Monday, July 30, 2012

Seeing God Everywhere

I want to see God who gives gifts in hospital, and gravesides, and homeless shelters, and refugee camps, and in rain falling on sunflowers, and stars falling over hayfields, and silver scales glinting upriver, and sewage flowing downriver. Eucharisteo is everywhere and I want to see eucharisteo everywhere, and I want to remember how badly I really want to see.
How badly do I want to see?
On Friday evening this past week, our family participated in a Sandwich Run with an organization called Project417 where we distributed bagged lunches to people who call the streets home. I wasn't at all prepared for what I was going to see... today, it is three days later and I am still shaken!

Putting together sandwiches...

We started the afternoon off by driving to pick up juice boxes donated by someone from our church... juice boxes that will go into the lunch bags we're preparing for the Sandwich Run.

Then we headed home where my kids and I put together 80 bologna and cheese sandwiches. We packed them in coolers and our whole family headed downtown to meet a few other families from our church!

Putting together the lunch bags...

In the middle of a downtown parking lot, we put together the lunch bags... one sandwich, a juice box, an apple and a granola bar. Then we headed off to meet the person who would take us on this Sandwich Run.

He drove us around the downtown core. One of our stops was beside the Gardiner Expressway, an elevated highway, running above Lake Shore Boulevard.

The Gardiner Expressway
Our guide parked the van and asked two or three of us to get out and walk with him. As we started to cross Lake Shore Boulevard on foot, I remember wondering where we were headed as there were no homeless people in sight.

We kept walking underneath The Gardiner... on muddy ground with overgrown weeds... until we got to the point where the on-ramp to The Gardiner from Lake Shore Boulevard intersected.

Our guide poked around underneath the on-ramp... and at this point, I could start to smell the odour of urine. Not too long after, out came a person from underneath the on-ramp. Friends, a person!

As my hubby and our friend from church started handing out lunch bags, I just stood there frozen. Literally not being able to believe or process what I'd just witnessed. There are apparently seven individuals in there... this place is their home! We later learned that these people live in this place... all year long, even during the Winter months!

Walking back to the van was tough... I could hardly contain my tears. Such injustice, such atrocity... in a city as affluent as Toronto!

The next few stops took us around the streets and parks of downtown Toronto where we met dozens of street-involved folks. Very quickly, the 80 lunch bags we brought were gone! We could have easily given out 20-30 more bags. It was truly an eye-opening experience.

Where is the gift here? Where is God?
Well, friends... I am grateful for organizations like Project417 and places like The Salvation Army Gateway {one of the other stops on our route} for their commitment to being Jesus’ hands and feet to people who call the streets home. Our family is encouraged by the work that these organizations do and we count it a blessing to be able to partner with them in any way we can!

As I continue to count grace-gifts, with a grateful heart... for gifts from a God who is always good... these are the things I am thankful for this week... #1495 - #1501:
:: That God continues to break our family's heart for the things that break His.
:: More momentum building for Eucharisteo: A Celebration of Joy... as we dream big and pray lots!
:: My boy's fresh haircut! :-)
:: Learning from a group of fellow Compassion Advocates during a training session over the phone this week.
:: Dinner out and catching up with a great friend!
:: A lazy Saturday spent at home.
:: The opportunity to share our family's story as part of the Ordinary Radicals teaching series at church. {A huge *thank you* to everyone who supported me through prayer as I stepped out of my comfort zone to do this. Friends, you have no idea how much your prayers meant to me! This introvert sister-friend of yours is forever grateful!} 
Happy Monday, friends!
May you be looking forward, as I am, to a new week of seeing God in the every detail of your every-days!
That is what I am made for - to give Him more glory. More eucharisteo, more. And not only yesterday. But today - Manna today or I starve.
Let's soar into this new week together, friends... let's do justice, love mercy and walk humbly!

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Compassion is a command, an act of worship, a song of thanks to Him.
Do justice. Love mercy. Walk humbly with God!

10 comments:

  1. Hi...we are neighbors today @ Ann’s...thank you for sharing this story...I just listened to CHristine Caine...challenged by all this today...I pray God continues to open my heart and mind see with His eyes today. blessings to you~

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  2. What a great way to involve the entire family in service! Thanks for sharing!

    Mary Beth

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    1. Hello Mary Beth... yes, we always involve our whole family when we serve. In doing so, it's become a natural and organic thing for our children.

      Thank you for dropping by today!

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  3. Thank you for sharing this! You have hit on the very thing which the next generation of the church has to take hold of with both hands - not only to share life with the poor, but advocating with them that the inequities/inequalities between rich and poor diminish rather than continue to grow.
    'Blessed are the poor...theirs is the kingdom'.
    God's kingdom advances in and through them. Our advance as Christians anxious to do God's will has everything to do with our doing life with them!

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    1. Hi JD. Thanks for dropping a comment on here today... but, most of all, thank you for being such an encouragement with your blog at www.homelessguide.com

      You open my eyes each day to the plight of the homeless right here in our own city! God bless you as you continue to serve Him!

      I love what Jesus teaches us in The Beatitudes! It is currently our teaching series at church this summer. I participated in Week #4 of this series... if you'd like to check it out, you can find it here: http://www.themeetinghouse.com/teaching/archives/2012/ordinary-radicals/part-three-power-5274

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  4. Stopping by from Ann's and so grateful to find you and hear your story--seems God continues to show me the least of these lately- your blog was just a "holy echo" for me. I'm grateful- love the way your family is serving together. This "thanks" is my prayer too---:: That God continues to break our family's heart for the things that break His.

    Blessings from a mom of five in Iowa!

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    1. Hello Alicia. Thank you for visiting today! I'm glad that you've been encouraged by the words you read on here... I am humbled, His grace indeed is sufficient!

      Blessing to you as well!

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  5. Thank you so much for sharing! Wow! I have heard great things about project 417. I appreciate you more than you know. I am here counting gifts with you.

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    1. Thanks for your friendship and your encouragement, Teena!

      Yes, great organization! I thought they're local to Toronto... glad to know that you've heard about them too where you are!

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