My Birthday Wish: The Journey for 12 women

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Last year, on this day, I sat on this same red couch and took a big leap of faith. I asked you to join me in supporting the City Harvest School of Hairdressing & Beauty Therapy, based on the outskirts of a slum in Nairobi, Kenya. Little did I know that seven months later I’d walk into the school and meet the students we, together, have been able to bless. Thanks to YOU we were able to help subsidize the monthly rent, so the students’ school fees could be lowered. At the time there were six students enrolled in the school. Many of the students, while pursuing their dream of opening their own salon, still have to go work after school, selling rice, fruit or potatoes on the side of the road, to pay for their own very basic needs plus school fees. Today there are about thirty, because the school fees are simply a lot more manageable.

In May, walking into the Hairdressing School and spending time with so many beautiful, hopeful girls was one of the most exhilarating moments of my life. I could see generations of change sitting in those chairs with bright green T-shirts, Hope and Courage glistening in their eyes. Thanks to YOUR support, we could help make that happen and I had the great privilege of seeing it with my own eyes. It was a birthday gift that kept on giving all year round.

No Global without Local

This year I have another story on my heart. This year I have learned that there is no global without local. I learned I can’t make a difference in places far far away if I am not making a difference right here in my own community. My neighbour lives in Nairobi, Taipei and Tehran, but also in my own city’s back alley.

God reminded me that I have been placed here, in Vancouver and Surrey, for a purpose. I have been placed in my family for a purpose. I have been placed in my church family for a purpose.

So this year, I am asking on behalf of my sisters and my friends in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.

Every month women from Vancouver’s poorest neighbourhood have an opportunity to spend three days at beautiful Linwood House. It’s called The Journey. Women who know mostly hardship and suffering, harsh words and rejection, get to spend three days experiencing the extravagant love and grace of God. They can feel God in the soft cotton sheets, the smelly soap in the bathroom, the hot water in the shower, flowers in every room, deep baths, a grand piano in the Great Room … They are near to God as they sit on a plush, soft couch or as they go hang out with Grandma in her room to watch CNN. They eat the most beautiful, healthy meals. They get Grandma’s blackberry pie with real whipped cream, served on wedding china. They get manicures and pedicures, do art, go to the beach and get big hugs. In all of these things they can hear the intimate, powerful whisper of Jesus, saying: I love you.

When women go on The Journey, they are invited into the family. They get a taste and a glimpse of what it means to be loved and accepted right where they are.

The Journey is one of the most beautiful, practical and life-changing experiences for so many women who only know life in the Downtown Eastside. These women, many of them now becoming my friends, are teaching me so much. (Most of all how much of a brat I can be!)

The truth is, my freedom is as much tied into their lives as their freedom is tied into my life. I need them as much as they might need me. It’s a beautiful symbiosis.

So today, this year, I am asking on behalf of The Journey and Linwood House Ministries. Would you be willing to join me in supporting this amazing work, please?

I would love to send twelve women to The Journey. It costs $300 per woman per three-day Journey, so in total it would be $3,600. That’s my birthday wish and my hope for this year. I would love it if you would join me in blessing Linwood House Ministries and The Journey. As my three-year-old would say: Pretty please with a cherry on top?

This year there’s no chipin account, but you can donate directly on the Linwood House Ministries website (through CanadaHelps) and Canadians can get a tax receipt to boot! It would be great if you indicate that this is towards Idelette’s Journey wish, just so I can keep track. Also, if you’d like to become a monthly donor, that would be amazing and really help the ministry.

It’s a little scary, but again, I’m jumping in and asking. I really hope you would join me on behalf of my gorgeous friends and sisters in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.

Click here to donate or let me know if you have any questions or ideas. We’re so on this Journey together.

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