Sunday, April 29, 2007

Pomp and circumstance

Vancouver's Trout Lake Park
It's been a wild week here at the Women of Hope house. We've gone from prayer to laughter to tears to anger to peace to fear to joy...and on it goes. Please keep us in your prayers, especially Connie and Lisa who are having some difficulties adjusting to life here and to living life together under the same roof. The enemy would love to convince them to leave or to relapse.

I'm so happy to be here that I thank God every night when I go to bed. Even though there are difficulties and challenges that come with living in community, and even though I am busy from morning through till late at night most days, I am excited. I know that God is going to grow me in ways I probably can't even imagine. The plan is for me to take over more and more of the responsiblity of managing the house and discipling the women. I'd be very grateful for your prayers; I am a person who does not have a strong administrative gift and so there are many challenges as I try to organize my time and to remember the weekly house routines and the duties I am expected to perform.

I am becoming niew aware of just how self-centered I still am and how little time I spend thinking of the needs of others. Lord, help me to learn to put others' needs before my own. Thank God for Elsie, our director, and her patience. She's an incredible woman of God and to be honest I can't even aspire to be like her. She accomplishes so much in one day it seems humanly impossible - and she does it all with an attitude of love and grace. She always has time for those who come needing a hug or a chat, and she deals with every emergency that comes up (and there's one every day here) without getting into a flap about it or feeling frustrated and resentful that her sermon preparation time is being stolen - yet again.

I read somewhere recently about the incredible power of two made one. It was a passage about how when we have Christ with us and in us, we can accomplish things that would normally be impossible. I guess there's a lot more of me that needs to be killed - crucified with Christ. William Booth, the founder of Salvation Army said that a person's usefulness to God was equivalent to the measure of his/her surrender. Lord, I surrender all that I am and ever will be to You. Help me to be more like Jesus in every way. I ask this in Jesus' Name.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

New face

We have a new face around the Women of Hope house. Lisa has come to live with us. So far she is fitting in very nicely, and she is devoted to God. Lisa has some health issues such as asthma and depression. Would you lift her up in prayer, along with the rest of us? (Connie, Mabel, Mun Hee, Lorna, Elsie, Lisa and me!) Thanks!

Here's a photo I took today while walking in our neighbourhood. There's a spring storm in the sky in the background.
And here's a beauty that was taken by my son Jeremy who is a photographer ( You can see some freighters in English Bay and the North Shore Mountains in the background. Oh, the splendour of spring and the extravagance of God's creativity! Once my love affair with the spring flowers and their colours wears off I'll have to try to remember to take some pictures of the house and its occupants.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is Freedom

Not surprisingly, the most popular song of praise among the women who attend chapel services at the federal prison is "Freedom" by Michael Larson (an Abbotsford resident actually). If they had the choice we would sing that song every Sunday - and that's pretty much the case. Today I drove to Abbotsford to lead the chapel service because the chaplain took some time off for a much needed rest. I prepared a message and picked songs and practiced them, among them was "Freedom" (thanks to those who prayed for me). Only one woman, Alice, attended the service today, but it was worth driving out there just for her. She loves to sing praises to the Lord and she wanted to hear my message, so I preached it just for her. Then we spent some time praying together. Alice suffers with terrible lower back pain that causes her to have to walk with two canes. The pain is so bad that it actually wakes her up at night. On top of the back pain and its crippling effects, she recently had a terrible bout of flu as well. She told me about how she is learning to come against the pain and the sickness in her body through prayer and by reading the Word of God. One night she woke up in terrible pain at 3:30 a.m. and decided that instead of giving in to the pain she would read her Bible. She fell asleep after reading a while and slept like a baby until 9 a.m.; her scripture reading took her focus off the pain and filled her with the peace that passes all understanding.

