Sunday, 25 December 2011

Could It Be True?

There was born a Saviour,
oh not soo long ago.
He is the King of kings,
blessed be the name.

Quiet your hearts,
even of for only a moment,
and hear Him whisper your name.

He was but a baby,
who grew to be a man,
not unlike you and me.

The difference between me and Hun,
while I stumble and fall,
He never sinned.
For He was more than simple carpenter or wise teacher,
He is GOD.

I beg you, please stop for a moment or two,
and consider this:

A Saviour has been born to you,
He is Christ the LORD.

Friday, 23 December 2011

My View

This is the view from the window in my room. My roommates, in the room connected to mine by a bathroom, have an even grander view. Yes, we live in a slum hotel, but also live in downtown Vancouver.  Some of my friends live in the Balmoral Hotel (another Slum Hotel) on the seventh floor, and they can see the Science World ball from their room. We live on prime real estate. It is ironic. The downtown eastside is prime real estate. This is where gentrification comes into play. Gentrification refers to the changes that result when wealthier people ("gentry") acquire or rent property in low income and working class communities. Urban gentrification is associated with movement. Consequent to gentrification, the average income increases and average family size decreases in the community. It is commonly believed that this results in the displacement of the poorer native residents of the neighborhood, who are unable to pay increased rents, house prices, and property taxes. Often old industrial buildings are converted to residences and shops. In addition, new businesses, catering to a more affluent base of consumers, move in, further increasing the appeal to more affluent migrants and decreasing the accessibility to the poor (
I am not opposed to development, I live in a Slum Hotel I know firsthand the conditions of these old decrypted buildings, they do need to be improved. What I do oppose is the displacement of hundreds and hundreds of people. I see this happening in the DTES, people no longer can afford the housing and end up on the streets and in shelters. Also, in the attempts to "clean up" the neighbourhood, people who are considered "dirty" are pushed out. I am not opposed to "cleaning up" neighbourhoods, I live in the DTES, and it is dirty. I am opposed to labelling people as "dirty" and pushing them out of their neighbourhoods. Where do we expect people to go? We push them out of one neighbourhood into another and then push them out again. We keep pushing people out, people will not disappear.

Jesus Loves Me! This I Know For The Bible Tells Me So

The other morning I was listening to: Jesus Loves Me sung by my dear friend Adri-anne, who has been blessed with a voice of an angel! While listening to the words, I thought to myself “Jesus loves me, because the Bible tells me so?” I have sung this song a million and two times, as I am sure many of you have, but have never truly thought about the words:

Jesus loves me! This I know, For the Bible tells me so.
Little ones to Him belong; They are weak, but He is strong.
Yes, Jesus loves me! Yes, Jesus loves me! Yes, Jesus loves me! The Bible tells me so.

I encourage you to meditate on the words of this song. Read them out loud, pause and mediate on the words. Ask Holy Spirit to speak to you through the words, let yourself sink into the words, chew on them. Are the words true to you?
I found myself stuck on “Jesus loves me for the Bible tells me so?” Recently (in the past 5 months) I have come to the realization that I know Jesus loves me in my head (because the Bible tells me so) but I do not truly madly deeply know that Jesus loves me in my heart. Ok, so what do I do about that? I want… no I NEED to experience Jesus’ love truly madly deeply. How does the truth that Jesus loves me run from my head to my heart? First, I need to confess to Jesus that I believe in my mind that He loves me, but I do not always believe in my heart. Then I need to ask Jesus to continue to reveal His abiding love to me. Also, I believe that our minds are transformed through the Word, so I need to mediate on God’s unconditional, everlasting, and perfect love for me.
Jesus loves me for the Bible tells me so. Where does the Bible tell me that God loves me? This question brought The Father’s Love Letter ( to my mind:
My Child,

