Since opening the refresh community cafe in had the privilege of working alongside a number of volunteers and members of the general public.
Our mission statement is giving hope, releasing purpose and destiny and I’m happy to say we have seen this being fulfilled in several people’s lives who have been connecting with Refresh. Here is a quick rundown of some of our success stories.
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future" - Jeremiah 29:11
Since starting the community fellowship has been growing and includes people from all walks of life. Here are a few stories of how God has been working in their lives.
S. " I came to Refresh unemployed and as a volunteer, initially I was hesitant to talk to anyone, now I feel confident and feel part of a family and have learnt many cooking & catering skills - I have also been offered a paid job with a hotel chain.
B. - "I was a drinker & drug taker, a compulsive armed robber. I took more drugs than anybody I knew. I had nearly 20 years of living hell, spending over 10 of them in prison, a circle which nearly drove me insane. I came out of prison after several sentences at 41 years old and felt my life had stopped as prison was so soul destroying. I had a friend from childhood who was a Christian. He took me to the group and one night I accepted Jesus into my life and I have not been the same since. I feel joy in my Spirit and I'm helping others cursed with addiction and know Gods plan is happening for me now. I'm excited about the future and am not looking back thanks to my new found faith in Jesus and the change I have experienced. Please call me if you want to meet me and I will happily share with you and pray for you if you want." - Billy
Mi. - "Before I was involved in Refresh, I had just come out of a difficult relationship, which ended on bad terms. I was left without anything, I was sofa surfing staying with a different mate every night and drank as much alcohol as I could afford. When my vicar brought me along to Refresh I had nothing. I started to volunteer in the cafe and God has really blessed me. Refresh has helped me to obtain a stable roof over my head and has given me purpose. I had literally hit rock bottom, but thanks to the support of Refresh came back stronger than ever and have now become spiritually mature and I'm closer to God than ever."
N. -"I feel I have benefited from being involved in Refresh since I have gained confidence in being of use for a charitable cause. I found people welcoming and was given sincere attention, which meant I was able to open up and share. I have felt included through the Fellowship and Support group."
J. -" I was homeless and addicted to alcohol, I woke up and felt that God spoke to me... this time it felt right. I walked inside and at this point I was prayed for. During prayer, the gentleman praying for me phoned Naomi and she offered me accommodation. Since this day I haven't had a drink, I haven't even been tempted. I am now volunteering in Refresh, and I feel so at home in the cafe. It feels that this is the place that God wants me to be.The power of prayer really does work."
M -" I was approached after my job finished and Refresh Cafe helped me out with food as I hadn't received any money for over 5 weeks. given me a fresh outlook after a string of bad and has given me the confidence I needed."
N. referred to us from the Methodist centre. He was at the time struggling with homelessness and living in a hostel. He had previously been a qualified chef but due to the pressures of life found himself homeless. We were able to find housing for Nick and he worked in the cafe as head chef voluntarily for a period of time. Giving him this opportunity helped him to rediscover his confidence enabling him to go back to college. He attended a course on teaching cooking skills and successfully completed it. He later applied for a live-in position as a chef in an establishment in Wales where he is now living and working.
M., originally from Wales. When she came to Refresh she was staying with her mother for a while in Bristol after having some marriage problems due to depression. She volunteered in the cafe and the office. She grew up with Christian beliefs and on occasion had attended church but had never made a real commitment it seemed. She was very encouraged by our faith and beliefs and the work we are doing and began wanting to come to prayer meetings. Two weeks ago she recommitted and was baptized at the outpouring along with her husband. She has now moved back to Wales with her husband and her son, she has found work and is has reported that things are going really well for her and her family and she is "happy". Praise God!
R.had been coming into the cafe for several months, she had depression, suicidal thoughts and felt isolated. She was open to the faith and would regularly ask for prayer. After praying with her several times she decided to make a commitment to the Lord and she also was baptized at the Cwmbran outpouring 2 weeks ago. She is now very excited with her new-found faith and was filled with the spirit this Pentecost Sunday at Party in the Park. She comes into the cafe frequently and is always asking for Christian books and CDs. She openly shares her faith with other regular users of the cafe.
S. came to us early this year, a recovering addict who had given his life to the Lord but had backslid somewhat. He began volunteering in the cafe and has been attending church again occasionally and is currently learning the guitar which he sometimes plays in the cafe. His faith has been reignited and he enjoys getting involved and supporting Refresh events.
Elderly has been volunteering with us now since just before Christmas last year. He loves coming to Refresh and connecting with other Christians. D said that Refresh was like an oasis to him in a dry and weary land (his own words) and he now regularly attends church on Sundays and comes to our Monday night fellowship meetings.
We have got an Italian chef working with us currently, who had experienced many deaths in his family. He is volunteering in the kitchen and making lots of wonderful Italian dishes. He is also making friends with people in the cafe and has just been offered a new job after being out of work for some time.
We have also encouraged and are currently supporting two of our guys through Christian based rehab programmes which are reaching people with addiction problems. One of our guys is currently in Betel Birmingham and another is at Victory Outreach in Wales. We have links with organisations such as teen challenge, Betel and victory outreach where we can refer people looking for help.
We also have links with Outset Bristol who run intense business start up courses on how to start up your own business. We also have links with LEARNDIRECT where we aim to encourage people on benefits to their potential by attending relevant courses in order to help them find work.
One of our trustees works as a career advisor and is in the process of arranging appointments with some of our clients to help them discover their purpose and path in life.
These are just a few of the success stories, there are many more. It is such a joy and privilege to see God meeting with people right where they are at, blessing, healing and releasing
"Therefore, if you shall ask God for something in prayer, believe you have received it and it shall be " - Mark 11:24