Joyska's Journal: November 2006

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The road less traveled

Well, I am home...

6 airplanes, 1300 Kilometers driving, 4 communites, 7 presentations, 3 dances, 1 snow storm that followed us, much wildlife, 1 province, 1 territory, 3 states, 6 different beds, all in 7 days.

That is my trip in a nutshell!

Our first adventure took us to Norman Wells, NWT where we were almost snowed in, but faithful Canada North airlines flies "as long as we can see the runway". So the snow plow went first, then we went. We then returned to Edmonton and drove 4 hours north to Trout Lake, and headed to Wabasca (Big Stone). In each place we did a multi media presentation (all on a slick computer complete with movie clips, commercials, music videos and interviews with the likes of Ted Nolan- NFL coach)

It truly was a great trip and I was glad to go. I was too busy to miss the prayer room or Hope City, but by Saturday (day 7) I was ready for the plane ride home.

Sunday night, Suzanne was back at my house as she prepared for her bus ride home. We sent her back to her family. She is very ill, with cancer all through her body, and the street is the last place she should be... so she is on her way west as we speak.

The "kids" (Stephanie, Will, and Puck) are doing well. They are getting a place in the beginning of the month and have for the last two weeks been in a hotel and in the homes of some of the Hope City team. It is so much our heart to have a place to do this with so many more. So to date, Ron, the "kids" and Suzanne are all OFF the street and finding warm places to sleep that they can call home... just in time too... winter is set to hit with a vengence tomorrow.

Today was a humbling experience for me. We were at the prayer meeting... Will, Puck, Stephanie, Barbara and Marsha as well as the rest of us... and all of us praying and with our Bibles open. Will found Psalm 6:8 through 7:5 and reads it out loud. Take a minute and read that scripture in the context of an 18 year old brand new Christian who is working hard to leave a life of drugs, crime, and perversion behind. It was so powerful, as he read it and prayed, thanking God that He hears his cries. It was another moment where I was sure that I was created to do what I am doing. The Lord has saved these one from the edge, and is doing a mighty work in all of them. Will is reading the Word for the first time in his life and is finding LIFE and COMFORT there.

Please continue to pray with us for these ones and many others. We know and are not niave to the fact that the journey is just beginning for them, and the hard part is still in front of them... but they are on the path, and they have found community, love, and acceptance as they fight to regain their destiny and dignigty. And all I can do is sit back and watch in wonder, praising God along the way!

Please also pray for Pat Bickle once again. He went into the hospital (ICU) this past weekend with no blood pressure and turning white. He is still in the hospital, doing better, but today was a rough day for him. His spirits are low, and he is not saying a lot, but he is alive, and they are working to figure out what the issues are. God, come and heal! We are longing for you to break in!

All right, I better go, the line is forming behind me.

I ordered my new computer yesterday and hopefully will have it in hand on Friday! WOO HOO!
Joyska at 6:14 PM

Friday, November 17, 2006

Canada Bound

I am heading to Canada tomorrow.

However... I'm heading to a very Northern part of Canada, not my home of Winnipeg.
I have been offered an opportunity to go and work with a company called "This NEXT Generation" which I have worked for in the past.

In the next 7 days, I will be in Alberta, in the Northwest Territories, on big planes, little planes, and on 4 different reserves. I'm excited to go, and it will be a significant change of pace. It will also help provide a significant deposit on a new computer! woo hoo!

Life here in KC has continued to be eventful. The work with the homeless has been awesome, heart breaking, and fun all at once. We have been hanging out with three younger ones (18, 21, 27) and have spent many hours hearing their stories, seeing where they have slept to stay out of the cold, and just getting a glimpse of what life on the street is all about.

They have also been getting a glimpse of our lives. Today we had them all at IHOP and ate lunch with them in the intern's cafeteria. One of them opened the Bible and was reading out of Psalm 118. He said it was the first time he had ever really read it, and the words were speaking to them. They all have Bibles now :)

It's such a challenge to see how much people are lost without God. The issues are so complex and drug addiction is terrifying, but without God's intervention it is a slow death. But God is breaking in. These three are seeing there is another way... there is another choice... and that choice is theirs to make. Right now they are seeing that people do want to help, that we want them out of the cold, that we are doing all we can to make that happen and for at least the next week that IS happening for them. God is moving on their lives and we are willing participants.

Earlier this week, we took these three out to Ronna's. At one point, we got some cereal as a "midnight snack" and they were excited about having milk on their cereal... and a glass of COLD milk to go with it. They were thrilled to have beds... and yet afraid they would roll off. And when I saw today, where they had been sleeping, I understood even more how much they have had to do to survive.

It's an honour and a privilege to know these "kids" as we call them. They are genuine at moments, liars at times, and always looking over their shoulders to see if we, like everyone else are going to hurt or abandon them. I get that. I also know that there is nothing we can do to save or for that matter change them. That is God's job. I do know, however, that God has called me and the others involved with Hope City to love and care for these ones (and many others)...

The very thing I wanted to do. :)

Sooooo... off I go to the great white North, and I will blog apon my return, unless of course I find access to the World Wide Web in my travels.

