(Names have been changed to protect the innocent. Story is told by 'Laverne')
Laverne meets a gal at CARTS on Sunday who has just been housed & has nothing but an air mattress & a TV. Laverne agrees to meet her at View Towers on Thursday morning at 10:00 with whatever she can scrounge by then.
Shirley hears about this & says "You can't go to View Towers by yourself. I think I should go with you!" We agree to meet to Home Sense on Cloverdale & drive down together (what a great friend!!)
Shirley had just taken a load to the Thrift Store last week & is feeling badly that she has nothing to bring. But lo & behold, driving to meet Laverne she spots a FREE sofa by the side of the road. (Today she is driving Joe's truck because the car is in for service....she never has Joe's truck!) So she says"Thank you Lord. I now have something to bring!!" & proceeds to load this huge sucker by herself. No angels appeared for this scene!
Shirley pulls into the parking lot on Cloverdale & parks right in front of Laverne's vehicle.! It took a minute to notice she had "a load"!!! We moved everything from Laverne's vehicle into the truck & off we went. There was a parking spot almost at the front door of View Towers (THANK YOU!). It took 3 of us to get it off the truck (couch roped in with a long extension cord across the back!!). Actually, I take back the "no angels appeared for scene 1"..... I have no idea how Shirley loaded that by herself!! Anyway, we're now minus one couch foot, but it's off the truck & on the road. A passerby noted that we should ask for a dollie, so off Shirley & Jane go to the office & I get the couch moved onto the sidewalk & stand guard. 3 gentlemen (???) who had been standing by the entrance smoking suddenly disappeared....never to reappear during this drama!!! (obviously NOT angels!)
Moving the honking huge couch
We tried to get the couch onto the dollie but this was NOT working! POOF....appears angel # 1 (a white-haired man!) who tried to help us get it on, but before we knew it he was on his back on the sidewalk....we tried to encourage him to quit, but he was not wanting to give up so easily, and we all decided to just carry the dang thing... & the 4 of us staggered it to the front doors. I might add that Griffin's Plumbing truck was parked right at the front door (not on the road.... at the very entrance!) & water was flowing out of a pipe in the wall & covered the whole area we staggered through! We plopped it down & angel # 1 vanished!
But the door is TOO small
Then we look at the situation & see that the door is way too small for this honking huge couch. (more drama with the office here that I won't get into, but the end result is we have to get it through this single door or not at all !) Enter angel # 2. A cocky young man! We had already figured out that we would have to stand it on end if we had any chance at all, which we did with much grunting & groaning! Next thing we knew he had grabbed it, shoving & zigzagging, & suddenly it popped through the door with only minor damage! All this with other people who were moving into/out of the building lined up to use the door!!!! WOW.....except suddenly we had the realization that we still had the elevator, which had no bigger opening! Angel # 2 vanishes!!!
"If the couch is dragged on this dirty floor I'm not sitting on it"
(because of course the couch was upside down by now). The recipient was emphatic that if the couch was dragged on the filthy floor she couldn't use it. We didn't actually discuss it, but somehow that possibility could not be an option, & we just carried on!!!
The small elevator door looked like the end of our struggle. But we couldn't even IMAGINE getting the couch back out & back onto the truck! Now it was just Laverne & Shirley...with just a comment from a passer-by that things didn't look good!! Angel # 3 was not visible to the naked eye, but by some miracle Laverne & Shirley alone sliced this rig into the elevator! Such exhilaration!!! Up 16 floors........we repeated the groaning effort & it popped out.
The hallway would easily fit an ironing board...
but how do people move furniture into this place????!!! By this time we were exhausted, so with the two of us on one end we just pushed the couch, a couple feet at a time, down the long hall.
The apartment door was even smaller yet. It truly seemed the end of the line, but leaving the couch in the hallway was not an option as it was as wide as the whole hall!! With some resignation, we decided to at least give it a try. One of us pushing, one pulling & one pushing the cushion part as hard as possible....we moved an inch into the doorway & got stuck. By now Shirley is praying out loud, "God, this was YOUR idea, so You have got to help us get this in!!!!" And we moved another inch.....and so on....and so on!!! You couldn't have fit a piece of paper between the couch & the wall. One last push & it popped into the room! It was UNBELIEVABLE!!!! All we could do was laugh at the improbability of having moved this thing. We got it in with only one ridge sort of shredded, but it all looked pretty good & Jane seemed very thrilled (no more talk about not sitting on it!!). We forgot to check the condition of the walls!!!!!
The rest of the stuff seemed quite insignificant after this effort &, except for a crowded elevator ride with stuff & people, that made many stops on the way up, (the claustrophobia angel got Shirley to the 16th floor!) the rest of the move was less eventful !!!
Back on December 11th Al, Charon and Ron had the opportunity to visit Victoria Full Gospel Fellowship and share about CARTS. It was a great to share a bit about our journeys...and to give folks a glimpse of what a Sunday afternoon looks like on Victoria's inner city streets, with our precious friends...in the midst of this beautiful community we call " CARTS."
You can listen to our time with VFGF...HERE. Just scroll down to recent sermons, December 11th, CARTS Outreach Ministry. If you think your faith community might be interested in hearings about CARTS, and Victoria's inner city please contact us...we'd love to come and visit.
There are lots of ministries like CARTS in lots of different cities around the world. Some are huge, many are just a community of passionate people--passionate about being the love of God in a hurting world.
Love Wins is one of those kind of ministries. They describe themselves in this way:
Our mission is to demonstrate and promote God’s love for the marginalized through personal relationships, education and support. Love Wins Ministries shares unconditional love and friendship with the homeless and poor population of Raleigh, North Carolina. We focus on relationships, not outcomes – just like you do with your friendships.
I just read a post on their blog, and then the earlier post referred to part way through. In so many ways it reflects the same kind of personal face-to-face interaction we strive for with CARTS.
It also reflects the joy we have as we are able to help someone. Not just a nameless statistic, but a someone. Someone who is just as special as anyone else.
Hugh Hollowell founded Love Wins Ministries. Here is a video of Hugh talking about how he got involved in his 'ministry of presence'.
Start coming out with us on Sunday afternoons. Get hooked! Start connecting with people on your own. Experience the joy of being the love of God.
What if one day the entire body of Christ was struck dumb? What if we couldn't write a word; couldn't speak a word, and we couldn't move our lips to mouth one.
What would be left?
And what would our lives say?
What would they say about who we are and who our God is?
What would they say about what we believe?
If we were to take away the words, how much of the gospel would the world understand? Would we discover the world is illiterate? Or that our lives are illegible?
Would the writings on the pages of our lives, which we always took to be literate, turn out to be the scribblings of a preschooler? Or would the pages simply be blank?
"Preach the gospel," Saint Francis said, "and when necessary, use words." And he said that, I think, because he realized that the most impactful words are those incarnate in our lives. Words that are made flesh and dwell among the world.
It's time for our CARTS Annual General Meeting. Because our year runs from August to July, our AGM happens in the Fall.
Our AGM will happen on Friday, November 25 at 7 PM at the St. Barnabas Church Hall. St Barnabas Anglican Church is located on the corner of Belmont Ave. and Begbie St., by Stadacona Park. It is easily accessible by bus: Take a 27 or 28 bus to the top of Begbie St., or a 2, 11 or 14 to Oak Bay Junction and walk a block north on Belmont Ave.
( Here's directions )
Our AGM will contain all of the fun stuff you look forward to at an AGM...and more. I'm sure if you've been a part of CARTS for awhile you know, and if you're new...you sense it, where the Psalmist says " where deep calls to deep. And that is " community." And the AGM is part of that , it's a time to celebrate the past year...and a time to envision the coming year. It's time for conversation, a time to bring your questions. it's a time to bring ideas...it's time to get to know one another.
