OK ... if you don't recall that powerful reference from the last update I sent out, it's an analogy to a high-powered sports car, getting stuck in deep mud, and the driver tries to stomp on the accelerator to get it out ... but instead, the car keeps digging itself deeper into the mud. The only solution is just to take your foot off the gas and let it pull out by itself. Similarly, with some of the delays we've experienced with The Lord's Rain, the only thing we can do is stop fussing about delivering MORE POWER to the engine and let the Lord -- Who's in charge of this, anyway -- work this out.
And that's been happening in the last week or so.
Barry and Brodie have been testing the water supply, now that the City has approved it, and on Saturday, the gang from The Oasis in Duncan descended on 327 Carrall Street for one final (for them) work blitz. Showers are walled-in, drywall is up, and a counter has been built for shaving sinks; a lot of other stuff has been installed, and now it just remains for a smaller work crew to finish installing the materials they've cut and left for us.
One of the reasons why this is probably the last time the Oasis will send a crew over is that they've acquired a new property for their church -- one much more visible than the Cowichan River Bible Camp, and hence will serve the Kingdom better. This means they're doing a LOT of work there, getting it ready. Pastor Brandon Wall -- son of Pastor Gerry -- says every time they do something for us at Carrall Street, their own project gets advanced. Go figure. Brandon, would you care to write out a testimony that we can post on the blog?
In any event, we hold the Oasis up in prayer, that the contributions they have made to this project -- financial, material, labour and all other things -- will be multiplied back to them, according to Luke 6:38 (Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.).
While the work was going on downstairs, things were happening upstairs, as well. Janet, a lovely woman of God who puts in a LOT of hours at Carrall Street, both supporting Barry's services (Sundays, Mondays and the Bible study on Wednesdays) and running her own movie night on Thursdays, took over my office. My office -- also the prayer room -- became the depository for clothing etc. (especially etc.), and I was starting to get the screaming meemies, trying to figure out when I was going to find the time to sort all the stuff. So when Janet asked if she could sort the clothes and stuff, they could hear the "YES!" over the power saws downstairs. We now have the clothes sorted by size, gender and type, the various donated soaps and shampoos (not to mention body wash, which will likely be reserved for the Friday ladies' night).
So we are definitely getting closer to Opening Day, and there are some specific contributions that would be welcome:
- clean underwear (men's and women's) and socks -- one of my neighbours has offered to pick up some on her next trip to Costco, and you might want to consider doing something similar on upcoming shopping trips: I would say Medium and Large would be the most in-demand among the men
- soaps and shampoos
- furniture for the outside area: chairs, a couple of tables, a couch
- a radio/CD player
- books and magazines -- Christian-oriented preferred
- I'll check with Kathleen The Towel Lady to see how "Towelmania" is going, and if we still have a great need for those, I'll let you know.
Had a chance to speak to a group of pastors from ACOP churches around the Lower Mainland last week: did the PowerPoint presentation for them, and bring them up to speed. One of the messages that's worth repeating is that the people we serve are not political footballs, symbols of social decline or crackheads who've brought it on themselves. They're us. And we need to remember that. When I see girls no older than my daughter (who's 16) wandering the streets, it reminds me how fragile our lives are, and at the same time how encouraging the Gospel is for reinforcing those fragile parts.
The ACOP support has come in a number of ways, not all financial, but all blessing. Charles Price, whose TV show is "Living Truth" from People's Church in Toronto, told an interesting anecdote this past Sunday. He was speaking at a Missions conference, and was asked if he'd close his presentation by encouraging people to go into the Mission Field. He refused.
Why? Because if someone goes into the Mission Field -- or any kind of ministry or occupation -- and it's not the leading of God, then it's wrong. Better to encourage people to find out what God wants them to do and then pursue that. I'll expand another time on how that's been true in my life, but for now, I'd just like to encourage anyone reading this to pray about how or whether God wants them to be part of this project. If the answer is "yes", then ask Him to show you what He wants of you. It might be a financial contribution ... it might be physical labour ... it might be to provide some of the furnishings we need (see above) ... and it might be just to keep holding the project up in prayer. Whatever it is ... if it's what He wants of you, that's what will bless this project the most.