I believe anyone who has spent any amount of time in the core area of the city where you live, or even passed through for any reason at all, you will have noticed increasing numbers of struggling, disenfranchised, homeless, hurting people hanging around.
In the extremely cold areas, such as the city I live in, the temperature has not been above freezing for all of February and with the wind chill has been around negative 25-30 F. quite often. When it is very cold there are warming stations available for those in need to go and hang out, such as malls, libraries, community centres.
This past Thursday night there were quite a few at the Community Centre where I volunteer, although not as many as some nights because various assistance cheques were available on Wednesday, so some went for a restaurant meal or were otherwise busy.
There were opportunities to sit and chat with a number of people in various situations, about life and things that go on in our lives. One middle aged fellow, Er, whom I have had the privilege of talking with and getting to know, admits he is getting worse. Er is depressed, anxious and negative about most things in his life. In looking at his life, from the human perspective, without taking steps to improve or change, things do appear negative. The room which he rents apparently is cold, damp and mouldy, therefore his health is deteriorating also.
Emotionally Er is losing all desire to live, and cannot keep his mind focussed on any one thing for an extended period of time. He admits that one of his major negativities is that he is not able to forgive himself of actions in his past. We have discussed that at length, and he does realize God will forgive him, but he can’t forgive himself, so that was another good discussion. Er is an eager listener and willing to hear what is said, so prayer is continued that he will come to the place to accept God’s total free forgiveness, forgiveness that God’s Son Jesus Christ paid the price for with His death and resurrection. In earlier years Er had a good job, house and a busy, productive life, but he has let all that get away. I am praying and trusting Jesus for a breakthrough in Er’s life, and he will have a number of healthy, joy filled years ahead.
JB is having greater, and more anxiety attacks recently. On Thursday night she had four in the space of 3 hours, where she collapsed onto the floor. Praying that she will breakthrough her fear and stubbornness, see a Doctor again and if the Doc says that meds will help, give them a try. She later told me that at times she is able to keep the attacks and herself under control so she doesn’t fall, and in open areas it does not happen either. It is at times difficult to understand why they happen in an area where JB knows she is cared for and loved, and not happen, or fought off in areas where she knows no one, or only a few who give her a hard time and abuse her.
Also had an interesting chat wth AA on Thursday night. I have known AA for 8-10 years, and he had been a user and abuser of many drugs, as well as alcohol during that time. His life is straightening around now, as he has been clean and dry for six months. One of the Outreach Groups in the area has asked AA to go to their location on Monday and fill out forms to be a street outreach worker since the change in his lifestyle has been noted. This is something he has been interested in as well. It is always good and refreshing to hear of a life being changed firsthand, and also to see the difference.
There were many interesting conversations and happenings during the open hours on Thursday. These are probably enough already.
For all who are willing, your prayers are appreciated for these and other friends, volunteers and staff and the Centre. Thank You.