Author Archive

Reminder – Connect Group Vision Casting @ LJH – September 15 & 18, 2013

September 12, 2013

Hi Everyone,

Just a little reminder for the special events of the next week at Lift Jesus Higher and Saint-Louis-Marie-de-Montfort.

System of Parish Evangelizing Cells

Luc Labrecque

Responsible for SPEC

Diocese of Sherbrooke

Training the trainer

Sunday Sept 15, 2013 @12:30 PM

CASTING THE VISION

What if…we opened our homes to receive people who are seeking something more…

Do you want to be part of the dream?

Wednesday Sept 18 @ 7:30 PM

HOME CHURCH

ACCORDING TO ST. PAUL

Develop a culture of meeting

(Passion-Mercy-Vision)

(Also being presented in French

at St-Louis-Marie-de-Montfort)

Samedi 14 septembre @ 16h

Dimanche 15 septembre @ 10h

Mardi 17 septembre @19h30

YOU ARE ALL INVITED

Indoor Picnic

POTLUCK LUNCH AFTER MASS

September 15, 2013

Mingle & connect with our guests.

Bring your favourite finger food

to share.

Pope Francis  The shepherd realizes that 1 of his sheep is missing – he leaves the 99 to find the one … but we have only 1; we’re missing 99!
It is tempting to stay at home with that 1 sheep, to caress and care for them, but the Lord wants us to be shepherds, not hairdressers.It is difficult to have the patience and courage to go out and share our faith, but every Christian is called to do. Draw strength from the desire to follow Jesus, who will profoundly change the heart of a person.

Thanks.

Be blessed.

Lillian

Missions Trip to Rome, Milan and Zagreb – May 15 to 31, 2013

May 14, 2013

Hi Everyone,

I am heading out! Into the Deep!

Here is my upcoming schedule. I would cherish your prayers.

I will try to update you on what is happening here and on our LJH blog and on Facebook.

I am leading a group of 19 people to Rome and Milan to celebrate the Year of Faith and the New Evangelism. It is the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council and the Pope has invited groups who have special Papal recognition as Movements, Associations and Lay Associations of which Oikos-Evangelization is one.

I have been working with 3 priests and 1 lay missionary evangelist in Quebec over the past 3 years. The people coming with me are from 15 small towns and villages from around the province of Quebec. The main focus is to train the trainer to train – groups that meet in homes for the purpose of developing a relationship with God and to build collectives of lay people who will multiply and train others to train leaders – all within the vision of the New Evangelization. A new way to be church.

We are heading out on May 15 for a few days in Rome prior to celebrating the Vigil of Pentecost May 18 and Pentecost Sunday May 19 with Pope Francis.

(After that we head to Milan and then I go to Croatia. More info to come.)

GREAT EVENT OF THE YEAR OF THE FAITH:
DAY FOR THE MOVEMENTS, THE ASSOCIATIONS, AND THE LAY ASSOCIATIONS

VATICAN CITY – ST. PETER SQUARE (VATICAN STATE)

I BELIEVE! INCREASE THE FAITH WITHIN US

Pilgrimage of the Movements and the Lay Associations to the Tomb of the Apostle Peter Rome, May 18-19, 2013

Lillian Culumovic

For Such a Time as This

Lay Missionary for the New Evangelization

Esther 4:14 – all can be done according to God’s plan

Message from Maria about the Peru Mission – August 6-18, 2012

July 16, 2012

Hi Everyone,

Here is a message from Maria for the upcoming Peru Mission and for anyone that desires to go.

Lillian

MISSION TO PERU (August 6-18, 2012) from Maria Palomino

CLARIFICATION

There have been a number of people contacting me regarding the upcoming Peru Mission. Many are disappointed because of the shortness of time since it was announced and the dates confirmed for the mission to take place.

The delay has been because it was not in my plans to have a new mission to Peru this year. Fr. Bob and others believe it is God’s will and time to have this mission. I believe there is more need for mission work in North America than in Peru. Still, God’s ways are not always our ways and the poor of Peru might have something to teach about true love and faith to those going, and those going might encourage and have something to share with the poor. Learning that others coming from so far away, care about their condition, strengthens their faith and openness to receive Jesus in their heart. I will help coordinate the logistics of the mission and be with the mission in a few activities according to God’s Will.

