Friday, January 06, 2006

Long Considerations....(post-Cowtown)

click here for my -bi-mon sci-fi con- ccc win-con pics

I’m so lazy….
And the 2005 Campus Crusade for Christ (Western) Winter Conference in Calgary (can I hear a whoop whoop?) was veddy veddy glate. I mean great. Praise God for safety to, from, and at there. What to say, where to start? Here goes.

Before going to le Calgary, I was told I’d be challenged. I was. Challenged to know God on a more personal level, and challenged to actually spend more time with Him. I’m working on that. I didn’t get to sleep much throughout the 5 days, but the fellowship I had and new friends I made, along with the general nonsensical tomfoolery and general stupid guy stuff made it worthwhile.

Bus ride to there? Good, because we had stops and the scenery was beautiful. And when I say beautiful, I actually mean BEAUTIFUL!!! The long stretches of mountains on either side of the highway were very breathtaking and reminded me of the part in the Lord of the Rings where Gondor lights the signal beacon thing across the mountains to call Rohan for help. Something to that extent. I still need a picture of a particular road sign I saw though: “Maximum 110 km/h.” Narf and zort!

The Hyatt Regency Calgary was very nice, clean, but pricey! Eight bucks for a bowl of oatmeal with raisins. That’s what it said on the breakfast menu. Helpful staff and quite patient, as they had what…200 uni students running around everywhere? Ah…the memories.

That wasn’t all. Lou Leventhal and Holly Sheldon, our main speakers, were truly most excellent (yeah that blurb about them isn’t very exciting, but they’re unforgettable). Extremely gifted and blessed people, or rather, servants of God who have huge hearts. Some things that stuck in my mind are that God is always speaking to us (radio waves, tune in, listen shhhh) and with faith comes blessing (did Abraham go forth? Yes, yes he did). Mike Woodard, (National Campus Ministry Director) spoke our last day there too.

I also went to the sessions by Michael Horner (Queer Mind for the Straight Kind and Everybody Hates God) and Dilbert (faith in the workplace) by David Tan (UBC grad. Boo UBC. I’m kidding. Really I am. I’m sorry. Don’t hurt me….[bam!]). Oh dear, there was tons of training and teaching…..if you want to talk about any of this stuff, just ask me.

It’s a little disappointing that there was no snow. But, on the plus side, we didn’t have to experience -30° C temperature drops. Calgary seems to move slowly compared to Vancouver. There’s less traffic, and the streets as pointed out to me, are relatively clean. Oh yeah, being a prairie province, majority of the land was flat (like a flattened pancake in a flattening machine), and I had trouble navigating where I was all the time, walking on the street. Too used to the mountains and water. Just for fun, I noticed that gas was 83.9¢/litre when we arrived in Cowtown and 86.9 when we left. In BC it’s been above 92 for a while.

There’s a very memorable event that I still think about, unconnected to the conference. I’ve been debating with myself whether to put it out, but maybe, someone can learn something from it or knows what I’m feeling/thinking (those pesky unreliable feelings….).

Wednesday around 5 PM-ish, Me, S and J were walking east from the Calgary Eaton Centre back to the hotel via 7th Ave SW. We saw a heavyset lady in a wheelchair of Native descent through glass doors in a lobby. It looked like she wanted/needed to get out so S and J opened the doors for her. She didn’t really move but she sort of smiled and then pointed at me and said something. All that time, her speech was very slurred, mumbled and she didn’t say many words at one time.

She wasn’t moving out of the lobby in a hurry but seemed eager to “talk” to us and I remember her saying stuff like “I love Chinese people” “I go to Chinatown all the time” and “Chinese people are the best.” I wasn’t sure why she was saying that, but now that I think about it, maybe she was trying to butter us up because she asked us for $2 and we were kind of just, I don’t know dumbstruck, unsure of what to do because she wasn’t moving and we were supposed to be on our way and we gave it to her (in retrospect, it was suggested that we should have bought her food instead of given money). We tried to tell her we had to leave, but she said something like, “Don’t leave me,” and S strongly felt that it wasn’t right to leave her, but to make sure she got to where ever she needed to go to, safely. So we asked her and she told us to wheel her up onto the C-Train station which was actually right in front of us.

