DOWNTOWN HAMILTON MISSION TRIP – OCTOBER 2018
Faithworks started this local trip in downtown Hamilton a few years ago, in response to a need seen by the committee for local mission involvement. The goal of this trip is to facilitate learning about the ways that we can serve in our own neighbourhoods, and to open the participants’ eyes to the work that God is doing in our own community, in the city of Hamilton.
FIRST STOP: STREETLIGHT CHRISTIAN CENTRE
The group met with Pastor Paul Aasman and youth worker Erik Hoeksema. They spoke to us about the various ministries conducted at Streetlight, and different ways for us to get involved. This grassroots church draws in a lot of members from the Beasley community through its children and youth programs, Bible studies, summer soccer program, and of course Sunday worship services. They then took us on a walk through the streets in the neighbourhood of Streetlight. A young man came up to us at the skateboard park, asking if we were doing a ghost walk because it was close to Halloween and it was a bit strange to see a big group just walking around. He also told us that he had lost a friend to suicide that day, and the beer cans set up along the walls of the skateboard park were a candle tribute to him. The men at the Good Shepherd shelter also called out to us, wishing us a good night. We went by the Good Shepherd food bank, Barton Street jail, and the Victory Gardens community – all areas where Streetlight ministers.
FRIDAY WAS A PACKED DAY!
The group met at Blessings Christian Church for breakfast together and then split up into two groups. One group went to Helping Hands Street Mission to sort some clothes for the clothing store, and the other group had a tour of Pregnancy Support Services of Hamilton (now the Atwell Centre). We reconvened at 10 AM at Living Rock Ministries, a youth centre, where we got to watch a donation ceremony by Home Depot and then work in the kitchen with their chef, Daniel. Daniel is a very spunky and fun-loving guy who loves cooking (and passing on that love to others), and loves youth. He is great at mentoring and befriending all who come to the centre. We got to meet several youths who hang out there and cleaned out the walk-in fridge, learned a new way to peel garlic, and helped make a giant cauldron of chili.
Next, we went for lunch to 541 Eatery and Exchange, a non-profit restaurant where paying customers can buy buttons that others can use as currency, allowing them to enjoy a healthy meal that they couldn’t otherwise afford. Not only is the food delicious but the sense of community at 541 shows clearly that Christ-like love is being shared in a very tangible way. A group called GOHOP (Greater Ontario House of Prayer) meets in their basement. One of their staff explained to us the different styles, forms, and times of prayer they facilitate both in that space and in different parts of the city, including a prayer truck and a two-week 24/7 prayer vigil at the “Homeless Jesus” monument at St. Patrick’s church.
After 541 we headed over to MissionServices and had a tour of their various programs and ministries, including Willow’s Place (a women’s drop-in centre), 196 (an after-school kids’ program), the community kitchen, addiction support services, and the food bank.
At the end of the day we went back to Blessings Church for dinner and watched The Soloist, a thought-provoking movie highlighting the complexities of homelessness.
ON SATURDAY … WE KEPT GOING!
After breakfast at 541 Eatery and Exchange, we reunited with a young man whom we had met at Living Rock the day before. He joined us for devotions and shared his testimony. Then we went to Wesley (formerly called Wesley Urban Ministries), an organization that helps people find affordable housing, which is becoming a significant challenge in the Hamilton area. Wesley also provides temporary housing, and runs health clinics and a community kitchen.
We moved along over to the newly-started thrift shop called The Giving Closet. They hadn’t opened to the public yet, but were sorting through clothes, books, furniture, CDs, etc., so we helped organize things with them.
After lunch we headed over to City Kidz for their afternoon program. We got to watch the high-energy show and learn about the impact City Kidz has on the children of Hamilton.
FINISHING THE WEEKEND WITH WORSHIP
Our group joined the morning church service at Streetlight Ministries – an excellent way to bring the trip full circle – worshiping together with fellow believers in the Beasley Street neighbourhood.
We are very grateful to all the ministries who hosted us so cheerfully, and shared with us the work that the Lord is doing in and through them in the city of Hamilton. All the trip participants enjoyed observing, but also learning how they can pray for and participate in the many ways to get involved in local ministry.
WANT TO LEARN MORE?
If you are interested in more information about this trip, would like to host a presentation, or to become involved in Faithworks, please contact Faithworks at firstname.lastname@example.org.