We have a regular customer, called Nick -
No, wait. Customer isn't quite the right term.
We have a regular friend, called Nick, who has come to the door of Think and asked for a "Cappuccino, please," nearly every morning since we opened last May. I have no idea how he found us, but whatever the weather, whether we are busy or slow, he comes around, asks for a cappuccino, and downs it as he smokes a cigarette on our patio.
Nick isn't quite homeless. He has a place to stay. But he still begs, and his mental challenges mean that he has a social worker and can't keep a job. It was rough, at first, to explain to him that he can't come into the shop and beg. But slowly, our conversations with him changed from, "Sorry, Nick, you can't beg inside the shop," to something deeper. It's all of us together, whichever of us is on shift, morning after morning, who have grown with him, and now he stops for more than a cappuccino. When we bring it, he says, "Sit down. Will you pray for me?"
This past Monday morning, as I brought him his cappuccino, he asked me how I know that I can hear God. Then we talked about hearing God, about heaven and what that might look like, and several other deep musings that I only share with my close friends or, in a bizarre twist, with people that I meet on the streets of London. And it's amazing to get to share them with Nick, who some days can't remember my name, and sometimes says, "How do you know that you're hearing God?"
I thought that maybe you'd enjoy hearing about Nick, who is just one of the dozens of men and women we see every week. It's become so normal to me, but it's why I love Think so much. Every day, people encounter God at Think. They get to know the One who loves them so desperately that He gave His only Son. And they only expected a coffee!
In other news, we have an internship and a leadership school running at the minute, and Hope and Anchor is growing, and we are planning a massive event in Trafalgar Square for the summer. We need your prayers, not only for this, but also for the team (I am the latest in a string of us who have had the flu epidemic that is going round) and our health. We can feel the opposition against us, but we also know that when you follow God, opposition comes.
I will share more, post-flu, about the internship and Trafalgar Square and Hope and Anchor, but I wanted to take a few moments to share about Nick, and to say thank you, again, for all of your prayer and support. London is changing. Hearts are more open, and the church is working together across denominations and organisations. 2020 is going to be a massive year, and we are so happy to be here in the centre of it!