Joyska's Journal: May 2008

Sunday, May 25, 2008

God says give, right?

I have throughout my life not been afraid to give things away. In fact, I enjoy giving things away. A number of years ago, when I started attending WCV (Winnipeg Centre Vineyard) I had to grapple with giving in a whole new way. When the church was still located on Burrows, there was a large group of people who would pan handle and ask for money as all the good Christian folk were coming into or out of services. We learned to not carry cash to church. But I remember always feeling bad about that and wondering why I didn't want to help these ones who so obviously had much less than I.

I knew that often they would use whatever money they were given and use it on addictions or other inappropriate behaviours and didn't want to assist them in their addiction. Or at least that is what I told myself. Then, I read a passage in Matthew, somewhere in the Sermon on the Mount (don't have my Bible close by to give you the exact spot, and besides, it's good to search the scriptures hehehe) where Jesus says "Give to those who ask of you, expecting nothing in return" The way I read that is that I am to give, when I have it, and not worry what they are going to do with it. It doesn't read give to those who will use it wisely. So for the most part that is how I try to live.

I find myself once again in a neighbourhood where there are a lot of needs and a lot of people who want money from me. When I'm waiting at the bus stop, when I'm downtown, when I'm at the cornerstore buying something... they are right there asking for money. The other day, a man came up to me while I was coming out of a store in my neighborhood. He told me where he lived and why he needed the money. He claimed that they had just moved into the neighborhood, that their car had broken down and he needed to get back to where they were from because his daughter was in the hospital there. He sounded sincere, and as he spoke I felt likeI needed to help him out. So I did. I gave him some money and he was on his way. I didn't even think about it again.

Well, tonight, coming out of the same store, he was there again. I was wearing different glasses, had a different hair style, and was once again approached with the same story. I let him finish and then simply said, "I already helped you out a few days ago." He looked at me, turned around quickly and ran down the street. At first I felt "betrayed" and ripped off in some way, but then I realized that I had done what I was supposed to do. The Lord tells me to give, and somewhere else he says "judge not, or you shall be judged by the same measure". Give, don't judge.

Common sense would say, be wise and don't trust, but that isn't what I read in Scripture. I'm writing this to convince myself more than to state a case. I don't always get the why's, but I'm learning that that isn't the point anyway. God says give... don't judge... and I believe He also says "lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him." Can't get any clearer than that.

Does that mean I should have given this guy MORE money? I don't think so, because this time I could call him on his deception, and had he stuck around, I might of asked him what he was really using the money for... not in judgement, but in genuinely wanting to help him in a better way. Or, maybe I'm still required of the Lord to give. That is the question that I wrestle with. I'm to forgive "Seventy times seven times" and it doesn't say give once, judge later.

This is where I go to yet another Scripture in James that says "if you lack wisdom, ask for it" So Jesus... wisdom is needed, and I'm asking for it! Even if it rattles my common sense.
Joyska at 9:30 PM

Friday, May 23, 2008

missing the late nights

Early mornings have never been my favourite thing. Mostly because I tend to be a night owl. I love staying up late and watching movies, or just reading, and hanging out. My current job, and my seemingly constant sicknesses over the last few months, has changed that. I found myself going to bed at 9:30 yesterday, and being wide awake at 4:00 am. There were days not too long ago, that I didn't go to sleep til 4:00 am and slept until 9:30 or later. It's funny how those things turn around.

I miss my late nights though. I used to say that my most creative times were between 2 and 4 in the morning. And they were! I wrote some fun stuff during those hours, drew my best pictures, and came up with the best curriculum ideas while everyone else was sleeping (or praying when I was at IHOP... haha). Now it's my evenings that I am trying to do those things. Sometimes it works, sometimes it really doesn't, but it's all about adjusting to new things, new thought processes, and new hours.

So if you ever think... "it's 2:00, I could call Joyska... she's probably up" (which many have done throughout my life and found me awake) I will sadly disappoint. I will be sleeping at 2:00, and if you call, will be waking me out of my dreams, not my creativity.

I guess we all grow up sometime.
Joyska at 4:48 AM

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Free Cell Phones

If you read the paper daily or watch CBC you may have heard the story about the "free" cell phone offer that has affected the folks where I work.

About a week ago, I noticed a number of our patrons gathering around a van outside. Seven or so got into the van and drove away. In asking what was going on, we discovered that someone was bringing people to a local electronics store to sign up for their own phones. The phones were free and they were given 4 months free access to unlimited calling, internet, text, and other fun stuff. The catch? After the four months, it is $62.00 a month for THREE YEARS.

In investigating further, we discovered it was a costumer cashing in a costumer incintive of a $50.00 gift card for any people they bring in. This costumer brought in anywhere from 35-50 (haven't gotten a difinitive #) of our patrons.

Now our patrons are all adults, they are capable of making their own decisions, so what's the big deal? The big deal is that someone came to a homeless shelter, taking advantage of a "minority group" if you will, by saying the phones were free. Once there, there were no credit checks, all they needed was ID, and they were signed up, given a killer phone, and brought back to the mission by the same costumer.

