Driving up to Manchester with my colleague, stirred mixed emotions… I think I even said “we’re on an adventure!” But instantly felt guilty, after all, the reason was not one of rejoicing or celebration, but one of love.

On the dozens of occasions where I’ve found myself being in the right place at the right time, saying what seems to be the right thing to seemingly make a difference to the person I am engaging with is just a bit too much of one incredible coincidence …. incidences are too numerous… the goosebumps I get when I pray with someone with an emotional, spiritual or even physical need tells me that the Holy Spirit is close, that God has put me in front of that person because he knows that the one good gift I have, is the gift of listening.

To have compassion you must have the ability to hear. Hear the real issue, hear the pain, hear the concern, hear the distress. You may have never experienced the sound of a bomb blast, the crying and screaming, the dozens of emergency services dashing to the scene, the smell of a detonated incendiary device, the smell of burning, you can only imagine… but how can you ever know or understand?

Talking with a response pastor colleague who was supporting Manchester this time last year, her recollection of the pain she witnessed is still with her. It is with all of us, and we talk about our Response Pastor experiences of the last year. Seeing, dealing with, experiencing, it has changed us all.

Having had a delicious supper and sitting in my bed, so kindly offered by the generous and giving local host, I wonder how the deployment of 30+ response pastors will go, one year on?

I wonder what Jesus will have in store for us?

I wonder how God will use us?

I wonder how the Holy Spirit will guide us…

Heavenly Father please be with with us and with those we serve

Amen ??

Edited words from a deploying response pastor in Manchester today 22nd May 2018