Would you lift Alice and her back problem up to the Lord in prayer with me? I laid hands on her back today and asked Jesus to place His hand of healing on her. I asked Him for a miracle. It would bring Alice joy and hope to know the healing touch of Jesus while she is in prison, and I believe that He will respond because He loves to show His love and care to those who seek Him. Will you agree with me in prayer? This is my prayer for Alice tonight:

I pray that the eyes of (her) heart may be enlightened, so that (she) will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places (Eph. 1:18-20)

Lord, I pray that You would demonstrate the greatness of Your power in Alice's life - the same power that raised Jesus from the dead - as you bring healing to her back and to her emotions. Help her to rest in You, even though her future and her parole date are uncertain at this particular time. I pray that her heart will be enlightened so that she will know the hope of Your calling and the riches of Your glorious inheritance. Please fill her with Your peace and give her favour with the parole board. Thank You that You live in her and that her life is in You. I pray in Jesus' Name.

Saturday, April 14, 2007


My heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God. (Ps. 84:2 NASB)

Psalm 84 speaks to my heart today. I feel as though I am rejoicing with all of creation as the city of Vancouver displays the splendour and beauty of spring. I took the photo above during a walk in the neighbourhood today. The sun is shining and the birds are singing and frolicking in the trees that are putting forth blossoms and new leaves. The daffodils and tulips are filling the landscape with a myriad of vivid colours and the grass is growing. It's a great day to be alive and dwelling in the house of the Lord!

How blessed are those who dwell in Your house! They are ever praising You. Selah. (vs.4)

I'm feeling blessed to be a part of this growing ministry called Partners In Hope. We are going to be expanding and opening a second residence for the women who are moving towards independence. I will remain here in the first house which will be the "entry level" house, and the job of managing this house and discipling the women who come to live here is being given to me. We have another "missionary" working here now, Mun Hi, from Korea. She is a sweet natured woman who models servanthood and the second greatest commandment, to "love others as you love yourself", for all of us. There will be a new resident arriving at the house in a few days. Things are always moving and changing here; that's one of the things I like about being here.

For those of you who have been praying for Connie, she is doing amazingly well. She continues to grow in her relationship with the Lord and is becoming more and more sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit as He guides her and teaches her and corrects her. She has finished her personal study of Romans and is planning to study the letter to the Ephesians next. She struggles occasionally with submitting to authority - that's true of every recovering addict, including myself sometimes - but all in all she's making amazing progress and is filled with gratitude that the Lord has rescued her and brought her here to the Women of Hope house. She talks regularly about being surrounded by "godly women" and what a difference it has made in her life and recovery journey.

The food co-op workday and delivery day was yesterday. We have people from all over the city coming to help us, and most of them are people we minister to through the food co-op, Immanuel Church (our street church) or the Christian Twelve Step recovery meetings we hold in the skid row area of Vancouver. It's wonderful to work shoulder to shoulder with them, to eat a meal with them and to share laughter, conversation and prayer.

Thanks for continuing to pray for us. I would be especially grateful if you would lift up my personal finances. I am still responsible for raising my own support. I pay room and board here at the house and do not receive any sort of stipend; I am considered a missionary. My funding has fallen off recently and at the present time I am indebted to Church Army. I trust with all my heart that God will make up the deficit and provide for all of my needs. He's certainly proved His faithfulness to me in the past and I have no worries or doubts He will continue to be faithful in the future.

May you be blessed today!

O LORD of hosts, how blessed is the man who trusts in You! (vs. 12)

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

God's hand

It's so wonderful to see God's hand at work among us! Today I had to go and pick up some personal items from a Vancouver homeless shelter for a woman who has recently been incarcerated at one of the prisons we visit and as I was telling the staff who I was and why I was there I heard a woman shout my name. I turned and there was Rose, a girl from Abbotsford whom I had befriended and ministered to while I was there. She's recently located to Vancouver and is staying at the shelter. This was truly a case of God bringing us together because just five days ago, from the window of one of the Partners in Hope vans, Connie (who is also from Abbotsford and is now staying at the Women of Hope house with us) saw Rose on the street in the skid row area. I wondered how on earth we would ever be able to get in touch with her, but God had a plan! It's pretty amazing that in a city the size of Vancouver I would stumble upon her five days after Connie told me she'd seen her on the streets. Thank You, Lord! I invited Rose to come and visit the house, and I hope that she will make it for our weekly Sunday dinner so that we can get her connected to the help that she needs and bring her into the "family" circle where she can receive the love and support she needs.

