People Stories this summer:
1. A gentleman in his mid 70's hobbled into the Chapel one day, returning from Taiwan where he taught English for 17 years. Sadly, he suddenly lost his work visa and had to leave friends and possessions behind, forced to start a new life in Vancouver. Money and needed medical attention would be hard to come by, not to mention an immediate place to stay (and of course it was Friday afternoon before a long weekend! ). But R's attitude was remarkably positive and after we exhausted all other possible options, he willingly gave up most of his cash for an expensive hotel room.
As is our mission, we tried to come alongside this gentleman and help him walk through the difficult beginning of his new journey. A few days later I heard from R. that he had connected with his Canada Pension Plan and had found a reasonable basement room to occupy. He was so grateful for life's little things and joined me in giving thanks to God for meeting his immediate needs.
2. A few days later a single man in his 30's dropped into the Chapel. I remembered C. from months before and heard again how he's been living on Vancouver streets or shelters for over 2 years. After long conversation, he told our volunteer and me that he is experiencing serious schizophrenia, but can be fairly stable as long as he takes proper meds. After some hours together, C. decided that the best thing for him to do was to fly to Calgary where he has a friend at 'an amazing shelter'. After purchasing a ticket with his remaining monies, C. went downtown to rest. Next day he returned to YVR with news that he had to remain in BC because his needed meds were only free for him in this province. His joy at something new had melted into sadness again.
This is the pattern for so many these days, eh, and the Chapel can offer a listening ear and an encouraging word to people who visit us. That is what we do.
3. One morning a large family appeared at the Chapel, having already spent the previous night in Airport chairs. I learned they were Ukranians of 3 generations who have been living in 6 different countries over the past year, after escaping the war in Ukraine. P. was the only adult male, now responsible for his mother, wife & three children and sister. They had a complication with their son's passport, before they could make their hoped-for final move to Switzerland, where a good job awaited P. We worked with Lufthansa Airlines and the Swiss Embassy several hours to get around the problem, but to no avail.
The Chapel offered food & rest for the family, and love & games for the children, who were all amazingly patient during this very long ordeal. Finally, through a long conversation with the YVR branch of SUCCESS (a refugee assisting group), they agreed to provide 3 additional nights of accommodation and food for this beleaguered family, and life finally began to look better for them!
A few days later they were off to Europe, but for sure they were very thankful for the way the Chapel and many stakeholders at YVR had worked together to support them. We thank God for these opportunities to serve people in their time of need!