By Andy Constable

Last week I was able to have a meeting with Kenny Macaskill who is the MSP for Eastern Edinburgh. We were meeting to discuss the possibility of opening a drop in centre up at Greendykes flats. As a church we are desperate to start a ministry up there because the area is filled with many difficulties. The flats are known as heartbreak hotel in Niddrie. This is because the housing policy for a number of years was to only accept men over the age of 25 who were single. As you can imagine flats filled with lots of single men who are lonely and isolated means lots of suicides and drug overdose’s. The flats are also a dumping ground for people who haven’t got anywhere else to go. They stick offenders, drug addicts, and people with mental illnesses up at these flats. In the last year I’ve had 3 referrals from the doctors and Mez has conducted a funeral of a young man who died after a drug overdose.

The meeting went well with Kenny and we are hopefully going to start a work up there in a couple of months. But the question that people often ask is: “why do you want to start a work up there with these people? Why do you want to go to a place which is so disturbed? I mean surely these people are not worth the energy. Why not focus on the young and leave these people who have made their life decisions.” Here are a few thoughts on why we want to start a work up at Greendykes.

Firstly, we believe that God cares for the soul of every person in the world. In 2 Corinthians 5:10 Paul writes: “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ…” Every soul in the world will one day come before the judgment seat of Christ. It doesn’t matter if you are a banker or a drug addict. Every person has a soul and those souls will be judged equally, fairly and righteously by God Almighty This means that every soul counts for God. He doesn’t’ want to see anyone condemned to hell. And so we should show the same care no matter who the person is. They are made in the image of God despite how screwed up their lives seem to be from the surface. And so with each soul bound for hell we want to preach the good news of the gospel, that there is salvation available to anyone who repents of their sin and puts their faith in Christ.

Secondly, we believe the gospel can change any heart. Romans 1:16: “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.” The gospel is power. It can change any life inside out. And that is what we hold out to people. We don’t come along with social plans, or psychological techniques but the good news of the Jesus Christ. These people who live in Greendykes don’t need a counsellor but a Saviour. We have all rebelled against God and have a disease in us called sin. It is eating up in us like a black plague. But the cross sets us free from the love of sin, as we die with Christ, so that we can live for his glory. Only the cross can change someone’s heart. This is the good news we are going to proclaim and we believe deep down that it changes lives.

Thirdly, no one else is doing this work. These are forgotten people up at Greendykes. If we don’t go to share the good news of salvation with them then no one else will. They are unchurched lacking in any spiritual direction. As Paul writes” “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heart?” If no one preaches, then no one hears the good news. There are very few people planting in these difficult areas. These people really are the forgotten generation and we want to at least make an attempt, so that every person in this scheme has a chance to hear the gospel. We have no other choice because Christ love compels us.

Heartbreak Hotel sounds like a daunting task and it is. But it’s by no means a wasted task. Those souls need the gospel like any other people. God cares for them even if society has largely shoved them to one side. The gospel can change any heart. And they need to have a chance to hear this wonderful news of Christ. Pray for this work as we go forward and pray that God would bring many souls to salvation!

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