92 nights. A quarter of a year. For the team at the Overnight Welcome Centre (OWC) we would say that three months goes in a flash. But for one of our guests, three months probably felt like a long time. He spent 92 nights with us. 92 – wow!
He was one of our very first guests, already here on opening night. We aim to link our guests in with the best possible support in Glasgow, but sometimes we come up against cases that are a bit more complicated. They require time, and the beauty of running a 24 hour service is we have had plenty of time.
We have had to learn systems quickly and try and decipher complicated processes. I think before we opened, few of the OWC staff had heard of a ‘Section 95’, ‘98’, or ‘4’. These all refer to the asylum process and this year we have had a baptism of fire of attempting to learn them.
So let’s get back to the guest. 92 nights, waiting on a Section 4 result. It’s a lot of uncertainty and forms. Cases like this require perseverance. They require a team that does not give up when each hurdle appears. They require hope. Not just for the teams’ sake, but most importantly hope for the guest. And when you get the result, they require celebration.
As this was new to our team at the OWC, we linked our guest in with Adam who works at our city Centre project. Adam works with international guests so fortunately has a better understanding of the system than we do. Adam is the true definition of not giving up and showed how well the Glasgow City Mission projects can work together.
Adam and the OWC team worked in partnership with the British Red Cross. This allowed the team to support our guest with pulling together his paperwork. We also had multiple calls with different lawyers in Glasgow as we persevered with the case.
92 nights and a lot of work. All worth it when word came through that our guest was approved for Section 4 support! It would have been easy to have said this case was too complicated for us, but what kind of example is that? We have the ability to follow through with cases like this and we know when we need to bring in external support.
In Galatians 6:9-10 we read: And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.
What do you need to persevere with? Maybe it is worthwhile sticking it out a bit longer to see what results come your way. It may not be time to give up yet. It is okay to feel like you can’t do it alone so invite people in to your situation. Other people will also bring hope and life back into your situation, and as we have seen they can also bring expertise. Take opportunities and do good to everyone. The way of Christ is always simple, try not to overcomplicate it. Keep going, you are doing great.
At the OWC we celebrate moments like this – and then we start again with another guest but this time knowing the type of reward that could come!
Overnight Welcome Centre Manager