You may not know me,
but I know everything about you.
Psalm 139:1
I know when you sit down and when you rise up.
Psalm 139:2
I am familiar with all your ways.
Psalm 139:3
Even the very hairs on your head are numbered.
Matthew 10:29-31
For you were made in my image.
Genesis 1:27
In me you live and move and have your being.
Acts 17:28
For you are my offspring.
Acts 17:28
I knew you even before you were conceived.
Jeremiah 1:4-5
I chose you when I planned creation.
Ephesians 1:11-12
You were not a mistake,
for all your days are written in my book.
Psalm 139:15-16
I determined the exact time of your birth
and where you would live.
Acts 17:26
You are fearfully and wonderfully made.
Psalm 139:14
I knit you together in your mother's womb.
Psalm 139:13
And brought you forth on the day you were born.
Psalm 71:6
I have been misrepresented
by those who don't know me.
John 8:41-44
I am not distant and angry,
but am the complete expression of love.
1 John 4:16
And it is my desire to lavish my love on you.
1 John 3:1
Simply because you are my child
and I am your Father.
1 John 3:1
I offer you more than your earthly father ever could.
Matthew 7:11
For I am the perfect father.
Matthew 5:48
Every good gift that you receive comes from my hand.
James 1:17
For I am your provider and I meet all your needs.
Matthew 6:31-33
My plan for your future has always been filled with hope.
Jeremiah 29:11
Because I love you with an everlasting love.
Jeremiah 31:3
My thoughts toward you are countless
as the sand on the seashore.
Psalms 139:17-18
And I rejoice over you with singing.
Zephaniah 3:17
I will never stop doing good to you.
Jeremiah 32:40
For you are my treasured possession.
Exodus 19:5
I desire to establish you
with all my heart and all my soul.
Jeremiah 32:41
And I want to show you great and marvelous things.
Jeremiah 33:3
If you seek me with all your heart,
you will find me.
Deuteronomy 4:29
Delight in me and I will give you
the desires of your heart.
Psalm 37:4
For it is I who gave you those desires.
Philippians 2:13
I am able to do more for you
than you could possibly imagine.
Ephesians 3:20
For I am your greatest encourager.
2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
I am also the Father who comforts you
in all your troubles.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4
When you are brokenhearted,
I am close to you.
Psalm 34:18
As a shepherd carries a lamb,
I have carried you close to my heart.
Isaiah 40:11
One day I will wipe away
every tear from your eyes.
Revelation 21:3-4
And I'll take away all the pain
you have suffered on this earth.
Revelation 21:3-4
I am your Father, and I love you
even as I love my son, Jesus.
John 17:23
For in Jesus, my love for you is revealed.
John 17:26
He is the exact representation of my being.
Hebrews 1:3
He came to demonstrate that I am for you,
not against you.
Romans 8:31
And to tell you that I am not counting your sins.
2 Corinthians 5:18-19
Jesus died so that you and I could be reconciled.
2 Corinthians 5:18-19
His death was the ultimate expression
of my love for you.
1 John 4:10
I gave up everything I loved
that I might gain your love.
Romans 8:31-32
If you receive the gift of my son Jesus,
you receive me.
1 John 2:23
And nothing will ever separate you
from my love again.
Romans 8:38-39
Come home and I'll throw the biggest party
heaven has ever seen.
Luke 15:7
I have always been Father,
and will always be Father.
Ephesians 3:14-15
My question is…
Will you be my child?
John 1:12-13
I am waiting for you.
Luke 15:11-32

Your Dad Almighty God
Please note that this “letter” takes verses out of context, but I do believe that the message of the Bible is that God loves us. This letter wraps up the message of God’s love and puts a big red bow on it! I would suggest if you need to experience that Jesus loves you, mediate on the verses in this letter, one by one, asking Holy Spirit to speak the Truth into your mind and heart.
Jesus LOVES YOU, you can know this because the Bible tells you so! but don’t take my word for it, read it for yourself…

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Art Is In The Eye Of The Beholder

Is the DTES a dark, dirty, depressing place? Absolutely.
Is there brightness, beauty, and blessing? Absolutely.
This is a shot of some graffiti that I walk past every morning on my way to breakfast, I love the bright colours. This is not the only art, there are many more murals and graffiti decorating the DTES.
This is a very dark, dirty and depressing place, but there is brightness, beauty and blessing, you just have to keep your eyes, minds, and hearts open to it.

A Snapshot

I want to share with you my life in the Downtown Eastside.

How do I do that? If you cannot hear the sirens, smell the urine, see the faces, meet the names and feel the heaviness in the air?

Being here in the Downtown Eastside is a holistic experience: mind, body, and spirit.

In the am when I awake (I don’t have an alarm, I let God wake me, or a few times my roomies have acted on God’s behalf, haha) I stretch out, check the time (usually around 6am) and remove the ear plugs, the sounds of the streets come crashing in, oh gosh! Good morning.

I jump out of bed, shake out my slippers (you never know what might have spent the night) and grab my pink polka dot house coat, if my heater didn’t make through the night it is very very very cold (my widow is single pained and held in by packing tape).

First order of business: pee! As I shiver on the toilet, no heat in the bathroom, I consider crawling back into bed.

Next I go and switch the breaker so that I can get some heat (I normally do this about 5 times before giving up and just start praying that God would heal my electrical outlets). I go over to my roomies room (who generally are still asleep (maybe I should be?) and plug in the hot water kettle (peppermint tea solves all my problems: it wakes me up, warms me up and settles my tummy). As I wait for the water to boil, I put on worship music and stretch out with yoga.

If I have time I will take a few moments to just be silent before God (this is ideal), but usually I am scrambling to put clothing on, make it down the stairs, and to breakfast (which is about a 3 minute walk away at a Salvation Army Rehab). I look forward to my breakfast every morning: hot porridge. Some may not appreciate porridge, but I love it! I take some nuts to add protein and I enjoy every last bite, mmmmmmm.

After breakfast I go back to room to spend time with Jesus for about an hour, and then it is another scramble to get out of the door and to school. Every morning (except Wednesday, we go to St. James for liturgy, this a new experience for me, not my favourite, but it is good to try something different) we start with praying the Bible (we walk in a circle and read the Bible out loud, sounds strange, but it grows on you).

