Raven – (Ottawa Innercity ministries)One cool Tuesday afternoon before the OIM Drop-in closed its doors, a man walked into the main room requesting a bottle of shampoo and hand soap. He was tall and dressed like a mountain man with his long dark hair and beard. He was wearing a long dark coat and wore wool toque(hat). He stood very upright. I will call him Raven. He walked right over to me and started telling a little about himself. He had a family and he was also a writer. He had written many books but they got lost in all his moving around. He hadn’t written for a long time, he told me. It was time to close up the drop-in, Raven thanked me for the shampoo and soap and then left. I watched him as he walked down one street and up another. Interesting man. My friend and I packed our things and headed for the parking lot where the car was parked. To my surprise, Raven was walking in our direction and then he turned down into an alley between two buildings. The alley was dark and narrow. By the time my friend and I finished packing up the car Raven had disappeared. I have seen him several times since then and he looks different every time he comes to the drop-in. He no longer stands tall and upright, he’s stooped over a bit. He does come in for lunch now and then sleeps until we close at 3 o’clock. He is not as friendly and is very apathetic. Such a contrast from the first time I met him. Raven is homeless. This man carries his house on his back and His home is anywhere he decides to drop his backpack.
I have to add this part….Raven sleeps with his head down on the table. One day, a lady that has been coming in for lunch was sitting at the other end of his table. She can walk but comes to the drop-in in a wheel chair. As I was cleaning up the tables she had asked if I would pray for her. She was experiencing a lot of pain in her back and leg. I put down my cleaning cloth and went over and sat beside her. She was a Muslim that turned to Christianity. She told me her story and then we started to pray together. This woman started weeping loudly. I looked up over towards Raven and I could see he had one eye open and had been listening to this woman’s story. Hoping next time I see Raven that I will have an opportunity to talk to him.
Hints of the sun’s rays were peeking through the darkness around 4:45-5:00 am this morning. Too early for me personally, but I needed to get ready for a busy day in the Capital City. I was used as a floater today so I worked everywhere. I found that many of those that visited us today were lethargic but very hungry! Toast & pastries, juice & coffee for a light breakfast and weiners & beans (a popular meal), salad and rolls for lunch. Two women came to see us for prayer and that’s just what we did…we prayed. One lady was diagnosed with lung cancer in both lungs and wasn’t offered any treatment for it. The other lady had severe pain in her lower abdomen. WOW! Another volunteer and myself listened to these ladies’ hearts as they talked to us and then we prayed with them. Next week we will follow up on the prayers and the two women. They left the drop-in smiling, feeling at peace with their HOPE renewed.