Volunteer Q&A – Street & Shelter MinistryFull name: Samantha Tobias
Congregation: Rondebosch PM
Occupation: Online Advertising
How long have you been a volunteer at the street and shelter ministry?
Nearly 2 years
When do you go and for how long?
We started off with a street ministry in February 2011. We had a group of four that would go out each Thursday evening with a meal. We would visit various parks and subways and eat, pray and chat with the homeless people living there. After a year of the street ministry and after helping to assist a few homeless friends in to various shelters, we decided to move the ministry to the Wynberg Haven night shelter. We have been doing the shelter ministry there for about 8 months now.
Can you explain what you do while you’re there?
We have a 4 week schedule set up. One week we have a Bible study, the next a worship session, the third week is a tough questions session and then we end off the month with a general knowledge quiz night, where the guys and girls stand a chance to win Checkers shopping vouchers. We usually start off and end with prayer, sometimes breaking off into pairs to pray into one another’s needs and the week ahead.
Can you tell us a bit about the shelter ministry?
The shelter ministry is really about a group of people gathering together to love other people.
The ministry is all about forming friendships and praying for one another. Often we’re there just to listen, sometimes to give advice but mostly to help point them towards the one who can ultimately help and save them.
What are some of the challenges of serving those living on the streets or in shelters?
Many of the people we have connected with are bound by addictions, mental illnesses or backgrounds that have hardened their hearts. I think one of the biggest challenges has been to listen to God’s discernment and wisdom in trying to best love the different people we meet. To have firm boundaries and speak truth into people’s lives, but let it be coated in love and grace.
What do you appreciate the most about volunteering with the ministry?
I appreciate the authenticity of most people we meet. Although many of them have had incredibly tough lives, they love Jesus in such a radical way that you can’t help but be humbled and inspired by their attitudes and authentic love for Christ.
If you’re keen to find out more about the Street & Shelter Ministry, visit their Facebook page here.