SO PLEASE COME EACH AND EVERY ONE IS AN INTEGRAL PART OF CARTS...like a beautiful collage each person brings their beauty to what CARTS is. SEE YOU THERE.
(montage: J Fowler)
Teresa of Avila said, “Christ has no body now on earth but yours, no hands but yours, no feet but yours; yours are the eyes through which Christ’s compassion looks out on the world.”
While those words sound beautiful, many of us struggle with how to care for broken people. Compassion comes easily for people who are like us, but what about people on the margins of society. How can we be the hands and feet of Christ to people who are struggling in the downward spiral of poverty and isolation?
Can you see the face of Jesus in the faces of those in need?
Yet Jesus was very clear in his teaching that living faith out, somehow we don’t have the option not to care for the down and out.
The Good Samaritan crossed the road and was moved by compassion for the mugged man. He got involved by bandaging his wounds and then took him to the nearest rehab center and paid for his rehabilitation.
What we do for the least of these, Jesus said, is what we do for him. The list included providing food and clothing, looking after people in prison, caring for the sick and taking in strangers.
Compassionate care for the poor is central to the teaching of Scripture. Ultimately the power to overcome poverty lies in learning to live the Jesus way, to follow him in how he interacted with the poor and the marginalized, and to be willing—like Jesus, to lay down our self-centered, materialistic lives to take up the cross of loving generosity, gentle kindness, and tenacious advocacy for the rights of the poor and the oppressed.
The needs of the poor are often complicated. Generations of social castaways are plagued with inadequate education, dilapidated housing and few employable skills.
What can we do find and serve the least of these?
Navigating the inner city streets of victoria since 2003 CARTS has seen many men and women who have become homeless in the city , and as we have visited the marginalized community of the inner city, We have discovered good news of the gospel unfold before us...in profound mystery Jesus comes alive...in our midst. We actually can, in very practical ways, find sustainable, manageable ways to make a difference in the lives of the poor.
Caring for the poor is something we do together. As individuals, as a community, we each have a role to play. The spirit stirs the waters of compassion within us to move in faith, to move love into action feeding and clothing the homeless, providing shelter, caring for the sick and ministering to those suffering. Each of us can plant our humble seed of faith, into nurturing friendships. More than anything poverty needs friendships.
It's hard to believe we're coming up to a year on our new route through the inner city of Victoria. We continue to humbly nurture this beautiful ministry...we act in faith, and God continues to faithfully provide. I'm blessed to be part of this inner city community.
And this from Fran Slofstra last evening...
"God does provide faithfully! We made 460 cookies last night! Praise God for volunteers to do so, the kitchen at PCS and the pounds and pounds of ingredients!! Awesome!"
There are so many things that happened behind the scenes that make CARTS happen on a Sunday. Many people we don't see, the faces behind the cookies...the faces, the laughter, the joy, the hands...the ingredients of " love " beyond the sugar, the chocolate chips, flour, smarties.
The love of the volunteers permeates everything CARTS is...it's the fuel the powers, it's what embraces, it's what inspires, it fills, it feeds...it's what makes God visible.
In a sense, Sunday CARTS are a bit of " faith-filled " miracle. We are a small, local, organic and fluid community...with a shoe string budget. Some weeks the shoe string is shorter than others. But, much like the parable of the few loaves and fish we faithfully put it all in the hands of Jesus and he always seems to multiply what little we have.
Thanks...to everyone, seen and unseen...your love is felt every week.
We are slowly re-booting the website that has been dormant for a while. One thing we want to bring to the forefront of the " WEBSITE " is the blog. We hope this will be a space of engagement, of conversation...where we can share CARTS stories. Where we can let you know what's happening on the streets of Victoria's inner city. We hope to talk about compassion, hospitality, grace...and a whole lotta Love. So again please join us in conversation, and practice...as we continue the mysteriously, beautiful journey of Love.
We are a local Victoria, BC charity dedicated to fulfilling our mission: