We encounter christ in the DISGUISE OF THE POOR

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We would like to share with you our mission experiences and spiritual journey.

He didn't move.  He was almost frozen!  

Thanks to the Comfort Coats that saved his life.

December 8, 2016     Mildred Moy

Last night, we went out and gave out comfort coats transformable to sleeping bags to the homeless.  (Those comfort coats are made with love by Helpers of Sts. Anne and Joachim, Good Shepherd Parish, White Rock, B.C.)

A man was couching by the lamp post.  His name is Steve.  He only had a thin jacket on, not suitable for the weather.  We asked if he would like a comfort coat.  At first he didn't respond, we thought he was drunk.  We waited patiently,  Later on, he finally responded and accepted the comfort coat.  We found out he wasn't drunk nor high but he was almost frozen!  We helped him wore the coat and put on the gloves that came with it. He changed from not wanting any prayer to asking us to pray over both frozen thumbs.  So, we did!   Praise God!  Gradually, he began to move.  As he warmed up, he was able to search through the goody bag that comes with the coat, and packed his stuff in slow motion.  His extreme slow motion gradually became a little closer to normal speed.  Finally, he was able to get up, smile to us and  give us a group hug.  His fist touched ours a few times as a sign of connection and gratitude.  His face smiling brightly with joy because he's feeling warm enough to move around.  Then he walked away happily.  He was very grateful!  Thanks God for using us to bring warmth, love and joy to Steve!

My First Homeless Outreach in a cold, snowy night

December 8, 2016     By Claire B.

It was a cold, snowy night.  Our team went out to look for people sleeping on the street.   Agata and I were looking around when we saw a blanket.   At first we were unsure.  We had no idea if there was someone underneath and I was desperately looking for someone to fit my small sleeping bag with when we saw the man's legs as he was crouched down, cold with only a single blanket covering his body.  We woke him up and he looked at us, dazed, confused as he had no idea why there's two strangers keeping him from his slumber in the middle of the night.  It was then that we asked him if he needed a sleeping bag.  (We brought with us comfort coats that can be used as sleeping bags.)  Oh! You should have seen his face!  It was filled with delight.  He immediately accepted our offer and we placed the coat on his weary body.  He was so excited while we were explaining how the sleeping bag work and he was just so grateful.  So grateful that he couldn't conceal it.  His happiness was contagious.  His name is Tim.  It's really amazing how God works.  We went there to give, hoping to keep someone warm, not really expecting anything in return but instead it was really them who gave us a gift.  In giving, we were the one who received.  In keeping them warm, it was them who warmed our hearts.  That night was full of wonders.  I went home a little different than before.  My hands opened a little wider, my mind got a little bit broader, my heart a little fuller, and my faith ever stronger.   

My first extreme cold outreach turns out to be fruitful after all

December 10, 2016     By Marianne

I joined Mildred's extreme cold outreach last Monday with two other lady volunteers. We brought five comfort coats that doubled as sleeping bags. I have to say - I deeply admire the volunteers who designed and made the special coats for the homeless.

We had five coats/sleeping bags: 2 large, 2 medium and 1 small. We found five homeless men on Seymour St., within one block. Three out of five coats were joyfully received. One happily wore it immediately and used it to sleep. Another was so enthusiastic about the gift that he hugged the two volunteers (who don't want to be named). The last bag was accepted with a huge smile and the man asked to take Mildred's photo on his phone to preserve the memory. He also wished us a safe drive home which was so heartwarming.

Two of the bags were handed to two sleeping men who had a lot of blankets and a cart with them. We were checking quietly if we will be able to talk to them when their two dogs barked and woke them up. We offered the coats and tried to explain the different features. One seemed nice and tried his best to listen but he was half asleep and was failing at keeping his eyes open. I asked if he wanted the coat nonetheless and helped cover him with it after he nodded yes. The other man continued to sleep while we were talking to his friend but he later grumpily asked for a bag. We gave him one and tried to explain the features but he just took the bag and used it to cover his dog.

Actually, the first two bags we gave away went to the sleeping men. Before we headed to the streets, Mildred shared how we have to discern who should receive the coats. I felt the others' regret about the two bags. There was worry that the two might have been on drugs and that they will sell the coats in the morning to feed their addiction.

I brought the worry home with me. I prayed and asked Jesus to prevent the use of the coats for harm. I lifted the situation up to Him and asked Him to give the coat to someone who needs it.

But among the five men, I was drawn to the - sorry to be blunt -ungrateful men. While I was watching them, my heart hurt a bit and I felt this desire to connect with them and let them feel that God loves them. They were the two people I wanted to help.