In North America there are so many courses on how to love, how to be bold for Jesus, how to experience “higher levels” etc, etc. Within the poor of Peru, the need is for food, clean water, shoes, and many more things, but they are the real thing, ‘the salt of the earth, the light of the world. No need for courses about things that God gives freely to His children. There is physical poverty but faith is their richness and they are very open to receive. The various missions have brought hope and desire to know more about Jesus.

MISSION ACCORDING TO GOD’S WILL AND PURPOSE

I am aware that 12 days in Peru is too short for any serious mission but the Holy Spirit can produce in a short time things that are impossible for men. Contributions towards someone’s trip is important and contributing towards the poor in Peru is also important, but praying for the mission is even more important.

Isaiah 58:6-9, which was the initial Bible message that started the Peru Mission, talks about the fast that pleases God. The center of this amazing message that shows God’s will is:

“Letting the oppressed go free, sharing your bread with the hungry, dressing the naked…”.

There is a promise that comes by doing this kind of fast. I have had the privilege to experience the reality of this promise myself.

“…your light shall break forth speedily,

And your righteousness shall go before you;

The glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.

Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;

You shall cry, and He will say, “Here I am”

In previous years, I never set requirements for people wanting to go on mission to Peru. I just felt happy that people wanted to go to my country and God honoured their desire. Many went with a pure heart and desire to share their love for the poor. Through the years, mission after mission watered the seeds initially planted. Some of them are already producing fruits.

In the past 7 years there have been close to 100 people between 11 and over 80 years old, going on mission to Peru. If there was someone that really wanted to come and did not have the means, I tried to make it possible with God’s help. Language and cultural differences were not a problem.

This time, I believe it is important to mention that to go to Peru on mission, people have to have a serving heart, be ready to submit their own agendas to God’s Will, be familiar with their Bible and have the sensitivity to respect the dignity of the poor. Not all have this kind of attitude but I encourage your support to those that are willing to take this challenge.

“…narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life and there are few who find it” (Matthew 7:14)

MISSION SITES

There are 3 sites where infrastructure projects have taken place. They are worth close to US$150,000.

1) Divine Mercy Soup kitchen in Huanuco’s shanty town – Hactay (near the jungle);

2) Washrooms, showers and underground pipes for people living in the margins in a place called Las Columnas – downtown Lima, and

3) Huangascar Mothers’ Club – a facility for women in the mountains at about 3,000 meters above sea level.

Many times money came from unexpected sources such as the Canadian Embassy in Lima, an organization representing 3 churches in England, various non-church goers in Ottawa and some LJH’s members.

THE MISSION MESSAGE

The message we implicitily gave through the work in the three projects was:

‘there is a God that cares and loves you and He is alive and sent His only Son so you might be saved from sin and be born into the kingdom of God!’

The material help has been important but it makes sense only through Jesus. It is not about “good works” but bringing the truth through the gospel of salvation through Jesus Christ and we can not convince any one unless we live this truth.

There is a wisdom in the poor that recognizes what is not genuine and does not come with love. (Love never fails). Accepting Jesus as Lord of their lives is what can change their condition and “God will meet all their needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).

From Maria – in loving memory of Alvina my sister

December 26, 2011

My friend Albina Nini recently left this earth.

I met Albina more than 10 years ago at a time I was sad, confused, insecure, afraid and depressed. She helped me to put the pieces of my life together and her compassion and love gave me strength. We shared a lot…she used to say I was the sister she always wanted because as a Latina I had the heart, feelings and passion like an Italian. Albina was of Italian descent with reddish hair, deep brown eyes and an amazing sense of humour. I especially remember our gatherings, with other friends in a vegetarian restaurant in the market called “The Table”. We were so often there that it was like our office. We went for walks to the river, to the movies, to garage sales, to book sales; she loved to have all the flavours of gelatos and time was always short for all we had to share. We both needed to be accepted just as we were.

