Bernard and Bridget Steenkamp
“We can engage in our ministry with much more ease and energy than would have been possible had we lived far away from the church. We remain very grateful to Mission Housing for helping make this possible.”
“Joe* first came to a service after getting an invitation from a member of our church. He stayed for only 10 minutes then left. But he came back again and again. Then one Sunday Bernhard had the opportunity to pray with Joe and he gave his life to Jesus. He shared his story with us: as a young teenager he had been involved in drugs and crime, and eventually served a prison sentence for murder. Since becoming part of our community he has been really blessed by Jesus and his life has radically changed. He attends midweek and Sunday meetings, and he is growing steadily in his relationship with God.”
Bridget and Bernhard Steenkamp have been serving people like this in London for 23 years in their work with YWAM and local churches. Since April 2007 they have been the pastors at West London Family Church in Fulham, serving the local community, networking and partnering with other churches and local groups.
The church has a congregation of around 40 adults and 14 children. In addition to regular activities and events, there are two ‘Godly Play’ classrooms which are used to help children and people of all ages connect with God through visual arts and biblical storytelling. www.godlyplay.uk The church is also the host for the Earls Court Community Project coffee bar (a ministry of YWAM) www.eccp-ywam.org.uk which serves as a drop-in for around 40 homeless, lonely or vulnerable people.
For Bridget and Bernhard finding affordable accommodation within their community had been an ongoing problem with rent costs exceeding their income. ‘The thought of trying to find cheaper accommodation miles away from our community, with hours of travelling to and from the many meetings we attend during the week, made us feel very uncomfortable,’ says Bridget. ‘We both had a strong sense that we needed to live in our community to be most effective in the ministry that God has called us to.’
Mission Housing helped Bridget and Bernhard find somewhere to live that not only placed them at the heart of their community but which has also been a great blessing to them as a family. ‘Our flat is beautiful, compact and close to the church,’ says Bridget. ‘Its location means that we can engage in our ministry with much more ease and energy than would have been possible had we lived far away from the church. We remain very grateful to Mission Housing for helping make this possible.’
* Name has been changed