Global Adventures Program, Heritage 2006
As I write to you, I am reminded of a song... one that speaks of the simplicity with which we are to share with one another what the Lord has done in our lives. Here is an excerpt from the song, as well as link in case you would like to listen to it while reading this letter.
“Come and listen. Come to the water’s edge, all you who know and fear the Lord. Let me tell you what He has done for me. Come and listen. Come and listen to what He has done. Praise our God for He is good. Praise our God for He is good.”
So, here goes! Let me tell you what He has done in my life this past year.
I graduated in June from a one year PSW (nurse’s aide) program that has equipped me with the basics of health care. The majority of my classmates were either young single moms or young adults desperate to make a living and break the cycle of poverty on Social Assistance. During this period I took a break from “official” ministry work and just spent the time focusing on my studies, and ministering to my classmates in whatever way I could; encouragement; walking alongside some of them in their studies; helping them see their potential; lifting them up in prayer. At the end of the year, to my delight, I was given academic honours and voted Valedictorian. I took the podium with more of a purpose, though, than just congratulating my fellow students on their achievement, and thanking the faculty and staff for their investment. God wanted more, and after much work in my heart, He prompted me to use the opportunity to also share the most important message – the message of our Lord. My speech had a miniature Gospel feel to it – Scripture included – and I delivered it to an overflowing auditorium in a secular institution. Despite my fear at times, my heart’s desire was to share why I was who I was, which meant giving complete credit to God. I know for a fact that seeds were planted that day – including in my own heart – and I pray that the Lord will continue to tug on their hearts in His own unique way. Maybe one day I will have the pleasure of rejoicing with some of them before the throne of God.
My daily life here at home is very unique! I am an inner city kid who has grown up in an environment of poverty and brokenness. Members of my community suffer with severe addictions: alcoholism, heroin, crack, etc, and are continually in and out of jail. They quite often go without food, clothing, and shelter, and they find themselves in patterns and cycles of behaviour that seem impossible to break. Many have never experienced genuine love, but instead, have suffered abuse, neglect, and rejection throughout their lives. My own family has such roots – I truly thank the Lord for His grace and presence in my life at such a young age! – and at times it is hard to accept such a background. My “fleshly” tendency, from time to time, is to want to run in the opposite direction and protect myself from the pain of being exposed to such things. But, like always, the Lord brings me to my knees, shows me the weaknesses in my faith – and the backwardness of such thoughts in light of His Kingdom values – and brings me into the next level of refinement. All I can do is ask Him to continue to create in me a heart of true sacrifice, no matter the cost, and to count it all joy.
Each day varies in my community. Sometimes the Lord has me assisting in practical ways like helping people fill out Government forms, having people over to share a meal or a cup of coffee, encouraging wise decisions, or just building people up in whatever way possible. Other times, I am just hanging out with people, playing cards, going for “walk-and-talks” (my favourite), and just loving as God does. The greatest rejoicing comes when the Lord creates opportunities for me to speak of Him. I have so many stories from this summer alone of God breaking through to individuals, whether homeless, in crisis, or even under the influence. The Lord is calling people to Him! I may not have the things that most people value like money, possessions, security, or a grand education, but I do have what the Lord values – a sincere heart that is completely offered unto Him.
There is much more to these stories, but there truly is not enough paper in the world to hold all of the details. However, if you see me in person, I would love to give you a fuller picture of God’s work....just ask!
As for ministry and missions…I am involved with Youth For Christ’s street ministry – the health and wellness program for young moms (Step by Step) – as well as the program that invites these same young women to learn about who they were created to be (Solace). I am also involved with Alpha at my church as a small group helper. It is truly a pleasure to serve the Lord in both these ministries and I simply pray that His glory will be revealed.
Last, but not least, the Lord is preparing me to serve in Pakistan for 3 months at a medical hospital this coming winter. My soul is overjoyed at His calling on my life and one of the broader goals of this trip is to assess me for full-time compatibility within this field, ministry, and agency. I will share that information another day. Be prepared to hear once again of the Lord’s goodness!!
My brothers and sisters in Christ, much of this journey has not been an easy one. Hug me when you see me, lift me up continually in prayer, and don’t be afraid to put your arm around me and speak words of encouragement into my life. Quite often I find myself weary and in need of a warm and genuine embrace.
In the words of Paul, “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.”