Sunday, February 28, 2010

The team's last shift.

Saturday was our last round of activities and working as a team. As I write this we has just said goodbye to Joe and DJ and I am preparing to leave. I will be spending a verrrryyyy long day and night in our nation’s airports. I am having trouble posting pictures today. I will post more later today. I think it will take a couple more posts as I remember the Olympic experience.Please remember “Shaggy” and Albert as they struggle on the streets of Vancouver. Sheri and her friend as they struggle with cancer (and the waiting list for treatment) There are others that escape me at the moment. I will recall them after some sleep.Joe I am so happy that you and D.J were able to come on mission to Vancouver. D.J. did an awesome job working and relating to the team and the people. I look forward to the opportunity to go on mission with both of them again. To the rest of the team what a great group of friends we have become in such a short time.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Another Rainy Day

Vancouver College is a wonderful place for us to stay, It is near the bus line that allows us to connect to the Transit lies where much of our work has taken place. John McFarland and his people have really been amazing hosts.  WE can’t thank them enough.  Other teams have been envious when we tell them of our lodging. Especially the projector screen TV which we use to review the Olympic events when we are in the room. This is not very often.

Today (Fri. the 26) Joe, DJ and I began with an adventure to Chinatown. It was a very interesting community. One of the highlights for me was the “Sun Yat Sen” Garden. On our way to the Garden one of the VANOC volunteers approached us asking for one of our pins. We were able to share the pin and had a wonderful chat about the area and the special cars used by VANOC. You can by one at a discount after the Olympics. We were then approached by a young man who looked very much in need of rehab. He asked for money to buy food. I told him that I would not give him money but would buy his lunch. I discovered that he is well known, unwelcome and actually banned for the mall. He waited outside while I got him lunch. I attempted to place him with a shelter, told him where he could get help and shared with him about the power of God to help him. He was grateful for lunch but wanted nothing to do the shelter or Jesus. Please pray for this man and others like him. Life on the streets is harsh and difficult.

A few minutes later we went to a nice little Chinese restaurant for lunch, it allowed us to get in from the rain for a bit. After lunch , as we were leaving Joe quietly paid for the lunch of a Vancouver Policeman. This man patrols his “beat” via bicycle even in the rain. He and our waitress were amazed by Joe’s kindness and at first suspicious. It was a really a wonderful act of kindness, and a great witness. I am sure they will remember Joe and D.J. for a long time.

Later we found ourselves near the athletes’ village and the Russian Pavilion for the next Winter Games. We stopped to listen to a choir of teenagers sing in Russian. The teens were all first and second generation Russians who live Vancouver. The biggest surprise was they were with “More Than Gold” and were singing praise music. (I figured this out when I heard “This is the Day” in English with and odd accent) We had a fun visit with them, they invited us to Sochi for the next Winter Olympics, I am sure there is someone out there that would like to send me to Siberia! Actually it is North of Turkey on the Black Sea, not very far from the Iranian border.

We headed back to the College to prepare for our Shift. The shift was quite eventful, all of Canada is happy for the day Team Canada won their hockey game and they have the most Gold s (at the moment ) We again meet and visit with a very interesting mix of people. Most it seems think that free hot chocolate should be a permanent fixture at the transit stops.

This morning Eric left our team to return home. Many of us will leave on Sunday, We will all be home by Tuesday . Pray for safe and uneventful travel as we make our way back home. Pray for those we leave behind in Vancouver. Pray that God will bless the Churches as they minister to their community.

Please remember the people of Haiti and Chile suffering from devastating quakes, and the areas that are impacted by the tsunami.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Today we travel downtown to a location called “Hobbit House” hobbit house is a ministry house of First Baptist of Vancouver. They use this wonderful house to teach English as a second language, on outreach to street teens, a variety of recovery program and even as a coffee house with performers. Today we in addition to an amazing musician (Christian reggae) we had a large screen projector screen which drew in quite a crowd for the Women’s Hockey Gold Medal Game Canada against the US. It was our job to serve and provide security for the venue. We had a good time visiting and taking abuse for the team USA. We were also able to share a meal with several homeless folk who were able to enjoy the food and fellowship. More than Gold has several performance venues were Christian artists sing, act, or entertain these are first class performances and the Gospel is communicated as part of the music or performance.

