It was 1982 when I first learned how I could spark hope in the lives of people to help them make positive change.
It was winter in Winnipeg. I was with my friends Leroy and Larry, two great guys who both had an incredibly strong faith and big hearts for people. We were going out for food and as we were parking at the restaurant, we saw a guy dumpster diving for his meal. My friends walked over, introduced themselves to this older guy named Dennis, and invited him to join us. We ordered a pizza to share, although Dennis happily ate most of it! We were glad to share and listened with rapt attention as he told us how he ended up living on the streets.
"It's tough," I recall Dennis saying. "The hardest thing in winter is to find water because people turn off their taps. I find the majority of my food in dumpsters and then I head out to the countryside to sleep at night because I can find peace and quiet and it's relatively safe."
I remember how Dennis' eyes glowed when we asked him about his faith. He believed he was loved by God. Although he only had the clothes on his back, he gave each of us gifts, little possessions he had found. Such generosity! Here I was with so much - a job, clothing, and a home, yet I lacked the faith and generosity of my new friend. We invited Dennis to come back to our place to shower and to sleep out of the cold of that night. I don't know what happened to him, but I know that meeting him changed my life, propelling me to help those who need hope and help to make change in their lives too.
Years after that encounter, I took on the position on Executive Director of New Life Community. I always had a heart for missions, especially those in our own backyard. It's honestly been the hardest, but most rewarding job I've ever had. There is so much need right here in our community! People wonder if they're even making a difference with their donations. They truly are! Over the years, we've shared stories to inspire you so you know you've sparked hope to help make change: There's Dolly who went from sleeping under a tree to now working at our Outreach Centre helping others find clothing and providing wonderful care. And Jeff, who went from a life hampered by addiction to a clean and sober Outreach Worker helping others to make change. Also Michael, who lived on the streets of East Vancouver and is now an Addictions Worker with us.
Sadly and truthfully, we're not able to help everyone. There are those sad stories of addictions which claim the lives of people who had such potential, and it's devastating. But in their honour, and to never forget that everyone who comes through our doors is worthy, we work to help them make those changes. For some, the journey takes longer. For others, the journey gets cut short. We work to spark hope and provide comfort, love, and encouragement.
When you support us, you indeed are making a difference in the lives of people like Dolly, Jeff, Michael, and my friend Dennis. I believe it's our greatest privilege to give, and we value you each and every time you do. This Easter, please donate to our Easter Campaign. A one-time donation to help us serve our Easter meal is so appreciated. Or, consider an ongoing monthly donation which helps us year round.
Thank you for your support!