Sent: Saturday, 23 July 2011, 20:39
Subject: I have made it!
Hi Fr David,
I just wanted to let you know that at 5pm today I made it to Buckfast Abbey! I still cannot believe I have actually walked here from my front door. It has been an incredible journey and I have met so many new and fascinating people on the trip who are spread out all over the country. I have constantly been amazed at the kindness of strangers and I was given shelter every single night of my walk.
I really could not have done it without the prayers from Elland. There were times in my walk when I was really struggling, specifically on Wednesday when I had to walk 33 miles from Bristol to Somerton. My feet and ankle were really sore and the temptations to give in started to whisper in my head. However, with so many people praying for me I was able to find new bursts of energy and walk every single step of the journey.
Thank you so much,
P.S The next part of my summer will be my trip to Zimbabwe from 25 August until 9 September.
A message from Ben Bradshaw, an Ordinand at the College of the Resurrection, Mirfield, who was on placement with us in Elland during Lent 2011. Here is a reminder of what the walk was all about:
'On the 11th July I will be starting a 322 mile walk from Mirfield to Buckfast Abbey. On my walk I will experience the reality of the Gospel (Luke 9:3). I will not be taking any money at all with me on my journey; I will be completely dependent of God and the kindness of strangers. I am undertaking this challenge in aid of the refugees at Tongogara in Zimbabwe and the disabled residents of Mutemwa settlement also in Zimbabwe.
I visited both places in 2010 and was deeply moved to do something to help them. The refugees have fled from all over Africa having suffered horrific experiences, everyone I spoke to had witnessed loved ones being murdered. They told me that their faith has been the only thing that has kept them going through all of this. However, the only building at the camp that they have to worship in is too small and is falling down, meaning the refugees are unable to come together as a community to worship which is so vital to keep them going.
The refugees at Tongogara are some of the poorest people on the planet and life at the camp is very tough. They are dependent on the UN to provide them with very simple and basic food and also a small amount of schooling. The church we are building will also be used as a community centre, allowing for the children at Tongogara to get a better education and give them the best possible chance of a future. Many of the children have spent their whole lives within the refugee camp and know of no other way of life.
So far we have raised £10,000 towards the church building which has meant work is now well underway but we still need to raise more if we are to finish the church and make a massive difference to the lives of a lot of people who have been through so much and continue to go through so much.
Mutemwa settlement in Zimbabwe cares for over 60 patients who all suffer from various disabilities including leprosy. As at Tongogara, life at Mutemwa is extremely hard and money is always short. The residents are in constant need of food, medicines, medical care, clothing and shelter all of which are vital to improving the standard of life for the residents.
John Bradburne devoted the last 10 years of his life to care for the residents of Mutemwa before he gave up his life for them and was murdered in 1979. He has become the inspiration for my walk as he lived his whole life trusting in God and in the kindness of strangers. John's unusual and saintly life meant he was often called a Vagabond of God. He was neither a nurse nor a doctor; he was simply a servant of God, a man who loved the downtrodden and those rejected by society. This fundraising will allow the love and care John showed to the residents of Mutemwa to continue.
I have a big target to reach which is why I am doing such a challenging walk. However, if we can raise it, then we will have made a huge difference to the lives of some of the very poorest people on earth.
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So please dig deep and donate now.'