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ED Message

A Message from the Executive Director, Randy Benson

“Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes.” — Isaiah 54:2

Isaiah 54:2 has resonated with many of us at the Mission over the last several weeks as we have, in quite a literal sense, enlarged our tent.

This spring has been an exciting time: after months of hard work and planning, our Thrift Store is fully moved into the new location, which frees up space to expand our overcrowded dining room. Using the former Thrift Store space will more than double the dining room’s capacity, so the 200+ people we serve every day can take the time to enjoy their meal instead of rushing to let the next person sit down.

The physical action of breaking down walls is a good way to think of how God works within the people we serve: breaking through the loneliness, hopelessness and shame to let light in again. I saw so much of it at our Easter meal, and it was incredibly inspiring.

With the support of people like you and our wonderful community of Kelowna, we hope to grow even more over the next few months. One such initiative is to free up a space to use as a classroom for our biblically-based “Step Up” program, which focuses on discipleship, service and goal setting.

I hope that you too will invite more people into your life this spring, and share the spirit of kindness. It is only with help that we can end the stigmas around poverty and lead people into wholeness.

Blessings,

Randy Benson,
Executive Director

Lorne’s Story of Hope

“Now I can see light at the end of the tunnel.”

Lorne

Lorne spent most of his life in Vancouver. For many years, he was happy working a steady job, but three on-the-job injuries eventually made work impossible. Without a job, he could no longer afford rent.

Soon after moving to Kelowna to live with his sister, he found himself homeless after a conflict with a neighbour. Still living in pain, he suffered through years of being misdiagnosed with mental health issues.

While homeless, Lorne found his way to Kelowna’s Gospel Mission, where he quickly met Kelly — one of the front line staff — and a close relationship started blossoming. With Kelly’s encouragement, Lorne started going to a Bible study. He started to feel like he belonged.

Then, last May, doctors discovered a tumor on his brain — the result of a car accident 36 years prior. Lorne was terrified and yet relieved. After an operation to remove the tumour, Lorne is now cancer-free. “I was praying that this tumor would disappear and it did,” he says. “I was on cloud 9!”

Lorne is now working on transitioning from temporary to permanent housing. He still attends Bible study and comes to the Mission for meals. With prayer, he has hope for a brighter future.

“Without the help of Kelowna’s Gospel Mission I don’t know where I’d be today,” he says. “I came for help and what I got was hope for a brighter future. I was at rock bottom and now I can see light at the end of the tunnel. I am truly grateful for the hand I was given.”
Strides

Strides to End Homelessness Walk

On March 7th, 200+ people walked 5km.

Complete Surrender

What happens when complete surrender is the only thing that allows you to win? For Wishbone Site Furnishings — our main sponsor for the Strides to End Homelessness walk — that is how the story went.

Wishbone is a company that provides furnishings for cities, camps, and apartment buildings. Several years ago, the company was struggling to survive financially. However, with a lot of prayer and hard work, God helped turn Wishbone around!

Wishbone sponsored the walk to exemplify their “first fruits” philosophy of honoring God through giving. At the Mission, we try to live by the same philosophy, so it is a huge blessing for us to partner with a company who is such a testament of God’s grace. Thanks to the team at Wishbone for their generous support of the Strides to End Homelessness walk and for their great example!

The Strides to End Homelessness event was a huge success! On March 7th, 200+ people — including Kelowna's Gospel Mission clients and volunteers — walked the 5km.

Because of you, we raised $28,484 in donations! After the event, walkers could recharge with chili and dessert and add messages of encouragement to the “graffiti wall” in the cafeteria.