“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine” (Isaiah 55:8). This is the verse that comes to mind when I reflect on the opportunity to start a new ministry during COVID-19.
At the end of June, I received a phone call from an acquaintance in the Casey Pastors Network who is involved with One Voice Shower Truck service being overseen by Crossway Lifecare. They had identified a need for a shower truck in our area (Hampton Park) and were wondering if our church would be interested in getting involved.
One Voice partners with many organisations to fit out a truck with two shower cubicles, gas bottles and solar power as well as all the essentials needed for a shower: towels, soap, and other toiletry items. All essential cleaning products in line with COVID-19 guidelines are also provided including gloves, eye protection and face masks. The truck is taken back to Crossway at the end of the week so the towels can be laundered, and all items restocked.
This opportunity was seen as an answer to prayer, with our church Leadership supportive of the idea. As a church, we have long believed that our presence in the Hampton Park area is to serve the community and over the years collaborate with other churches and organizations to fulfill what we believe is our God-given mission.
Crossway Lifecare’s Community & Engagement Team Leader, Matt Jones, came to give us training with the shower truck. It is our responsibility to collect the truck from where it is parked for the night, and when finished, drain the grey water, refill the water tanks and drive the truck to the next location for use the next day.
We started on the 8th of July and over the past three and a half months have had the privilege to meet and serve up to 8 people.
Word of mouth has been the best way for the shower truck service to become known however, I also contacted some local churches and agencies. This was met with great delight, especially from the council agency who informed me that the places they would normal direct people to, have all been closed due to the pandemic.
Current COVID restrictions mean we are limited as to what we can provide but we hope to have laundry facilities and a sit-down meal as restrictions ease. In the meantime, we are able to run a soup kitchen, carefully following our COVID safe plan.
Although it is great to have a safe place for people to shower, we are also hearing the greatest needs currently, due to COVID, are food and community.
The volunteers for the shower truck ministry tell me they love to serve and feel that, at the end of the day, it is us who are blessed beyond measure.
Pastor, Hampton Park Baptist Church