Article, The Voice Newspaper
by Marcia Dixon
7th December, 2014
View original Article on The Voice Newspaper website.
FOR THE past five years, Pastor Alexi Gyasi and his congregation at the Highway of Holiness church in Tottenham, north London, have been carving out a unique ministry – working with the homeless.
What’s particularly unique about this church based ministry, is that not only does it provide the homeless people with whom they work, food, pastoral care, help with finding jobs and healthcare, they actually provide them with shelter within the church premises. At any one time there can be up to 50 homeless people sleeping in the church.
During the five years the church has worked with the homeless they’ve housed and helped over 600 people, representing 50 nationalities. Pastor Alexi revealed that it was his faith in God that inspired him to do this work.
He recalled, “When our evangelism team went out one Saturday afternoon my wife came across two homeless men and directed them to our church for help. They came and we began to help them with a daily meal and then with an opportunity to shower. One day there were 13 of them eating and one came to me very suicidal saying that he wanted to kill himself due to so many things that were going on in his life at the time. The Holy Spirit told me that if I let him go I would not see him again! It was since that moment I realised I was called to work with the homeless.”
There’s no doubt that Highway of Holiness’ work is having a positive impact. Many of those the church has assisted with have gone on to get jobs and find accommodation, and such is the gratitude amongst some for the help they received, they’ve continued to support the church’s work. Also, a number of men the church has helped have become Christians. Eastern Europeans have been drawn in particular to the Highway of Holiness’ work, so much so, that the church now holds a special Sunday service for the many Romanians they support. Keen to share the success of the church’s work with the wider community, Pastor Gyasi recently published The Test Room, a book which chronicles the highs and lows of his work with the homeless.
He shared: “It is about how God prepared myself, my family and church, unknowingly to us, for our ministry to the homeless and the tests and trials we faced in the early years of the shelter.”
He added, “I wanted to encourage people, especially church leaders that they should not allow the fear of the unknown to prevent them from doing what God has asked them to and revive those that are implementing their God given vision but are facing challenges.”
The next few weeks are set to be busy ones for the Highway of Holiness. They’ll be organising a Christmas dinner for the 50 people currently housed by the church, and will be hosting the Mayor of Haringey Councillor Kaushika Amin who put in a request to view Highway of Holiness’ work.
Pastor Gyasi has big plans for 2015. He recalled: “My plans for the homeless project are to raise funds to be able to purchase a hostel in which our residents can live and to attract more professional help in the areas of fundraising, property acquisition and volunteers.