Mission Possible has had a Charity Shop in Strabane since July 2008. The shop is managed by Iris Ballantine and all proceeds go to support the Street Children projects in Bogota, Colombia.
Sadie, secretary of Mission Possible, recently interviewed Iris about her work in the shop and this is her response:
Sadie – “Iris, why did you decide to open a Charity Shop?”
Iris – “After my 2 children grew up and left school, I started to think and pray about how I could serve God whom I love and worship. I felt led to open up a Charity Shop in my local town of Strabane. However, I was very nervous about it as I was lacking in confidence and didn’t know if I would be able to cope with it. I shouldn’t have worried as God helped me by introducing Joe & Sadie who already had Charity Shop experience and they advised me through the various stages of getting the shop set up. God has continued to give me the health, strength and abilities needed to run the shop.”
Sadie – “Why Mission Possible?”
Iris – “My husband Stanley and I were friendly with Joe and Sadie Law who, with their friend Nancy Bell, had formed Mission Possible in June 2006. When we learned about the plight of the little Street Children in Bogota and the projects which the Mission were involved in, we wanted to be a part of it and do what we could to raise funds for the children.”
Sadie – “How many volunteers are in the shop and why do they do this voluntary work?”
Iris – “We have a great bunch of 15 volunteers who give so freely of their time and effort and who help in various ways. Some sort out the product when it comes into the shop, some price it and some serve the customers. Another important part of the work is driving and helping in the van to collect and deliver product from and to people’s homes. When we call at homes, we endeavour to build up a relationship with these people and to show them the love of Jesus by what we say and do. The volunteers have children and grandchildren of their own. When they learn of the awful situations that children in Bogota find themselves in, they are deeply touched and motivated to do what they can to help.”
Sadie – “You travelled to Bogota in April 2016 to visit the projects. What touched you the most?”
Iris – “I was really moved by the need that exists in the poverty stricken areas of Bogota. When you see the situation first hand, it is so much more meaningful. It spurs you on to do as much as you can for them. I was deeply touched by the level of care that was being provided to the children. The two residential homes were in good condition and the managers/carers were so kind and loving towards the little children. They made such an effort to bring out the best in the children.”
Sadie – “The shop is used for other purposes. Tell me about that.”
Iris – “The back of the shop is used as a Drop in Centre where we can connect with people from Strabane and surrounding district. Even just to have somewhere where sad and lonely people can drop in for a cup of tea and a wee chat is such a blessing to them. We get the opportunity to share the good news of the Gospel as we get to know them and they feel comfortable to open up and share their problems. On the first Sunday evening of the month, we have an Outreach meeting with various speakers sharing their testimonies and talking about illnesses such as depression. On average, we would have approximately 30 people attending who would not normally go to any Church. They feel more comfortable and at ease in this environment. Over the past few years, a number of people have trusted the Lord Jesus as their Saviour. 15 people attend a Bible Study every Tuesday night. Every Saturday night between 11.30pm and 3.00am, my husband Stanley and some of the nearby Pastors provide tea, coffee and soup to those coming from the pubs and clubs. Again, this is used as an opportunity to witness and show them much of God’s love.
On a weekly basis, Dr Andrew Collins provides professional psychological/psychiatric help to members of the community.”
Sadie – “What do you enjoy most about your work?”
Iris – “I love what I do. I especially enjoy meeting various people from all sorts of backgrounds. It is such a blessing to know that I am being used by God to fulfil His will and purposes and be of some help to the poor little children in Bogota and also to those in need in Strabane.”
The shop is located at 6 Railway Road, Strabane, BT82 8EF and is open Monday to Friday from 9.30am until 4.30pm. The contact telephone number is 02871 885976.
Please support the work by donating the following product:
Clothes, Shoes, Handbags, Household goods, Bric-a-Brac. Large and small furniture – must be in reasonably good condition and suites must be fireproof. Goods can be collected by contacting Iris on 07731 007865.
On behalf of Mission Possible and ultimately the Street Children in Bogota we offer our thanks and gratitude to Iris and her team of volunteers in Strabane who do such an amazing work. Thanks also to everyone in the neighbourhood who donates product, purchases product, makes financial donations or supports the work in any way.