The rest of the day is filled with classes (Who Is Jesus? Can You Here Me? Biblical Interpretation, Evangelism, Consistent Life Ethics, God’s Story, Memorizing the Bible, Celebrate Recovery, and Deliverance) and/or Drill (think P.E.), volunteering (I am working at a thrift store), or Squad (the girls get together, drink tea, share, and pray for each other). In the evenings I am at either League of Mercy (we go visit people and take people out for tea), Re:cre8 (a street café), Knee Drill (like a church service, but don’t tell the Whites I said that), Caribou Hill Temple (a church service), Life Force (we walk the streets and ask people if they want prayer) or Cell (Bible Study). In the in between I try to do homework, rest, meet with friends and do all those random to dos that we all have on our lists. We have full days; generally they are good days, not always fun, but usually fulfilling.

In the pm (I try to be in bed before 11pm) I hit the springs (really, I can feel almost every spring in my mattress) and I pray that God would protect me from the bed bugs (“don’t let the bed bugs bite” has a whole new meaning!), cockroaches, mice, evil spirits, and any other harm, I put in my pink ear plugs, because the sirens and partiers have not got the memo: it is bed time! And I hope that my heater stays on through the night (to be honest I am mostly concerned about my orchids, they are freezing to death!).

Isn’t interesting that I started this post off trying to“share my life with you” and I ended up by giving you a description of what I do. I do therefore I am. This is a similar to how when we meet people we most often ask “what do you do?” We are defined by what we do. I am a busy busy War College student. It used to be (and in some cultures it still is) that we were defined by who our family was (specifically our fathers) so I would be Maria the daughter of Paul Bulk. Also, where we were from so I would be Maria Bulk of Victoria (or the Downtown Eastside, when does a place become home?).

I did not intended to write a blow by blow account of my day, but I think it does demonstrate that it is very difficult to share with you what it is like to be in the Downtown Eastside… so you will just have to come and visit (though even visiting will not give you the whole experience, so you should join War College! (Though I think that being here for only one year will only take me so deep, to truly become part of this community I would need to make a long term commitment)).

Self-denial? No Thank You

 A new post on The War College blog: please check it out :)

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Homeless Jared

This is a picture that I took of my friend Jared (He is in The War College with me) on our first night sleeping on the streets. At the start of our two day and two night experience when I asked Jared if he was scared or nervous he shrugged his shoulders and said "it is like camping in the city." I think he summed up how different out "adventure" was compared to someone who is trying to survive on the streets night in and night out with no end in sight. Our experiences was by no means all campfires and s'mores, but it was also not the hopeless, oppressive and dangerous existence that so many people are living (or rather dying) in every night.
This picture reminds me of the thoughts I had running through my mind that night as I lay in the dark park fearing that the copes would find us and kick us out, "Oh please don't let the cops bother us, I'm so tired, I just want to sleep, I'm not hurting anyone, no one is using this park right now, why can't we sleep here?" I only had to sleep in the cold (though not that cold, it was September) and fear for two nights, there are people who are sleeping out in the cold, alone, hopeless, sick, hurting and afraid right now! How are we going to help them?

Tis Is The Season

Thursday, 24 November 2011

The Empress Hotel

I have been taking some pictures of the DTES and playing around with them on my computer. I thought this would be a good place to share them.
I have made some of them into postcards, that I will be sending out, if you do not get one and want one just send me your mailing address. 
This first image is of the hotel I live in. It is ironically called The Empress, but is nothing like the high end hotel in Victoria. The Empress that I live in is a Single Room Occupancy Hotel (SRO) or often called a Slum Hotel.  I was told that the Empress was built in the 20s, loggers would come down into Vancouver on days off and the winter to get drunk and buy women (a generalization) and they would stay at The Empress. It is very old, poorly kept, has mice, bed bugs and cockroaches. The rooms do not have a kitchen, and some do not have bathrooms. Despite all this rent is not all that cheap, some rooms go for $400 to $600!
You should come visit, my room is not all that bad, I have made it home.

Some Thoughts On Community

Sunday, 13 November 2011

We Are The Ark

This morning I was reading through the story of Noah.  I believe that God gave me a "picture" that I want to share with you.

I recently was told that often water can be a symbol for chaos in the Bible. For instance in the New Testament when Jesus walks on water, and Peter sinks into the water.  With this in mind as a read the story of Noah and the Flood I believe God was saying to me:

The World is full of chaos, like when I flooded the Earth, people are drowning. I want you to build an "ark". You build an "ark" through praise and worship, prayer and fasting, services, and fellowship. The Church is the "ark," you are meant to be a place of safety from the chaos.

Maria, go and be a fisher of man, pull people out of the chaos and into the "ark" where they can find peace, love, and joy. 

I promised to never again destroy all things by flood. In the same way I will never let the whole Earth be consumed by chaos (as it was in the time of Noah), that is why I have established the Church, to be an "ark" the floats in the chaos, but is not destroyed by it and to rescue people who are "drowning" in the chaos.

Do not be satisfied that you are in the boat. There are millions upon millions of people who are dying all around you.

What are you doing to help them?

