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Neil Avard

CAP Testimony

By Neil Avard

Hello, I’m Neil Avard, one of our CAP Debt Coaches. The following is a testimony from one of our CAP clients who we have journeyed with. We’ve changed her name to provide her with a degree of anonymity:

Hi my name is Ruth.

I was brought up in Buckinghamshire, and in my teens started attending a Baptist church in Bedford where I was baptised aged 15. However, I stopped attending church aged 17, choosing instead to live as a Buddhist.

I moved to Brighton seven years ago, where I worked as an area manager for a large retail company.

Sadly due to long term medical issues I lost my well paid position and started to get into financial difficulties. The downward spiral of debt had massive implications on my mental health, and the more I got into debt the more I couldn’t cope.

Eventually I became very desperate with my financial situation and decided I could no longer juggle my debts, as even the minimal payments became crippling. It dawned on me that I may never be out of debt and I sought professional help.

So I did the modern thing and Googled ‘Money Advice’. I came across an organisation called Step for Change, who gave me some very brief telephone advice and told me to sort the rest out myself, which at that time I felt unable to do.

I then looked a little further and finally had the courage to ring the CAP Freephone number. Little did I know that my life was about to change beyond anything that I could imagine.

On the first home visit of many, I met Neil and his lovely mum, Pat, who set me at ease, talked me through my debts, gave me hope, and eased my fear.

Over the following several months I was really touched by offers of prayer and gifts of food. CAP took the weight and worries off my shoulders. My regular hospital visits to London offset the budget they prepared for me so CAP helped further by sending me supermarket vouchers.

At one of my lowest points in December I had a beautiful Christmas hamper delivered, which was a really wonderful surprise.

Recently I had a birthday, and CAP were the first to send me a birthday card! I couldn’t believe that somebody had taken the effort to find out my birthday. It made feel so loved and valued.

During my time with CAP, and the meetings with Neil and Pat, I began to gain a growing interest in returning to be part of a church family. I found a new desire to surround myself with Christians, so I could experience more about the love of God. I was encouraged to join an Alpha Course at my local church, St Peters, and I started attending the weekly sessions.

From there I started attending Church services, and I was amazed at their passion for serving the poor, hungry, and vulnerable.

On February 11th this year at 10.29 AM I was officially declared ‘Debt Free’. My self-belief, self-esteem and confidence is BACK! My struggle with anxiety has greatly improved, I feel free again, and able now to help others as they have helped me. (Yes I still have my bad days but it’s a reminder I need God’s grace, as I can’t solve my problems alone).

Recently I have joined a Home Group and whilst studying I realized that even I can be of service to God. At Easter I became part of the welcome team, and will soon be helping at the Women’s Haven.

My faith and the support from CAP, Holland Road, and St Peters helped me through the darkness and reminded me that I can live in hope for the future. God is definitely at work through CAP. They leave a lasting impression and reminded me again of the Love of God which we all know is priceless.

I now look forward with hope. This is the beginning of my new life as an active Christian who is debt free and living in Christ.

Thank you for listening.

Ruth.

Topics: CAP
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Sue Stone

CAP Christmas Update

By Sue Stone

Did you know that every 20 minutes a property is repossessed?

Today there are people in our city whose lives are being devastated as a result of debt – often leaving them struggling to feed their families, feeling suicidal, depressed and alone.

This year our CAP (Christians Against Poverty) team have seen all of the above. We currently have over 50 clients who we are helping on their journey out of debt, and this year we have shared the joy of becoming debt-free with 7 of our clients. We have a great opportunity to show God’s love, invite them to Alpha, special services, or clubs and meetings run at church.

We have also run 6 CAP Money courses this year for students and adults – these teach basic budgeting and money management skills that enable people to budget, spend and save better. They have also been fun!

I would like to thank everyone at Holland Road Baptist Church for being such a generous church. Our clients loved the hampers the church provided last year, and they were so touched by the Easter eggs given. The food donated in our CAP box (at the connections point) has literally been a life saver as so many of our clients have desperately needed emergency food. Thank you for all your gifts of money to the B.L.T Trust that allow us to buy bus tickets, fresh food, send out birthday cards, and many other things that show God’s love to our clients.

