The last two weeks has seen an increase in the number of people visiting the city centre for ‘work nights out’ and parties. This is reflected in some our figures. We issued 164 pairs of flip-flops and a staggering 283 bottles were lifted from the streets. During this period we also supported a ‘bottle mapping exercise’ at the request of Community Safety Glasgow. We helped 33 people to safety or reunited them with their friends and assisted 18 people who were overly drunk. 39 people, mostly brought in by Police Scotland officers, used the Safe Zone. Some of the ‘life stories’ that we have heard during this period have been heartbreaking, a reminder that many struggle at this time of the year. A street team responded to a call to a venue where they found a man with serious suicidal intentions due to personal tragedy. The team brought him to the Safe Zone where he was cared for and counseled for a prolonged period. To ensure his immediate safety our St Andrew’s First Aid volunteers called an ambulance and he was taken to hospital at 4am. Without the presence of a Street Pastor team and the Safe Zone pastors, who knows what would have happened to this man?

Paul says in Gal 4v4 ‘But when the time had fully come, God sent his son’. The arrival of Jesus into the world was perfectly timed. God’s continuing intervention in the lives of people is always just at the right time and it is an awesome privilege for us to be able to be His agents in meeting the needs of vulnerable people. God seems to plan it that the right people are in the right place at the right time. How wonderful is His wisdom!

Pray for the teams who will be on the streets this Thursday and Friday night. The Safe Zone will also be open as usual on Friday and Saturday this week.

A huge thank you to the team leaders and members of each team who have faithfully ‘listened, cared and helped’ throughout 2016. Well done good and faithful servants. May the peace of the Lord be with you all this Christmas.
At the Friday night team devotions we thought about what it meant to be ‘lost’ spiritually. The conversations we often have with people are a constant reminder that without the Lord Jesus people are indeed lost and in need of the Saviour. With party season now in full swing we spent a great deal of time both on Friday and Saturday helping people who were physically lost and separated from friends in unfamiliar surroundings.

We met John (not his real name) on Saturday morning about 2am after coming out of the Garage on Sauchiehall Street. He was visiting the city with friends but had become separated and couldn’t remember the name of the hotel he was staying in. Numerous phone calls later we were still unable to locate his hotel or his friends. John decided he would be happy to stay ‘anywhere’ if we could find him a room. More phone calls but unfortunately, nothing, due to the high volume of people staying in the city centre. We walked with him as far as Cambridge Street with the intention of going to the Safe Zone. Quite ‘unexpectedly’ we were directed to a hotel on Cambridge Street that ‘just happened’ to have a room available. While all the practical arrangements had been going on for over an hour, another team member had been having a deep life and spiritual conversation with John, which enabled him to open up about his circumstances, his experiences and the pressure of the important job he does. We left him in his room with a copy of the New Testament in his hand, a relieved man!

The next day John sent a txt message. ‘Thank you very much for helping me out last night. I’m very sorry for causing so much drama and being so uselessly drunk. I seriously don’t know how I got so drunk, but I will be eternally grateful for the help and understanding you guys gave me. Please pass on my thanks to the lady whose shoulder I was crying on’.

Listen, care, help……It’s what we do!
As the month of November comes to a conclusion it was with an unusually quiet last weekend for the Street Pastors teams. Only 39 pairs of flip flops issued, 50 bottles cleared, 17 items of food issued to men and women begging or rough sleeping and 8 items of clothing. Our Safe Zone was open on both Friday and Saturday night and saw a total of 17 people pass through the doors. On Friday a girl, brought in by police, was helped to her home safely by taxi and her husband phoned to express his appreciation. On Saturday a homeless man who lives off the generosity of people he meets spoke of the place that reading the Bible had in his daily routine. Long conversations took place with distressed people and comfort was given, fulfilling our aim to ‘listen, care and help’.

The story of recent days however is one of God’s amazing provisions as we enter the final month of the year. Saturday saw the final training day for our 6 new Street Pastors who are going to be such a blessing as they join teams. Two grant applications have been successful ensuring funding for the additional opening of the Safe Zone and other aspects of our work. A cheque was received for £500 from a couple wishing to support ‘the great work we do’ around the streets of Glasgow. West College Scotland Clydebank campus gave us a cheque for £236.82, raised by students through a Harvest lunch.

As well as financial gifts we have seen donations of the clothing we issue pour in so that every space we store hats, gloves, socks is full and overflowing. Thanks to Matt Butler and the Salvation Army for an incredible contribution to this ‘overflow of blessing’. On Monday an unassuming Indian Christian gentleman took me to a warehouse and filled a trolley with additional items of clothing we will be able to carry in our bags through the month of December. Reflecting on all of this the words of Malachi 3 v 10 came to mind, ‘Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it”.