My mind defaulted to thinking that my first cold outreach is a failure.

Mildred sent another invitation the next day but I chose not to go. Then news of a snow storm on Friday moved me to say yes to Thursday night's outreach. My rational thought was not to go because I had a full schedule that day. Yet, my heart felt like I cannot skip that night's outreach. I followed my heart and I am glad I did.

We handed one more coat to another joyful man on Granville St. We walked on the street handing out scarves, gloves, toques and socks to men and women in need. On the last block, Mildred noticed a sleeping man who was covered by a blanket from head to foot while wearing the comfort coat. She tried to look closer when the guy woke up. He briefly uncovered his face to see what was happening then went back to sleep. It was the grumpy man who used the coat to cover his dog. I was pleased to see that he is using the coat to sleep and stay warm.

I thanked Jesus for answering my prayer. I am especially happy that He let me know. It gave me peace of mind.

I forgot to mention one detail about Monday night's outreach. The sizes matched the men who received them. I view this as God's plan that unfolded according to His will.

I am in awe of God. I find comfort when I see how He works. I am able to trust Him more. I will never forget this experience and I look forward to more opportunities to share and experience His love through street ministry.

Mildred, I know God is with you and He is blessing you. I pray that He will bless you even more and that Catholic Street Missionaries will bear great fruits. You inspire me on how to be His disciple. Thank you for the opportunity to serve Him under your ministry.  

God loves me through a beggar

March 1, 2017      By Mildred Moy

     For many months, my prayer life has been very dry.  I no longer experience God's love as I used to in contemplation.    As I read the book "Dark Night of the Soul" by St. John of the Cross, I begin to accept the dryness in my prayer time and learn to change my appetite to appreciate the subtle sweetness of the peace that comes with it.

     Yesterday, I saw Tim, my friend, who begged outside the church.  As he saw me approaching, he stood up and gave me a big hug.  We chatted.  As I was moving on to attend mass, he said to me "I love you".  Many people said that to me before.  But to my surprise, I was deeply touched by his words.  His three words touched the part of my heart that has been yearning for God's love.  I turned back to him and asked "Really?". He said "yes, I love all those who helped me.  I appreciated them.   I am very thankful for them and I love them."  I said "Thank you" and gave him a big hug.  I have hugged a lot of street people before.  Every time I hugged them, it's to give them love.   But this time, it's different.  I was receiving God's love through Tim!!!

     As I am writing this, I recall a prayer I said to Jesus, "Jesus, let me see You in the poor".  I realized that my prayer was answered!

     Reflecting on yesterday's experience with Tim, I asked myself "Who is the true beggar in this encounter?"   Even now, I am still savoring the love I received from it.  Thank you Jesus!

More than Gold or Silver

March 10, 2017      By Conrad

It’s easy to give two dollars to someone on the street, but is it easy to give your time?

I didn’t want to go with the team for the training downtown. I was busy with deadlines at work and I had no money. What do I have to give I asked myself? Nothing. I was almost broke and I had nothing. I just had an afternoon to spare but I learned that was more than enough.

Before we went out into the streets we all gathered to reflect on the Bible story from the Acts of the Apostles wherein Peter and Paul healed a beggar. The beggar looked to them for help but what they said hit me.

Then Peter said, "Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you.”

Acts 3:6

He said what I do have I give you. And what did I have? I had time. I had my gift for speaking with people. I was so touched that I teared up and had a change of heart. Like all times I said yes to the Lord, I felt that I was in the right place. That afternoon I brought what I had with me. Me and my love for those who beg on the streets along with the joy we gained from our prayers. We went Downtown and found a group of people to give out socks, sweaters and blankets to. It brought me great joy to see them smile. That was the payment for me. Seeing them smile filled me and made all the time worth it. What I gained from this experience I am sure is worth more that what I gave up.

It’s the act of love that gains even more love. It is in giving that we receive. I hope to give more time to this cause because what you gain is surely worth more than gold or silver.

My experience in One-Day Training and Outreach

May 6, 2017      By Marga Sison

I had been anticipating this day for a while. I had been praying for guidance and support, as I was about to experience something completely out of my comfort zone. This day was completely in God’s hands (as everyday is) so I was ready for whatever was going to come. I started my drive by putting my phone on shuffle for some driving tunes and the first song that came on was Day One by Matthew West. I didn’t think anything of it at first but when I heard the lyrics, “It’s day one of the rest of my life. It’s day one of the rest of my life,” I smiled. The Lord was reassuring me of the day ahead and I was excited for this day of service for Jesus.

