A week ago Vancouver looked like a winter wonderland. We had a huge dump of snow. But it's all gone now and today we have sunshine! That's rare in these parts this time of year.
The Women of Hope house is a beehive of activity these days as we are busy preparing for Christmas. For the past couple of weeks we have had crews of helpers coming in on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings - and whenever we can get them working - to help us wrap the thousands of items that will be going into the 700 Christmas gift bags we will be giving out in the next couple of weeks. Tonight the first bunch will be going out to the women at Alouette Correctional Centre. Elsie and I are members of M2W2 which is a Christian organization that matches prisoners with a visitor and also promotes and facilitates restorative justice in order to bring healing and reconciliation to prisoners and their victims. The women love our parties, and they also love receiving the Christmas gift bags which are loaded! For many of them it's the only Christmas present they will receive. Tomorrow night we will be doing the same again at Homestead, a women's treatment centre run by Salvation Army.
Other folks that will receive a gift bag are those that attend our Christian Twelve Step meetings, many of them men who are in treatment for addictions at the Union Gospel Mission, and folks who join us for our Sunday dinners at the house, Immanuel Church (our church plant), and drop-in times at the Salvation Army Community Services building nearby. But, I am most excited about going carolling on Christmas Eve in the downtown east side area of Vancouver; that's the area known as skid row. We will be sharing the love of Jesus and giving out Christmas gift bags to the people who live on the streets down there, most of whom are addicted to drugs and/or alcohol. Our hearts' desire and our prayer is that receiving these gift bags will remind folks who need to know, that there is a God who loves them and cares about their lives. He cared enough to send His Only Son to become one of us, so that He could save us from the darkness.
Please pray, especially for the folks on the streets, that they will see the Light shining out of the darkness, and that, if nothing else, a seed of hope will be planted in their hearts.