Hopefully within a week of my return, I will be writing to you from a BRAND NEW computer for me!!!
Joyska at 8:28 PM

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Updates needed

Not having a computer is crazy!

I do not like the communication breakdown of it. It has been harder for me than I thought it would be. I know that I haven't been too faithful at updating my blog and many "bloggable" moments have gone by and been missed. But God is so much bigger than my computer woes.

They did catch the young man responsible for the break ins and that has been great. People are breathing a little easier and yet the doors and windows are staying securely latched and bolted :)

There has been a lot going on. Some of our friends have been through the ringer and have taken us with them! The drama on the street is never dull that is for sure. Just because of holding stories in confidence, I really can't say more, but I would ask that you would pray for Frog, Michelle, Puck, Stephanie, and Will. Keep them close to your heart if the Lord so moves you. There is always so much happening and for whatever reason, God has us in the middle of it.

Yesterday, we brought Suzanne out to my place for the afternoon and then we all went out to Ronna's for a "girl's party/ team meeting". I think Suzanne is just SO amazing. Her story is so filled with pain, light, brokenness, and struggle. She came to my house tired, dirty and in some serious pain, not to mention hungry. So, she showered while I made Spaghetti and meatballs, got her some clean clothes,we ate, and headed over to the House of Prayer for a while. She loved it in there. It was so peaceful and she just sat and soaked in the worship and prayer.

After awhile, we went back to my place and I told her to pick out a movie (she really wanted to just lay on the couch under a warm blanket) and she made the most interesting choice. She chose "With Honors"... a movie about some Harvard University students who meet a homeless man.

It was strange and sureal as she was wrapped up in a heavy wool blanket, laying on my couch as I folded my baskets of laundry watching a movie that was basically her life. It did prompt an amazing conversation and helped us go to deeper levels of what her life has been, has become, and has the potential to be. She accepted the Lord a week or two ago (through MARSHA!!) and she is trying to live a life that honors Him even in the midst of her struggle.

Once we got to Ronna's it was a lot of laughter, a lot of food, and a wonderfully warm bed.

But I will say this... dropping her back off on the street (her choice to be with her husband) was one of the most difficult things to do. The Lord knows and sees however and once again, we trust that He is bringing us where we need to be.

Please continue to pray... mostly for discernment and for faith to stay the course as we encounter the difficult stories and the hard part of living life on the streets. Thank you for sticking with me in this journey. It is changing me.
Joyska at 11:06 AM

Friday, November 03, 2006

Life with Lisa is never uneventful

Lisa is the fearless leader of Hope City. When I joined with them about a year ago, I liked her from the start. Her life has been a testimony of what the Lord can and will do when we say yes to him.

However, lately... i think the adventures are getting a little on the crazy side.

What I neglected to tell you about Halloween night was that we were driving around the East Bottoms after meeting with the family because it is where Lisa grew up, and where she was taking us down a little "memory lane". Now you have to understand... I trust Lisa... a lot, and I have no issues with her driving like a maniac on the highways and byways that life with Hope City takes us on.

But I'm beginning to wonder.

We are driving in the dark, back behind the railroad tracks... And we hear the sound of the train whistle. Next thing I know... Lisa is gunning it across the tracks and I am staring down an oncoming train seeing my life pass by my eyes. I am in my head invisioning how to climb over Lisa and jump out the window as she is gleefully screaming "weeeeeee".

Connie, in the back seat, as we are on the other side of the tracks, says, "ah... the train wasn't even moving"

Yes, yes it was... and I am happy to still be here.

My time is up, although there is much more to tell about the funeral and the events following, but I must save it for tomorrow!

*PLEASE... do NOT try to beat a train....EVER! I'm still recovering :)*
Joyska at 11:40 AM

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Oh what a night!

What did you do on Halloween?

Well... I was in the "East Bottoms" with Lisa trying to meet with a family whose mom had been shot this past week. The East Bottoms are about as much of the "hood" as I have been in since my move to Kansas City. It's been an education to say the least.

Working with the addicted, the poor, the homeless, and the broken is not easy on your heart. I have felt many things over this week... Violation with the break in, betrayal as we have discovered some things about some of our friends downtown, sorrow for the brokenness of peoples lives, joy as we have had some amazing prayer meetings, and jubilation as Suzanne was led to the Lord on Tuesday by Marsha!

God is faithful in all things... even when we don't get it all the time.

A woman donated 50 bags that contained hats (toques), gloves, chapstick, and candy for us to handout to the homeless at the park on Monday. That was fun! Then Tuesday's prayer meeting was awesome. Running around downtown with Lisa was educational and hilarious, and I even got to spend some time with Pat Bickle.

Thank you for praying for him with us. He is home again and seems to be doing much better. When we were talking about him being healed, he said he "didn't want the 5 year plan, or even the 2 year plan" He (we all) want the 2 minute plan... COME LORD JESUS and heal!

My entries are going to be a little bit scattered over the next little while til I figure out how to replace my missing items. But I'll post when I can...

There is someone waiting for the computer in Higher Grounds even now as I type.

Joyska at 5:48 PM