Also thanks to everyone who volunteers to come out with us on visits, help with our Drop In sessions on Thursdays, hand out leaflets, make up hampers, and many other things that help Brighton and Hove CAP Centre reach those in need.

Topics: CAP
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Sue Stone

CAP Update Feb 2015

By Sue Stone

CAP – Christians Against Poverty – currently have a stronger presence and support than ever within Holland Road Baptist Church. Running courses to help with financial difficulties, and providing practical and emotional support to clients, the team is reaching more and more people across Brighton & Hove.  We were able to hand out over 60 hampers for Christmas, and hopefully by the time you come to read this we have been able to give our clients and their families Easter eggs along with an invitation to our services. Clients are really moved by these acts of kindness, and the Cap money team have already run one course this year which was well attended. Three attendees took up the invitation to attend Alpha, and one made a commitment to follow Jesus. A special student course is planned for June 25th, so if you are off to University this is for you!

Also in June the team have been invited to run a course at the Whitehawk Inn, so we are now reaching other parts of our city. Through our St Peter’s sponsored debt coach, Becky, we have been involved with St Cuthman’s in Whitehawk. On Wednesday mornings they run a drop in where people can come in and hear about CAP, and from the middle of March they will also run a Trussell Trust food bank.

Thank you for all your support and prayers, please contact any of us if you would like to be involved. We mainly need people on Tuesdays and Thursdays but there are other ways and times you can help. Visit www.capuk.org or www.hrbc.org.uk/cap for more information.

Topics: CAP
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Sue Stone

Celebrating CAP

By Sue Stone

CAP does wonderful work in our city helping those with debt problems. Every client and their situation is unique, and yet God knows them and their situation. It is wonderful to be invited in to their homes and hear their stories.

This year through the generosity of Holland Road, St. Peter’s and St. Cuthman’s we will deliver over 50 hampers to our CAP clients. It is an opportunity to pass on the real message of Christmas, when we received the greatest gift of all.

The work of CAP changes lives – this is a fantastic video telling the story of how CAP, and their experience of receiving a Christmas hamper made a huge difference:

Please continue to pray for the work of CAP, and for all our clients and their families.

If you wish to be involved please contact us via the Brighton Light Trust website, or find out more on the CAP website

Topics: CAP
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Rich Page-Jones

June CAP Update

By Rich Page-Jones

Praise God that the CAP Centre based at HRBC now has two more fully-qualified Debt Coaches. Sue Stone and Neil Avard successfully passed the Financial Authority Regulated Course up in Bradford last month. CAP has now opened 14 new debt centres, 25 new job clubs, and trained 50 new churches to run the CAP Money Course; as well as starting to pilot 25 Release Groups (targeting shopping and gambling) and six Community Detox Programs to help people overcome their addictions, which are a massive cause of debt and poverty. The need among the poor of this nation is immense, and CAP’s founder, John Kirkby, recently led prayers for the nation in Parliament’s ancient crypt built by Oliver Cromwell.

Yet again CAP’s work has been recognised by the nation’s financial institutions, and recently won a special award at the 2014 Credit Industry Awards for services to the Industry. What’s great is that these are the very people CAP are often in direct opposition to when trying to support their clients, and even they recognise what a fantastic service we give.

CAP’s head office in Bradford has just expanded into a second converted Mill, and employs over 300 fully qualified Christian workers in the city. With a turnover of £8.6 million the Charity continually has to evolve and update its systems. For that reason the CAP centre staff at HRBC/St Peters have already begun training to adapt to new approaches that meet the ever increasing demand.

If you feel able to assist CAP in any small or large way (physically, spiritually, financially) please approach one of the team* or email us at capmoney@hrbc.org.uk. In the meantime, please continue praying for us and our clients as we try not only to lead them out of debt but, more importantly, lead them to Jesus. The former is often a lot easier than the latter!

Isaiah 61:1

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.

*The CAP team at HRBC is Rich Page –Jones, Sue Stone, Neil Avard, John Miles, Tina Donnelly, Annie Robson, Adelaide Harris, and Sean Avard.

Topics: CAP
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Rich Page-Jones

I have recently been looking again at the parable of the sower and have been reminded that as we are obedient and plant seed, quite a lot of it will unfortunately fall on soil that is not suitable for its long-term growth and fruitfulness.