The Church is not meant to be an exclusive cruise. No! it is a rescue ship, that is meant to be united in Spirit, by love and in the poupose to search the waters for people who are drowning, pull them out of the cold death waters, care and love on them, and invite them to join the family. Then as they become stronger they will join the rescue search.

No matter where you live, there are people around you who are drowning, guaranteed, you just need to open your eyes and heart. For me it might be buying someone socks and inviting them to share in a community meal. Or when someone is sharing with me that they are sick asking if I can pray for their healing. For you it might mean asking a coworker how they are doing, then actually listening to their answer, and asking them if you can pray for them . Or going over the  neighbours with a fresh baked cookies and asking them if they want to have dinner sometime.  Or inviting someone you haven't seen in awhile to a movie to reconnect.

How can you care for someone who is drowning?

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Monday, 24 October 2011

A Thought About Abraham, Faith, You and Me.

Had a thought this morning, specifically about Abraham from the Bible...
Abraham stepped out in "blind" faith, he made lots of mistakes, yet God still blessed him.

What a challenge is this for us, because we know so much more about who God is and what He has done than Abraham, and we have God's Spirit living in us empowering us in all Truth and love!
Surely if Abraham can make such a big step of faith, "blindly", we can take usually far smaller steps of faith, while seeing!

You may not know where you are going or what you are going to do, but you can know the most important thing, rather the most important person: God!

If you are feeling weak in your faith or are having a hard time making a decision, I argue you to know God: dig deep into His word, spend time in prayer, fasting, worshiping, and just being silent before Him.


Thursday, 13 October 2011

The Good Shepherd, Seeing the Lord, Lectio Divina

This is my prayer for EVERYONE, that we would see Jesus seated upon the throne on high with His robe filling the temples. This is where the transformation of our mind and hearts lies, in the throne room of God, in knowing God, in humbling ourselves before Him, in PRAISING His mighty to save Name. Amen

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

The Love of the Lord is Strong, the Love of the Lord is Forever

In class we did an exercise called listening prayer.

I "heard" the voice of the Lord say "the love of the Lord is strong, the love of the Lord is forever."

Simple, yet profound, God is good like that.

My prayer:

Jesus, Father God, Holy Spirit - your love is strong, it can break through any walls that are built up in my mind and heart. It can break any chains that I am wrapped up in. Your love is SO MUCH stronger than the grip of the devil and all his demons combined.

Holy Spirit please make this a reality in my life, in me, through me and around me.

Jesus, I need to see and experience the strength of your love.


AND this community needs to experience the strength of your love. PLEASE.


Forever FOREVER,

Never NEVER ending,

This is your great love for me (us).

Thank you Jesus, Father God, thank you Holy Spirit.

No matter what you will never stop fighting for us,

You will never ever give up on us,

You will purse us FOREVER and EVER.


Jesus this is an unfathomable truth, in the world we life in, we cannot understand an forever, never ending , no matter what love.

Please Holy Spirit continue to help me to understand and experience how deep, wide, long and tall is my Father's ;ove for me.

ALSO for this whole community, Jesus, we all need to understand and experince you strong never ending love.

Please Jesus reveal this love to the lost, broken and hurting people all around me… through me?

I can NOT do this. I can NOT love people anything even close to how you do.

I NEED your love.

I need YOU to love the lost, broken and hurting people through me with your BIG STRONG FOREVER NO MATTER WHAT LOVE.



Sunday, 2 October 2011

Just(ice) a Few Thoughts

Reading Isaiah 1: 5-18 yesterday I was struck with the following thoughts:

  • We are dying! As individuals and a society.
  • We are in deep trouble; bleeding all over the place.
  • Religion is  NOT the answer.
  • We need to choose to give up our evil ways (anything and everything that is in opposition to God's perfect ways. These include religion, judgments, drugs, sex slavery to name only a few)
  • We need to LEARN to do good. Doing good does not come naturally.
  • We need to SEEK justice. This is active. We need to be actively be searching out what are the injustice in our lives. Than we need to search out what justice look like, and we need to do it. Justice will not always be obvious, we need to be educating ourselves and others.
  • We need to be simply helping people, the oppressed, with food, shelter, and clothing. It doesn't end there on top of meeting peoples basic needs we need to be fighting for and defending the oppressed.

I read both justice (fighting the systemic issues) and mercy (meeting the individuals needs).
  • God is calling us in these verses to be ACTIVE in both justice and mercy.
  • These things do not come naturally or just fall into are laps.
  • We need to get off our butts and/or high horses and walk humbly, seek justice and love mercy (Micah 6:8).
  • We are called to both meet peoples practical needs and fight the systemic issues that contribute to the marginalization of people.
This is heavy. A lot of "we need to" which can be over whelming. So let me give you some hope:

The solution is to turn to God, which we can ALL do.
  • Everyone, believer and non believer, sinner and saint, need to turn to God.
  • We who are the Church we need to obey God, we need to learn to do good, walk humbly, seek justice and love mercy .
  • For you who do not yet know Jesus, you need to turn to God to receive His never ending love, grace, peace, forgiveness and new life.
  • And visa versa. I as a follower of Jesus need  to turn to God to receive His never ending love, grace, peace, forgiveness and new life. These who are not following Jesus need to learn to do good, walk humbly, seek justice and love mercy.

  • We are all in the same sinking boat (society). Only as WE ALL humble ourselves before God, pray, seek Him and  turn from are wicked ways will He heal our land (2 Chronicles 7:14).
  • This is done in community; when believers and non believers, rich and poor, black and white, old and young ALL come together.


This is a WE problem, and it needs to be a we solution.
  • Live in community.
  • Give up your wicked ways (religion and smoking crack)
  • Actively engage in justice and mercy.

How can YOU live in community?
What wicked ways do YOU need to give up?
What are some ways YOU can engage in both justice and mercy?

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Pride Rears It's Hideous Head

I was reading Isaiah 57 last night.

The note on (from my study Bible) verses 11-13 said, Maria's paraphrase, people do not fear God they fear humans, and cling to false assurances.

I am doing this.

I am fearing man over God. I am seeking mans approval over God's. In all I do, I want man to say good job, well done, I am impressed, you are so wise, I can see God in you, look at you, you are doing such great things and on and on. Sick sick SICK!

Be honest how many of you can relate?( Come on raise your hands, no one can see you).

Please forgive me Lord Jesus (Praise His name He has already forgiven me, thank you Jesus for your forgiveness). Holy Spirit please please please heal me of this deadly disease.

It really is a disease, it will eat away at your mind and heart, until you are fully consumed with yourself and have lost all focus on Jesus.

It is pride.

If you have this disease ask Jesus to do some spiritual surgery on your mind and heart. He is the only one that can and will remove all of this deadly mind and heart eating disease. Please take this seriously. You can not remain passive. If you just try and ignore it or think it will take care of its self, it can be fatal.

There is hope.

I heard Jesus say to me: I will tell you that you are beautiful, smart, intelligent, funny and incredible. I approve of you, more than that I delight in you Maria! I God of the Universe delight in YOU! Is this not enough for you?

I answered  honestly: No, apparently not … I am sorry, please forgive me (He has), please heal my wrong thinking and broken feelings (He is).  Jesus I need and want to be free in your approval and great delight.  Please help me to understand how deep, wide, tall and long your love is for me Amen.
   - It is in your love and approval that I will be free to worship you, free to be me, free to love you, myself and others, free to be free, free to glorify your name, to sing your praises! FREE!

Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom AMEN!

Monday, 26 September 2011

A Case For Christ

I am watching the A Case For Christ documentary by Lee Strobel (for one of my classes, awesome!), based on his book by the same title.

I highly recommend reading the book. If you are not a reader (which you really should think about becoming) or just don't have the time (fair enough) than watch the movie.

I read this book shortly after choosing to follow Jesus, and I found it extremely insightful.

For those of you who are analytical and enjoy using a  scientific method I think you will appreciate the information in this book.

If you have been a Christian for some time, I believe this book will  better equip you in being a accurate witness for Jesus.

If you have a lot of doubts and/or criticism about Jesus and who He said He was, you are in good company because this is the same place that the author was at when he started researching what would turn out to be the content of this book.  I challenge you to read/watch A Case For Christ. Please let me know what you think.

I would love to hear what you all think, maybe we can share together our comments, questions, and concerns.

No matter who you are, what you do or do not believe I encourage you to take some time to look at A Case For Christ.

This book (or rather He) could change your life.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

I Am Blog Two-timing

Hi friends,

I will be blogging once a week on The War College website:

Check it out :) The other students will also be blogging, it will be cool to get different perspectives, not just me talking ALL the time! blah blah blah haha

Don't worry your pretty little heads I will continue to blog on this site!

Keep reading, please :)

Sunday, 18 September 2011

48 Hours Without a Home.

Last week I spent 48 hours experiencing in a small way what it could be like to be marginalized. 

Marginalized mean to be pushed to the margins, fringes, outside of society.  People are who are marginalized in our society can have an addictions, mental illness, physical or mental disability, be a  single mother, prostituted women, person with out a home, lonely, fatherless, abused, discarded, broken, hurting and bleeding.

These are the people that the followers of Jesus  (you and me!) are called to love.

Yes, we are called to love everyone, but my understanding from reading the Bible is that God has given us specific calling to love marginalized people.

On Wednesday afternoon we handed over our keys, separated into groups of four and headed out of the door onto the street.

We knew that this was coming, so we had time to pack a bag, and prepare. For a more accurate experience we should have been unexpectedly kicked in the gut, robbed and thrown out onto the streets, alone.

Also since we knew this was coming some of us had picked up a sheet that had all the free food available in the city. Again a more accurate experience would have us start with out any knowledge of the resources, needing to discover them, when we are cold, tired, hungry and miserable.

Despite these limitations (and many more, such as knowing this would only last 48 hours, not having an addiction ect.) I felt that I was blessed with a deeper appreciation and insight into what some of the marginalized in our society have to live through.

