Friday, April 04, 2008

CSM Toronto City Host's Powerful Testimony

I met a man whose story left a permanent impression on my soul. He grew up in Ontario and found himself in Toronto. He established himself working for a few different banks. He got good at what he did and made it to the top of his field. Life was good. Maybe not exactly as planned, but still good. He worked well into his fifties and then everything changed. Two banks decided to merge. They only needed one person in his job, so they kept the youngest man – the person who they had to pay the least. That’s a hard blow. But this man was still hopeful – he was good at what he did – he could get another job. Or could he? He applied for job after job. He went to employment agencies for help. He was told that jobs in his field are hard to come by because they don’t have a high turnover rate. But my friend still kept looking. Resume after resume he sent out. Nothing. Soon he went through his savings until nothing was left. His landlord had been gracious, but human grace only goes so far. So this man sold all his worldly possessions. He gave all the money he had left to his landlord – a small dent in the back rent he owed, but it was all he could do. And so he set out, with all he owned in a bag on his back, an unexpected twist in his life. One he never could have anticipated. Let me introduce you to my friend Steve.

We are all at different stages in life. And we don’t know what the future will hold. Most of the people on the streets here in Toronto never planned on being there. They didn’t wake up one day and say to themselves “I want to be a street person.” But sometimes life throws unexpected twists our way.

Steve’s story has a happier ending. While on the streets, the Sanctuary community reached out to him. They helped him find housing. They gave him a place to belong. They helped to rebuild him into the person God had intended him to be. When people find themselves on the street, stripped of everything we tend to hold dear in our life, as much as we hate to admit it, our value as a person goes with it. Sanctuary helps people realize – really realize – that no matter how much or how little “things” you have – no matter if you live in a big house or under the stars – everyone – that is everyone – is equal in God’s eyes. They live this out.

Steve is working now – he’s a host for CSM! This spring as groups
have come to serve, it’s been Steve who has been leading them around,
teaching them about life on the streets, and helping them to help others.
He’ll still be around this summer, so I invite you all to bring a group of
people to come help the homeless in Toronto – you’ll meet Steve and he
can share with you first hand the journey that God took him on…. At
least his journey so far!

-Tara McPherson, CSM Toronto Co-City Director

More of Steve's story can be found in the book "The Twenty Piece Shuffle" by Greg Paul, the Executive Director of Sanctuary - available this coming July.

CSM still needs groups to serve in Toronto this summer! Check out our website to learn more about this amazing city! Or get your group registered now!

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