Category Archives: The Shift

Blessings come in different packages

This is definitely not my favourite time of the year: tax season. Today, I’m battling discouragement with not having enough money to pay bills. I’m asking Papa to encourage and bless me in some way.

As I turn on to King George Boulevard, I pass by the Liberty Tax Office. My eye catches a red, Canadian maple leaf waving frantically at me. I wonder what a dreadful job this must be. Who could endure this unacknowledged, meaningless job – a maple leaf mascot dancing on Surrey’s sidewalks – ignored by the passing majority?

How many preoccupied motorists have passed by, oblivious to the heart beating behind the mask? I resolve to bless this maple leaf by smiling and waving back wildly as I travelled by.

Red Maple Leaf

My smile lingered several blocks down the road as I pulled into my office parking lot. Suddenly, a red blotch appeared in my rear-view mirror, pointed directly at me. I panicked for a second until I realized it was the maple leaf mascot. Curious, I opened the door to an enthusiastic voice asking, “Mac, how are you? It’s me!” as it advanced closer with every bounce into my personal space. I wasn’t thrilled.

I looked around to see if anyone was witnessing this interaction. After all, I’m in Whalley-World. Anything and everything happens here. I strained to peer beyond the mesh opening of the maple leaf’s watermelon-sized mouth to catch a glimpse of the face inside. No such luck. A mystery.

It speaks again, “It’s me. Don’t you remember me?” disappointment escalating with each syllable.

How would I know a person in a red maple leaf suit, I ask myself.

“I’m reading your book ‘The Shift’. It was a Christmas present. I love it!” the voice declared. Intrigued, I leaned in to see a joyful face beaming back at me. “It’s Shane. Remember me?”

I do remember Shane. He used to be homeless, struggling with drug addiction. Now clean and sober, he was carving out a meager income working as a mascot between jobs to pay the bills. He was happy and grateful to be working – even as a red maple leaf. I was humbled and blessed at the same time.

My heart soared. What a joy to see him free from the chains that had kept him bound for many years. Never in my wildest dreams did I think God would use a dancing maple leaf to bless me.  Nor, in my wildest dreams did I think the book would bless a man in a red maple leaf suit. Blessings really do come in different packages.

Do I sense Papa and a few angels dancing with my friend! Oh happy day!

The Power of Belief

MaryAnne Connor was a real estate marketing executive when she surrendered her life to, what she calls, The Shift.

The Shift - The Power of Belief - by MaryAnne ConnorIt was a stormy winter’s night and MaryAnne was settled snugly into her bed, when a piercing question stirred her from her comfort: “Where are they sleeping tonight?”

She knew the homeless were just thirty minutes away on the streets of Whalley, Surrey’s inner city.

She got up and drove to the other side of the city in the snow storm, so she could ask a Whalley pastor to give people shelter in his church that night. He handed her the keys and said, “I’ll open the doors of the church tonight, but on one condition–you’re responsible.”

Stepping out of the boat that night changed her life and her perspective. Until that moment, she had raised thousands of dollars for charity, but “never got her hands dirty.” That was all about to shift.

The Shift: The Power of Belief is part autobiography, part history of NightShift Street Ministries, the faith-based non-profit she’s built to feed and provide services for the homeless 365 days of the year.