At that time Albina had had the courage to leave her secure government job and was seeking something more meaningful in life. She spoke perfect English, French and Italian and was eloquent and full of life. She had been working at healing a deep wound in her heart by writing and following a program with amazing discipline. The emotional pain had started to affect her health at that point. In my brokenness all I had to share was the Jesus I knew. We promised each other that no matter what would happen or change in our lives we would always be sisters and care for each other. I had started to go to Lift Jesus Higher and she came a few times with me. After that, many things changed and we grew apart for some time but I always missed her.

I met Albina again a few months ago; she was very fragile, with the same heart, and the same sad eyes. My dear sister, had become as I once was when I first met her. At this time I wasn’t able to be with her as she needed and as she had once been with me. My heart is broken, I am with you today Alvina and you will always be part of who I am now.

“My beloved speaks and says to me:

Arise my love, my beautiful one, and come away,

for behold the winter is past; the rain is over and gone.

The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come

and the voice of the turtledoves heard in our land.

The fig tree ripens its figs, and the vines are in blossom;

they give forth fragrance.

Arise my love, my beautiful one, and come away…” (Song of Songs 2:10-13)

Maria

Living Nativity at Las Columnas – from Maria in PERU

December 24, 2011

There is no better way to learn about Jesus than to become Him. This is what happened at Las Columnas last night.

The kids were involved in a living nativity acting according to the Bible. They did all the preparation (readings and acting). They also sang carols and danced. I hardly helped in the preparation as I had to go to Huanuco for a few days last week.

This is the project where LJH with the help of SCIMP (an organization from England that combines the efforts of Catholics, Anglicans and Methodist to support a Third World project each year) and other contributors, changed the underground pipes and and replaced an old latrine in the first patio (there are two patios) with common washrooms and showers and a place to do hand washing of laundry.

For those of you who are interested, below is an article written before we started work. The humidity and smell is no longer there and the heart of people is progressively changing from low self esteem, disrespect, use of drugs and alcohol to people with hope, gratefulness and desire to know the Jesus that cares for them.

Maria

viernes 7 de agosto de 2009
La Casa de Las Columnas

Living in a historical house in Lima AD 2009
When you walk from the Plaza de Armas in Lima along the Jr. Conde de Superunda past the church and convent of Santo Domingo you pass the magnificent blue Casa de Osambela. Next to it is an entrance, number 316. Welcome to the Casa de Las Columnas. You enter a different world. It could be the nineteenth century, or earlier. It smells of humidity and urine. Laundry is drying everywhere. Women are busy doing the laundry by hand in the courtyard. This place was from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century the noviciado of the convent of Santo Domingo. Boys were learning to become monks.
Only 20 persons have a regular job.
Now 61 families live here in 53 rooms, divided over two patios. In total around 250 people have their home here, of which 50 are children. Only 20 persons have a regular job. A room is on average 30 square meters. They don´t have running water or toilets. Around the first patio live 43 families. They have to share two taps and one toilet. Two other toilets have broken down and have not been repaired. Only seven families use the toilet, the others use bedpans. The second patio has a bit better services for its 18 families; three taps and four toilets. Since the beginning of the nineties people don´t pay rent anymore, says Iván del Castillo Vélasquez. He moved here in 1984 when he was 17 years old from Cabana in Ancash. He came to study in Lima to become a teacher. Now he teaches Spanish at a secondary school and he is secretary of the Asociación de Vivienda Las Columnas. But he is moving out in December. Finally he is eligible for Techo Propio. He has a wife and a son of five. “This is no place for a child to grow up”, he says. Many people are drunk and play loud music at night. As they don´t pay rent, they also don´t care for the place. The way of living here is not a good example at all.

