Last month, our bible study group was involved with SHUM (Surry Hills Urban Mission).
SHUM is a ministry that aims to bring the good news for disadvantaged people around Surry Hills area – this may includes people who are homeless, poor, unemployed, those with substance abuse and those with some mental issues.
SHUM is mainly run by Michael and every month there will be a different group of people committed helping him for the duration of the month. So for example our group was helping SHUM on the month of August and another bible study group from our church will do SHUM the month after.
SHUM group goes to Central Station every Tuesday nights from 8:00 to 9.30, they bring food (mainly sandwiches) and hot drinks for people at Central Station. However giving out food is not the aim of SHUM, by serving food and drinks, we’re hoping to engage disadvantaged people in Surry Hills in gospel conversations.
On the week before we started our mission, Michael gave as an orientation night, here are some of things that he expected of the group:
- Aim to end every conversations by praying with people whom we talked to.
- Pick a parable and learn to share it with people
- Read news and give a Christian point of view of them
- Pray and pray some more
So those were the main things that we did during the four Tuesday nights of August. Every night is different, the first 2 Tuesdays were busy and hectic, the last 2 were quiet. I had many interesting conversations, met many wonderful and interesting people.
An example of such encounter: on the first Tuesday, I met a guy called S, I spent the most of the time talking to him that night.
S is a pensioner and had issues with his current accommodation so he needed to find a new place. However this wasn’t easy due to his lack of rental history (and photo ID). Can’t help but feeling sorry for him, the task of getting a photo ID maybe trivial for people like you and me – but for him it is a challenge. He was told to go back to Melbourne (where he’s from) and get it done there, otherwise he needed to do it via the internet, which is difficult as he is computer illiterate.
I asked him about his belief, he told me that he’s a Christian but not practicing. We chatted a bit about this – then he remembered reading a horoscope column, in which it was told that he needs to start a commitment. He kept wondering what that meant. That Tuesday night, he decided to take a walk around Central Station and by chance met us there.
He then connected the dots, perhaps he said, the commitment mentioned in the horoscope column, is commitment to God. Very interesting conclusion, but I didn’t disagree – I told him that indeed God may indeed calling him through that.
In the end, we prayed together, for his accommodation issues and for him to find church and indeed commit his life to God. From all of the people whom I spoke to during the month, he’s made the most impression to me and I had hoped to see again on the following weeks, but I never did, I put him on my prayer dairy though – I hope to see again as a brother if not in this life, then in the life after.
I found my time with SHUM is very valuable, for people in our bible study group and for myself personally. For me, it is valuable as it has given me opportunity to share the good news of Jesus with people.
I was also humbly reminded that I lack skills in evangelism and I need to work on my willingness to talk to people.
I was encouraged by people in our bible study group who were very enthusiastic, bold and genuinely care for the people we met.
Ben our SHUM leader (Michael took a break on the month of September) was very encouraging too – he could easily turn an ordinary conversation to a gospel conversation.
I was reminded again and again how good and gracious God is, he does not discriminate, he loves everyone, rich and poor and he wants them to be saved.
In the end, I thank God for his love to people through SHUM, Michael, Ben – I hope and pray many will hear and receive the light that can’t be hidden in their dark lives.
If you are Christian, I highly recommend joining SHUM for a month, you can find more information about it here: