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June 26th, 2020

Our lives have been turned upside down over these last couple of months! In April I was supposed to go with the Discipleship Training School to Nepal and serve the local church there. I had thought that by now our team of students would be back. We would have been filled with memories, exhausted from travelling, and proud of the impact we had.

But none of this happened.

Instead, Covid-19 spread, plans changed, and four months later I am still trying to adapt to this new ‘normal’. Physical distance, online meetings and helping at the front lines through volunteering.

It has been a challenge in these times to be faithful to the call I’ve been following. The call to work with YWAM and serve Vancouver. But how can we reach out to people and share the love of God if we are not able to go out and meet people? The essence of our mission was interrupted and cut short.

That is why I love to be able to volunteer with organizations within our city, who are focused on feeding the poor. One particular organization, called City Reach, contacted YWAM Vancouver and asked for volunteers so several of us including myself stepped up to fill the need. City Reach is a free and nutritious food bank in East Vancouver. Before Covid-19, they served families and seniors but they have expanded their client base in response to the pandemic. As volunteers, we help put together bags of groceries, hand them out to the guests, and build relationships with the guests. This is hands-on work, a true form of loving your neighbour.

CityReach, Food for Families program. Taken last summer before the Covid-19 pandemic.

I am reminded of Jesus speaking about His own mission. In Matthew 20:28 He says, “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give His life as a ransom for many.” I like to see the act of packing bags of produce and meals and handing these out to others in need as an opportunity to serve them. I would like everyone who receives a bag of groceries to know that I am not doing this for myself to be praised but to point to the One who is worthy of all praise. Jesus came to serve, and so I want to imitate Him and serve as well.

If I am honest, I am not explaining my motivations for doing this and having deep conversations about my beliefs and who Jesus is every time I hand out a bag of groceries. Yet I know that the opportunity to go out and interact with people and serve is an essential part of my mission. Showing up every week builds relationships with other volunteers and the guests who receive the groceries, and investing my time and effort into those relationships is worth it especially when the conversation goes beyond the “how are you?” I love when that happens.

Jesus lives in me through His Holy Spirit and He sends me out to serve others. The question is: am I willing to act on it and go and serve? When we could no longer go to Nepal, I could have stayed stuck in my disappointment and unmet expectations. But that wasn’t what God was asking me to do. I will serve Jesus wherever I am and in whatever circumstances I find myself in.

Check out City Reach's website for more information about their programs.

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