We had to line up for our meals, sometimes waiting as long as an hour and a half.

Your whole day is centred around survival. Where am I going to eat and sleep?

Our first breakfast was basically broth and half a stale bun. We tried to go to another place to get food, but we were to late. It was difficult to function on such little nutrients.

The first night we started the night sleeping in a park, on the pavement because the grass was wet, until it started to rain.

We got up at 3am, and I had to go to the bathroom so we roamed the city looking for a public washroom, we found one in a McDonald's. Thank you God or I would have had to pee on the sidewalk.

Next time you smell urine on the streets, think of me, and ask yourself  "is there anywhere for them to go to the bathroom?"

After finding the bathroom we tried to find some shelter. We found a store front that would fit us all. We tried to sleep there, but it was very noisy with traffic. At 6:30am a nice man woke us up by saying "wakey wakey time to get to work."

We wondered around for a bit before getting in line for breakfast.

After this night we had to go to class. We were expected to be alert and attentive. It was really difficult.

 I can only imagine what it would be like if you are living on the streets and you need to do something like  apply for a job or go to court. It would be extremely difficult to do alert and attentive.

Someone who might be trying to get off the streets can are at an disadvantage by the fact that they are living on the streets. It is a vicious cycle.

The second night we slept in a a different park.

I had a very bad sleep.

There was some kind of fight going on, the police and ambulance showed up. I was very scared. Not only was the fight situation frightening but I was tense the whole night afraid that the cops would find us and kick us out.

I was so tired I just wanted to sleep, I didn't mean anyone any harm, I just wanted to sleep.

Where do we expect some without a home to sleep? When the shelters are full, and they do fill up. It is illegal to sleep in parks and on the streets.

It is like saying to a homeless person "stop being homeless!"

On the streets there are more men than women. W hen  homeless counts are done they count less women.  This is not because there are no homeless women.Often instead of sleeping on the streets, because it is dangerous and it just plan sucks, many women stay in an abusive relationship, and/or are prostituted.  Because of this inaccurate picture there are not enough beds in shelters for women.

We were blessed with decent weather. Yes, we had a little  rain, but nothing compared to what it can be like.

Next time you are caught in the rain, think about those who are living in the rain.

Imagine being cold and wet, with no hope of drying off and getting warm.

Now try imagine need to "get your act together." How do you do things like get a job when you are tired, cold, dirty, and hungry.

This was me just after 48 hours.

Think about people who have been on the streets for longer, who often have additional barriers  such as poor health, little to no self worth, little education, possibly a mental illness (a high percentage of people on the streets have a mental illness), a history of abuse (again a very high percentage of people do), and the list goes on and on.

This is not about making excuses for people. I just want you to take a moment to consider the reasons.

Everyone has a story. The majority of the people living on the streets have a stories filled with abuse, suffering and loneliness, to an degree that most of us have never come close to experiencing.

Before you make a judgment about someone, take time to learn their story.

I am thankful that I have had a brief glimpse into the lives of people living on the streets.

I am looking forward to hearing more peoples stories, so that I can grow in my compassion and love for the marginalized of our city.

The only way to truly love people is to enter into their world, join them in their suffering and hear their stories.

 As Jesus did and continues to do.

2000 years ago Jesus entered into our world, suffered and listened to peoples stories. Since Jesus is alive today, He continues to be in our world, suffer with us, and listen to our stories, through His Spirit (that lives in us).

Jesus is God, He was in perfect Heaven. He left perfect heaven. He chose to lay down His rights and privileges in order to love us.

How can you in the place that God has placed you, chose to enter into someone's world, join them in their suffering and hear their stories. This will look different, depending on what community you are in.

I want to encourage you to honestly ask God "where do you want me to be? how do you want me to enter into  the world of a the lost and broken? how can I join them in their suffering? and please bless me with hearing their stories."

I believe God will speak to you, all you have to do is ask, listen and obey!

There is so much blessing in living in this way, because it is in the laying down of our rights and privileges that we are with Jesus, the greatest joy and blessing of all!

Monday, 12 September 2011

I Dare You!

I am living in the DTES, I have moved into my room at the Empress, sounds fancy, it's not! But it is not as bad as I thought it would be, God has been guarding me from the bed bugs, cockroaches and mice, I thank Him for that, and for all of you who have prayed.

Really I have only just started War College, I have not yet gotten into a rhythm, just trying to figure the schedule out, which is packed full!

Yesterday in went for a walk, and the theme of my prayer was Jesus be glorified, please teach me how to be in this place that glorifies your Holy name.

This a Prayer for anyone in any situation in any place: Jesus be glorified, open my eyes, ears and heart to where you are in this place and please show me how to glorify you in _________ (fill the blank).

I have the privilege of stepping out of my ordinary life and entering into a new place, really a different culture, so I have to ask, because I am like a fish out of water and I desperately need Jesus to guide, teach, and carry me.

This is not always the case, I have been in situations where I don't need Jesus to guide, teach, carry me because I have it "figured out." HA! Right! I thought I did, but silly me.

