It is Tuesday morning, and another Tuesday night will soon be here. Tuesday night is my favourite time of the week, because that is the night that our R & R (Reclaim and Restore) Street Ministry team hits the streets of our Downtown area. We have a team that visits a couple of shelters in the core of the city, as well as meeting with friends along the street, and in a couple of places “Street People” hang out.
But, let me back up a bit. For many years the Holy Spirit had been encouraging me to prepare for what He had planned, and I looked forward with great anticipation, since He was setting it all up. About 8 years ago, in 2003, He opened the doors and said “The Time Is Now.” A few other likeminded people were guided by the Spirit, and R & R Street Ministry was started. Team members have changed over the years due to situations and people moving, but currently there are about 12 people who are reliable, and available most weeks. Besides the Street Team, there is also a 15 member Prayer Team. It is necessary to be covered in prayer at all times while in ministry, and our Prayer Team is a real blessing.
The ministry has grown to the point where we now use two wagons to transport the items we carry. Each wagon has a bin in it containing socks and hygiene items that are given out. As well, granola bars and hot dogs are given to friends who are met. In the colder weather, hot chocolate is also made up individually for each person, and in warm weather, cold bottled water is pulled in 6 thermoses on wheels, and given to those who are met. Also, bags of donated clothing, and toques, gloves, scarves are carried along and given out each Tuesday night.
Over the years, we have met many people who are homeless, living on the streets, sleeping wherever they find a spot. Others have a room in a house where they sleep, but do not spend other time in the house, and we see many people in the shelters. There are some who find a location, such as a bank lobby, to sleep in for a few hours, and others spend their night on a bench in various parts of the city.
The friends we have met know our schedule, and they come looking for us on Tuesday nights, if we are not at the location where they believe we should be at a particular time.
There are many opportunities to pray with people, and share the Love of Jesus Christ, without pushing anything at them. We share the Love of Jesus through actions and by showing that each person is valuable to us as well as to Jesus.
As the relationships with some of the friends we have met grew over the years, we get calls when they are disturbed, or going through various difficulties, or contemplating suicide. It is a tremendous blessing to be able to pray with someone, and see the Lord work in their lives, and give His Peace in the situation.
Since many of the friends met have been hurt by family and others many times, it sometimes takes a while to build a trust, but when they see the consistency of the team, since not one week has been missed since the ministry started, they know that they are cared for by each member. The friends met also realize that if they confide in one of the team members, what they share is not spread to others, unless they give permission for others to pray as well.
While on the streets, and in the shelters, it is a beautiful thing to see smiles on faces when they receive love and other items and know it is unconditional. That is the same way we receive the Love of Jesus, unconditionally, because we know we could never earn His Love.
I just thought I would give a small insight into how God is moving in this area, and how He is blessing. We who are part of the ministry receive greater blessings than we ever give out. Praise our Lord Jesus.