Part of the convent Santo Domingo
On August 5th Iván initiated a talk about the history of the house for the inhabitants. So they would know where they’re living. Around 30 people attended. The talk was to organize, together with the NGO Centro de Investigación, Documentación y Asesoria Poblacional (CIDAP), as part of their campaign Centro Histórico de Lima: centro vivo. First Deolinda Villa Esteves of the sub dirección de Investigación Histórica of the Dirección de Patrimonio Histórico Colonial y Republicano of the Instituto Nacional de Cultura (INC) explained the history of the building. Originally it was part of the convent of Santo Domingo. This convent has occupied since 1541 two whole blocks, with the church and tower on the lower right corner, the noviciado on the lower left corner and the refectorio on the upper left corner. In the book Tesoros Verdaderos de las Indias from 1681/83 the convent is described in detail.

Dwellings for people with little means.
The great earthquake of 1746 destroyed most of Lima, including the church and convent of Santo Domingo. They were rebuilt in the second half of the eighteenth century. To raise funds the Dominicans sold parts of their block; among others the refectorio and the right part of the noviciado. The latter was sold to Martín de Osambela, who built his mansion here. The remaining part of the noviciado became the refectorio. It was used as such in 1810. In the period 1830-1850 it was used as a police station. The present entrance was constructed in that time. As of 1852 a certain Nicolás Rodrigo started to buy and rent these parts from the Dominicans. He constructed dwellings here for people with little means and rented them out. These constructions are what we can see today. They are not very good; no direct light and bad ventilation.
I could find two references to a Nicolás Rodrigo. In El Comercio of November 14th 1840 he announced together with Domingo Elías the opening of the colegio Nuestra Señora de Guadelupe in the old building of the Estanco de Tabaco. Rodrigo and Elías had received this building from president Gamarra. And in the 1850s Nicolás Rodrigo was a partner of Manuel Pardo in his guano export business.

The original floor is still there
After the historical context of the building architect Antonio Coello of the Escuela Taller de Lima talked about his findings. Main objectives were to see how findings here would correspond with those in the convent and to see if a dating could be made for pottery from colonial times. The arches are eighteenth century as part of the rebuilding of the convent. Several excavations showed that the original red tiled floor of the sixteenth century convent is still present 1.20 meters below the present floor. Several seventeenth century tinajas, big earthenware jugs, were found as well in the soil, for keeping of oil and other liquids, and remains of pottery from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century.
La Casa de Las Columnas should be taken care of better. It would be great if the occupants of the house could do this in combination with professionals. Can 150 years of neglect be counteracted quick enough?

Publicado por Ronald Elward en 10:42 0 comentarios
Etiquetas: Casa de Las Columnas, Lima

Feliz Navidad from Maria in Peru

December 18, 2011

"Feliz Navidad" and lots of love from Peru to you!

God’s amazing love does not change but somehow, in my case, it is more evident every time I travel to Peru. I could share many things, Cesar taking me to the airport; Air Canada allowing me to take more luggage than regular at no extra cost; people giving me toys and funding to continue the mission work that LJH started some seven years ago in Peru etc, etc, etc. but I would never finish and you would get tired so I have chosen just a few stories here (hope it is not too long). I pray in this moment for the Holy Spirit to touch each one that reads this message with His light, peace and love and may all be for the glory of the living God.

All the pictures here are from Huanuco except for the one where I am with Ruth and another of Genoveba who is from Lima.

Here are some stories I hope will encourage your faith.

CEDRICK

This 24 year handsome fellow from Montreal, with the looks of Mel Gibson in the movie "Brave heart", lives in Toronto. He sat next to me in the eight hours flight Toronto-Lima. Somehow he ended up sharing his life with me. His mother could not keep him because she was in drugs and Cedrix was taken to various fosters homes since the age of six. Eventually, he ended in a place for juveniles. He escaped there to end up living in the streets of Montreal with his dog. At that point he learned a trade and now works in construction and sings in a band. Nothing especial with his story except that something a bit humorous changed his life. He met a Peruvian girl that invited him to eat some Peruvian food which he liked a lot (she was joining him in Peru a few days later). The extraordinary thing here is that his band had played to collect money and toys to bring to poor people in Peru and in spite of being so wounded from all his life experiences, Cedrick cared for the poor. There was a difference in age and background, but we had lots in common.