Praise Jesus that He loves us way to much to leave us the way we are, and if we co-operate with Him He will put us in situations that will give us the blessing, they are blessing even if it doesn't seem like it at the time, to lean on Him.

No matter who you are or what you circumstances are you can chose to ask Jesus do guide, teach and carry you. It can be messy and uncomfortable, even painful, at times but it will be worth it, because in it you will see Jesus!

So I dare you, double dare you, ask Jesus: how can I glorify YOU in my circumstances? Where are you? And what is my role?

Friday, 9 September 2011

baaaahh baaaah baaaah

Reflecting on Psalm 23

We are sheep.

Jesus is our Shepard. Jesus guides is, leads us to "food and water."

We do not need to try and provide for our selves, all we need to do is to fix our eyes on our Shepard. (Hebrews 12:2)

Jesus will lead us to rest, water and on the righteous path.

Our only "job" as sheep is to look at the Shepard (keep our eyes fixed on Him) and walk (follow Him).

Even if wen take our eyes off of the Shepard and wander this way or that, get ensnared in a trap, get tired of walking,  the Shepard will come after us, He will find us, He will pick us up and carry us back to the fold.

Jesus is your Shepard.

When you say yes to following Him. When you give up on your own way and invite Him to take over your life, completely and fully. You have joined  a family, you have been adopted (Galatians 4:5-7).

You are now in the flock and nothing, not your own stupidity, laziness or the big bad wolf (the enemy) can take you from Jesus (John 10: 27-29).

Jesus will provide all your needs (your needs are different than your wants, and even your idea of a need may be different than Jesus')

Jesus will restore and refresh your soul when you are weary.

Jesus leads you in actions, good works, a lifestyle of righteousness.


Even when the world is crashing in around us, we do not fear because Jesus is the strongest and most powerful Shepard and He will not let any harm come to you that is not for your good (Romans 8:28).

When we do suffer (and you will because we have an enemy who is out to harm us) and when you are hurt (you will be because we live in a broken world) Jesus will comfort you with His GREAT BIG loving and protective arms. Also we can cling to the Truth that Jesus is in control and He will work all things out for our good and His glory.

This is what Jesus the Shepard want to do for you.

Will you let Him?

Will you let Jesus provide for you? Give you rest? Refersh your soul? Lead in righteousness? Protect and comfort you?

All you have to do is turn to Him, look at Him and say YES! (But even if you say no, Jesus will continue to pursue you, He will get down o n the ground beside you and He will wait for you).

Saturday, 3 September 2011

I Don't Want To Go!

I leave for the Downtown Eastside to start War College in one week from today! AH!

I am freaking out! I don't want to go! I don't want to give up my clean safe warm bed. I don't want to give up my stocked up fridge. I don't want to give up my independence and ability to do what I want to do when I want to do it!

You may be asking "than why are you going?"

Good question! Despite my freaking out, I know in my heart and mind that this is the right and best thing for me to do at this time.

This morning as I am freaking out to God He said to me:

Remember the night before leaving on YWAM and waiting in the airport you were so very afraid and sad to be going that you thought you might break down?

 - Yes (me). 

All worked out for very good.

 - Yes, this is true, thank you Jesus Amen (me.

Remember when you first arrived in San Francisco with CSM and you wanted someone to get sick back home so you could leave?

-Yes (me).

All worked out for excellent.

 - Yes, this is true, thank you Jesus Amen (me).

All things that I have done (no matter how tough they have been) have worked out for my good… because I love Jesus, because He is always faithful to me.

Thank you Jesus. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Amen.

Are you going through some hard times? Are you facing a challenge?

Remember what Jesus has done for you in the past.

Stop, remember and be filled with the peace of God.


Tuesday, 30 August 2011

What Is In The Way?

This morning Jesus said to me let go, give over to me ALL your sins, sickness, and griefs, so that I can take care of them and you can be set free to live my life.

I ask: what are you holding onto that is getting in the way of Jesus working in and through you?

I am going to be open and honest with you, this is what I wrote down:

Sins - lustful and impure thoughts, anger and bitterness, greed (more, more), pride! fear of man and failure, selfishness ("my time").

I prayed through each one, one by one, giving them to Jesus to deal with, because I am not having very much lasting  success in trying to deal with them myself.
I heard Jesus speak specifically  to me about my fear, He said that these are crippling  me. Jesus said that it is my fear of pride, man and failure that is stopping me from acting in the fullness of the giftings that He has given to me.

This is a sin.
I am letting the enemy win in this area of my life.

This is not a victory that I can have on my own, I need Jesus to win it for me, which He already has, now I need to walk in that freedom.
Oh Jesus please help me. Amen.

Sickness - Dairy allergy, back pain, eye, hearing.
Please heal me Jesus.

I don't want my sickness to get in the way of the good works Jesus has prepared for me.

For example when I am in the Downtown Eastside I will not have the luxury of picking what I eat, I have to eat what is given to me. I don't want my diary allergy to cause me to be in pain and discomfort. I am asking Jesus to please heal me from my diary allergy (for at least my time in the DTES).
For that which Jesus choses not to heal me from, I give them into Jesus' hands and trust that He will take care of them, whatever that looks like, whither that is giving me a roomie that likes to give massages or protecting my eyes from the elements.

