the push I needed to start reaching out again in that way here.
We’ve started going out onto the streets in Užice on Tuesdays and Fridays with banana bread, hot tea, and Bibles. We walk, pray, chat, and interact with anyone who is obviously in need, all while getting to know our city and God’s heart for it more. We’ve been able to hand out Bibles and pray for people, as well as start to meet physical needs in small way.
God of Justice, Saviour to all
Came to rescue the weak and the poor
Came to serve and not be served
And Jesus, You have called us
Freely we’ve received, now freely we will give
We must go, live to feed the hungry
Stand beside the broken, we must go
Stepping forward, keep us from just singing
Move us into action, we must go
“God of Justice” Tim Hughes
Some days, there aren’t many people out and about, especially as it’s getting colder. We ask the question, “Ok, in the summer there are a lot of people begging, where do they go in the winter? Who is meeting their needs in the winter? How can we meet their needs this winter?”
Our hope for this winter is that we would connect with families who need help, support, and a practical demonstration of the love their Heavenly Father has for them. Would you join us in praying for contact with the people most in need in Užice? For resources to meet their needs? For boldness and clarity of thought and speech in our interaction with them?
Some of you may know that in the New Year we’ll be opening a ministry center location in the center of Užice. This will also provide a base for mercy ministry in the future. Please join with us in praying for this exciting project; we’re excited by what God is doing here!
Lydia Vaughan lives in Užice, Serbia, and leads the YWAM team with her husband, Andrew, and three children, Luka, Anya, and Maja. She is originally from Wales and is a huge part of leading the team here with her communication skills and empathetic heart. She has a huge heart for the Serbian people and serving them! Her vision is to reach the least of these by starting a food pantry and shelter location for those who cannot help themselves.