S asked if she was waiting for someone and she said, “I’m waiting for Jesus.” It didn’t seem like she knew what she was talking about and I missed what S replied because the train had come and she had told us she needed to get to the drop-in center. She kept asking us not to leave her. We were unfamiliar with the train, and she told us, “The blue light is the retarded doors” so we pushed her to the wider wheelchair doors of the train and wheeled her on. We had planned to walk back to the hotel, but she kept saying, “Don’t leave me” and even grabbed onto us a few times and the guys thought it’d be good to stay. She told us she needed to get off at the city hall stop, so we stood there on the train with her. People looked at us out of the corner of their eyes, wondering what 3 young Chinese guys were doing in the evening, pushing around a lady in a wheelchair. We passed the stop that we would have gotten off at, if we were going to the hotel. But the next stop conveniently was the city hall stop and we began to push her out of the station, continuing east down the street.

We had walked quite a number of blocks, and she wasn’t being clear in her directions where to go, but we kept pushing her. I noticed she had tear stains down her face. I could smell traces of alcohol and cigarette smoke too as we kept going. For some reason as we were making our way, she mentioned to us that she was homeless and that her husband was dead. And she mentioned that drug dealers took her house, something to that extent. We didn’t know what else to do; we kept pushing her to where she directed us.

By this time, we were going north on 3rd St SE and it seemed like we weren’t going anywhere. Finally she pointed further up and said that’s the place. All I could see was a small strip mall with a dollar store and another store called Beer Land, and a larger condo-looking building behind it. She said that was it, so we kept going. Finally we got outside the parking lot of that small strip mall and we stopped because things didn’t seem right, as we were looking for an entrance to the drop in centre. She then started to ask us to buy her cigarettes and beer but we told her we couldn’t and we tried asking her again where the drop-in was. She said to go to the back alley behind the tiny strip mall, so we did. Slowly. The guys took a look around the corner, and we went around and saw what appeared to be a very small warehouse with a door, and no lights around anywhere. There were a few street people waiting and talking outside the door and then I noticed a sign in the upper corner of the wall of the warehouse thing which said “Calgary Drop-In Centre.”

We asked the people standing there, “Will she be safe here” and they nodded yes at us. They were probably wondering the same thing as the people on the C-Train. We told her we had to leave, but this time, she pleaded with us loudly not to leave her, over and over again and grabbed our arms again. It sounded like she was going to cry. But we had to leave and she started to repeat the things she said earlier, “Chinese people are the best,” “Don’t leave me, don’t leave me” and then one other different thing: “I’ll never see you again.” She had bowed to us earlier when the guys first opened the door to her in the very beginning (as she sat in her wheelchair) so as we left, we bowed to her a few times, and she bowed to us back, all the while pleading for help and to not leave her. And then we walked back.

As we left, we noticed more street people going in the direction of where we just left. It’s apparent to me now, that the huge condo-looking building is actually a part of the drop-in centre. The entrance was on the other side I think.

I’m not trying to be dramatic or sound…I don’t know, but I’ve never really been around street people before. And somehow I feel that in that situation, we were obligated to do something more for her, in the sense that we were materially better off. I don’t quite understand God’s reasoning for putting us in that circumstance yet, other than to help the lady, because she did need help getting to the centre as it was already dark and quite cold. But as for teaching, I’m not sure what the whole lesson is yet. We considered sharing the 4 Laws with her, but didn’t because it didn’t seem like she was understanding us, (mistake). Hmmmm. God does interesting things to get our attention sometimes.


Anonymous said...

hey Tim! thanks for the pics. chinese people are the best. i'm only 1/4, but still. non-chinese ppl are cool too.

Tim said...

aiyah, i mean not like that, one. we are all equal, lah!
[funny accent]