The other side of the mountain

by NightShift

George is one of our regulars. Most nights we see him at our outreach meal, helping volunteers, joining new faces for dinner and carrying on conversations with the friends he’s made over the years at NightShift.

Born and raised in Fiji, George came to Canada when he was 16 and completed high school here. After graduation he joined CP Rail as a railway car mechanic.

He first came to NightShift in 2011, when he was homeless and active in his addiction. “I had a lot of anger and frustration. That led me to use drugs,” George explains. “Over time, it became out of control.”

That first hot meal had a huge impact on George. “Good food changes your body and your mind,” George says. “If you are a street person and an alcoholic or addict, and you don’t have access to good food, you’re just never going to get out of that place.”

George eventually did get out of that place. His journey to recovery began with that first meal, and with the unconditional love he received from volunteers and outreach staff. “I got to know all the people on all the different nights,” he says. “I started looking at the way they behaved, how they communicated with people like me. I started learning from them.”

George’s favourite part of the nightly meal at NightShift is the Prayer Circle. During the meal, a group of faithful volunteers will spend time chatting with our guests and asking for prayer requests. Then afterwards, the volunteers and anyone wishing to join them, will form a circle and lift up the needs of our community in prayer to God.

As time passed George started to experience changes in his life because of participating in the circle. “When I would relapse, every time I would come back to the Prayer Circle,” George says. “My relapses would last a shorter and shorter period of time. Prayer Circle helped me to see another way of doing things.”

George now encourages other guests to share prayer requests and to join the circle.

“I tell them, if you want to change your life, it doesn’t matter whether you believe in God or not,” he says. “You can join the Prayer Circle and you can maybe learn something out of it. Prayer shows goodness to people. It shows people what kind of life they can have if they come on this side of the mountain, you know?”

Prayer Circle, George shares, helped bring God back into his life.

George has been clean and sober for 8 years, and now lives with his sister while he hopes for a home of his own. He attends our nightly meal because he wants to help others who were once like him. “The only way to connect with them is by joining them in the meal,” George explains.

“I help them by sharing the experiences I went through in my own life. I always like to share the story and tell the truth, because now I have a different life.”

This Easter we are planning a special celebration meal with our community. We’d like to invite you to join us by considering a monthly gift in support of our ministry.

$30 a month provides vulnerable men and women with a welcoming community, a hot meal, and clothing 365 nights a year, plus access to crisis counselling and emergency nursing. Our outreach – and our hearts – are always open.

Will you join Love365, NightShift’s family of monthly donors, and show love, hope and purpose to those in need?

By joining Love365, you can care for your neighbours in need today.

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