God is blessing the ‘work of our hands’ because He is good! May we never forget this truth! It’s His goodness we are seeing. In this season of buying, God is giving! His favour is on Street Pastors, not because of specific individuals, but because together, Street Pastors, Safe Zone Pastors, Prayer Pastors, Cycle pastors, we have set our face to honour the Lord and serve the people of our city. May that continue to be our motivation as the year draws to a conclusion and into 2017.

This was a very busy weekend for all the teams involved on the streets and in the Safe Zone. The combination of ‘pay day’ and Halloween made the town extremely busy, particularly on Saturday night. Our Safe Zone welcomed 21 visitors, 7 of whom required first aid treatment, keeping our wonderful first aiders busy throughout the night as well as our Safe Zone Pastors!  A street team brought in a man after being assaulted in Royal Exchange Square, demonstrating the working relationship between the Safe Zone and street teams. On Saturday the teams had to calm 5 fights as well as deal with a further 5 situations of aggression. Help was given to 12 overly drunk people. 139 bottles were cleared and 78 pairs of flip-flops issued.  It was obvious on Saturday that ‘our struggle was not against flesh and blood’ as Paul says in Ephesians, highlighting why Prayer Pastors play such a vital role every time teams go out. A reporter from Radio Clyde joined us an observer on Saturday and news bulletins so far today have carried her report, giving great exposure to the work we do.

At the Street Pastors conference in Perth, Eustace Constance from AT gave a keynote speech on Friday night in which he spoke about the passion and commitment of Street Pastors. He made the point that people engage with us because ‘we are there’ as a very recognisable presence. His final point was to emphasize that flip-flops and bottles are secondary to faith conversations and prayer!

The spiritual problems we encounter require spiritual solutions. Jesus and Jesus alone is the answer!
Over the course of the weekend our teams issued 67 pairs of flip flops, cleared 91 bottles, gave directions to 15 people and helped 10 others to safety or to find their friends. Our engagement with homeless people was once again worryingly high…. 33 conversations, 94 items of food and 45 items of clothing issued. The Safe Zone ended up being relatively quiet although we had our first two visitors, brought in by the police, before we had even put the banners fully up outside!

A figure needs to be highlighted that is often overlooked. Our teams made contact on 25 occasions with our Prayer Pastors over the weekend. What an incredible blessing to have fellow team members committed to praying for us and the people we meet and minister to on the streets. The brokenness we encounter requires God’s intervention. How wonderful to know that when the street teams move on to the next person, the Prayer Pastors are still on the case! A special thanks goes to those who prayed either at home or in the base through the two nights.

Martin Luther is famous for commenting, "I have so much to do today that I'm going to need to spend three hours in prayer in order to be able to get it all done." The challenge is simple! We need to ensure that activity does not outpace or replace prayer. Please continue to pray for John and Susan Ralston as John starts treatment this week. Pray for our Safe Zone planning meeting on Thursday night and the Street Pastors conference in Perth this weekend.

Three reports from the weekend highlight the wonderfully practical way in which Street Pastors make a difference. Street Pastors assisted a lone woman safely to a taxi after being approached by a man unknown to her. A girl was carried to a car following damage to her ankle. The ankle was bandaged for support as she was in considerable pain. Only one flipflop was required! In the Safe Zone, contact was made with the family of a young man who was then collected at 2:30am. These types of stories are not exceptional to us, but we should never minimise the difference it makes to the people concerned and to their families to know they were kept safe and cared for.

We collected 111 bottles, helped 15 people to safety or to be reunited with friends, 13 people were given directions. We had conversations with 37 homeless people, issued 31 items of food and 24 items of clothing. We engaged in faith conversations with 11 people. A thanks goes to the Glasgow public for 37 demonstrations of appreciation for what we do. Thanks also to Willie Henry and Derek McIntyre for another great training day with our new recruits on Saturday. Police Scotland asked for the description of a missing man to be circulated. His name is David Gibson, 52yrs old and is described as 5’8”, receding brown hair with ruddy complexion. David is blind in one eye and has known mental health issues. He was last seen wearing a brown jacket, brown zipper top, light blue shirt and jeans. He went missing from Stobhill Hospital on Thursday 13th October. Please pray for David and his safety and continue to pray for members of ‘our family’ who are struggling with health and personal issues at this time.

Glasgow Street Pastors
St. George's Tron
163 Buchanan Street

Glasgow G1 2JX

Office Hours:Mon, Wed, Fri: 1000 - 1600
Coordinator: 07530 542 631 0900 - 2000, Mon - Sat
Safe Zone: 07828 053 883 2100 - 0400, Fri & Sat
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