CAP – Christianity in Action
Every CAP client is allocated a befriender, who walks the road with the client until they become debt-free. (Names have been changed in this story).
“I wasn’t sure what I was getting involved in
… when I agreed to become a befriender for a new CAP client. Denise was a big person in every way – and funny with it. She’d been very hurt by her husband leaving her for someone else, and leaving her, too, with debts to pay. But she had children and grandchildren who cared for her, and she was determined to get back on her feet. She’s a people person and I guess that’s why we clicked, because that’s what I am.
Denise agreed to work with CAP
Initially we aimed to work out a way to repay her debts. But although she was in work, her low income meant she’d no hope of repaying in a reasonable time-frame, and CAP’s award-winning, approved money advisors’ recommended solution was to file for bankruptcy. She was devastated at this suggestion. That was the last thing she wanted to do: she felt ashamed and a failure. However, over time, she came to realise that this probably was the best way forward and CAP helped her through that process. Eventually, the huge burden of debt was lifted and she could look up and outwards again. Her health improved, depression lifted and despite her seasonal work ending, she was able to manage her finances much better.
The chance to show Christian love and provide blessings
We met for coffee most weeks during those difficult months, and told each other about our families and our lives. We discovered a shared love of ballet, which led us to go to the live relay of Giselle at our local cinema, and I was able to pay for her ticket as a small “blessing” from CAP.
When Denise’s son was coming to visit from the other side of the world, she was desperate to get her garden into shape before he arrived. My husband and a couple of other guys in our church dug it out, lay turf and took away all the rubbish lying around. We were able to pay for the turf from CAP’s client budget.
New shoots and new life
In the spring, Denise got a part-time seasonal reception job, which was wonderful to regain her confidence and self-respect. She’s already set to resume her job again next year. In the early days, I helped her by helping with food shops until she got established at work and had a regular income plus a little petrol money to get to work. These expenses are refunded by CAP, so I was able to bless her in these practical ways.
We built a relationship and then a friendship. Eventually the bankruptcy went through and my client was debt-free and we still see each other. In fact, she took me out for dinner at a local restaurant last week to say thank you for everything CAP and I had done for her!
Putting Christian faith into action
CAP’s a great organisation to volunteer for. They provide a down-to-earth, hands-on way for Christians to put their faith into action. But in a quiet, low-key way. I guess caring for people in difficult circumstances is something that the Christian church has always been good at and Christians Against Poverty though relative newcomers on the Scottish scene, there’s so much to offer folks in debt. But watch this space – the plan is to have a network of 50 CAP centres across Scotland by 2021 and we’ve got 22 opened so far with more in the pipeline, so we’re marching on!”
Chair of the Strategy Team
Christians Against Poverty (CAP) Highland Perthshire Debt Centre
Could your church could also partner with CAP in Highland Perthshire?
The CAP family is growing fast in Scotland – but there’s always room at the table for more members.
To find out more contact firstname.lastname@example.org