It’s amazing what God can do in the lives of people over playing a game of Uno or doing a puzzle with someone. For many of the men and women who come to Nightlight in Cambridge on a regular basis, these are more than simply fun ways to pass the time on an evening. For many, it is their one chance to find the joy of community and know that they are truly loved.
Students from Heritage College had the opportunity to become part of this community and share the love of Christ through their words and presence by serving on a regular basis at Nightlight.
For Emma Burns, a Bachelor of Religious Education student at Heritage, each night at Nightlight was an example of how we as Christians can show others they are loved by both presenting the truth of the gospel and being a caring, consistent presence.
“Nightlight was a perfect opportunity to simply spend time with people who are looking for relationships and showing them that there are people out there who do care for them,” says Burns. “We were there consistently because we care, and we wanted to show them the love that we experience every day.”
Nightlight is a ministry that operates a number of drop-in centres like the one in Cambridge, located in downtown Galt. The goal of the ministry is to provide safe places for the many people who live in the margins to find meaningful friendships and care.
Burns explains that by heading to Nightlight on a consistent basis, joining in on different games, students were able to build relationships with different people. It was in and through doing this each week that she says people began to open up to them about their lives, giving students the chance to do the same.
And often these discussions led to the students getting the chance to talk about the impact Christ has made in their daily lives, leading to hope-filled talks with those who came to the drop-in centre.
She recalls a conversation she had with one person about quitting smoking. Burns says that she had the chance to share with this person about her own journey, and how Christ has helped her in her own life which the person was open to hear about. One of the next times they saw each other, the person told her that they had quit smoking.
For her and the other students, serving at Nightlight has been a learning experience personally as they grew not just from stepping out and being open about sharing their faith, but they also learned the value of gratefulness and hope from the people that they met each night.
“People are hurting and broken and a lot of the time these people are looked down upon so much, yet they are the people I have found to be the most hopeful and open,” says Burns. “Serving at Nightlight has taught me to be more grateful for what I have, and more open to talk to anyone and everyone who will listen.”
As many of the students look ahead to the next academic year, the ones that served at Nightlight are especially looking forward to heading back to the drop-in centre to see their friends, build new relationships, and continue to share the hope of Christ.
For Burns, she’s excited for the opportunity to continue serving at Nightlight. She says she is excited to continue stepping out in faith and being challenged to be a Christian known by her love. Through her work at Nightlight, she explains that she has seen the importance of sharing the joy of the gospel and encourages others to do the same after seeing firsthand how much people want to hear this good news.
“People are willing to change, willing to listen the truth that Scripture brings,” says Burns. “I would encourage people to accept the journey that is sharing the gospel with others because there are people who want to hear it.”