Thursday, October 1, 2015

This Past Year: Farewells and Futures

As the brisk fall winds finally arrive to our downtown Winnipeg neighbourhood, even after this last quick burst of heat, it’s hard to believe the summer is already coming to an end. This last season with YWAM has been an eventful one, with September arriving putting one year under our belt at Chiara House, and the last two years to look back on with YWAM here in Winnipeg. Since it’s been awhile, I thought I’d send out a bit about how we’re doing!

YWAM Winnipeg: Prepping for Peace & Justice Internship

With the last Peace & Justice Internship ending successfully, preparation for the next one in March has already begun. I’ve been in charge of all the graphic design elements to promote the internship, so assure we can bring in as many people as possible to explore the justice and peace of Christ in the West End with us. I’ve now gotten all of our posters for the internship prepared and designed, and started sending out word on social media. I’ve been so glad to be able to use my design abilities to promote something like this for the past two years while in Winnipeg.

With the internship coming up in March of next year, I’d greatly appreciate it if you’d pray that all those who are supposed to be involved will hear about it, and have an opportunity to see what Christ has for them in fostering justice in the world around us.

Chiara House

The beginning of September marks one year of our involvement as caretakers and supportive members at Chiara House! It’s been a great year of figuring out community support and involvement in the building with a bunch of great people. In fact, since the opening of the building, all of those who moved in have stayed there for the whole year! Since many of the ills individuals living close to the poverty line deal with revolved around instability of circumstance, it’s been great to see that we’ve been able to provide a stable home for all those living in the building for the past year.

As well as caretaking for the building, being in charge of all the clean up and relations with tenants, we’ve been glad to host a few events throughout the week with those in the buildings. We’ve continued our Monday evening shared meal, and are glad that now around ¾ of the members in the building attend to share a meal together, talk about life, share in each others’ struggles, and offer support as a community to one another. As well Delia, a member of Little Flowers Community, has started a game time every Wednesday to get people in the building together. We’ve had tons of fun gathering around board games to share time together every Wednesday afternoon.

Another element of life in the building I’m glad has been developed more recently is our Emergency Suite. In our basement at Chiara House, we have a one bedroom size suite intended for use by guests of Little Flowers members, but also and especially for people who are in need of emergency housing. This is a huge need in a community like ours, where not only is there a housing shortage, but landlords and property managers can be less than kind to tenants, and many people of left on the street with gaps between housing arrangements. Our emergency suite offers a safe, comfortable place to stay while housing options are looked into for longer term. For many people who end up on the street, even just for short stints, often finding a safe place for the night, or work for the day to get into a better situation, can take up all their time, leaving them unable to find long term solutions to their lack of housing. It’s our hope that by providing short term emergency housing, we can at least guarantee a safe place to sleep, so people in that desperate circumstance can focus their resources into finding a better circumstance, instead of maintaining a bad one.

We’ve been developing the Emergency Suite for frequent use, and have already had a handful of guests stay with us, both friends of Little Flowers, and those connected through social resources who needed a place to stay. We of course face the inevitable kinks of figuring out how to make a setup like this work for both sides fairly, but those who’ve needed housing and gotten it have been incredibly grateful. A couple people have said staying at Chiara House short term has saved their lives and they were so glad to be able to stay.

Where We Are, Where We’re Going

Right now, Joelle is beginning her last year of school at The University of Manitoba, as well as working developing magazines here in Winnipeg for Fanfare Media Group. We’ve been caretakers at Chiara House for a year, members of Little Flowers for about two years now, and I look back on close to 5 years with YWAM from my first staff commitment in San Francisco. It’s crazy to look back on the years and consider where we’ve come from back then. My years in YWAM have been times of great opportunity to serve Jesus in spreading the message of the Kingdom, as well as meet and serve people I would have never seen or come in contact with without where I was. I’ve been eternally grateful to have been involved in all the capacities I’ve been in, from providing designed postcards to raise awareness of unreached peoples while in Colorado, to living among the poor and homeless in San Francisco, now to spending time in community with those in our neighbourhood here in Winnipeg. It’s been a crazy ride these past years.

With all this to look back on, and my two years with YWAM Winnipeg coming to a close, with the seasons changing, I’ll be officially leaving YWAM for the time being. Who knows what the future holds, but for now, this closes the chapter on a time in my life I’ve been incredibly blessed to experience, and so blessed by the support of those who’ve rallied behind me. Obviously, this isn’t an end to everything we’ve been doing. Jo & I are still caretakers at Chiara House, and continue to be support team members and involved with Little Flowers Community. As well, your continued prayers are always appreciated as we navigate this new season, as well as all the fun of permanent residency paperwork. Thank you all so much for being a part of this crazy ride!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Deep Winterpeg: The Peggonning -or- Our Winter Update!

