This must have been how the first Christians spent their summer. We held the last in a series of Street Hope Barbecues. We had celebrated each summer holiday dining el fresco. Earlier this summer the sister of one of our core members gave us a barbecue for just such occasions and then John our helpful Home Hardware man gave us bags of charcoal. Others brought hamburgers, chips, pop and together we feasted on food and friendship, and just like the books says “when two or three are gathered in my name …” we had an honoured guest at the festivities. We changed the original time of 1 PM to 5 Pm and just as we began the gloomy sky cleared and we enjoyed the last rays of summer sunshine. Big d. said an eloquent and informal blessing. K. took over the grill and chaotic conversation ensued. It was wonderful. It was a foretaste of the festivities to come and a lovely way to end our summer and begin a new chapter.
We also had a wonderful time in our ‘house gathering’. V. expressed how little sleep she had got the night before. Her anxieties were particularly acute. She got up several times to make warm milk which often helps. Finally she did sleep for a few brief hours. When she awoke she found her Bible open to the Psalms, on the kitchen table. She had no remembrance of opening it but attributed the rest she had received to reading it. I asked the folks sitting next to her to touch her shoulders and pray for her to have a good night’s sleep that night. I was very pleasantly surprised when S. shot across the room to pray for her friend as well. The next day at the barbecue V. excitedly reported that she had got the best night’s sleep in a long time! We are all encouraged to see God working in our midst!
Another fellow S. has been regularly attending our Study & Prayer times. He has been unemployed due to so some surgery he had to repair his shoulder. We have been praying with him to find a new job. He has been disappointed in the past but the other night he called me praising the Lord. He got a new job! He was so excited and bursting to tell someone. I was touched and gratified that I was one of the people he would share this news with. Together we rejoiced.
Personally I have been enjoying the freedom that comes from no longer working for Corrections Canada but I have been able to keep ‘my hand in’ by volunteering with the new chaplain Rob Pittman. I continue to see guys from the half-way houses and I continue in relationship with the friends I have made over the years.
I won’t be writing next week. We will be travelling to Ontario to celebrate my mother’s life. But as I sit behind this keyboard today, I feel like a very blessed man.