A Message from Our Executive Director

Thank you for your generosity over the holiday season!

During our recent cold snap, I was sitting at home reflecting on winter and three words came to mind: warmth, family, and security. For me personally, winter has never been a tough time. I think that’s because as a child (even though looking back now I realize we were poor as church mice), we always had the warmth of the kitchen stove as eight of us sat around a small table and ate our meal together. And I would venture to guess that most of you also enjoy the same comforts and luxuries.

How different though for so many of the people we serve. Over the long season of winter, those who are in need are especially susceptible to feelings of despair and hopelessness. With your help we are able to be the hands and heart of Jesus, replacing gloom with warmth, family, and security.

Coming up in the next month, I’m excited to participate in our annual Strides to End Homelessness event and anticipate a big turnout

Thank you for your faithfulness, as we continue to provide needed shelter, comfort, guidance and other life-giving resources to vulnerable men and women in our community.

Blessings,

Randy Signature

Randy Benson

Executive Director, Kelowna’s Gospel Mission

 

My Name is Gordon
Welcome to my World

“Thanks to the Gospel Mission I found a new home. I’m currently living in a transitional setting until something more permanent becomes available, but for me, my journey never ends and neither does my battle with Mental Illness.”

Note to Readers: Please enjoy this heartfelt piece coming directly from Gordon himself. We have kept it in its original format to respect his wishes and artistic integrity.


Here I stand, a once proud man. One of many, waiting to step inside
Smiles and frowns all huddled together as I wait to enter the great unknown

You’ve just read the first paragraph from a poem I wrote entitled “I Love This Old Cross” This poem was originally written as a piece of fiction but for me this paragraph was about to come alive. The date was May 30, 2015 and my life was about to come to a sudden halt.

I took one deep breath and on that beautiful Okanagan afternoon I slowly walked through the waiting open doors of the Kelowna Gospel Mission. I made my way into the cramped and crowded “House”, rubbed my eyes and there nailed to the dining room wall was this sorry looking old cross. All tattered, torn and broken and about to come crumbling down.

I continued walking through the halls of that fabled old building asking myself… “How did I ever get here?” Hey God… What did I ever do wrong? Was it a drug, alcohol or anger management issue for me? I can decisively say no but my problem was just as deep rooted and long lasting.

It’s followed me throughout my life. It comes with me from place to place and job to job. I’m always on the go, always searching for an end to the long and seemingly endless road that I’m travelling on. I can’t stay in one place very long, I can’t hold down a job or make any friends. I finds myself all alone in a very unforgiving world.

I live with an acute case of anxiety. Mix in a variety of learning and social issues and there I was, standing shoulder to shoulder with a hundred total strangers. Someone once described me as a lost little puppy looking high and low for his master but I knew my upbeat, pleasant personality would eventually shine through and I was determined to make the best of an unpleasant situation.

Leon Avenue has now turned deathly dark and baron. I’m the last to walk inside
‘Welcome to your new home son. We’re here to serve you’

We’re here to serve you is a real understatement when it comes to describing the staff and volunteers at the Kelowna Gospel Mission. After all it’s them who breathe real life into those who are struggling for direction. During my stay at the Mission I learned many new things about myself. I found skills I never knew existed and felt the love of many.

And everything they (staff & volunteers) did was for the glory of the Lord
The Lord was living through these dear people

Mandy… So full of life and so lightning fast and efficient around the kitchen as she prepared our meals.

Linda…If she’s not upstairs in housekeeping then she’s taken her infectious smile and contagious enthusiasm out onto the links where her shot making accuracy could actually put Tiger Woods to the test.

Terra… She travels halfway around the world just to put a smile on a few young faces.

Such are but a few of the characteristics and personalities that make up the heart and soul of the Kelowna Gospel Mission.

Thanks to the Gospel Mission I found a new home. I’m currently living in a transitional setting until something more permanent becomes available but for me my journey never ends and neither does my battle with Mental Illness. But for the cross of Christ I will carry on.

Over the years I’ve come to love this cross. Every day, all day long it was a constant reminder
A reminder that God sent down his own son to die so I might be set free

As I put an end to another chapter in my life I close my eyes and can’t help but envision God looking down on Leon Ave and shouting

 ‘Well done good and faithful servants’
‘Enter through into the joy of the Lord.’  


You can help spread hope this Easter!

On March 26, Kelowna’s Gospel Mission will be serving an Easter dinner to those in need throughout Kelowna, including families and seniors who are experiencing poverty. It will be a traditional affair, our hall filled with belonging and celebration.

We expect to serve over 700 meals, but we need your support!

Meals at Kelowna’s Gospel Mission are often the first step towards positive changes, for guests like Gordon. That’s why it’s so important to help.

If you’ve already given, please know that we deeply appreciate your generosity. You enable life-giving events like these to happen year-round, bringing light to the community and providing a place to forge supportive connections.