Thursday, April 09, 2009


We parked the car and made our way around the front of the building. There was a door set into an alcove covered in graffiti. I checked the listings board to make sure we had the right place and we headed for the stairs. Up we went and knocked on the door. The door unlocked with a click and a girl, Jennifer, opened it up with a smile. "Hi! I've come with cinnamon buns." Jennifer knew who I was. She welcomed us into the small office and locked the door behind us. "We lock you in. We lock you out. You never know with the guys," she said. I filled in the blanks in my head.

In the room were four people labouring over loads of baguette and egg salad. It smelled great. "This is our office. Drop-in is actually around the corner at the Salvation Army. We'll meet you over there in a bit." Down the stairs. Out the door and back into the car because 'around the corner' feels far to two sets of small legs. No sooner had I helped the kids out of the car when a man in a red wind breaker, holding a Timmy's quipped; "You coming in? I'll take you to the back door. Follow me." Mike, it turns out, is a faithful visitor to the Mission, eagerly volunteering whenever help is needed.

We were ushered into the hands of Jelica. It became clear that the place was hopping with activity, and Jelica was at the helm. Yet, she took the time to walk us through the place and introduce us to all of the giving souls there. There was the woman who distributed toiletries to those who need them. {Caelah: "Toiletries?" She learned a new word that day.} Then came the kitchen crew who wasted no time in pointing the kids towards the bake table and insisting they take one of the chocolate muffins. "But we're here to give you food, not take it!" I laughed, handing over the batch of cinnamon buns.

At the top of the stairs was the man who gave haircuts. "Once I made a slip and off came the guys whole pony tail! At first he just reached back and gasped, but thankfully he said he was thinking of cutting it short anyways." Then the ladies who, bless their hearts, do foot care and massages. "We do this in our sleep," one lady joked making a massaging motion with her hands. In addition, there was a back massage station. Finally, up in the attic, racks of clothes for the taking.

The kids and I were welcomed down to the kitchen once more where all of the volunteer staff were gathered. We were pulled into a circle as the morning was covered over in God-exalting prayer. "Let's open those doors!"

It was just a glimpse. But it revealed much about the meaning of love and service.
Open. Those. Doors.