I absolutely love celebrating birthdays and anniversaries. Don’t you? I have a confession to make this evening. I’ve been holding a special birthday card close to my heart and celebrating all day with Papa, reluctant to share the occasion with anyone else. How incredibly selfish is that? So here it is.
Today is NightShift’s birthday. Ten years ago, on this very day, in the middle of a snowstorm, NightShift was born in a small street church in Whalley. I remember it like it was yesterday. It’s surreal to look back at our humble beginnings and to realize how far we’ve come over the last decade.
As the day comes to a close, I continue to savour the memories. One word describes my heart: grateful. I am grateful for the good times and for the not so good times. I am grateful for all the miracles. For God’s faithful provision time after time when situations and finances looked impossible. I am grateful for the amazing Grace that He has extended to NightShift and to me over the years. And last but not least, I am grateful for the countless people who have flowed through our doors to make NightShift what it is today.
“Always be joyful. Always keep on praying. No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV
For some odd reason this tune interrupted my reflections tonight. Do you remember “Reach out and touch,” the debut solo single for Diana Ross, which was released in April 1970? I’m pretty sure I’ve never heard it sung in church before but perhaps we should add it to our repertoire!
The words epitomize the very nature of the many NightShifters’ hearts that have faithfully reached out and touched each other, our street friends and the community over the years.
Listen to the lyrics in your heart!
“Reach out and touch somebody’s hand
Make this world a better place if you can
Just try, take a little time out of your busy day
To give encouragement to someone who’s lost the way
Just try, or would I be talking to a stone, if I asked you
To share a problem that’s not your own,
We can change things, if we start giving
Just try, if you see an old friend on the street
And he’s down; remember his shoes could fit your feet
Just try, try a little kindness you’ll see
It’s something that comes very naturally,
We can change things, if we start giving.”
So dear friends, faithful supporters and fellow servants, please join me as I give thanks to Papa for NightShift – His amazing ministry that He has entrusted into our hands. May we continue to serve Him and reach out and touch others with humility and grace over the next decade, while always remembering that all the praise and glory belongs to Him – alone!
“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast loves endures forever.”
Psalm 136:1 NIV
MaryAnne Connor (Mac)