Connie is doing so well! Thanks to everyone who's been praying for her. She really "gets it" now, and the Holy Spirit is at work helping her to understand with her heart the Bible passages she reads. Besides all the Step work and Bible study and discipleship we are doing with her at the house, all on her own she has begun a study of the book of Romans! She's a curious and intelligent woman and God's hand is evident in her life and recovery journey. I'm convinced that He's going to raise her up and send her out to help others. That's her heart's desire.

Prayers for Rose and Connie - and me! - would be greatly appreciated.

In Christ,

Monday, April 9, 2007

Easter and new life

Thank God for Easter and for new life and new beginnings. It's been a harsh winter in many ways, most of them not related to the weather. But as always, God is faithful, and although I've had to surrender my need to understand many things lately, I fully trust that He will work all things for the good of those who love Him.

I'm excited and blessed to be a member of the Partners in Hope team. There is so much work to be done and there are so many opportunities to minister to so many people! I'm also grateful for the support and love of the women who have welcomed me into community with them at the Women of Hope house. I felt that God's timing in placing me among them was, as always, perfect. He knew that I would need to be surrounded and supported and lifted up.

The move from Abbotsford to Vancouver is finally complete, although I still travel back and forth at least twice a week, once to minister at the Fraser Valley Institution (the regional federal penitentiary for women), working with the chaplain and assisting with the chapel services. She is trusting me to lead the next service on my own. Prayers would be appreciated, especially in regard to leading worship with my guitar. I'm a little nervous about that.

It would take too much time to go into all the types of ministry I'm involved with through Partners in Hope, but you can read about them by going to And in the upcoming weeks I hope to continue to write updates and praise reports about what God is doing among us. There are already so many stories!

I'll be sending out a snailmail newsletter soon. If you're not already on the mailing list but would like to be, please contact me at and send me your mailing address. Thanks to those who continue to hold me in prayer. I am forever grateful for your ministry to me.

May the joy and the power of Easter bless us all for many weeks to come.


PS: I accidentally deleted my other blog, so this new one is another new beginning. The old has gone the new has come! It will take me some time to get this one set up with links etc., but while it's under construction I will continue to post updates. Thanks so much and may the Lord bless you for taking the time to come here and read what I share.

In loving memory of Carole

L-R: Debbie, Carole, Catherine at Chilliwack River summer 2005

It's difficult to write about this sad news in an email and send it out to all my prayer partners and so I've chosen to share in on my blog instead. I'm so thankful for your prayers for Carole; it saddens me to share that she took her life on March 24th. Carole was suffering from severe depression and she reached a point where she just could not bear the pain any longer. I'm thankful for the assurance that Carole is with the Lord now, and that she finally has the peace that she was seeking.

I'm grateful to God for Carole's friendship and feel privileged to have known her, even if just for a season. Carole was a gifted intercessor and a blessing to everyone who knew her. She was always eager and faithful to lift up to God the worries and concerns of her many friends and family members, and when she gave a word of knowledge you could trust that it was trustworthy and true. Carole loved the women, and the men, on the streets of Abbotsford, and would take them out for a meal or to buy a new pair of shoes whenever they approached her for help. She would often be seen standing praying with one of them on the street, reminding them of God's great love for them and His plan for their lives. Her hearty laughter and her hugs will be sorely missed by many people who knew her.

The saddest thing about Carole's passing is that her children and grandchildren have to go on without her. Would you join me in praying for Carole's children, Jonathan and Andrea and their families. Thank you.

Lord, I lift up Carole's children and grandchildren up to You. I pray that You would enfold them in Your loving embrace, that You would comfort them and give them Your assurance that Carole is safe in Your presence now. Fill them with Your peace, Your courage and Your strength and bless them and protect them always. I ask this in Jesus' Name.

Jesus Comforts His Disciples
"Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also."