He was touched when I share about the ‘good samaritan’ and also I told him that the Dalai Lama had been asked which was the best religion in the world and the answer given by this wise man was "the one that makes you more compassionate". Well, I ended praying for Cedrick, he showed his compassion for me by lending me his neck pillow to sleep and carrying my luggage. (You can see him in YouTube: Punk Rock Hockey Promo 2012)

GENOVEBA

Genoveba came to see me the day I arrived. My mom was amazed as Genoveba had not showed up for months and did not know I was coming.

This woman of amazing faith never had the opportunity to learn to read or write and she is already in her 50s. Her faith and Bible knowledge comes from listening to the gospel when she goes to mass and from miracles in her daily life. Her circumstances and sufferings are terrible. In the middle of all that her faith has grown strong like a flower in the desert. She really knows the meaning of Matthew 16:24: "If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me". If her faith would be based on experiences her circumstances would destroy it. Two of her children did not survive the age of 3 due to poverty. She came from the mountains during the time terrorism was strong in Peru and ended up living in a shanty town in Lima. Her alcoholic partner eventually abandoned her. The daughter that used to help her to cope with poverty passed away less than 2 years ago at the age of 24 (stomach cancer) leaving two small ones with Genoveba. She continues her walk in life selling matches and washing clothes, her hands are full of wounds (detergent, bad nutrition…) and she looks very fragile. What she makes barely helps with the poor diet she provides for her family in the shanty town where she lives.

Many would say, why is she in such condition if she has faith. Preachers of the "gospel of prosperity" don’t go to people like her neither "prophets" that think they are like movie stars going to "higher levels" and basing their faith in emotions. Genoveba’s faith is not based in circumstances but in the God that does not change and her personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Not many have faith as this woman but her poverty is a reality for near half of Peru. The hearts of many rich people have turned cold and indifferent in a place where anything is welcome by those born in poverty. They are poorer than the poor.

The poor and injustice will always exist. That is not an excuse to be indifferent. Can I just go to church, enjoy singing and not look at the naked or hungry around me? The true gospel is simple: share your bread, especially with those that can not pay you back, bless your enemies,…etc. Isaiah 58 talks about the true and false fasting. This is the Gospel scripture that started the LJH mission in Peru.

I have often experienced, when acting in obedience to serve others in the name of Jesus, God’s divine intervention and the natural becomes supernatural. No human effort or money can accomplish what the Spirit of God can produce in the hearts of people and that becomes the supernatural. That is the difference with human organizations that do good work and Christian Mission work. Sometimes our impulse and own desire can be confused with God’s will but God is merciful and if we keep on asking He reveals His truth. Jesus was always acting in obedience to His Father’s will and He is our model.

RUTH

Ruth phoned me from Huanuco the day I arrived in Lima and the next thing I knew an early phone call woke me up. She was at the bus station asking me to pick her up. She’s been with me since then until Friday when I took her back to Huanuco. It wasn’t in my plans to go to Huanuco (10 hours from Lima by bus). It is a long story that I might share another time.

The first time I saw Ruth, she was a six years old girl with no shoes playing near a garbage dump. She is now 12 years old and it is a joy to see how she has turned out. There is a depth in her prayer and also in the awareness of her reality. Since my arrival in Lima until we went to Huanuco, she shared different stories of the Bible in our home prayer group. It was so funny to hear from her, in her own words with her eyes full of amazement about Daniel, Samson or Solomon and God’s divine intervention. Other than that I think she learned more math in a week than what she had learned in the whole year. Her parents wanted her to stay with me but it is still not the time.

JOSE

Jose, this is the eight year old kid walking with me by the dusty road near the soup kitchen in the picture. He is the other child that comes always to my mind when praying for Huanuco. He sometimes goes to bed without eating. The shoes and sandals I bought in a garage sale for $2 were perfect for him. He showed me his head full of bumps from physical abuse. I hugged him for few minutes and watched cartoons with him at Myrna’s hostel where I was staying. For most of my time that I was in Huanuco, Jose was with me. Every time I have gone to Huanuco this little one follows me everywhere. Each time I write in his soul "Jesus loves you". He wanted to give me a little chick as a present but I couldn’t bring it so he gave me a little rock. This time I took him to the dentist and his tooth was saved. A charitable organization (Caritas) has made this very affordable, still difficult for people that has so many kids, no regular work and make so little.

It is a privilege for me to write in the little souls of children about Jesus love. The same way wounds and traumas that take place in childhood are so hard to heal or erase, the love of Jesus will make them strong in life. I did not visit any priest or bishop in Huanuco as I had gone unexpectedly and mainly to return Ruth. This time in Peru my priority was to take it easy with my own family, but I just have to "trust in the Lord with all my heart and not lean in my own understanding".

I’ll be with the kids at "Las Columnas" (downtown Lima) next Wednesday. We will be singing carrols and celebrating Christmas with a living nativity, hot chocolate and paneton (sweet bread with raisins). I haven’t gone to Huangascar but the work continues.

My heart was with all of you at the LJH Christmas celebration but especially with my dear Alvina.

Maria

LJH Ladies’ Breakfast – December 10, 2011 – Jackie O’Donnell – Mission and Holiness: a two-sided coin

November 29, 2011

Hi Ladies, (men can you forward this to ladies in your lives)

Lift Jesus Higher is having another Ladies’ Breakfast on

Saturday December 10, 2011. You are welcome to join us.

Poster attached for you to post if you would like.

Please RSVP to Linda Holmes

lindaholmesavonAThotmailDOTcom or call 613-680-7296

Be blessed.

Lillian

  Ladies’ Breakfast Saturday December 10, 2011 

Jackie O’Donnell

 Mission & Holiness: a two-sided coin

  The call of every Catholic is to be missionary.We can practically live out both mission and holiness in our day-to-day lives.Jackie, Director of Missions and Conferences with Catholic Christian Outreach, has been a full-time missionary for the past 11 1/2 years.

 

        CCO is a university student movement dedicated to evangelization and leadership development on university campuses throughout Canada.

Jackie’s greatest desire is to see Jesus proclaimed. Seeing people come to know Christ for the first time is the highlight of her career.

RSVP appreciated to Linda Holmes lindaholmesavonAThotmailDOTcom

or call 613-680-7296

Where: 518 Donald Street near St. Laurent

(basement of St. Ignatius Parish – enter by most eastern door in parking lot)

Time: 9:30 am to noon

Cost: Freewill Offering

Come and enjoy some fellowship

Enhanced Continental Breakfast

LJH Ladies Breakfast Dec 10 11.Jackie ODonnell.doc

Some photos from the 15th Anniversary Kick-off Open House

November 21, 2011

Hi Everyone,

Enjoy these pictures of people taken at our 15th Anniversary Kick-Off Open House yesterday.

If anyone else has some pictures, I would be happy to add them to the blog if you would like.

Lillian

from Maria: Rejoicing in the Lord always (September 17)

September 25, 2011

From Maria,

Here are some pictures from last week’s New Edinburg garage sale. It takes place every year and you find all kinds of interesting people and things you might need.

So wonderful to find happiness in little things and see your money stretching so much. I found lots of little treasures for the kids of our mission in Peru (shoes, toys, etc.)

Gillian and Emily are already teenagers. These girls went to Peru when they were 12 years old (Emily has gone 3 times already) and their faith has grown stronger.

It was a joy to see Lala so happy and to share in our joy with so many people.

Happy are the people whose God is the Lord!

Maria

New%20Edinburgh%20garage%20sale.jpg?psid=1&type=1&Bpub=SDX.Photos&Bsrc=Photomail&parid=4E507A15E84CC115%21533 Rejoicing in the Lord always (September 17)

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ADD MORE PHOTOS

This online album has 6 photos and will be available on SkyDrive until 24/12/2011.

value%20for%20your%20money.jpg?psid=1&type=1&Bpub=SDX.Photos&Bsrc=Photomail&parid=4E507A15E84CC115%21533 I%20am%20David%20and%20I%20love%20garage%20sales.jpg?psid=1&type=1&Bpub=SDX.Photos&Bsrc=Photomail&parid=4E507A15E84CC115%21533 Lala%2C%20Piere%20and%20Cesar%20rejoycing%20and%20thanking%20God%20for%20the%20garage%20sale.jpg?psid=1&type=1&Bpub=SDX.Photos&Bsrc=Photomail&parid=4E507A15E84CC115%21533 Peace%2C%20love%20and%20deals.jpg?psid=1&type=1&Bpub=SDX.Photos&Bsrc=Photomail&parid=4E507A15E84CC115%21533 The%20Peru%20Mission%20is%20producing%20fruits.jpg?psid=1&type=1&Bpub=SDX.Photos&Bsrc=Photomail&parid=4E507A15E84CC115%21533

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Maria – Mission in Ottawa (Sept. 8, 2011)

September 8, 2011

News from Maria (Sept. 8, 2011) – Mission in Ottawa!

I am sharing one of many experiences I have had in Ottawa when sharing the teachings of Jesus from the Bible.

I do this to encourage others to share personal stories that can strengthen the Body of Christ.

“A Place to Go” is a downtown Christian Ministry at St. George’s Anglican Church, that provides food for street people each Friday. I’ve been going there for near 20 years with some long periods of not going at all. Many people are no longer there. A few have died violent deaths…others have moved on in their lives and no longer come.

Last Friday I dropped by there. I went because I love these people and I see Jesus in them. They help me so much. This time, I ended up sharing mainly with three of them. One is a Dutch fellow that came to Canada in the 50s. He never went back to his home town (we’ll call him H); he is in his mid 80s. Another one is a fellow that used to be a public servant and left work after he felt unfairly treated. He is too proud to try to get any pension. He is like a gypsy, moving around and camping in various places near the river in the summer and sleeping in a garage in the winter. My Peruvian blanket, initially given to someone that didn’t need it, has become his winter treasure. He is in his mid 50s (we’ll call him G). The third fellow, in his early forties (he’ll be C) was part of the group. Each one of them has their own story. They are all so precious to me.

When I arrived there, H was talking without stopping, about all the mysteries of the universe, G was trying to save as much food as he could in his backpack, not to go hungry for a few days and C was just there, apparently not caring much about what was happening, but as soon as he saw me he gave me his chair and brought another one for himself.

Each one of these men has shared with me, in different occasions, their dreams, their fears, their sadness, their hopes. They are intelligent people. H used to work as a mail man and speaks 3 languages. G used to work as a public servant and he even went once to Mexico and taught English there and C had a breakdown and lost his job and he is now learning to cook at ‘The Mission’. The common thing between the three of them is that each of them has no family that cares for them and is materially poor.

This time G was upset about how they were treated there. “There is no love here, they just give us food”. This was an opportunity to talk about forgiveness. We prayed the “Our Father” at the initiative of C, forgave the “helpers” and asked God to change their hearts. So funny; nobody in the kitchen would have guessed we were praying for them.

Then I shared about the Sermon of the Mount (Matthew 5:1-12). There is so much power, in the Word of God to people like these, “for is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes”. Can you imagine the life that H, G and C received when I shared “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted,..Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God…Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you…I could see the light in the eyes of these men. Then H said, “Maria, I am afraid to die”. “Why”, I said, “You will never be alone there, Jesus has rooms for each of us”, and we laughed. G said, “Can you give me a hug Maria”. It is so wonderful that they are not afraid to ask me for a hug. What a privilege for me. I hugged the 3 of them and at that point C broke out in tears. Their spirits were touched with the love of Jesus. He did it all. Praise be to the Lord!

Maria

https://i1.wp.com/byfiles.storage.live.com/y1mVYNBIY84OaucU_nfKiXTfzbLISGPoLgEKDF3HupwFA8lCKiEw4VHqo1P5fJtwqvXYrIX0TRNXW1DeOj-WRkc8BTv9Oa5Lm7ze3nJEBQbr8vCIxXDd-QM5Yg2xJcCTVvGeiFFlQppqqA/A%20faithful%20friend.jpg5E84CC115%21489 Maria – Mission in Ottawa (Sept. 8, 2011)

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