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Multiply: a family coming to faith

The Revd Jane Emson, Multiply Pioneer Minister, tells the story of one of the families who recently got confirmed.

confirmation with +paul

The Revd Jane Emson, Multiply Pioneer Minister, (Bishop’s Mission Order in Brambles Farm, Thorntree and Netherfields East Middlesbrough) tells the story of one of the families who recently got confirmed. 

I met Cola (Nicola) and Aron and their family during the pandemic when we went door-to-door posting activity packs and flyers with information about what we were doing in the community. Several months later we started an eco-shop for the people living in Brambles farm and Thorntree estates, and since has been extended for the people living in Netherfields.  

It is a place where people can receive 10 items of food for £2.  Along with free items such as bread, cakes and other food items which are donated from local supermarkets, we also give second hand clothes, books and school uniforms. 

Aron and Cola
The eco-shop for Bramblesfarm and Thorntree

Cola and Aron started to attend the eco-shop and as I got to know them I asked if they would like to volunteer in running it. They said yes. 

They completed the safer recruitment process and become volunteers. They began to help each week at the eco-shop and started to help with other groups. 

A few months later, I invited them both to come along to Start which is about God, Jesus, and the journey of life, in six sessions. After the sessions, they, as well as the other four other people, made a faith commitment. I had the privilege of praying for them and they became followers of Jesus. 

They started to come along to a New Worshipping after-school club (Messy Church) weekly with their two children. Cola now helps with the setting up and leading of the group, often inviting people she knows who live in the community. 

They also attend our weekly Church Gathering that meets at 5pm in a community building in Netherfields, and finishes with us all sharing a meal together. 

Cola has started to help with a recent New Worshipping Community that we set up in the local school where two of her children attend. 

Aron is now the manager at the eco-shop and together with Cola run the shop. They do the shopping for the eco-shop, they unpack and store it all, and both manage the accounts.

It’s such a pleasure to see how all the family have and are continuing to grow in their faith through leading prayers at team meetings and the New Worshipping Community. Their daughter sometimes leads prayers and worship on Sundays, and their 4-year-old rolls the prayer dice that we use before meals and says his own prayer.  

They go above and beyond to help serve people and children in the community. They don’t just give out food to the 30-40 people who attend the eco shop weekly, they get alongside them, they help to support people and have conversations with them. They personally invite people to the New Worshipping Community and groups such as ‘sausage butty morning’, as well as other one-off events at Christmas, Easter, and school holidays. They have become very popular in the three estates, and have created an atmosphere in which the people who attend the groups, especially the eco-shop, feel really welcome and relaxed.  

Along with their older daughter, they were confirmed recently. It was such a privilege and honour to be a part of this.   

God chooses and uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things, which is what Cola and Aron are doing here in Middlesbrough. He doesn’t need our ability, but rather our availability. He uses ordinary people who have nothing of their own to offer, but their faithfulness and willingness to say “yes” to God. 

I look forward to seeing what God will do in and through Cola, Aron and their family.