June 12, 2018
I've now spent 6 full days in another country. I'd like to believe that I'm full of vision about what this journey might lead to, but instead of thinking about myself, I find myself mostly thinking about this city and the people that inhabit it. I would not describe Vancouver as a melting pot of immigrants, but I would describe it as a congregation of many people groups. (Melting pot implies that each group has meshed into one group with similar ideals).
Having traveled a lot, I can resoundingly say that I have found Vancouver to be one of the most gorgeous places I've ever seen. It can be described as a temporal rain forest (because it rains 9 months out of the year), and even though it has been chilly, I have found the city and the lush mountainside to radiate God's beautiful handiwork.
Despite the beauty of the world around the city, the people of greater Vancouver are largely unsaved. The International Mission Board has listed this area as being 'unreached' because only 2-3% of people are connected to a church. That's where my job comes in! I'm working with the Point Church and the Interfaith Centre on Simon Fraser University's campus to connect the local community with the church and to build bridges between people.
So far, I've learned the city's transit system, put up posters around the city for three sports camps, set up church on Sunday, and prepared for a volunteer team to come next week. They'll be here helping the Point as well. I've made some connections with locals and I look forward to continuing to build relationships.
(I got off track a bit). I'd like to go back for a minute and explain why I'd describe Vancouver as a City of Dreamers. This city is a port city (huge entrance to North America from Asia) and is not primarily populated by Canadians. The main people group found inside the city are the Chinese people. They are some of the hardest working people I have ever seen. They are the dreamers. They've come from China to either go to school or to find a better life. They're working hard every day to achieve their goals. In fact, I've been inspired by how hard working most of the city is.
However, there are parts of Vancouver that aren't inspiring. This city has a huge drug culture and sex trafficking industry (both of which are largely un-talked about). East Hastings, a street in downtown, is primarily filled with the homeless. Drugs are everywhere and it's a bit terrifying. To tell a little story, I went into a coffee shop bathroom near East Hastings. When I went in, the lights in the bathroom were blue. I had heard that blue lights are used to find veins in a drug addict's arm. This is because it's easier to see veins in your arm under blue light. Needless to say, I got out of the bathroom very quickly, and I was more than a bit rattled. There are also blue lights on the buses. Despite the addiction problems of the Vancouver homeless, they are almost always the most receptive towards the gospel. Sadly, they are often the afterthought of the working people and are ignored. I'm looking forward to next week, because we will be passing out socks to the homeless on Hasting Street. I'm hoping to share the gospel with many of them.
God's been teaching me so much here already. I've had to work on my patience with people, due to the language barrier, and learn to work better as a team with my roommates. They've all been fantastic. On Sunday, God reminded me that my sole job is to be focused on running this race for Him and Him alone. It's not for my parents (although I love them); it's not for a future job (although important); it's not for friends or eventual marriage. God has designed me to run after Him and to share the Gospel with people around me. That's the only thing that truly matters.