The best end to the 2010 Winter Games

Trip Start Sep 08, 2009
Trip End Jun 07, 2010

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Commercial Drive

Flag of Canada  , British Columbia,
Sunday, February 28, 2010

Our job for Monday was yet again, warming stations. We doled out hot chocolate for a while- but it was such a beautiful day no-one really wanted it until it got colder- at which point it became much more popular! It got to the point where there were 4 assistants so Rebi and I went back up to the Salvation Army building (that warming stations operate out of) to bake mookies/coffins. One hour later, I caught the bus down with a tray-full of warm homemade cookies. I offered one to the bus driver, but he declined. However a homeless man sitting nearby asked 'what are you selling?' I told him they were free and he gratefully took a couple of cookies. Considered passing the tray round the packed bus but decided against it. However, when I got off and approached the Skytrain station, people started running towards me with cries of 'Do you have cookies?' My reputation precedes me. I was amazed at people's reactions to something as simple as a homemade cookie- I was inundated with 'thank you's, 'homemade, really?'s and 'aww's. People who were rushing to the skytrain station with faces betraying their many worries of the day transformed with a bright and cheerful smile when they accepted a cookie. I suppose the thought and effort we put in (even if it was a mix out of a tube) really made a difference to people, and they couldn't believe we were just giving them out for free. Everyone wanted one! This felt like an answer to prayer- we had no idea how well they would go down. In Montreal the other team baked hundreds of cookies, bagged them up and tried to give them out to people but no-one would accept. Here, I was just handing them straight out of a catering tray, and people were lining up. The Salvation Army jackets and fact that people now are recognising/expecting us with the hot chocolate probably helped.

Tuesday was more Prayer Stations- we all prayed about it and agreed we wanted to stay on The Drive if possible. Bobby, Anne, Ancel & Rebekka decided to go to East Hastings, and I was left to try and organise the rotation etc for our team. However, I felt somewhat left in the lurch after another 6 people joined us, Hannah (on 2010 team) just left us and I had 13 people waiting for me to give them instructions!  We had far too many for one spot, so I suggested we split 8-6 and I took the smaller team to the one place I didnt want to go- Waterfront. Hm. Rachel and I went with 4 people from the YWAM Davvos (Switzerland DTS) team, but they seemed really exhausted and fed up before we even started. They'd been working since 8am that morning so needed a bit of a rest! 

 Rachel and I went in a pair for the prayer stations but without a sign (saying 'Free Prayer'- cheesy but effective), no-one knew what we were offering. So, in the spirit of the Olympics, we decided to paint our faces. Free across my forehead, Prayer across the middle of my face. I know no shame. It made me and other people laugh through! Our first half hour shift praying was OK- I had several smiles when I grinned at people and I thought what I would think if I walked past me. Total loon. Complete and utter idiot. I am a fool for God! Had a Christian man stop to encourage us, tell us to keep up the good work. Then went and sat in Starbucks for an hour. We chatted for half an hour, then prayed for the next half hour and I had such a good time just worshipping God under my breath, praying over the prayer duo standing out in the rain. Before we knew it, it was our turn again- and we prayed with two people- both who really encouraged us. First was a man whose 14 months ago had been a drug and alcohol addict. But 'people like us' prayed for him on the side of the road, and he turned his life around. He now works with the Salvation Army, encouraging teens not to let their lives get like his had. The second was a lady from S. Korea. She was so excited when we told her we were Christians- and couldnt believe she'd run into Christians already- having just arrived in Vancouver for 5 days. She told us stories of how wherever she went, she ran into people straight away and how God must be looking out for her. When we told her we were with YWAM she was equally amazed, as she had had contact with YWAM in LA. I tell you, you'd be hard pushed to go anywhere and not find a YWAMer. 

We went back and shared at The Daily debrief- it was so encouraging to hear everyone's stories of how we're impacting Vancouver. I ran downstairs to say hi to Chilliwagon people- we haven't been able to go since before Christmas, so it was great to say a quick hi. Hopefully we'll be able to go again in a few weeks during the Paralympics. 

Our team met up again at 9pm to plan our evening... I had suggested to Randy and Tanya at the start of the outreach that some of us went out and did 'Club Mission', a ministry my university does once a month where a small group gather together to pray before going out, staffing a 'Chillout Room' and looking out for people on the dancefloor. I thought it would be great to do the same in Vancouver, but wasn't sure where it would fit in. Tuesday morning, Randy informs us that we would all be going out that evening. Talk about out of the blue! Still, I was excited to finally have a night out in Vancouver. Rachel, Rebekka, Taylor and I decided to hit the bars and clubs of Vancouver. Little did we know everywhere had at least a $10 cover charge- it was a Tuesday night! We ended up at an Irish pub, so it was fairly relaxed. Standing outside in the rain, we met a guy named David. Heavily tatooed, he had survived Leukaemia a few years ago, and had decorated himself as reminders of what he'd been through. We got chatting about where best to go- and where wouldn't charge us to get in. When he realised money was our problem, he promptly offered to pay our entry. As poverty stricken students/missionaries(!) we hesitantly but gladly accepted. We talked to a few people but didn't really have any significant conversations (Rebi discovered an effective method of getting rid of persistent guys was to talk to them about Jesus.)  Rebekka and Taylor had their first ever Guiness (no better place to have it than an Irish pub, I figured) and we eventually dragged ourselves away at 1am. Finally a good night out! 

