There I was, driving down 95th street at 6 o’clock past the old Mission lot to have supper with some Christian friends. I realised that Bill and Bob would be serving food in the alley. I hadn’t been down to see that, indeed I hadn’t been down to the Mission for about 2 years. I swung a hard right into 103rd Ave and into the alley, as I rolled by the back of the temp agency I could hear the unmistakable sound of street people conversing with coarse language. I pulled up behind Edmonton Cash Register and started to notice faces that were at once familiar and yet unknown, people had grown older, life on or near the street ages people faster.
As expected, Bob was handing out tracts and Bill was leaning against the Mission van, the back hatch wide open displaying boxes of vegetables and food. Walking down the alley, snapping pictures of the people lined up for food distribution I could hear the sound of prayer and recognizing the voice, caught the last of Ken’s prayer for the food.
This was where the rubber meets the road for the House of Refuge Mission now ever since the building that had housed our ministry had burned down 18 months ago. God’s faithful Mission workers have been labouring in this alley between our friend Thim Choy’s Edmonton Cash Register and the labour temp agency, 40 -50 people were lined up along the wall with their numbered tickets patiently waiting for their turn to be served. The number of boxes of food seemed to be woefully inadequate for the amount of people but it was what we had.
I was struck by the seemingly hopelessness of it all, how can we continue to do this through yet another Edmonton winter? I stood and stared at the sight, what could I do? it seemed to be too much. I prayed to God that He would bless us with a place to minister in, a place to feed and provision these people.
Then I noticed that Bob was talking with a man and woman off to the side and as I watched I saw him reach out and put his hand on the man’s shoulder, the man’s head was bowed. My spirit leaped and I knew that another soul had come into the Kingdom. Bob confirmed minutes later that he had accepted Christ as his Lord and Saviour.
This is the reason and the reward for this work, it’s not quantifiable in worldly terms but it is the reason that the Mission exists in whatever form it has to. God is providing hope and love through the unselfish service that these workers do night after night.
Here are the photos I took that evening
The House of Refuge re-opened on the parking lot of Edmonton Cash Register just six days after the building they were leasing at 10339A – 95 Street was destroyed by fire. The fire broke out about 2:30 a.m. on Saturday, October 19, 2013 and swept through the old building. Nothing could be salvaged. The Mission was a complete loss.
At a special meeting October 22, 2013, building owner Thim Choy, met with the board members and other volunteers who work with the House of Refuge Mission to plan for the future.Everyone was in agreement that we were to continue the Lords work and re-open to the public as soon as possible. Thim Choy offered the use of the parking area of Edmonton Cash Register which stands kitty corner to the former Mission site, on the south west corner of 103A Avenue and 95th Street.
Each night from 5 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. here is what is happening on the street – 365 days of the year:• The Bible is read and the prayer happens before anything else• Food is made available for the homeless, poor, and those that are challenged in this tough economy struggling to make ends meet• Some nights there are chicken, sandwiches, soup, and coffee• We have now also started handing out winter clothes as we know many of the homeless sleep outside and are dire need of warn clothing• Prayer happens nightly for those individuals who seek deliverance from their addictions, poverty, or the everyday challenges of life. Many have accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior
Even without a building 50-150 people attend the House of Refuge Mission each night. Our desire is to again serve as God would want us to serve and to preach the word each night and pray with his people.
We are actively seeking another building to re-establish our full Mission services in the Boyle Street area. We trust the Lord has a plan for Mission and we are patiently waiting while continuing to be his “Hands and Feet” on the street for the homeless.
Donate on line by using the Link on the Website, or mail in your cheque or money order to the address below:The House of Refuge MissionP.O. Box 373Station MainEdmonton, ABCanada T5J 2J6
Tax receipts are available upon request for donations and donations in kind.For more information about the fire call Bob at 780 465-4966
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