One of the highlights of my week is to head out into downtown Ottawa on Thursday evenings. The anticipation of meeting up with old friends and the eager expectation of new encounters and relationships is truly an experience like no other.
No, I’m not referring to stopping into a “Cheers” like pub where everyone knows your name.
Rather what I’m talking about is being part of the OIM Outreach Team, dropping in to visit a demographic of our city commonly, though inaccurately, referred to as “homeless street people.”
You see, the friends and acquaintances I meet up with on outreach may not have a house or an apartment, but they do have a home; the streets of Ottawa and by the grace of God they have found family at OIM.
I am so thankful for God’s provision for my friends through OIM. Because of the “behind the scenes” planning and logistics and the generosity of OIM partners, each night we can go out onto the highways and by-ways and bring a blessing to our friends; whether it be a sandwich, a cold drink, toiletries or clean underwear.
Through these initial contacts I have had the opportunity to take some time and listen to their stories, who they are, where they came from, their hopes, their dreams and even their fears. You see, once you establish the trust that comes through sharing the love of Christ in a tangible way eventually there are opportunities to share the truth of what a relationship with Christ really means and, in due course, begin to restore their hope.