I especially enjoyed the music today. I don’t believe I have heard Reggae as praise music before. It was amazing; I wonder how it would go over Sunday morning in Tupper Lake? On the way “home” we were able to enjoy the nighttime vistas and share the joy of the home town crowd after their Gold medal win on the ice.
Please pray for FBC and the wide variesty of urban misinstries they provide to their community
Here are some photos of the Hobbit house and of Vancouver at night.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Open our eyes

There is so much going on here I don’t have time to include all that we do. We are more tired each day. I hope for some sun today to lift our energy.
I have been focused on the work side of our hospitality and I stopped for a moment to look around at some of the people we are serving. Tuesday as mentioned before I had a really good visit with a small group of Dutch. We talked about the unfortunate DQ of their speed skater. This morning as we were watching a sports cast and a photo of Sven Kramer appeared. Ken gave a nudge and said “ Look that’s the guy you were talking to last night!” He seemed not to mind that I didn’t recognize him.
Not everyone we meet is an athlete. There are those who live nearby, and we see them each day as they stop and chat on their way home from work. There are those who are able to travel to the Olympics from other Nations. It is great to meet so many different peoples and culture in such a small place. I have to listen very closely to what they say and how they say it on order to understand them. Others seem to only be able to share the names of their most famous athletes –very loudly and proudly.

Tonight I met a young man (21) who just needed to visit with someone. He talked and talked and talked, about anything and everything just to stay near us and visit with us. He was in the Canadian Forces, a new Boot. When I shared about my experiences working with the Canadian Forces in Europe his face lit up. I was able to share with him about the importance of faith in Jesus in my life, He listened and a bible and a Jesus video. He said he would be back on Friday to see us again.
Still others stop and you can see in their eyes the weight of their troubles. One young man shared with me how he had been trapped in drugs and alcohol and that he was working in the city to help rescue others from the same problems.

One man comes every day. He really enjoys the Hot Chocolate. I have learned that he doesn’t live nearby – he is waiting for us to finish so he can take back his bench for the night. It seems we are in his home of the moment. He is very polite and has an ability to almost disappear. The Salvation Army Major knows him by name. I tried to give him a bag of supplies (hand warmers, rain coat, hygiene supplies) but he won’t take them.
There are others like these. They all have needs, and struggles. We cannot ne blinded by the events to the needs of those around us.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Free Hot Chocolate

Today (Tues) we ended our shift at 12:30 and got the next to last train back to our neighborhood and then walked on Home We were pretty tired and were slow getting up to get this day going. Traveling back downtown, we continue to see opportunities to share with those the Lord has scheduled appointments with us. Vancouver is a beautiful city set in an amazingly beautiful setting. We would have enjoyed our walk about better if it had not been raining. A light, persistent cold rain, which they say is typical of winter here. Flowers are blooming that we will not see until late May in Tupper Lake!
We setup again at the train station, Our shift is 8:00pm -12:30 am) it was much slower tonight. We were able to visit our regulars from the night before. Then US Speed Skate, Shani Davis came by for a Hot Chocolate. We were so surprised that no one thought to take his picture. We visited with the bus drivers and security folks as well as other Olympic Volunteers that came through. Everyone is thrilled with an offer of “Free Hot Chocolate”. Those not in a rush to catch the next bus or train linger and chat with us. Our team prayed for several who asked us lift up their needs. Others take our New Testaments and Gospels. Our pins are also very popular, but to get one requires a visit so that we can share they meaning behind the symbols.
I had a great visit with a large group of Dutch. Their skater had broken the Olympic record and then been dq’d on a technicality. We talked about life in Europe, they were amazed to find someone who knew there region. It was a lot of fun. It was suddenly getting late for them when I began to ask them about faith and God. They took our pins, and some testimonies of the athletes before they left.
One young couple stopped and talked for a long time. They teach English in Korea. He is an anglo from Florida (and a believer). She is of Korean decent but is 4th generation born and raised in Vancouver. We talked a long time about spiritual matters and they left thinking on their relationship to Jesus as well as to one another. They will be returning to Korea soon to continue their work.
There were other conversations with those who are spiritual and some who were seeking answers, but they were reluctant to trust in Jesus.
Pray for these and others like them that they will come to Christ. Pray for the safety of the games, athletes, and the many volunteers who are ministering here.
And pray they will keep coming by for a “free Hot Chocolate”