Now to be fair, the electronic store cancelled their costumer incentive and has offered to rescind the contracts if they want to, if they do it in the next two weeks. Knowing the folks I work with, few will return them, because they like them. Some will sell the phones to help a habit, and some will be responsible and it won't be an issue. But for those who struggle in many areas will find this yet another bill they are unable to pay.

It's just amazing to me, how someone can take advantage of a group of people who already are struggling to survive.
Joyska at 7:56 AM

Sunday, May 11, 2008

One in a thousand...

HAPPY MOTHERS DAY MOM!!! (Had to throw that in!)

Last week I went to my dentist. I went in for a cleaning and because he had a cancellation, I ended up getting a check-up, and a cavity filled. Three hours later I left the dentist and headed to work with a half frozen face. As the day went on, I realized that the freezing was taking a long time to go away. By the time I came home from work I was still "pins and needles". When I woke up the next morning I realized that my tongue was STILL numb!

I called my dentist and his response? Well... it happens one in a thousand times. ONE IN A THOUSAND!!!! Basically what happened was he hit a nerve when he used the needle to freeze my mouth. Nice. I asked him how long it would last and his response was two weeks to four months. Seriously, yah... one in a thousand.

My mom had a great idea... drink hot chocolate... maybe that will help unfreeze it. heehee. She's funny.
Joyska at 5:30 PM

Sunday, May 04, 2008

2 years...


May brings two significant anniversaries... three really. On May 7, 9 years ago, IHOP officially started 24 hours a day. Pretty significant... 7 years later, or 2 years ago, on that same May 7, Sanctuary House of Prayer began officially (not 24 / 7, but it began!).

I have had the great privlege of spending 2 1/2 years at IHOP, and now the last 8 months at Sanctuary (hereto refered to as SHOP). Tonight, those two worlds came together for a few minutes. Phil Guse (aka Phil the farmer) went down to IHOP with his family a while ago and captured greetings from all of our friends down there and put them all together for us tonight at SHOP. Many of the faces were of dear friends, and especially Hope City folk. I forget sometimes what those days were like when I am under the sickness that hits me again and again, the pain in my feet, and the overwhelming (sometimes) issues of those I work with. Tonight was a reminder of WHY I love my job, WHY I love the prayer movement and WHY I know it's time to visit KC again. I was made for this.

I've always loved to sing, I love to read the Word, and I have great compassion for the poor and underprivleged. Hope City brought that all together for me. Now SHOP and my job at the mission bring it together for me again. Five years ago it was all about the kids in the innercity and seeing freedom come to them, but I didn't know HOW to do it... I couldn't figure out WHAT to do in order to see freedom come to the inner city, partially because I thought I had to do it! NO WONDER it always fell short of what I wanted to see. GOD is at work in HIS way, and in HIS timing... I either line up with HIM or build in vain.
The third anniversary May brings is not such a happy one. On May 5, last year, Pat Bickle passed away. I think of him often and of the Bickle family as this anniversary comes around. My prayer is for great comfort and peace as well as revelation of God's hand to be real for all of the Bickles especially tomorrow. I know he is greatly missed, and I haven't forgotten.

Okay...b ack to SHOP. Two years is quite a milestone. There are many great things to come for SHOP, we all believe it and know it. There are many great things happening NOW for SHOP, and that is awesome to see... what I KNOW, and have heard or felt everytime we pray for Brian, or SHOP or the leadership of the prayer movement globally is "it's much bigger than we know". THAT is a cool thing to think about!

Joyska at 8:39 PM

Saturday, May 03, 2008

A life turned upside down... literally!

This morning as the patrons were coming in to the mission, one of the regulars who has become a friend in many ways walked in and looked like he was really struggling. I went over, put my hand on his back and asked if he was alright. He said he was really in pain and went on to describe what his morning had looked like. He was driving into the city with a coworker from their job site (worked really late, so they had slept at the site). He had offered the driver a cigarette, and when the driver took it he dropped his lighter. While trying to get the lighter, he swerved off the road, hit the gravel and flipped the car!

He took off his hat and showed me a gash on the top of his head surrounded by a very large bump. He said he just wanted to lay down and sleep. Now knowing that a concusion was possible, I wouldn't let him sleep. We talked for awhile, sat down and had coffee, and talked about how one decision, one action, could change everything... in an instant. This of course led to a discussion about what was important in life, and how every day is a gift. My friend has been, since I met him anyway, very resistant to any talk of God, or salvation, or death really. Today we talked for almost an hour.

I've heard much of his life story. I've learned the ups and downs that he has been through, and yet he's never asked the questions that he asked today. I could see his heart soften as we talked about how much he was loved and what God had in store for him. It was amazing, and beautiful, humbling and profound all at once. He didn't fall to his knees and accept Jesus, but he did say he had a lot to think about.

We made sure he was alright (had a doc at the mission check him out) and when he left he said to me... " I feel different some how... still in a lot of physical pain, but different." I know why, and I think he does too, but it was a great moment of knowing the Lord was at work.
Joyska at 2:07 PM