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Phyllis and her younger brother were discovered at a dumpster when Waste Removal Services found them starved and abandoned by their mother. The siblings were separated and placed in foster care and never saw their mother again. The physical scars from beatings on Phyllis’ body are clear reminders of the difficult years spent in a strict foster home.
At the age of 19, Phyllis moved from Nova Scotia to Winnipeg. She started working as a security guard and shortly after, gave her life to Jesus. She got married and had two children, a daughter who died a few months ago and a son with whom she lost contact.
Phyllis, now 86, had been involved with UGM since 1955. At the time Police told her about UGM. She makes use of the food bank and is a regular visitor between 2-4 pm for drop-in. Phyllis says she wants to thank the Lord for a place like UGM. She praises God for every volunteer, donor and worker that makes it possible for UGM to keep their doors open to people in distress and in need of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your path.” Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV)
John 5:5-6 “Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to be made well?”
Have you ever asked yourself why Jesus asked this question to the lame man? “Do you want to be made well?” When we read the passage, we would think that the answer to this question would be obvious. Of course, a lame man would want to be well! You see Jesus never wanted to force his love or healing onto anyone. He desires a relationship where His creation participate willingly.
As I reflect on Jesus' question, I think of the ladies that we work with day in and day out. Some say they want to be well and we see them strive every day to fight to be well. Others say they want to be well, but the journey to become well feels too overwhelming to go on. Others are so familiar with the state they are in, that the thought of being well just seems scary. The question “do you want to be made well?” may seem obvious, but in reality, it is not. Notice how the scripture points out that the man had already been in that condition a long time. Was there a familiarity? The individuals that we serve sometimes have a familiarity with their condition, making it difficult to want or imagine their lives being different.
The battle these women fight is a very real one with many spiritual components. Satan would love for them to feel overwhelmed, or so familiar with the state that they are in that they do not have the drive to be well. Those fighting addiction, poverty and even homelessness need constant prayer and reminders that Jesus wants them to be well. Jesus's desire for them is to give them life, peace and love.
Is there a situation in your life where you have become familiar with settling for less than your heavenly father wants for you? Maybe you’re being robbed of the peace and joy that He desires to give you, or receiving the love that he has for you. I would encourage you to claim the life He desires for you in Jesus Name.
A ten year old boy looked at me and stated proudly, “I’m a walking Bible.” To this I encouraged him and replied, “You sure are amazing when it comes to memorizing Bible verses. Keep up the good work!” Now, the boy doesn’t have the entire Bible memorized, but for a child that age living in the most unsavory area of Winnipeg’s North End, the amount of Bible knowledge he has within him is very good. This comes from years of attending Bible based summer camps that UGM sponsors. It also comes from his constant attendance at the Family Life Centre’s after school program which teaches the Gospel at every session.
It demonstrates that people can be reached and taught about Christ no matter where they live and what their circumstances may be. This young boy says he has accepted Jesus as his savior. That is so, so beautiful to hear. Let’s not slack off in presenting the Gospel to the lost people of Winnipeg, no matter where they may reside, or how old they are.
“So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” –Romans 10:17
Did you know?
“Thank God, my brothers and Union Gospel Mission. I was born in Montreal, lived in Vancouver and married a girl in Brandon. I was exposed to meth for five years and have gone through detox several times. God has blessed me and I have been clean for over 70 days! I did not have a family before; I now have a family.” - Men's Addiction Recovery Resident
"Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us." Romans 5:3-5