Wednesday was much more relaxed. I slept in late, helped prep a community meal for about 45 minutes, then waited for the food to be ready and ate! We were also to go out that evening, so we discussed where to go again- and ended up going to the House of Saskatchawan with Bobby & Rachel. It was alright inside, but it was a pretty big tent and there weren't all that many people in it, despite the live country music... so we moved on to the House of Ontario, which was much more rocking. Everyone was watching the hockey game, so lots of Go Canada cries. A little later an amazing live band came on called God made me funky. Not a Christian band, but still loved their name and their music! Awesome job. There was so much energy in the pavillion we probably could have stayed until 1am again, but left just after midnight as we knew we did actually need to catch up on sleep! 

Thursday was our Day Off :) I spent the morning sleeping, filling in a job application (which takes hours, by the way), and then went to yoga downtown. I met up with Rebekka on Granville Island for some sushi sat outside on the harbour and ran into Michelle, my friend I met in Tofino. It was great to catch up quickly and even in the 5 minutes we were chatting she recommended a food shop and cookbook store to me! I finished the day with a yummy coffee from 49th parallel (best coffee in Vancouver, in my opinion). Tough day.

We had a lot of meetings on Friday afternoon. One hour team time, followed by 2 hours planning our trip to Saskatchewan next week, followed by an hour official debrief with More Than Gold. Our job for the day was an Aha! Concert- you remember, the one we didn't have much to do at before? Well I'm sure the concert was wonderful, but sadly I didn't catch much of it as I was sat in a stairwell with Anne guarding the back door... in case a crazy axe-wielding maniac ran in during the concert, I guess. They didn't. I went home early to look after Rebi, who had stayed home feeling a bit sick, and had a surreal journey home. Bobby and I were standing outside the church talking before I left, when suddenly we hear a woman's voice screaming out from the apartment blocks opposite. In fact, it appeared she was standing on the balcony screaming. Soon her screams were echoed around the surrounding streets. I started to walk towards the Skytrain station and saw someone on the other side of the street just burst into a scream. Next someone walking directly towards me let out an involuntary screech. It was terrifying. It seemed not 30 seconds could go by without someone screaming 'Go Canada'- and the resounding response would ripple out like a tidal wave until the screams died down again. The reason for all this excitement? Canada had just beaten Slovakia in the ice hockey, winning their ticket to the Gold Medal game on Sunday. The streets were jubilant with celebration, crowds milled around in their red and white uniforms, oblivious to the Vancouver rain. Vancouver was in party-mode, yet again.

Saturday was interesting- we met up early, and split into two teams- one to go back to the Aha Concert in the evening, the others to go help out at a shelter in the Downtown Eastside. I was in the latter, and we were told they were expecting us at 11;45am. We had a slight problem with the transportation so got there 20 minutes late, but we weren't prepared for the greeting we received: 'Oh you're finally here!' (Said with such grace and kindess we were instantly plagued with guilt). 20 minutes was nothing- they were expecting us at 8am. We were 4 hours late. Somewhere along the line there had been a miscommunication, so we missed the busy breakfast period where they actually needed help, and were just there for their drop-in coffee/lunch break until 1:30pm. So we sat down with some of the guests, had some fun conversations with them for an hour or so, and cleared up! I'd love to go back though, we really haven't done that much work with the homeless on East Hastings as organisations over there are very wary of short-term missions coming in, helping, and leaving in quick succession, which rarely helps anyone. But it's a cause close to my heart, so hopefully we'll be able to go back in future. 

So we finished early, quite a few hours early in fact, and Bobby took us all out for a coffee to chat about who we'd talked to, what we thought of it etc to try and prolong the task a little longer! It was so nice to sit with a big group of us round the table, chatting and sharing- I'm going to miss everyone when DTS ends!

Sunday has been a long day- we met downtown at 9:30am to do another silent protest for Buying Sex Is Not A Sport outside Canada Hockey Place again- just as thousands were streaming in to watch THE event of the Olympics- the Canada v USA gold medal hockey game. I felt like a bit of a killjoy, but it was good to get more exposure for the cause. After an hour of silence (thankfully the rain held off) we went to join the rest of Canada in watching the hockey game! 

Our venue of choice was not one of the many bars and restaurants (that had people queuing outside since 8:30am) but Coastal church- seating 500 or so, and with huge screens projecting the game in HD, it was the perfect place. I don't know how many were from Coastal and how many just came in off the streets, but I'm sure the church has never seen so many people packed in there, especially decked out in red and white, waving the Canada flag. Go Canada Go!!

For those of you who missed the game (I forgive you...) it was a nail-biting game. Little bit of history- 4 years ago, gold medal game, Canada USA, Canada won gold. The USA were out for gold, and weren't going to be happy with silver. Canada scored twice in the first interval (out of three 20 minute intervals). 2-0 to Canada!! Then second interval, USA scored... 2-1 was a little more stressful. Still 2-1 by the end of the third and final period- 30 seconds to go, the whole of Canada was collectively holding their breath watching the countdown... and USA scored an amazing goal. The silence in the room was deafening... apart from Taylor, Bobby, Jackie and about 2 other Americans who were going crazy... 

Now seriously worried, the game went into sudden-death overtime. 7 nail-biting minutes in, Crosby (Canada) scores!!! The gold is Canadas!!! And with it, the record for the most gold medals ever won in one Winter Olympic Games (14). GOOOOOO CANADA!!! As the national anthem was sung, and the maple leaf was proudly flown over the stadium, even I felt proud to be Canadian- and I'm British! We emerged out of the church to find the weather is celebrating with us- the sun and blue skies returned for the first time in nearly a week. And the city is one giant, never-ending street party. Cars are honking their horns continuously, Canadian flags are being waved everywhere, everyone is jubilant and you can't even move for all the people. This was the ultimate victory, and a spectacular end to the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics... a day I'll never forget.
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