Standing on tip-toes

Some two thousand years ago, a small boy gave up his fish and bread, and with them, fed five thousand. He was a humble servant coming near to a great Leader, Jesus Christ. Such is the story we are looking for.

Written by Cristina Prida, Editor –
ACS Dublin volunteer

Night after night we see evidenced the impartial face of homelessness, which strikes adults and children alike. Every week we have some children standing in front of the ACS tables, eyes roaming for food.

Some on tiptoes, barely reaching the table. Some with no shoes, hurrying after their mother. Some silent (and you wonder, what are they thinking?). Then you see them go away, trudging obediently after their parents: a picture you cannot erase from your mind. 

When these children are grown up, what childhood memories will they fondly remember? What family dinners will they think of? You cannot help but wonder. 

At the same time, we have children on the other side of the table, who are serving. What is the difference between them and their counterparts?

By what cause is one child behind the table and another in front of it? It is only their circumstances; it is by no fault of their own that they find themselves hungry, or cold. And it is not by their choice.

Jerry’s Fund

Some weeks ago we had a young boy named Jerry, coming to serve for the first time at ACS. He was so impressed that he decided to donate half of the soon coming birthday money he’d get to ACS (See his testimony here.)

From his incentive Jerry’s Fund was born: a fund for children, by children.

Your children can donate from whatever little they may have and know that it will be used directly and exclusively for other children like themselves. 

As the situation in Ireland regarding homelessness is worsening with the strains of restrictions, we are looking for toys, clothes, shoes, school bags, sweets… anything a young child may enjoy. There is expected to be 3,000 homeless children by Christmas. These children won’t have gifts; won’t have Christmas trees; won’t have something to look forward to. Indeed, many of them will eat Christmas dinner on the street, at a soup kitchen like ACS. 

So next time you are buying shoes for your child, or throwing out old toys and clothes, remember the shoe-less child on the street, and the toy-less boy in emergency accommodation; and make sure to put something apart for him too.

In doing so, you are providing a glimmer of hope into these children’s lives; a glimpse of what life could be. Give up your “small fish”; your very “small barley loaves”; and you just may feed thousands.


Jesus’ method

Jesus Christ commissioned His disciples to spread the Good News to the entire world. For such an overwhelming task, He must have taught them a successful method, right? Most probably, He lived it.

While His messengers have gone to the ends of the earth, to far away countries, to remote places and isolated tribes, what about us, those living in Dublin? At ACS Dublin we believe that each one of us can find his or her mission-place in the urban jungle.

Our method is a replication of Jesus’ method, as it is described in the book entitled Ministry of Healing written by Ellen G. White:

Christ’s method alone will give true success in reaching the people:
The Saviour mingled with men as one who desired their good. He showed His sympathy for them, ministered to their needs, and won their confidence. Then He bade them, ‘Follow Me.’

You’ve noticed the five steps:

  1. Mingling with people
  2. Showing compassion
  3. Ministering people’s needs
  4. Winning their confidence
  5. Inviting them to follow

It looks like many times we skip some steps, even going bold to the last step. Some other times we assume that people have already come a long way and we have won their confidence. Each of ACS Dublin team volunteers are invited to become aware of this method and then apply it accordingly.

Let’s show how we do it:

1. Mingling with people
We want to be found where they are, as ones desiring their good. Just be there, smile, pat on the shoulder, look into their eyes. You cannot reach them staying behind a glass. Our high visible vests signal that we are there, amongst the people, ready to help.

2. Showing compassion
We don’t ask them “what have you done?”, or “how come you are here”… instead we ask “have you eaten anything?” One of our volunteer testified that a person, whom he was talking on the street late in the evening, confessed to him: “You are the first person I talk to today.”

3. Ministering people’s needs
We usually offer hot food, sandwiches, fruits, biscuits, hot drinks. Not once, not twice, we gave more than food. Clothes, toiletries, advice, money, sleeping bags, called a hostel, called the ambulance. People’s felt needs are the points of contact. If that person asks for a help, we have reached the first steps.

4. Winning their confidence 
Many times after we give without any expectations we see that people open more. We get a name – suddenly he/she is not a stranger anymore. We learn about his/her family, or a past tragedy, or even a continuous struggle. That person talks to someone who does not want to take any advantage of his/her dire straits.

5. Inviting them to follow
We can not solve all the issues. But we can invite these people to get courage, to keep going, and to have hope. Right there on the street we prayed with people (upon their request). Right there we spoke about God, the Good News. Right there others joined us in free service!


Want to join us? See four ways to…

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