This is the remarkable story of the first 20 years of Caring for Life, a Christian charity determined to ‘share the love of Jesus’ by addressing the needs of damaged, homeless young people in Leeds.
The book itself is well written, moves with pace, and catches some of the personal stories which touch the reader’s heart. For example, one lad on the farm (which is the focal point of the charity) talked to Luther the shire-horse about things he had never told anyone else!
One can see how God in his sovereignty sowed the seeds of this work. Both the founders were already ministering in a children’s home in Headingley and, as things developed, the skills of volunteers just seemed to fit the work required.
Vision and vigour were required throughout, especially at the low points of the work’s turbulent development – such as financial crises, redundancies, and restrictions due to the foot and mouth outbreak of 1991. On one occasion, survival depended on a contract for the young people to make plaster busts, statues and cornices for Coombe Abbey, Warwickshire!
The leaders are determined not to compromise biblical principles in the face of new government policies and the introduction of the National Lottery. The charity continues to rely on the giving of many individual Christians.
But essentially the book gives the human story – or rather a set of human stories – in which the gospel of Christ has been brought to many needy people and received by some. The work has expanded, and the book traces the various house and farm purchases – including 55 acres attached to the farm which have been developed to provide an idyllic background ‘in the wild’ to aid the recovery of the young people.
Certainly, this is good reading, that God ‘shared the love of Jesus’ with us.