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Church team's mission to help the poorest in Europe
A team from 3C Community Church fly out next week [Thursday 12th May] on a mission to help the poverty-stricken gypsies living in the slums of Bulgaria.
The group, which includes a number of young people from 3C's 18+ youth group Pulse 18, plan to work with children and youth during the day and then lead or take part in events at local churches during the evenings.
Laurence Davis, who is one of the elders (senior leaders) at the church in Cam, said: “It's our aim to give some hope and help to the gypsies by joining local community assistance work.”
“Sadly, the gypsies are treated as second-class citizens by many in Bulgaria; they are a massively disaffected and disempowered people group suffering some of the worst poverty to be seen in any European country.
“We want to do whatever we can to make a difference in the lives of as many people as possible, and that includes the young people we are taking with us from Cam, Wotton and Dursley.”
The week-long trip to Bulgaria's second city of Plovdiv is being led by Tim Grant, head of Hampshire-based Spearhead Ministries, who has wide experience of working in Bulgaria and will be bringing along a group from his own church in Aldershot.
“One member of the 3C Community Church contingent, Terry O'Neill, is on his fourth visit to Bulgaria with Spearhead Ministries, but the rest of us have never done anything like this before, so we are excited and perhaps a little apprehensive,” said Laurence.
“We are primarily working with a senior pastor out there called Chegun,” he added. “Chegun is apparently a remarkable character – he grew up in the slums of Nigeria and became a professional footballer, but then set up a church in the slums (they call them Makala) of Plovdiv about five years ago. He has created a football team for the youngsters and has a growing church.”
The 3C Community Church team has spent the past few months on fund-raising ventures to pay for the trip, including car-washing, supermarket bag-packing and a sponsored walk in the Brecon Beacons. They have also been preparing for the trip by learning phrases in the local language.
One of the group, Susan Eyles, is a professional photographer and will be producing her own photographic record of the week-long trip.
The team comprises: Laurence Davis and his son, Jake, of Wotton; Terry O'Neill, of Wraxall in North Somerset; Kyle Crewe of Kingswood, near Wotton; Phil Curzon, of Dursley; Zac Jones, of Wotton; Becky Batting, of Cam, and Susan Eyles, of Bristol.
*Team members Phil Curzon and Becky Batting on a fund-raising walk in the Brecon Beacons