“I first came to Kelowna’s Gospel Mission in 2013 or 2014,” says Shawn. “I was there for three years. I was a functioning addict then and the staff were really understanding in helping me through that.”
After finding employment, Shawn occasionally stopped by to visit. Thanks to gifts like yours, the staff were able to accommodate him after a hernia operation and after he suffered a physical assault. They always made him feel as comfortable as possible. Their kindness and understanding stuck with him.
“I got help two years ago, after waking up in the ICU,” says Shawn. He’d induced a coma by drinking too much. When he woke up in the hospital three days later, he was completely disoriented. He asked his nurse why he was restrained and had a catheter. He asked why he couldn’t just get up to use the bathroom.
She leaned in and said, “Because most people in this unit don’t wake up.”
“It sank in real quick,” says Shawn. “I’m an only child and my parents told me that if I didn’t do something to help myself they were going to walk away from me, because they couldn’t watch me die. It was hard to take, but it was tough love and if they didn’t do that I probably wouldn’t be here.”
Shawn left the hospital and went into a recovery program. There Shawn learned to forgive and love himself. Although he had always been a Christian, it wasn’t until he was staying at the Mission that he actually found God. Now, two years sober, Shawn is working at the Mission, sharing his story and offering the same love and support he received in his recovery.
“Everyone who walks through the doors gets compassion from staff and volunteers that don’t judge,” says Shawn. “The staff and volunteers here smile and shake your hand and honestly want to know how you are doing. In my understanding, those are traits that Christ had. Christ shared love for his fellow man and this Mission gets to share that love every day. I find it so overwhelming that I get to play a small part in that. It’s not about the paycheque, it’s about the satisfaction of knowing I’ve made a difference.”
We feel honoured to have played a part in Shawn’s story. Thank you for the crucial role that you also have played in his success story!