Only the clothes on their backs

Posted Oct 1st, 2019 in Devotionals

Only the clothes on their backs

Several people this past month have shared the sentiment that there is just something different about Open Arms and how we treat people who come our way. They like to come as they feel very welcome here.

In early spring, Ian came to the Mission Centre with several physical needs but a huge emotional hole in his heart. His wife had left their home in New Zealand with their grown son to start a new life in Canada. The plan was for the son to get a job and the husband and daughter would follow in 2 months. 

Shortly after the move to Canada, Zilda, the wife, met a man online in Toronto and made plans to separate from her husband, still in New Zealand. Ian came on to Canada with their daughter and when he arrived, his son told him that Zilda had moved to Toronto to be with another man. 

Ian and his daughter arrived in the Niagara Region with only the extra layers of clothes they were wearing because a suitcase was $100 extra and they only had enough money for their plane tickets. 

Ian ‘somehow’ ended up Redeemed Goods, looking for warm coats for himself and his kids. There he met one of our staff, Emilee, and during the conversation they ‘discovered’ that the Redeemed Goods Salesperson Emilee knew his wife through a Bible Discovery class at a nearby church AND she knew that Zilda had left her son and moved to Toronto. 

Emilee prayed with Ian that Zilda’s heart would be softened and return home. In the meantime, Emilee suggested that Ian come to the Mission Centre to see if he could qualify for a voucher for coats & warm clothing at Redeemed Goods and a bed from Ministry Campus furniture warehouse. 

When Ian came through the door at Open Arms Mission Centre I immediately sensed his brokenness. He had never been in a place before where he needed help and it is always a humbling place. I asked Ian how we could help and immediately tears formed in his eyes. We sat in the office together and he unfolded his story. Amazingly, I shared with him that I knew of his wife and had been praying for her because of a conversation that I had with Emilee at Redeemed Goods. Ian told me that he was a follower of Jesus and realized he had blame in this situation too but wanted his marriage restored. 

We prayed together, asking God to open Zildas heart to returning back to her family, then we wrote up a voucher for clothing and a bed. Ian has stayed in touch with us each month as he has come in for food. We pray together and he gives updates on his family. Two weeks ago he told me his wife has returned and they are working hard on their problems. ‘I am so grateful to Open Arms for helping us at such a desperate time. Someday I’ll be able to give back. Please keep praying for us.” I am Ian! And I’m so glad that we are here to help and hold the hand of the brokenhearted.

-Carol Hand, Mission Centre Chaplain


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