Shayne Lawson

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For about 20 years I took from this community in Whalley. I used to deal drugs and run with many of the guys we serve here today. In 2005 I went to Vancouver island where I sobered up and accepted Christ. Two years later I came back and got a job at the Whalley Legion and through that I met a lot of people from the neighbourhood including a lot of people I used to run with. The housing workers quickly started calling on me to help move guys since I was driving a station wagon at the time. One of the clients asked me to give him a ride to the local soup kitchen one day and that’s how I ended up at the doors of what used to be the Surrey Urban Mission at the old church. I walked in there and asked the old executive director what I needed to do to get a volunteer position. She quickly put me to work using my car—running errands and such for the mission. She had me serving coffee on lunch breaks, and when we started getting into shelter times, she offered me a volunteer position helping with that. Some nights there’d be up to 69 guys with me as the only staff and it was quite crazy back then. Finally when we transferred into our current building, BC Housing picked up our contract as being a shelter and its produced a 30 to 40 bed shelter here. And since I had the experience from my previous volunteering, they offered me the coordinator position here. I still serve many of the guys I used to run with way back in the day and they see the difference that Christ has made in my life. They see the value of giving back to your community. So my initial reason for coming back to surrey was that I wanted to give back to the community I took from and the Surrey Urban Mission has given me that opportunity. And it’s given many other people opportunities to give back.