Today we took part in Impact Vancouver. What is that you might ask? Well, Impact Vancover is a YWAM activity where we could do anything we wanted that we thought would impact the city for the kingdom. It was basically like random acts of kindness made up by our group. Some groups gave food they purchased to organizations we visited, others encouraged policeman with Tim Horton’s cards with prayer inside. Stephen, Ken and Angie actually made cards with scripture and hung them all around the city. It was a cool and creative activity to brighten people’s days and hopefully make an impact.
If we have learned anything from this week, it’s that God can use anything he wants to make an impact, even small things.
Later that day we visited an organization called Jacob’s Well. Jacob’s Well is a really unique organization started by Pauline Fell, who after becoming a Christian at 58, heard God’s voice to go down to East Hastings and make street friends. She would walk the streets and sit in bars everyday in the area making friends and caring for people in the area. Today Pauline has retired, but from that a new community has formed in a small storefront in the area. Their goal is still to create friendships, and like Gordie from the Chili Wagon, to really engage people and be vulnerable in return. As we listened and interacted with them, I couldn’t help but notice how much care was put into the details around the room. It looked like a beautiful trendy coffee shop with a warm, weathered feel. They actually had an artist come in and take old junk yard stuff, such as bike racks and old doors, to make shelves and table tops, as a subtle statement of how essentially old junk can be made new and beautiful. They had a working kitchen, but it was similar to something you might find in someone’s home -open and warm.
Their concept is that if you’re going to have a meal it should be around one table. I think everyone recognized this space as genuine, beautiful and warm and the care put into it and the relationships formed conveyed worth.
They even had one of their long-term street friends in the room as we talked about their ministry, intentions and what they find difficult with the concept of befriending these individuals. I just kept thinking that most ministries wouldn’t talk so openly in front of one of their street friends, but they are so beyond keeping appearances, so beyond that project-focused mentality. These people are actually their friends… there is no hidden agenda or jig.
Their philosphy is: don’t speak into others lives until they can speak into yours as well.
There’s a lot of wisdom in a statement like that.
We finished our night at one of Vancouver’s best Ethiopian restaurants, where 5-6 of us would eat off the same platter using special bread and our hands (hope everyone used soap). Everyone seemed to enjoy the food and time together. Coming together like this over a meal was great way to end a busy and eye-opening day.