Sunday, 15 July 2007

Lesley's sponsored walk - testimony

As many of you will know, Lesley Cook undertook a sponsored walk in May to raise some money for Storehouse. Here is Lesley's own account of how she got on:
"I remember some months ago sitting in church and the offering buckets were being handed round and yet again I had no money to put in the bucket. I felt really bad because Vineyard has helped my family and me many times in many ways including financially. I kept trying to think of ways that I could give help. I wanted to be able to give more to Storehouse because I think it is a very worthwhile cause. I can’t imagine what it must be like to not know where your next meal is coming from or where you are going to sleep each night. I often complain because I can’t afford something I want, as we all do sometimes, but at least I have a roof over my head and something to eat and a loving family.
I decided that I would do a sponsored walk to try and raise some money for Storehouse. I knew it had to be a long walk to encourage people to give money. I also wanted to raise as much as possible from people who didn’t go to church and make more people aware of Storehouse and the need for help in our community. So I decided I would walk from my home I Mildenhall to church and after the service I would walk home again.
I set the date for Sunday 27th May, which was a bank holiday weekend, so I would have the Monday off work to rest. I began to try to raise sponsorship money, but to start with at work I met with a bit of hostility. As soon as I mentioned the word “church” my work colleagues didn’t want to know. Then I tried to explain that it was for people in the community that were in need of help, like people that are homeless. Then my colleagues said, “Well it’s probably their own fault that they’re homeless, they’re all druggies”. I said that our belief is that whether these people are good or bad it doesn’t matter at this moment they need something to eat. If we found someone who was in need of medical help would we check first to see if they were good enough to deserve medical help? Well it’s just as important to eat!
I had lots of help from my friends at WSVC and my family in raising sponsorships.
On Sunday 27th May I started the walk at 5:20am. I was expecting it to take approx 4 hours. I got to church at 9:10am and I was very wet because it had been raining, so I changed my clothes had a coffee and a donut. I left church to begin the walk home at 12:30pm, armed with another donut for energy. At this point I was not sure that I would complete the walk because I was already aching quite a lot, but I didn’t want to give up and I knew Jesus was with me every step of the way. My friend Trisha and my daughter Kirsty sent me some text messages to give me lots of encouragement, which I really needed. My husband Paul kept driving by and giving me drinks and at 4:30pm I finished walking. I ached a bit and was tired for a couple of days.
It took me a few weeks to collect all the sponsor money, but when I had collected it all and began to count it up I couldn’t believe how much was there, so I had to count it again, then I got Paul to count it up too. There was £705.00!!!! I am really grateful to everyone who donated money and I hope it will help to make a difference in some people’s lives.
A huge thank you and well done to Lesley for her walk, the money she raised (it has already started making a difference), and for sharing her experience here. Truly inspirational!

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