Written by Wally and Leatta Loose
More than a year ago we heard Valerie Hopman speak about Monday Night Evangelism (MNE) and we both felt led to check it out. In our family we have had two grandchildren that have lived on the streets, one is still using drugs and living a lifestyle that is not by any means healthy, the other Praise God has taken treatment and is living a clean life.
So, we talked about it, prayed, and went to our first meeting at the Bridgeland Campus in March of last year, the enthusiasm of Val, Melinda, Mark, and the other volunteers was catching, with their compassion, their desire to spread the Gospel message, and just to help people living on the streets.
The Bible does not shy away from the difficult and unpleasant reality that some people have experienced terrible setbacks and hardships in their lives, even to the point of becoming destitute. The Bible recognizes that poverty, social injustice, homelessness, addictions, are real problems that have constantly plaque society, and to these Jesus spent a lot of time ministering.
After the worship and prayer session that night at the Bridgeland Campus, we joined them and went to the “Sidewalk Church” that they set up on 8 Ave. East. Yes, it was somewhat intimidating, and as two sheltered Christians we had really no clue how to interact with street people. Amazingly, they are just like us. Each has a story to tell and one thing that is very important is that we listen. Yes, they have all gone through difficult times and most still are, drug & alcohol addiction, unemployment, fallen between the cracks in society, mental issues, sexual abuse, and the list goes on and on. But all are created by God in his image, and worthy of salvation.
What surprised us was the attentiveness that they showed listening to the brief message given by one of the team, how grateful they were for the food, clothing, blankets, Bibles, and books that were given out, and how receptive they were to talking with us after about spiritual matters. We came away hooked. Over the past year, we have gotten to know many of them. Some are believing Christians that come each week for fellowship and prayer, some are still searching, but we greet each one to plant the seed, or water the seed, and God willing lead to salvation. Over the past year, we can see God’s hand moving.
Our whole view on people living on the street has changed. No longer do we shy away or look the other way when passing on the sidewalk, outside a Safeway store, or wherever. At times will stop and talk, ask if they are hungry, buy lunch and offer to pray with them. Most are very lonely, and just want someone to talk to. Many are on drugs and we just want to see that they are okay. 1 John 3: 17-18 (NKJV) “But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.”
Monday nights, this is our priority, and to God be the praise this ministry is growing from not only the Street Church, but teams go to the Drop-In-Centre, C-Train Station, University, Hospital, etc. The “Treasure Hunters” which Leatta loves, this is the back-alley ministry. We even now have a group that goes out Fridays to the North Hill mall. If you’re at all interested in this ministry, please check us out at Bridgeland Campus Monday evenings @ 6:30.