Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage . . . They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion.
~Psalm 84:5

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!!!

It's 1:30 in the morning here, but just wanted leave a quick post saying Merry Christmas to y'all!

I had a busy, but GREAT day. I'm thankful for good times with friends and fun times at the Nightshelter hanging out with the residents. I'm blessed to have spent my holidays here.

I'm also thankful for the volunteers we had that helped up get the house together so quickly this morning! Some are coming back tomorrow as well. YAY!

And I'm thankful for all the donations we received for not only our guys but for the rough sleepers who weren't able to get a bed.

I'm thankful for the gifts and cards I received from friends here. And especially for the small gestures some of the residents were able to make.

Perhaps I'll write more later. But now I'm off to bed! I'm doing my THIRD night shift tomorrow and need to be there for 8. Yikes!

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

For unto us a child is born , unto us a son is given : and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor , The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
~Isaiah 9:6

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year!

At least I've always thought so.

I love Christmas.  Bundling up and enjoying the cold weather.  The smell of a real Christmas tree.  Twinkling lights illuminating dark streets.  Choosing the perfect presents to give.  Hearing jolly music in every store.  Cinnamon-spiced candles scenting the room.  Enjoying chilling out with family.

I'm away from home this Christmas.  For the first time ever.  In another country where the same language is spoken and the same holiday is celebrated in much the same way as back home, but it's just so different.  

And I miss home.  I miss driving my car through my neighborhood and admiring the Christmas lights.  I miss choosing the perfect presents for each family member and close friend.  I miss holiday coffee creamers for my coffee.  I miss chilling out with family.

However, it was my choice.  I chose to leave home and all that was safe and comfortable.  I chose to move to another country and live by God's grace.  I chose to say goodbye to my family and friends.  So as hard as it is, I know I'm here by choice.  I know if I wanted I could board a plane in a matter of hours and be welcomed home with open arms.

There are guys here who hate Christmas.  It's the most HORRIBLE time of the year for them.  They are away from their families and friends.  For some it's been years.  For others it's their first Christmas on their own.  On the streets.  Some chose to leave, some didn't.  But they all yearn to return.  They all are broken.  They all long for home.  For love.  For acceptance.  The young and the old.  They want their parents' acceptance or their children's forgiveness.  They want to somehow repair that which was broken.  But hearts aren't so easily mended.  

Please pray that they will find the acceptance and healing that only One can give.  Please pray for freedom from the addiction and oppression that has knocked them to the ground.  Please pray for hope to be restored.  Please pray.

Thursday, December 04, 2008


Working in The Nightshelter is a lot like teaching Kindergarten:

~ Sometimes you have to clean up poo or pee, but the guilty party never reveals himself! GRRR!!!

~ If the others catch you doing something wrong (like the above states) then they're quick to accuse and rat you out.

~ When someone comes to the door everyone has to come and see who it is.

~ They're nosey little gits and want to know everything that's happening and what's being said in private conversations.

~ They get cranky if they get off schedule (like if dinner is 5 minutes late -- oh, the horror!)

~ They get gitty when it's dessert time and come running for their share.

~ They throw temper tantrums if they miss out on dessert. Never mind they were upstairs sleeping off the drink or drugs (the NS peeps, not the kindergarteners...).

~ They're quick to fill you in on all the latest gossip. And they usually know more than you!

~ Sometimes they take what doesn't belong to them.

~ They think food, drink, and everything else they may expect us to have magically falls from the sky and don't like it when they don't get what they want or think they're owed.

~ They have time-out when they break a rule . . . so severe time-out for the homeless guy is having to leave their bed and go out into the cold rather than sitting in a chair in the corner . . . but it's the same concept . . .

~ They sometimes forget your name.

~ They like to test the boundaries.

~ Sometimes you have to remind them to wash their hands . . . or have a bath.

The most Thankful Thursday of the year!

I'm a week late, I know . . . sorry . . . so I guess this is just a regular Thankful Thursday post, rather than a Thanksgiving Day Thankful Thursday post.

1.) I had two lovely Thanksgiving celebrations: one I cooked myself! for a couple of friends here at home, the other was at my friend Sarah's who I have been wanting to spend Thanksgiving with for over 5 years now! She's married to a Brit and has a big feast the Saturday after Thanksgiving which includes a taped copy of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade her mom express mails to her (although these days we can now watch online). Both dinners were fun!

2.) No one was poisoned by my Thanksgiving Day cooking! Even the turkey I cooked turned out nice. Although my friend Rob, a professionally-trained chef, did help with the bird . . . but I'm still the one who basted it and took it out of the oven!

3.) The British recipe I tried for pecan pie actually came out tasting like the real thing!

4.) Gmail's new video chat feature is awesome! And Thanksgiving night I got to video chat w/ my whole family during their get-together. It was so nice being able to see everyone!

5.) I'm off work until Monday! Took a couple days of holiday and plan to do nothing but eat, sleep and read. Yay!

6.) I worked an emergency cover NIGHT shift two weeks ago on a day off. Why's that something to be thankful for? Because I earned £130 in Tesco shopping vouchers! That's only £50 short of what I get paid a month, and easily my grocery money for the month and beyond! Not only that, Tesco is like Wal-mart, so I can even buy people's Christmas pressies there!

7.) I'm working another emergency cover night shift 23rd Dec! So that's grocery money for January as well!

8.) I've discovered Surf the Channel, where I can watch most of the shows I've miss from back home!

9.) I love listening to KSBJ online. They started playing Christmas music 24/7 the day after Thanksgiving and it'll last through Christmas Day. Plus, it reminds me of home. Funnily enough, I still instinctually reach to turn the volume up when traffic reports come up so I can hear if there's any problems on any of the roads leading home. It's understandable after 3 years of commuting, right?

10.) James, one of the guys I first met when I arrived at the Nightshelter, is getting baptized on Sunday! I remember two months ago hearing him say he couldn't even open a bible, now he's getting baptized! He's actually saw my leg before and after it grew, so let me and my friend Elaine pray for pain he had been having in his shoulder. And he was healed!!! So that helped strengthen his faith in God and now, three weeks later, he's getting baptized!
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