One of the lowest moments of my life came earlier this year, when I first realized I couldn’t pay rent. Just like everyone else, I was trying to survive during COVID-19, but my money was running out fast.
I never imagined that I’d be in this situation.
My name is Perry and I’m 43. I was raised by my mother in Newfoundland. I never really knew my father, he left when my mom was pregnant with my sister. Although money was tight, I had a good childhood. I liked school … I did pretty well there.
Then after graduation, I worked on long-liners, doing offshore fishing and harvesting shrimp. Fishing was my passion. But after 10 years, the industry slowed down. Before I knew it, I was out of a job.
I miss fishing every day. That’s where my heart is. I’d go back if the money was there.
I found a good job framing houses in Kelowna. But after a year, I had a run of bad luck. Working construction is hard on the knees. Eventually, I got surgery on one of them. I needed surgery on the other one, too. But before I could get the operation, my employer lost his contract.
Without warning, I was laid off and I had to live off my savings.
I was feeling depressed and I knew deep down that I needed to put God first in my life again. I wanted to go home, but the pandemic made that impossible. When I didn’t have another $1,200 for rent, I called Kelowna’s Gospel Mission and was told, “We have a bed for you, why don’t you come down and register. It’s yours if you want it.”
“My faith is strong again, and I thank God for everything good in my life.”—Perry
I’m glad I did. Since then, my life has turned around. I never expected to be here, but everything is falling into place. From the moment I walked in, I was welcomed with open arms. And the hospitality I was shown was unreal.
Thanks to Kelowna’s Gospel Mission, I’ve been offered a job in a temporary winter shelter as an overnight worker. That’s huge for me. I can make an income and learn a new skill that will help me get out of construction. In fact, I’m renting a room and getting back on my feet.
I thank God every day for the connections I’ve made with other people here. It was there for me in my time of need, and for that I’m forever grateful.