Besides raising four little rambunctious kids SUMS has been my greatest challenge and my greatest joy. After my husband came home and encouraged me to call some guy named Mike about a volunteer opportunity in the heart of Whalley I jumped for joy and quickly picked up the phone. That next week I prayed my way into the mission. I rambled on for safety, insight, and wisdom, while probably inducing laughter from our creator at my incessant, excited nattering. I passed people on the sidewalks pushing shopping carts and picking at the sidewalk cracks and I prayed that God would give me a chance to get to know them. I watched police officers talking to people covered in dirt and weaving back and forth down the road and prayed for compassion for the officers and change for the people. Over the past 8 months those prayers have changed and weaved their own design, but they are never ceasing. When I was hired as the Assistant to the ED I’m not sure Mike anticipated an assistant with constant ideas and a life-long struggle with patience. I was instantly berating him with changes to the mission and ideas for our guests: sports games during the week, bigger buildings, more services, more beds, more bathrooms, longer hours, activities, and staff members. Mike patiently listened and every time he would push back with a better idea or say, “I had that same thought a year ago; Ok, but we just need to wait on that; Amber, God is in the distraction, and right now I need to deal with this distraction; I love these ideas but can you just hold on a sec?” Finally Mike suggested that we take a week and not discuss any changes to the mission but just pray, write down what God tells us, and wait. I obliged and was excited about the mystery in that pause. By Thursday I was discouraged. God had told me nothing and I was constantly praying. I mentioned it to Mike and he confirmed that he felt the same way. When Friday rolled around I had heard from God but it wasn’t what I expected. “You go first”, Mike said. I pulled out the notebook I had been writing in and read the few notes I had from that week of prayer. “Basically God has been saying that we need to be a Hub, connect with other services in our area and promote mentorship with our guests. I’m not really sure he wants us to do anything other than that right now and I just think that he’s encouraging us to make connections with those in the area who are already providing services and see how we can assist them and partner with them. Also, I’ve been praying about increasing our fundraising and God’s made it very clear that we don’t need to. That doesn’t make any sense to me but I trust it.” Mike’s expression was awesome. It was thankful and full of awe. Misty eyed he said, “Wow. I really thought that I was going to disappoint you when I came back with what God told me this week. He said the exact same thing to me: Keep pressing on, create a hub at SUMS, and you have no need for someone to focus on fundraising.” We high-fived. It was a perfect highfive moment. So, we pressed on, kept praying, focused on our guests as much as possible and tried to understand why God wouldn’t tell us to be expanding when clearly the need is so great. About a month and a half later this incredible lady named Brenda met with Mike. Brenda is the regional director for BC Housing. “Mike, we’d like to offer you a big contract and we’d like to take your organization from a baby organization to an adult organization. We’ll need to expand into another building, hire outreach workers, renovate, and make SUMS into a hub for services in this area. BC Housing will pay for it all”. When Mike called about that meeting I laughed out loud, then I cried out loud, then I thanked the Lord for weaving His work in mysterious ways. Thank you to each of you who have been a part of this weaving. For donating your time, your money and your resources. Without you we couldn’t keep our doors open and we couldn’t love people the way we have been able to. Your giving is our answer to prayer.
Written by Amber Neufeld