Monthly Archives: September 2014

We’re on each other’s team

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A good friend and I often remind each other that “we’re on each other’s team”. By this we mean that we’ve got each other’s backs, we’re cheering for each other, and we believe in each other.

I’ve been noticing lots of examples of this around the Dale recently too:

A woman in distress came up to me and asked when the food bank would be open next. I didn’t know, off hand, but asked another community member who did. We’re on each other’s team.

A community member has a big dream to get his art out into the wider world. Erinn and I were taking him downtown to follow a potential lead, and another member from the community offered to come along for moral support. He also kept us laughing the entire time. We’re on each other’s team.

This same friend, who came along for the ride, has the daunting task of looking for a new housing situation. Another community member recently went with him to check out some possible apartments. We’re on each other’s team.

While we were on night time outreach last week, a dear friend who lacks any sort of stable housing told us “If you have any trouble, you come right back here and find me.” We’re on each other’s team.

A person who struggles with anger management, and has torn a strip off me way more than once, saw me parking my bike in Parkdale one evening. He asked me “Don’t you ever stop? You’re always on the go! You need to take a break! Go home and put your feet up!” Despite the fact that he sometimes seems determined not to be, in that moment he was on my team, and I think he knows that I’m on his too.

A friend recently came up with an entrepreneurial scheme to get himself out of poverty. He told us about it excitedly, and then yelled “Red rover, red rover, calling Jesus over!” I love that. As joking as he was being, I think he knows that there’s One who he really needs on his team.

I’m so grateful to be part of this wildly diverse, eclectic, beautiful and blessed team.

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For real

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Some of my favourite times at the Dale are the community prayer times during our service on Sunday afternoons. Here are some excerpts from an especially poignant prayer from a couple of weeks ago:

“Thank you Jesus for dying for us, and living for us, and praying for us, now!… Thank you for this community in Parkdale, where people are real!…We know that you love us, and we love you too… Amen.”

I am often struck by the real-ness of people in this community. Many of us don’t have the resources to cover up our brokenness, which results in a kind of authenticity that is often hard to find in our world of image-management. But it’s not just brokenness that is readily shared, it’s also honest opinions, joy, and affection. I’m thankful that, more often than not, I really know how my friends at The Dale are feeling at any given moment.

I’m thankful that my friend “Pete” was totally open about his grief when he heard that a friend is terminally ill. His openness made it possible for us to offer him support, the way that he offers support to us and many others.

I’m thankful that when I accidentally offended a friend, he let me know, and we were able to work it out. I was reminded of the importance of honesty and forgiveness.

I’m thankful for the way that another friend showed genuine, unmasked wonderment and awe at the sight of a very young baby, who came on outreach with us and his mom the other week. I was reminded that new life is truly marvelous, and should be marveled at.

I’m thankful to be in a community that is real. I, like the person who prayed that prayer, am thankful that God is real, and that Jesus really died for us, lives for us, loves us, and is praying for us… now.

Happy September!

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So, I took a break from blogging in August, and was also able take bits of the month off, away from my regular routine. I am very grateful for the rest and the adventures, and also happy to be back at The Dale!

Erinn and I marveled this week that we are nearing our 2 year anniversary as co-workers! Part of me can’t believe that I’ve already been at PNC/The Dale for 2 years, and part of me feels like I’ve been here much longer 🙂 In September 2012, I began working 20 hours/week at what was known as PNC, and 20 hours/week at Alternative Grounds (a cafe nearby). I am now up to 30 hours/week at what is now known as The Dale, and working as a nanny one day/week for a wonderful family. I feel very blessed to be surrounded by such a phenomenal group of financial and prayer supporters. Thank you for helping these past two years happen for us at The Dale! I look forward to seeing what God has in store for us all, as we continue the journey.

This first week back has been an encouraging one. Last July, a woman from the community gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, who was taken by the CAS a week later. Erinn wrote about this journey on her blog:

https://erinnoxford.wordpress.com/2013/07/17/a-new-baby/

and then

https://erinnoxford.wordpress.com/2013/07/23/heartache-and-hope-for-baby/

This woman has acted very courageously, working with the CAS to regain access to her daughter, Katie. Yesterday we received a visit from Katie (now 13 months) and her mom at our drop-in at the Salvation Army Thrift Store, and learned that they have been reunited! It was beautiful to see the hope in our friend’s eyes, and the heartfelt joy expressed by the community, including folks who are estranged from their own children. Please join us in praying for this little family as they start this new chapter together.

Another encouraging moment came yesterday as well, when a friend was finally able to contact a family member after trying for many months. He explained his current situation, and we were able to work together to assist him in taking some very practical next steps on his journey. So great.

So once again, Happy September! May these stories encourage you as they have encouraged me this week.