Friday, July 29, 2005


Today is the last day of work for Ron McVicker! Or rather, the last day of work outside of Linwood House.

It is an exciting time for Ron and Gwen where they will be working side by side full time in the ministry now. Ron and Gwen have give their weekends and now Ron will also be with us in the weekdays.

Congratulations Ron!

We look forward to how this new part of your story, the story of you and Gwen that God has authored.


Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Blessings for "Hope Renfrew"

"Hope Renfrew" is our temporary working name for the house in Vancouver that we are restoring as Sacred Space.

These words from Amos seem so fitting:
Blessings Like Wine Pouring off the Mountains
11" I will restore this sacred space that has fallen to pieces. I'll repair the holes in the roof, replace the broken windows, fix it up like new. The downtown eastside women will be strong again 12and seize what's left of enemy Edom, plus everyone else under my sovereign judgment." GOD's Decree. He will do this.
13"Yes indeed, it won't be long now." GOD's Decree.
"Things are going to happen so fast your head will swim, one thing fast on the heels of the other. You won't be able to keep up. Everything will be happening at once--and everywhere you look, blessings! Blessings like wine pouring off the mountains and hills. 14I'll make everything right again for my people Israel:
"They'll rebuild their lives.
They'll work their gardens and eat fresh vegetables.
15And I'll plant them, plant them on their own land.
They'll never again be uprooted from the land I've given them."
GOD, your God, says so.

highlited areas make this blessing our own prayer for Hope Renfrew!


Fresh Paint, Fresh Colours, Fresh Life

We are on the homeward stretch! The painting of Linwood House has an end in sight, and although it has taken many weeks to get this far, it has been an amazing labour of love with many many hours of volunteered time. The new colours are slightly different and just enough to give it a wonderful fresh look.

Yesterday as I was out painting the craft cottage I thought a lot about how long it takes to get renovations, restorations, and new colours on a place. It takes time, patience, team effort…it is a process. There are the uncomfortable high places to climb up to and the low places were I simply sat on the ground to paint.

This parallels the whole concept of Linwood House Ministries – the process of restoring colours to the heart in order to life to be restored. The Journey, our partnership with Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, gives women from the streets the opportunity to come to a place that is vastly different from their daily environment. Not only is the scenery different at Linwood House, but God wants them to begin to see how beautiful they are, soul deep beauty. Abba wants them to begin to see that they can exchange the dark colours of the heart and soul for fresh new colours that put Jesus Light within. The process of this exchange takes enormous contributions from volunteers who give their labour of love at all hours of the night or day. Each of us must walk in the uncomfortable places, whether high or low, where God can do the restoration work necessary. Time, patience, community, and choosing the change, asking Jesus for change are the “colours” we need for this fresh colour, fresh life.

The painting is almost done but life has continued as we have worked. The process involves constantly moving, working toward completion.

I think we will need to have a party to celebrate the finishing of Linwood House’s painting!

Abba loves to celebrate the fresh colour and fresh life in everyone who chooses the hard work, the labour of love that is healing.


Thursday, July 21, 2005

Extreme Make-over of Sacred Space

Relationships. Somehow what God keeps trying to show us is that He is all about relationships. Hence He designed various combinations of relationships to reflect His heart and to benefit us. However dysfunctionally we have managed those relationships we still have a God who gives us glimpses of how powerful they are.

And that was clear today as a crowd of us gathered at a house in Vancouver that is going to become a home where women from the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver can live together and learn about community through relationships in a family/home setting. One of the women who has courageously made that change from addiction life to a healing life that has Jesus in it, shared with us how much a Linwood House would have moved her toward healing at a faster pace. A home with "sacred space" that reflected God through deep beauty and being made to feel worth while.

