Haylee Holeman, Mississippi College
So, I'm into my third week here in Vancouver, and my team and I are beginning to find and embrace our places in the ministry here. Our supervisors, Victor and Candice, continue to encourage us, and we're having a blast getting to know them and The Point family more and more. This weekend was our first time spending intentional time with some of the Jovenes (yeah, this is Spanish but it's literally the only term I can think of to call them. It means single people in University or who are working here in Vancouver) from The Point. On Saturday, we had a group of them over to our townhouse to eat dinner and play Catch Phrase (a game that's kind of a mix of Taboo and Charades). We laughed for hours because many people we invited over speak English as their second language, so there was a lot of hilarious confusion over some of the terms. Example: one guy thought the word "shivering" meant "shaving." Our bonding extended into the next day when we went to English Bay Beach together, and we're already planning other things to do together throughout the summer!
The four of us are also getting more and more involved in the actual ministries of The Point. This past Sunday, we joined a group that led a worship service at a Nursing Home here in Burnaby (our little suburb of Vancouver). We sang and talked with some of the people there, and I met a really nice man from Venice, Italy. When I told him I had visited there before, we talked about how beautiful it is and he showed me pictures of his family. The Point goes to this Nursing Home every third Sunday of the month, so we will get to go one more time. :)
Last week, we had our first team come in from Brentwood, TN. My fellow interns and I, along with Victor and Candice, spent the entire week serving alongside them. We handed out socks to the homeless living on East Hastings (an extremely poor and drug-influenced part of town), weeded the SFU community garden, handed out free coffee and cakes to students and faculty, hosted a Mexican Fiesta themed party for the University graduates at The Point, and many other things.
Two activities stood out to me from last week with the team. The first was our visits to Hindu and Buddhist temples. Vancouver hosts many immigrants from Asia, so these two religions are pretty prominent here in the city. I had never been to temples dedicated to these religions before, so it was a completely new experience for me. Though Hinduism and Buddhism are very different, one thing connects them: the idea of doing good works to work your way up the ladder to either gain enlightenment or escape the cycle of reincarnation. While listening to the tour guides explain their processes, I felt an overwhelming sense of exhaustion and uncertainty. The idea of "hopefully we will do enough" was repeated over and over again, and it broke my heart. Ephesians 2:8-9 ran through my head throughout the day, and I'm so grateful that my salvation doesn't depend on my own works because goodness knows I would be in deep trouble if that were the case.
The second activity that stood out was Soularium. For those who aren't familiar, Soularium is using a set of pictures to start spiritual conversations with people. Basically, you have a set of cards with different photographs on them, and you and one or two others sit on the floor or at a table and see if people approach you to ask why you have a bunch of random pictures. You then proceed to ask questions such as "what three pictures would you select to describe your life right now?" and "What one picture would you pick to describe your view of God?" and ask them to explain their selection. The thing about Vancouver is that most people here aren't even thinking of spiritual things at all, so this is a good way to meet them where they are and at least get the wheels turning in their heads so they can begin evaluating their own beliefs. Between all of the groups, we had about 20 conversations and we even got a few people's contact information so we can continue the conversations.
As you can see, we have been doing a lot, but it definitely hasn't felt like work at all. Sure, we're exhausted, but I'm encouraged when I think about the lasting impact all of our work will have. And it seems like just when I'm getting the most tired, God brings about something good to make me smile. That happened this Sunday while we were at the beach. Mexico beat Germany in a World Cup game on Sunday, so I was sporting my jersey and feeling a bit homesick. But when we stepped off the bus onto the beach, I heard Mariachi music, saw Sombreros, and heard Mexican Spanish all around me. It seemed like all the Mexicanos in town decided to congregate on the beach and celebrate the big win, so I went and talked to many of them. I met some really cool people, and it was one of the highlights of my week!
Well, I hope you enjoyed this lovely little update. :) I'm going to finish off with a few prayer requests:
- Pray for stamina for my teammates and me because exhaustion is a real thing.
- Pray that we will continue to bond with the Point Jovenes and build friendships that will last past this summer.