Category Archives: The Shift

Papa’s kiss

Some days I am downright discouraged. Tired, overwhelmed and cranky. Days when I’m not even happy hanging out with myself. Yesterday was one of those days.

I admit this to Papa this morning, as if He didn’t know already, and ask Him if we could do a ‘do over’. Would He forgive me, encourage and bless me in some way today? He is most gracious, forgives, envelopes me with His Love, dusts me off and sends me out for yet another day’s assignment.

Ready for the shift? I’m sitting at our board table a few hours later when I hear the front door open. No-one is manning the front desk so I step into our reception area and encounter one of our street friends, who is having a day just like mine was yesterday.

“How you doing?” I ask gently. With tears welling up in his eyes, he responds, “I’m having a really bad day. I feel like no-one cares and everyone has abandoned me.” My heart breaks. This is a familiar feeling. I remain silent and listen. He continues, “I was walking past your NightShift door and thought if I could just come in and sit for a second, I could have a cry and no-one would see me.”


I invite him to sit with me. I have nothing to offer other than my listening ear. My heart understands. As he readies to leave, I reach for his hands and together we bow our heads in prayer. I ask Papa to comfort him, surround him with Love, to encourage and bless him. I ask Him for a Papa kiss!

I return to my desk and lose myself in the busyness of my morning. Two hours later, my friend reappears.

“Nothing like this has ever happened to me in my whole life! God heard me. He cares!”

He explains that after our prayer together, he walked up the road and ventured into the BC Lions training field, where the team was practicing. As he leaned against the fence to watch, he spied Wally Buono, BC Lions General Manager, standing a short distance away. My friend is thrilled – apparently he’s a HUGE football fan and has been following Wally’s career over the years.

God nudged. Wally responded. Not only did Wally speak to my friend, he called over three of my friend’s favourite players off the field to meet him.

sunsetGod cared. Wally cared! That’s a Papa kiss.

Papa answered a prayer this morning. He knew exactly what my friend needed. And He knew exactly what I needed.

Papa, thank you for the ‘shift’ – thank you for the ‘kiss’.

And Wally, thank you for caring!

Book tour launch at Angel Christian Supplies

I was so impacted by the people – old and now new friends – who dropped by Angel Christian Supplies to support the launch of the ‘Buy a Book – Donate a Book’ campaign, as we kicked off the official book tour on Saturday. It was overwhelming and somewhat surreal to be signing the book that not so long ago was just a thought percolating in my heart.

Our Mobile Library aboard the Care Bus has been greatly enhanced due to the generous donations from those who visited the store on Saturday and Pacific Academy students, Cloverdale Library, Surrey Libraries and all of our wonderful family and friends!

A special thank you to Serena Taylor and staff at Angel Christian Supplies for hosting the event.

It is true. Papa does so much more than we could ever imagine or hope for, Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.” (Ephesians 3:20)

Photos courtesy Ingrid Roeske Good

Love Is…Love Does

In the words of Vicki Doubroff, the women’s pastor at Cedar Grove Baptist, “I am blown away!” Calling upon the women in that ministry to gather and assemble precious care packages for women living on the street was a rich gift to me. Not only in the large number of packages that were put together with personal care items, such as soap, toothbrushes, band aids, candy… but in the way each person came together in fellowship to provide much-needed support for the NightShift outreach teams. Thank you to Bev Johnston, for highlighting some of what we witnessed that evening with these photos:

Love Does group 8 July 2013As the poster suggests, it takes many hands to make a good circle.Love Does poster 8 Jul 2013It was a beautiful evening, and on top of everything else, I had the opportunity of talking about The Shift and signing a few copies. Well, the very next day I was to receive the most beautiful piece of the night. With her permission, I am sharing Lisa’s words that really touched my heart:

I purchased your book last night at a Love Does event at Cedar Grove Baptist church. I told you that I would let you know what I thought. Little did I know I would be emailing you only halfway through the book! I had fallen away from God after struggling since moving here just a year ago. I found my faith tested, and I failed that test! I have found my spirit renewed after only reading half of the book! Look forward to the rest! I, like you, find myself judging people based on their outward appearance, God forgive me. I have always felt God calling me to work and minister with “them” and like you, I have always found a way not to answer. I am praying for forgiveness for my judgmental attitude. And I am praying for guidance on where God wants me to be and what he wants me to do. Thank you for pouring out your heart so that hardened hearts like mine can be softened through Gods work!

Later that day:

Finished the book in half a day! Wow! What a blessing! God surely has plans for NightShift! It just amazes me all the barricades the enemy put up and God supplied every need to overcome them every time! Shouldn’t surprise me, but it never ceases to amaze me what God will do to further his kingdom! God bless you and keep you!

God bless you and keep you, too.

Because He lives

A man staggered into our Centre at NightShift tonight holding his injured hand, looking for a Band-Aid.

His story? He had lost a fight with a street dog who obviously didn’t appreciate his friendly pat-on-the-head gesture. I’m thinking the canine’s crankiness might have had something to do with the fact that the gent was more than a little inebriated.

NightShift soup

picture courtesy Jenelle Schneider, Vancouver Sun

Although busy with the night’s dinner activities, my sister, Susan (a former nurse), dropped her soup-stirring spoon on the stove and immediately went to his aid. I stood by her side as her nursing aid, passed tape and gauze, while I watched her efficiently dress his wound. She was impressive!

Looking back, I do believe his heart ‘owie ouch’ needed her tender attention more than his punctured hand.

After all was said and done, she pointed him in the direction of the clinic for a tetanus shot. As he got up to leave, he threw back his head, and belted out – in a drawling, off-key, gravely voice (I’m being kind here!) – a song to express his appreciation.

What a blessing! Tonight, I’m smiling. But, I have a challenge. I can’t get his song out of my head. Recognize it?

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow,
Because He lives, all fear is gone;
Because I know-oh-oh-oh-oh He holds the future,
And life is worth the living,
Just because He lives!

A song conveyed by a grateful-heart to a loving-heart. A caring heart who was willing to drop all to show God’s love. In spite of his homelessness, he praised God for His love shown by my sister.

The lyrics ring true in my heart as I snuggle in for the night. Humbled. I can face tomorrow, with all my ‘shifts’ and challenges, because He holds my future and makes my life worth living…knowing that He lives.

What brings me joy?

Yesterday was stressful – wrestling with tough decisions, questioning compassion fatigue. In the midst of it all, I was challenged by this question, “What brings you joy, Mac?”

Silence for a second. Have you ever been asked that question? Without giving it much though, I tossed back a quick answer. In my heart I knew it was a cop-out.

Arsenio Hall (dating myself here) used to say, “Things that make you go hmmmm.” For me, it’s a ‘ping’ moment – something hits me, goes deep and keeps surfacing until I find the answer.

As I settled into bed last night, the question surfaced again. By now I’m pretty sure that Papa was the initiator of this query.

Being my usual inquisitive self, I looked up the definition of joy: “The passion or emotion excited by acquisition or expectation of good; pleasurable feelings or emotion caused by success, good fortune, and the life, or by a rational prospect of possessing what we love or desire; gladness; exhilaration of spirits; delight” (

It struck me. Does success, good fortune or possessing what I love or desire bring me joy? Nope. For me, it’s much simpler…

Someone gets ‘it’. A spark. Eyes light up. A ‘shift’ begins to take place.

Teeny birds – soaring eagles!

“I love you Nana.”

“Thank you NightShift. You saved my life.”sunset joy

Spring buds on trees – tulips poking noses upwards.

Sharing NightShift’s story and somebody leaning forward.

My puppies’ thumping tails as I come through the door.

Running along the water’s edge, wind in my hair, alone with Papa.


Stolen, still moments with Papa.

So, I toss the same question to you today: what brings you joy?