Houses of light – offering our lives and the gospel in a pandemic

May be an image of brick wall

Back in September I was feeling frustrated. I prayed that despite being in lockdown, God would give me opportunities to share my life and the gospel. I heard him say clearly to me “Nay where do you think you shouldn’t be?”.

I knew the answer was Halloween, our area loves it and each year hundreds of people walk the streets in fancy dress. We however, have never really been sure what to do. We don’t celebrate Halloween and our kids still get scared of Peter Rabbit. So we’ve closed our curtains and had an early night. However this time we decided to live differently. I invited three friends for coffee and proposed we set up a Halloween trail.

We made a simple plan, put a post on social media and before we knew 17 other families wanted to join us. Together as family we decided to be in the trail and chose to be the house of light. We bought gorgeous festoon lights, created funny pumpkins and made gift bags. These bags included; a story about Alfie the super hero, sweets and glow sticks. Over the weekend we gave out 500 bags and chatted to loads of people. Friends got in touch to say how moved they were by the gifts and the presence of light on our street. Read more about how we did this here.

Three months on we’ve run; 3 more trails, raised £1000 for the community, set up a local food bank, organised a nominate your neighbour scheme and started #giveffortierfour to give thanks to our local NHS staff. In total over 100 local people have got involved. I was invited recently by BBC Radio Solent to talk about what we’ve been doing in lockdown. They were intrigued and asked me why I did all these things. I replied “I grew up in a single parent family, life was hard and we had very little money. I went to the local church with my mum and they showed our family what love really is”… I carried on ” I simply want to do the same”.

These words in 1 Thessalonians say it all…”Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well”

What I love about these projects, is that they build friendship and community. As I’ve got to know many new people, there is an opportunity for me as a Christian to share my life and the gospel too. More than ever I’ve seen these verses come true. Right now there is such a need for friendship and hope and such an opportunity to love dearly.

I realised that this simple idea of being a House of Light could spread more widely. So I set up a facebook page and an instagram account. I invited friends across the UK to join me in being a House of light in their own community. Here is what some of them said…

“So pleased that there is an alternative to a “light party” for the children in our community. Its so much more accessible than the usual light party, that involves people entering a church. Praying that your Alfie story card brings up lots of questions” Cat November 2020

“Mega encouraging weekend for our Nativity trail! 17 households doing displays (only one other Christian household involved, the rest were local friends) and loads of families did the trail and loved it. Praying on for them to tune in to stuff at our church and keep up the chats with me. Well done you for inspiring me!” Laura December 2020

Its now January and in the rush and mayhem of home schooling and working from home the idea of being a house of light has slipped somewhere under our sofa. That was until a visiting speaker at Church shared a picture from God last week. He wanted us to know that we are called to be houses of light. His words struck me afresh. As we’re stuck in our house, confined to our four walls, I’ve come to see the way in which God can work through us to shine light into our community. And so I want to invite you to join me and be a House of Light that loves dearly and that points to this unfailing love and light…

“How priceless is your unfailing love, O God!
    People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
They feast on the abundance of your house;
    you give them drink from your river of delights.
For with you is the fountain of life;
    in your light we see light.” Psalm 36

Christmas and Easter provide brilliant opportunities to communicate something of the Christian story. Why not gather a few friends from your community. Discuss how you can bring people together at this time and how you can show love to your community.

You’ll never feel brave enough or ready enough to do some of these things. So together, with friends pray for God to help you love your community dearly. Pray for opportunities to share the gospel and listen to how he wants you to do that, the answer might be surprising!

“You’ll never feel brave enough or ready to do some of these things. So together, with friends pray for God to help you love your community dearly”

I’d love to encourage you to make gift bags to give away at the end of your drive. Have a look here for my curious stories. They’re beautiful designed and printed for you to give away.

I’m part of Passion for Evangelism – a network of female evangelists. If you’d like some more ideas, then here are some more initiatives that friends have taken part in recently…

Baked a cake each week and dropped it off with tea bags to an International student Halls of Residence, ran a food delivery service for their street, gave out evangelistic postcards with cakes and a gospel, set up a book box on the end of their drive, delivered food to neighbours in need, created jars of joy for kids, planned an Easter trail, ran a weekly lockdown zoom catchup, discussed the gospel stories with a friend, ran an online evangelistic event and finally… set up a WhatsApp for their street and asked once a week how they all are. These are just some encouraging stories. Please get in touch, I’d love to what you’ve been up to.

Published by Nay Dawson

Hello and thank you for reading my blog. I'm married to Jon and live in Southampton with our two girls. I work with IFES Europe as their Regional Training Co-ordinator, training staff and students across Europe. In 2019 I set up Passion for Evangelism a network of creative, public female speakers. I'm a Trustee for the Cowrie Scholarship Foundation raising essential funds for disadvantaged Black British Students. I'm also a Trustee for Friends International helping welcome International students to the UK. In response to the war in Ukraine I helped set up Ukraine Connect matching refugees and hosts across Europe

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