Griefs - moving from home, giving up my comforts and moving into discomfort.

At the moment those are the only three "griefs" that I came up with.

Not bad really. Yet I still NEED Jesus to be my strength and joy. I give these griefs to Jesus and trust that He will be strong when I am weak, that He will comfort me when I weep, and that He will fill me with His peace and JOY!

After I went through this process I started to write "every day: spend time…"

about half way through the list (which was actually a very good and useful list) I heard God say "Don't make a relationship with me a formula."

So I crossed the list out, and I am going to trust that God will lead me in what He has for me when I spend time with Him.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Suffering and Hope

Yesterday morning I spent sometime reflecting on suffering in the context of my upcoming year in the Downtown Eastside. In Hebrews 5:8 it says “He (Jesus) learned obedience through what He suffered.” I looked up how “He suffered” is translated from Greek:

Original Word: πάσχω
Part of Speech: Verb
Transliteration: paschó
Phonetic Spelling: (pas'-kho)
Phonetic Spelling: (pas'-kho)
Short Definition: I am acted upon, suffer
Definition: I am acted upon in a certain way, either good or bad; I experience ill treatment, suffer

pásxō (a primitive verb) – properly, to feel heavy emotion, especially suffering; affected, experiencing feeling (literally "sensible" = "sensed-experience"); "the feeling of the mind, emotion, passion" (J. Thayer).  Copyright © 1987, 2011 by Helps Ministries, Inc. For complete text and additional resources visit:

What I found particularly significant is the strong emphases on the feelings (thoughts and emotions) not necessarily the physical (which my mind directly goes to when I read “He suffered”).

We all suffer.

JESUS! The Son of GOD! Jesus, who was without sin, who is God learned obedience through suffering, what makes us think we can skip out on these lessons?

Not all of us will be physically persecuted (suffer) like many of our brothers and sisters around the World.

But Our Father knows what is best for us, and He loves us to much to leave us in the character state we are in (which I don’t know about you, but I am a bit of a mess!).

Our Father will teach us obedience through suffering (we should thank Him for this, because He is creating in us the beauty and likeness of His Son, Jesus).

Thank you Father God. Amen?

OK. We have established that we will suffer. Could you use some hope to set your eyes on? I know that I need some. After reflecting on suffering God gave me Revelation 7: 9-17:

9 After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. 10 And they cried out in a loud voice:

   “Salvation belongs to our God,
who sits on the throne,
and to the Lamb.”

 11 All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying:

Praise and glory
and wisdom and thanks and honor
and power and strength
be to our God for ever and ever.

 13 Then one of the elders asked me, “These in white robes—who are they, and where did they come from?”

 14 I answered, “Sir, you know.”

   And he said, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15 Therefore,

   they are before the throne of God
   and serve him day and night in his temple;
and he who sits on the throne
   will shelter them with his presence.

16 ‘Never again will they hunger;
   never again will they thirst.
The sun will not beat down on them,’
   nor any scorching heat.

17 For the Lamb at the center of the throne
   will be their shepherd;
‘he will lead them to springs of living water.’
   ‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’”

Yes! I want to be there, I want to be wearing a white robe, and I want to be part of the great multitude of people from every nation, tribe, people and language!

This is why I will endure what little suffering I may encounter at War College in the Downtown Eastside, because I want to be one of these saints dressed in a white robe (maybe pink?) before the Living God. In a time not to far from now He will wipe every tear away from my eyes.

Thank you Jesus! 

You will suffer.

When you are suffering, reflect on this day (that may come sooner than you might think).

Be encouraged, anything and everything you endure will be worth it in the end.

When you are standing (or flat on your face) before the Living God, He will lift your face, wipe away every tear and says toYOU “Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful, now enter into your eternal rest and let's celebrate together!”

Monday, 22 August 2011

Your Only Responsibility

This morning a had a deeper revelation into a Truth I already knew but am still do not always live in.
 In Hebrews 12:2 Paul says “let us fix our eyes on Jesus; the Author and Perfector of our faith. – Jesus is the Author and Perfector of EVERYONE. I can not, will not and should not even try to perfect anyone.

In Matthew 11:29-30 Jesus invites is to “take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

-         Learn from Jesus

-         take to Jesus’ ways His teachings

-         His ways are freedom.

The most significant revelation for me at this time, considering what I am entering into in September is:

It is NOT my responsibility to change anyone. PERIOD.

It IS my responsibility to love and accept people, as they are (extending Jesus’ grace) and in so doing an environment will be created in which GOD can change people.

To sum up this very important Truth:

We can NOT change anyone (not your kid, brother, Mom, best friend, coworkers, a person with an addiction or someone who is jobless and homeless) NOBODY, you can change nobody! because you are NOT Jesus. ONLY God can change people. It is not your burden to change anyone.

Your ONLY responsibility is to LOVE God (fix my eyes on Jesus) and to LOVE people.