We sat around, papers and pens ready to jot down ideas, as we brainstormed the "extreme make over" of a home we are going to be involved in teaming up with. It was amazing to hear the following"
- oh we have construction friends and will have them come in to help
- we have friends who can connect us with those who "have" and want to give to those who "have not", and the website to check.
- a garden artist looked about and gave ideas on how this backyard could become a sacred space
- two others surveyed the bedrooms and quickly assessed what was needed and will contact an amazing seamstress who could begin some ideas for curtains, bedding etc.
- another wants to bring his children who are qualified in woodworking and could build a wonderful laundry room.

On and on the ideas flowed and the enthusiasm built. In this city we have enough facilities for food handouts and enough outreach facilities but what we don't have enough of is the relationships required to walk together and move forward. This "home on 28th" will be about relationships and seeing them grow, develop and enlarge the Kingdom.

And God said to him, 'I've listened to and received all your prayers, your ever-so-passionate prayers. I've sanctified this sacred space that you have built: My name is stamped on it forever; my eyes are on it and my heart in it alway.


Thursday, July 14, 2005


This morning I read the following verses from Psalm 10:
Lord, you know the hopes of the helpless.
Surely you will hear their cries and comfort them.
You will bring justice to the orphans and the oppressed, so mere people can no longer terrify them.

Gwen often says that our ministry at Linwood House Ministries is to the poor, the hurting and the broken. That includes all of us! Reading these words from Psalm 10 remind me, that again today, our purpose, my purpose is to live in the hope of these words, to share them with whoever crosses our path today and to pray for this world so full of hurting, broken and poor. It is the gentle reminder that today there is beauty to exchange for ashes, captives to be released, prisoners to set free. It is the daily whisper that a heart set on pilgrimage is a heart that will experience blessing from the Almighty.

Today each of us will meet the hurting, the broken and the poor - they will come through the door of Linwood House, or your home.

Isaiah has good words for me today, in the reminding of my heart, the call to our work:
Stop oppressing the helpless and stop making false accusations and spreading vicious rumours! Feed the hungry and help those in trouble. Then your light will shine out of darkness, and the darkness around you will be as bright as day. The Lord will guide you continually, watering your life when you are dry and keeping you healthy, too. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring. Your children will rebuild the deserted ruins of your cities. Then you will be known as the people who rebuild their walls and cities.

Yesterday Gwen spent time with some partners who are setting up a home in the Downtown Eastside. It will be a place of Light, of watering the soul. Pray for Lois as she prepares this home where the hurting, the broken and the poor will come for sanctuary.


Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Saying "Yes"

Monday afternoon "happy hour" we had our friend M and a new friend V. The four of us sat in the Great Room on a rather dull summer afternoon (felt like winter) and talked about "saying yes". What could we say "yes" to that would move us out of our comfort zone and take us one more step along the journey to wholeness, and be a yes to adventure?

These were the questions Gwen had for us:
- With one word what do you need today?
- If you could ask God any question in this moment, what would you ask Him?
- What was one thing you said yes to today that was out of your comfort zone?

When Naomi headed back to her homeland Ruth said yes to going along while Orpa said no. One said yes to adventure while the other chose the comfort of the familiar.

What can you say "yes" to today that is an affirmative to more aventure with God?


Monday, July 11, 2005

Mission Trip - today's

This morning I was reading Reclaiming God's Original Intent for the Church by Wes Roberts. "Wherever Christians were, that was their place of mission." This line so fits with what we believe at Linwood House Ministries.

One of our Board members, Gerry Sly, came up several weeks ago with 6 couples and helped with the house painting. Gerry had suggested to his men's group that they go on a "mission trip" - it just happened to be from Vancouver up to Roberts Creek to help paint a large home. Never before have we been the recipients of a mission trip like this that I am aware of.

We have travelled to China, Bulgaria, and the Ukraine with teams of women to minister to women. Sue and Jen regularly go to Eastside Vancouver to work with women we have met through The Journey. This is mission work on home turf. Discussions have taken place on bringing women from the places we have visited in Eastern Europe so together we can do a mission trip in Downtown Eastside Vancouver.

