Written by Sarah Evangeline
Why do people who have so little have so much to give?
This is the thought that ran through my head as I walked the streets of Nelson, British Columbia. This place was so timeless and beautiful, nestled between two snow-capped mountains. Nelson was full of diversity, colour and character, like a rare, carved diamond. Yet, as I walked the streets, I saw hurt, pain and people who had no roof over their heads.
For two weeks, I had the privilege of working in the drop-in centre, which was really called “Nelson’s Living Room” because it was a safe haven for anyone to come. As I grew and walked alongside these brave people, I started to feel a shift in my heart and mind. I realized how desensitized I had become to people living on the street. I learned that even though these people had only the clothes on their back, they had so much life to give me. As I traveled back home to Winnipeg, I took notes of how I was changed. I hope they will help you too:
1. Stop with the “homeless people” label
I learned very quickly how important it is to be intentional and remember people’s actual names. We are all homeless until we reach the gates of heaven. We need to stop putting ourselves on different levels and look at our brothers and sisters as people, without the labels in front.
2. Believe in each other
Most people do not choose to live on the streets, but life has been unfair. Most of the people I talked to have been let down more times than they can remember. Many of them have lost touch with family, and
3. They are creative and compassionate people
4. They have a purpose
People living on the streets learn how to survive in a community. I have never seen such a community that loves, supports and keeps each other accountable than in these beautiful humans of Nelson. They reminded me of a huge purpose we are all called to: live in community.5 It could have been me. I saw a girl who was my age, and all I could think is, “Why not me?” None of us