News from the Vancouver Airport Chapel - FALL & EARLY WINTER 2019
BLESSINGS OF THE SEASON:
1. The Associate Chaplains met October 4 for our annual day of preparation and prayer for this new year of ministry. I am so blessed to serve together with these 12 dedicated men and women!
2. Fall Team-Building Event, October 29. Our volunteers, board members and chaplains do training together once a year. This year we'll hear updates from YVR Airport Authority on security awareness and on new construction, including the new Chapel addition coming to the international departure area in 2020.
3. Remembrance Day Service at YVR, November 11, led by our Chapel team, along with RCMP Red Serge and local Sea Cadets.
4. December Drop-In invites airport employees of all kinds to come by for hot apple cider and goodies! This is our best opportunity to brighten the day of outside workers (in the cold!), and to invite airline and retail employees to come and discover what the Chapel has to offer them throughout the year.
THANKFUL FOR DAVE PARSON!
You may recall that Client Relations Manager Dave Parson has been the Chapel's connection to Airport Authority for many years. YVR just bid farewell to Dave after 23 seasons of great leadership at this airport, and of course they wish him well in his new position at Victoria's airport. We will miss him dearly, but we are so thankful for his faithful support of the Chapel and his constructing of the recent Partnership Agreement between us and Airport Authority... it would not have happened without him!
1. A middle-aged man from Houston TX (R.) called one day from a hotel in Vancouver. He sadly reported that his mother had suffered a heart attack while they were on tour here and had passed away in a local hospital. He added that a local funeral home had made proper arrangements for her body to be transported back home, but he really wanted to be at the Vancouver airport when her remains arrived, to pay his respects (and to make sure they were on the same plane going back!).
He could not reach a live person through his airline's phone number, so he called the Chapel for help. Thankfully I knew the airline's station manager and immediately went up to see him. He was most gracious, quickly writing his ground staff about the situation and then calling R. to assure him that he would be able to see his Mother's remains again.
A few days later, R. left a beautiful voice message on my phone once he arrived in Houston. I wish you could all hear how thankful this dear man was that people at YVR cared so much for him and his Mother. It was a very difficult time, he stated, but one that was made a whole lot better by the compassionate response of this airline manager and his ground staff. I certainly plan to nominate this airline manager for recognition as a YVR Star, which all employees and passengers are invited to do for service beyond the call of duty within the YVR Community.
2. An airport Immigration officer brought a Mexican family of 5 to the Chapel one evening last week, at 6:45pm. And... guess what? I had just heard a great sermon the previous Sunday on the 'Good Samaritan', so I suppose this was 'test' time for me, eh, as I was already walking out the Chapel door to a nice dinner awaiting. What do you think happened? OK, sure, I stayed!
These humble-looking folks were refugee claimants, spoke no English and had no money. As well, the mother indicated that one of the 3 young boys had a medical issue. So, what to do? Answer - call on the YVR Team! The Chapel did our part to welcome them (with sign language and 'power fists' with the boys) and to prepare the Prayer Room for their overnight stay (pulling down the murphy bed and pulling out blankets and pillows for the kids). The airport Public Safety Officer brought food and a language interpreter, and other YVR representatives got the mother and sick child to Richmond Hospital for a checkup... he was OK, thankfully!
The next day I learned that another family of 5 (the first family's friends), also checked through Customs later in the night and was ushered to the Chapel to join them. The following morning, YVR reps again brought food and helped all these people make a phone call to relatives in the US, which produced a credit card number for a hotel, which then resulted in a BIG room for 10 for the following night... wow! Then YVR assisted the next morning with a taxi ride for both families' to their first hearing to determine their Refugee Claimant status in Canada, a process that can take up to 6 months to finalize (and the families were hopefully directed to temporary housing for that time period).
Once again, I am impressed with the team of caring professionals at YVR that works hard to give the very best customer care to each and every person that they can assist. And we at the Chapel are happy to be a part of this YVR Community!
OK, may God bless each of you, as he does everyone here at the YVR Chapel. Thanks for your prayers for us!
Dennis, for the Chapel Team