The afternoon consisted of learning, praying and discussion before we went for the homeless outreach. It was amazing to be surrounded by such God-fearing individuals, who all share this passion for serving the Lord and strengthening our relationship with Him. It was such a beautiful, sunny afternoon that you could really feel Jesus’ presence everywhere, especially in the people that we met on the streets. After my mission trip to Puerto Rico during winter break, I felt in my heart that I had to continue the works of the Lord. I didn’t realize that people in my own home also needed to feel the presence of Jesus in their lives. The homeless people we encountered were so kind. I don’t know how else to describe their demeanor. Jesus was truly present in them, even though some of them did not pray. Their smiles were as warm as the sun that day and from that moment, I was never going to walk the streets of downtown the same way again. Agata was so patient with them. It was amazing watching her interact with them, asking about their days and their stories. I may not be able to understand why God allowed for these people to experience so much suffering in their lives. However I am thankful that they are alive and that they continue to remain hopeful even in the darkest of days.

In the evening, we did the midnight outreach with the women. I was slightly intimidated by this part of the outreach because we were going out at night and I was in a place I was not familiar with. Mildred was so patient and thoughtful throughout the entire experience, as were Yvonne and Kasia. There were times during our drive that I would feel a sense of fear knowing that there're pimps and boyfriends around hovering over these women but as soon as we shared the chocolates and scripture cards with them, all sense of worry and anxiety washed away. In such small moments like these, I truly felt the presence of the Lord and the Holy Spirit. It is such a mystery to me how the Lord works in the most unexpected ways. I pray everyday, go to Mass on Sundays and pray the rosary but the presence of Jesus was so evident and clear during our encounters with these women on the streets that evening. This experience was life changing to say the least. I don’t feel like I did much at all but experiencing Jesus this way showed me how thankful I am for His presence in my life. I am also extremely thankful and blessed to know the amazing people that I met on this outreach. It is so heartwarming to see how many people are willing to drop their nets and follow Jesus in his way and word. Amidst all the darkness that our world experiences today, Jesus is truly the light of our lives and He is constantly with us, along with our Blessed Mother, the Holy Spirits and all the saints in eternal salvation.

Why do I do street outreach?

July 22, 2017   Feast of St. Mary Magdalene   By Mildred Moy

Today's 1st reading in mass really spoke to me.  It is from the Song of Songs 3:1-4

The bride says this:

On my bed, at night, I sought him whom my heart loves.

I sought but did not find him.

So I will rise and go through the City;

in the streets and in the squares.

I will seek him whom my heart loves.

I sought but did not find him.

The watchmen came upon me

on their rounds in the City:

“Have you seen him whom my heart loves?

Scarcely had I passed them

when I found him whom my heart loves.

For those who have read my blog on March 1, 2017, you know how I received God’s love through hugging my street friend Tim.  That’s how Jesus answered my prayer to let me see Him in the poor.  Now, when I go outreach on the street, I'm no longer going out to do an act of mercy.  I’m going out to find “him (Jesus) whom my heart loves”.

Am I the right person to start this ministry?

August 24, 2017   Feast of St. Bartholomew 

By Mildred Moy

 *The picture of the beautiful Monarch butterfly has a special meaning to me. It represents how I feel: hopeful and joyful!

    I had always pride myself for being easy-going, friendly, compassionate, understanding, well-loved and have courage to face reality and the truth.  However, a series of recent events make me doubt myself, feel small and low about myself.  Yet, I refuse to fall into despair. The Lord is giving me enough grace to trust in Him.  Even though I may be a scum of the earth, I'm still God's beloved.  And it is not through my goodness but His, that fruits will be produced through me and my ministry.

    I feel like the Lord is using these recent events to train me to be detached of my pride and any self-reliance on my own little goodness to do His work.   It is only in God can I trust.

I was once told that "God chooses the weak".  It is this sentence that is re-assuring me right now.   Even though I'm weak and lowly, I can count on God's promise.  I have hope in the Lord!   

     The Gospel reading for this coming Sunday (Matthew 16:13-20) re-confirms this.   In this Gospel passage, Jesus said to Peter "You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church.  And the gates of the underworld can never hold out against it."   Even though Peter was weak, was rebuked by Jesus for his lack of faith (in Matthew 14:30-32), for being a stumbling block to Him (in Matthew 16:23), and had denied Him three times, he was still able to be used by God to be the first Pope.  And the church that was built on him is still standing today after 2000 years.  Because of that, I am consoled.  My burden is cast away, and I'm once again filled with joy!

"I have no silver, gold or talent but time, love and compassion to offer to you, Lord". 

