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When You’re Not on the Frontlines

As I’ve shifted into a new, part-time role at OIM - working almost entirely at home writing grants and focused on special projects – the thing I miss the most is interacting with our street community. Oh, there are ‘conversations’ that take place on Facebook and even the occasional direct message or two to long-time clients. But…it’s not quite the same.

What can replace having weekly, face-to-face conversations (no mask required!) that I’d become so accustomed to for over 12 years at our drop-in and at the office?

What can replace sitting across from ‘Mindy,’ sharing a meal, and reading a devotional together?

What can replace having a chess game (where I always lose) with ‘Danny’ who doesn’t find it easy to talk with anyone?

What can replace having an in-depth conversation with ‘Teddy’ about aliens and UFOs (always interesting!) that ultimately leads to a discussion about God and the meaning of life?

What can replace seeing a great big smile on ‘Matt’s’ face after he hands you his “11-years-sober” key ring, wanting to share his joy with you? (This past year, it will be 12 years of sobriety!)

Perhaps even our frontline volunteers and staff can relate to those things I miss, too, as masks and physical distancing continue to provide a buffer to more intimate conversation.

But am I despairing? Positively not!

For while I – and you – continue to adjust to our current circumstances, we also know that God works for the good of those who have been called according to His purpose (Rom 8:28).

And we know – or at least we ought to! – that we each have a valuable role to play at Ottawa Innercity Ministries: whether we are praying over the Matts, Mindys or Teddys of the ministry through OIM’s Monthly Prayer Calendar, whether we are preparing a meal for the 30+ youth in the art program, whether we are dropping off much-needed canned goods, socks or toiletries at the office, or stuffing envelopes for our mail campaigns (onsite or at home), or whether we are supporting the ministry through regular monthly donations…

Wherever we are serving, you – and I – play a critical role in supporting the kind of consistent care, compassion, and lasting Good News to those in downtown Ottawa that OIM has been known for in the span of over 35 years. Whether we are on the frontlines or behind-the-scenes, our support matters!

~Jelica, Research & Promotions

For more information on how you can serve behind-the-scenes, contact our Volunteer Coordinator, Brian: or call our office, 613-237-6031.

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