Sheila's Story

Sheila shares her story of how God has given her a ministry of hugs, that enables her to show God's love to the people she meets.

Sheila shares her story of how God has given her a ministry of hugs, that enables her to show God's love to the people she meets.

About Evangelical Alliance

The Evangelical Alliance joins together hundreds of organisations, thousands of churches and tens of thousands of individuals to make Jesus known.
Representing our members since 1846, the Evangelical Alliance is the oldest and largest evangelical unity movement in the UK.
United in mission and voice, we exist to serve and strengthen the work of the church in our communities and throughout society.

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And I really felt that God had given me
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a ministry of hugs.
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Because I had all sorts of people coming
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for hugs.
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My name's Sheila, and this is my story.
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I've been involved with city centre chaplaincy
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for about five years now.
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When it started, we put tables and chairs outside.
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And we sat at the table offering prayer and a hug
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I was amazed at how at home I felt with it.
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All sorts of people were coming for hugs.
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From people who were just astonished
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to see somebody standing there with a
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free hug sign.
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To people who hadn't had physical contact
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with anybody for a long time,
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to people who had real problems and
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I could always tell when I hugged them
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if there was more that they needed to say.
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So I was able to ask if they needed prayer
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for anything.
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I've hugged the big issue man, I've hugged
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the homeless people, it doesn't matter
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who they are, they're all worthy of a hug.
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Sometimes I cry with them
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and I laugh with them,
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and
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I just love it.
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In sharing my faith I think prayer
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is very important
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and I pray for everybody I speak too.
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As you start to pray, so you become
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more able to pray
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and you become stronger.
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Prayer becomes a matter of course.
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If someone feels nervous about spreading
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their faith, the message of their faith
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or talking about their faith.
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I try and encourage them to think beyond
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how they're feeling but just think of
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the message that they're giving out
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to people and the chance for them to know
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God's love and so to be brave, take a deep
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breath and once you've done it once or twice,
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it becomes much easier.
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I was in the fish and chip shop the other day
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and an elderly man told me, it was his
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turn to do the tea,
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because his wife wasn't well.
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And he was very tired, so I asked him
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could I pray for him. He was astonished,
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but he was really glad.
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And I prayed for him in the fish and chip shop.
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People do say to me: "well it's ok for you,
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because you find it easy". But I think
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we can all find it easy if we just take
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that initial step.
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I'm not special in anyway, I'm just a mum
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and a grandma, and I just have a conviction
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of my faith.
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And I always, after I've hugged them, say
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that it's from the Lord. It's a gift
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from God to them,
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to express his love.