When I look at the journeys of our CAP clients over the last three years, it’s interesting to see that their responses are broadly in line with that of the parable of the sower.

Some people call to make an appointment and then cancel it straight away – Matthew 13:19.

Some people are at first grateful to see us and we help them, but after the first few appointments they disappear and we never hear of them again – Matthew 13:20-21.

For some people the cares and worries of life prevent them from completing the journey – Matthew 13:22.

I’m happy to say, though, that many clients do work diligently with us and we can see much fruit in their lives – Matthew 13:23.

I think we can take encouragement from knowing that even some of the seed Jesus planted fell on stony ground or amongst the thorns. From reading the Gospels we know that in some towns there was unbelief (Mark 6:6), there was rejection, and for some individuals their wealth was more important than selling up and following Jesus (Matthew 19:16-22).

A Journey of Three Years…

Over the past three years, it has been a privilege to help people who have been struggling financially for so long. It has been such a joy to see so many clients complete the journey to become debt-free, and to see such a positive transformation in their situations and their lives.

However, there are still many people on the journey, and many people waiting for their first visit.

When we first set up the CAP centre in April 2011 I wrote an article about debt being like an elephant in the room. It’s there, we know it’s there, we are reminded every day that it is there, but we choose to ignore it.

Somehow we hope that the debt, along with the elephant, will magically disappear if we ignore it for long enough. Unfortunately debt doesn’t just disappear and it will still be there when we eventually take our head out of the sand.

It takes courage and determination to face debt head-on and deal with it.

It took a massive amount of courage for Jesus to deal with our sin head-on so that we might be forgiven and in a restored relationship with the Father.

Just as Jesus made a way back to the Father, I want to encourage you this Easter that there is a way out if you are struggling with your finances.

It might not seem like there is a way out, but there is, and sometimes we all need a helping hand to guide the way and help us get things in our lives sorted out.

If you need help then ring for an appointment on 0800 328 0006, or come along to the CAP drop-in centre every Thursday between 12:30pm and 2:30pm at Holland Road Baptist Church.

 

Topics: CAP
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Rich Page-Jones

CAP Round-Up

By Rich Page-Jones

I believe that, at times, God calls us to take a step of faith and make the first move with regards to a particular decision we may be trying to make. However, we should remember that as we take that step (even with fear and trembling), God is there to meet, encourage, provide or even carry us on the journey we have started.

If you have ever watched Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, there is a great scene in where Indiana has to cross a ravine and the only way he can do it is to take a step of faith. With fear and trembling he takes his first step and as he does so the first part of the bridge appears. As he takes more steps the bridge unfolds before him and he gets to the other side.

CAP Logo

People often call CAP (Christians Against Poverty) not knowing much about who we are, what the journey may be like or what the final outcome might be. Whether they know it or not they are stepping out into an unknown journey (a step of faith) but what I have seen over the years is that our clients have been blessed as they have done this.

They have discovered a whole new world of financial freedom, friendships, and generosity, as well as a new purpose and reason for life. Most of all, many clients have re-engaged with God. By this, I mean that their relationship with God, along with their involvement and contribution towards church life, has increased. In most cases, significantly.

Having now had 100 clients (either an individual or a family) call the Christians Against Poverty (CAP) free 0800 number, reaching out for our help, this seemed a good point at which to review our work, and to thank God for what He has done.

Some encouraging statistics

Number of debt free clients: 13
Total debt cleared: £188,673
Number of clients still on their journey with CAP: 33

Number of clients we have helped along their way but – for good reasons – are no longer working with CAP: 30

Number of clients who cancelled before their 1st appointment: 24

Please pray…

Please continue to pray for the work of CAP, and for all our clients and their families.

One of the things I have always found fascinating is that every client and their situation has been unique, and yet God knows them and their situation. He is always ready and willing to help as clients start making their first steps towards being debt free. While it is always disappointing when clients cancel, we remain thankful that we have had the opportunity to work with and help 76 clients in their journey to be debt free.

Can CAP help you?

If you find yourself in financial difficulty, please get in touch! You might be waiting for God to send the ‘financial freedom life-boat’ but contacting CAP might be it! Don’t miss out – take that step of faith – you have no idea what God might do!

Topics: CAP
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