Wes's thoughts therefore just confirmed for me the idea that mission is here, now, today. I appreciate these following thoughts from his book:
These early disciples had a sense of mission. They saw themselves as sent by God into the world for the sake of the world. Wherever Christians were, that was their place of mission. Local congregations become intent on ministering in both word and deed as witnesses of Jesus Christ. Mission wasn't the job of a few professional clergy.
Early Christianity was radical - far more radical than the bland, conservative product we call Christianity today. Early Christians seemed to understand that their faith involved a radical commitment to a wild God who would often lead them to dangerous places.
This new community ...were bound together by the common purpose of the kingdom of God. They served their local communities with good deeds. They sacrificed and gave of themselves for the service of the kingdom of Christ. They had the conviction that they were a part of God's continuing story of the unfolding of redemption.

Thanks Wes for being part of our community. Thank you Gerry for letting the painting party also be a mission/learning/sharing experience for us all. We look forward to our Monday "happy hour" when women stop by to share, encourage and pray with each other.

Today another mission will take place wherever we are if we are willing to be "a part of God's continuing story of the unfolding of redemption". Mission, story, redeeming of story - we live in it, it lives in us and we learn more of life in Christ.


Saturday, July 09, 2005


Today the Board of Linwood House Ministries met for one of their regular bi-annual meetings.

There is so much to celebrate! The wonderful people who have come and volunteered their time to paint the outside of this home. Those who come on Monday evenings to share and pray together in what we call "Happy Hour". All who have come from the Downtown Eastside Vancouver, into an unknown, unfamiliar place, and share their lives with us. Some of them have never felt safe before, others are reaching out to touch what could be the beginnings to change in their lives. We celebrate with each person who comes to retreat here, to groups who come to plan and move forward with their organizations.

Celebration in this moment, at this point in the journey, for all those we are in relationship with, at whatever point on their journey, or our own we are on. Sharing what we have in our hand is a reason to celebrate this sacred space in our lives.

And so as Gwen spoke to the Board today she celebrated all that has happened in the last month!

These words from Nehemiah were shared:
7Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, and Pelaiah, all Levites, explained The Revelation while people stood, listening respectfully. 8They translated the Book of The Revelation of God so the people could understand it and then explained the reading.
9Nehemiah the governor, along with Ezra the priest and scholar and the Levites who were teaching the people, said to all the people, "This day is holy to GOD, your God. Don't weep and carry on." They said this because all the people were weeping as they heard the words of The Revelation.
10He continued, "Go home and prepare a feast, holiday food and drink; and share it with those who don't have anything: This day is holy to God. Don't feel bad. The joy of GOD is your strength!"
11The Levites calmed the people, "Quiet now. This is a holy day. Don't be upset."
12So the people went off to feast, eating and drinking and including the poor in a great celebration. Now they got it; they understood the reading that had been given to them.The entire congregation that had come back from exile made booths and lived in them. The People of Israel hadn't done this from the time of Joshua son of Nun until that very day--a terrific day! Great joy!
18Ezra read from the Book of The Revelation of God each day, from the first to the last day--they celebrated the feast for seven days.

Celebrate today. Celebrate the things of change, the moments of clarity, or what freedom feels like. Celebrate if you feel weak, because the Almighty has strength to give you.

We celebrate each of you who are on this journey which has intersected with us.


Thursday, July 07, 2005

New Colours

Linwood House in undergoing a colour change. Over the last few weeks we have been painting the house and it is looking really great.

Our house painting party several weeks ago was amazing. There were over 20 people came up for the weekend and volunteered to climb ladders, take of trim boards, take out nails etc etc.

So much to do and a cool rainy summer so far has delayed things a little. This week some old friends of Ron and Gwen have come for a week of holiday. Together the four of them have been painting, while they talk, laugh and catch up.

The new book being read around here are Can You Hear Me? by Brad Jersak as well as ones being re-read such as the daily devotional from Eugene Peterson Living the Message. A library is an endless source of reference, revisiting, renewing.

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