Hello again from the West End of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada! Joelle and I have had a busy few months: transitions to new jobs, new studies, new positions, new roles, and a new place to live have made the months fly by. But now that snow is on the ground and our city is earning the nickname Winterpeg, we’re excited to be able to share all these changes with you!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

July 2014 Update: Chiara House, Mission Adventures, Little Flowers

It's summer again here in lovely Winnipeg, Manitoba. The fish flies have come and (hopefully) gone,
matrices of dragonflies flit through the air strategically catching mosquitos making them my best friends. It's another season working with YWAM Urban Missions Winnipeg, a whole new round of ministry experiences and future adventures to get ready for.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

February Update: Continuing On!

Hello everyone!

Greetings once again from wonderful, cold Manitoba. This has been a cold winter, hasn't it? We've had, what, two 'polar vortexes' now? Anyway, it's stayed a consistently cold -10 to -20°C here in Winnipeg, but Jo and I are keeping warm with everything YWAM, Little Flowers, and more.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Winnipeg Winters & New Horizons

A view of the YWAM location in Winnipeg, also home to Little Flowers community & Jamie and Kim, the base directors.

Winnipeg Winters

Winter's setting in here in Winnipeg and as I write this update it's -13°C/8°F outside, and inside the YWAM base on Furby Street it's significantly cooler then usual. It's just over two months since I began working with YWAM Winnipeg again after my internship this past March, and already I've been able to contribute to some great stuff. I recently finished designing a brochure for next year's Peace & Justice Internship to be emailed, and handed out to local churches and anyone interested. It's great to be up and at it again using graphic design to contribute to the ministry that's being done here.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Back Up and Going Strong!

Hello everyone!

It's been a long time of transition, and a little drought of writing lately as I've been starting up this next season of life. Joelle and I are settled into Winnipeg and I'm now a few weeks into my staffing with YWAM Winnipeg, getting used to the bike commute across town, and things are going great!

Working with YWAM Winnipeg

So, for those of you who don't yet know, I'm now on full time staff with YWAM Urban Missions here in Winnipeg. While you can read all about everything here on their website, I'll give you a little run down about what YWAM in Winnipeg is all about.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Looking Back: Reflecting with Gratefulness

It's hard to believe that it's already nearing the end of June 2013, when it seems like just yesterday the new year was beginning. This year, in January, I knew generally what was going to happen, I just didn't know exactly how everything would play out. Which is a world apart from these last few years. I knew in March I'd be beginning my internship with YWAM Winnipeg, and when it was over in May I'd be planing as much as I could of our upcoming wedding. I knew now, in June, it'd be just around the corner.

Going over immigration papers for permanent residence in Canada and recording all the places I've been since I was 18 for legal purposes, I was reminded how atypical this kind of year has been so far. It seems I bounced half way across America and back since my junior year of high school. In reality, I bounced all the way across America, then out, and up to Canada! I've couch surfed in Colorado, landed to help out with my talents in graphic design in Colorado Springs, drove on over to San Francisco and ended up spending over two years on staff with YWAM. Spent a few weeks here and there in Utah, occasional trips to Ohio; A lot of which over the 6 or so years since I was 18 I didn't know I'd be doing until a few months or weeks before. Funny what all some paperwork can remind you of.

It's been such a crazy journey. Such a crazy picture of God's hand in our lives. While it's true that nothing we do would be possible without God, it really shows when what your doing seems insane and all over the place. Well, I've landed now in Winnipeg Manitoba for now, and even that God has led me though safely. It's hard to live into ministry and write about it, feeling like your words will be mistaken as justification for what you've done, not thankfulness for what He's taken you though. We as Christians have been misunderstood this way many times, sometimes rightfully. But I can say, in all the things I've done, God has never been my justification, but has always been my provider; whenever I look back and think about all that's happened, I can't but thank a Creator for making the way safely and with provision.

As I look back on years passed, I also couldn't have done it without the help of my supporters, financially and prayerfully. If you've supported me financially, or in prayer, thank you so much for all you've been to me, as a support and a blessing.

Looking forward, my fiancé Joelle and I will be planning our wedding coming up mid-July. In the meantime, I'll be meeting with the directors of YWAM Winnipeg to see how I can help with them in their ministry starting in August. Your prayers and consideration would be greatly appreciated as we plan and figure out our future as a couple.