Sept 21, 2017

By Teresa Do

"I have no silver, gold or talent but time, love and compassion to offer to you, Lord".  This was my prayer before our outreach to the vulnerable adults on a rainy and cold Sunday.  

There were five of us, each with a bag of goods containing some socks, chocolates, juice boxes and scripture cards. We stopped at the park on Cordova street where the "unlucky ones" are sitting in groups on the park benches, each holding an umbrella in wet and cold weather. As we offered our goods to them, a talkative homeless man approached us with a request: "Could you read the bible to me? I'm illiterate." How beautiful is that! It hit my mind that he must be a Christian. Yet, before we started reading psalm 139, he joyfully stated: "We are an image of God, you and me. I'm an aboriginal, but I worship and respect everything God has created: the grass, the trees, the rocks, the soils." He sat and listened attentively to the psalm we read.

He is a non catholic, but he loves, trusts and has faith in God.  He takes refuge in God and it shows through his sincere and devout reverence to the words and creations of God. He shows a perfect example of how we all should fear and love God.  Heaven is not far. Heaven is present at that moment when we exchange the gifts of love and compassion to our neighbours-- the unlucky ones--in God's presence. "God, You have searched me and You know me."

Jesus, I give you my heart

Nov 20, 2017

By Mildred Moy

I choose to give my life to you, Lord 

to serve you in those who are abandoned and alone.

Even though sometimes I feel I’m the only one

but I know I’m never on my own

for you are always with me, Lord

and you call me your own.

I used to have many things in my life.

But none of those things give me Life.

Now, I have nothing but You alone.

And that’s all I need, Lord, you know. 

For you are my everything.

My life is worth living

because I’m living it for You.

And if I have to choose again,

I would choose the same.

My first experience doing outreach with Catholic Street Missionaries

Nov 20, 2017

By Rafael Arri P. Morales

As a newcomer to Canada following from over twenty one years of living in the Philippines, I was itching for something to do with the free time that I had. I can’t really say that I’m active and outgoing, but if it’s for the right reasons then I gladly go out of my way to spend time for a certain cause. I believe Catholic Street Missionaries was the perfect solution for what I was looking for after reading about them on social media. 

I was very fortunate to have joined the recent training and outreach initiative held in November 19, 2017. I was able to meet Mildred, Richard, and a lively group of Catholics who were all eager to make a difference in the lives of others. I can say that I was blessed with the opportunity to give back to those who were less fortunate even if I was fairly new to the country and its milieu. 

I believe that the personal and emotional challenges that I was facing helped me to strongly anchor my faith in God who is my Father. I was always praying for some clarity in the sense that I wanted to make my life more meaningful through the actions that I do and through the groups I belong to. I believe that giving, in the numerous ways that are possible, is an amazing way to connect with God who continues to provide for us every day. I was very humbled by the experience of going out into the rainy streets of Vancouver since it helped me become more aware of the things that I should and can do to help others. 

I hope to continue serving God and my neighbour by working with Catholic Street Missionaries. My experience was very fruitful and I hope others can join as well so that they may better recognize our ability to do good in this world.

The Reason

Jan 29, 2018

By Nicole Frederickson

  I recently joined Catholic Street Missionaries (CSM) in November of 2017. I took part in CSM for several reasons. One major reason I joined was because of one friend I met who made a big difference in my life.

I will begin this blog with a short introduction about my friend who was originally from Mexico and came to Canada to study music. Diego and I were inseparable. He was actually a roommate of mine at a homestay I was living in. I was attending UBC at the time in my early twenties and we supported each other in our studies, I helped him become fluent in English and he taught me some Spanish. Unfortunately, his student Visa expired after a few years and he had to return to Mexico.

We lost touch after awhile and stopped contacting each other as it was too painful to keep our friendship going and not be able to see one another.

After a few years I graduated from UBC and began working, trying different jobs and meeting new people.

I went to visit my parents one weekend and they received a call from Diego's parents that he had passed away due to heart complications. I didn’t realize it at first but I was devastated.

All of these memories came flooding back of our times together. One memory which stood out most was that Diego liked to give back to the Homeless. He recognized the homeless issue in Vancouver and he wanted to do something about the problem.

After much contemplation, I felt a call from God to give up worldly endeavours and material goods to connect with the homeless. My heart and soul wanted God at the centre of my life and not just on the sidelines.

Now that I am participating in CSM I feel my call is being fulfilled and I am commemorating my friend Diego in the process. Thanks to Diego my relationship with God has deepened and I continue to remember him by working with CSM.