Posted October 23, 2015 in MH Vancouver BC:
Notes from Near and Far: MH Vancouver

by Martha Reilander.

I arrived in Vancouver mid-February, and so my first impressions are long overdue.

My first and most dramatic impression after leaving the -30 degrees C (-22 F) in Ontario, was feeling the mild +10 degrees C (+50 F) in Vancouver and seeing a tree in bloom.

I’ve even caught myself saying "back in Canada" as I talked about Ontario because I really felt like I was in a different country.

Another reason I felt like a foreigner was the multicultural world of Vancouver. I’ll give you an example. Some Korean friends took us out to celebrate Shrove Tuesday at an Italian restaurant where they know the chef, an East Indian man who had studied in France!

When you come from small town Ontario like I do, it is impressive to meet people from such varied backgrounds and countries, who speak multiple languages.

The beauty of the city continues to impress me. The ocean, flowers, trees, and mountains are so lovely.

One question that I have asked myself is: how do we live our life of poverty here? I see much material wealth.

Yet as I get to know the people, those materially rich and those materially poor, I see more and more that, on a deeper level, we are all poor—even someone who lives in a penthouse. We are all in need of Christ, and we are all lonely without him.

I am a relatively new staff worker, and my only mission house before this one was the rural St. Joseph’s House. So when I was first here, I wondered how it was possible for the three of us to be "a light to our neighbor’s feet" (as it says in our Little Mandate) when there are over a million people in the Vancouver area.

Yet, I am learning more every day that living our Little Mandate* is the answer and that, even in a big city, we touch people one by one.

For example: "Be simple." Planting a garden has been a great way to connect and talk with people. Through soil, plants, and compost, we have become friends with some new neighbours and deepened our friendship with others.

"Preach the Gospel with your life." I did so as I renewed my promises before Archbishop Miller, five priests, and many friends of the house. Some people, I had only just met, yet they were so intrigued by our MH life that they came. Even some second cousins of mine, who live in the city, were able to attend.

"Go into the Marketplace." I was walking downtown with a new friend one day, listening to her story. When I replied with the simple words, "God has a plan," a passer-by overheard me. He turned and said with enthusiasm "Yeah! God has a plan for me too!"

"Go without fears into the depths of men’s hearts." We listen and listen to the many people who come to talk. I know that Christ is with us during those times, even if all we can do is to listen and pray.


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