Housing Available

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Are you looking for a place to live? This could be it!

A private 1-2 bedroom suite for rent in a community house (planned weekly meal together) a half block from trendy Main Street and 32nd ave close to Queen Elizabeth Park, Hillcrest Center and major bus and bike routes. Kitchen with private washer and dishwasher, full bathroom (with tub), bedroom (can fit queen) and living room/office/second bedroom (can fit king) with full south-facing windows. Ground floor, private access at back and also access to shared laundry with new washer/dryer. Access to garage and yard with lots of space to garden. Free street parking. 

Available June 1st. 

Contact stevenhettler@gmail.com for pricing and to express interest along with phone number.

See below in blue for layout plan and here for pics

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The Cross Before Me by Ashish Joseph

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Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?” – Matthew 16: 24-26

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When I accepted Jesus into my life, I thought to myself “That’s it! Life is set from here on out.” I imagined the rest of my life riding on blazing chariots of fire through each day till I met Jesus in heaven. At first, it was wonderful, and I saw God transform an unsure and insecure kid into a someone with a passion and desire. Slowly, the reality and circumstances of life hit me. 

In a period of my life where I was pouring myself out for God’s calling, I saw my personal ministry lack fruit. Everything I tried seemed to end in disappointment, at least in my own eyes. Whenever I prayed for something, it didn’t seem to go the way I wanted it to go. Yet I wanted to persevere and continue to serve in different capacities in hopes that I would be able to break “the funk/drought/desert” periods in my journey with God. I had read of many instances in the Bible and missionaries going through similar periods. However, these servants repented and turned back to God. They chose to be filled with His Spirit and re-entered into their areas of ministry. I, in my immaturity and recklessness, forged forward. 

What ensued was envy towards my fellow Christian brothers and sisters and bitterness towards God. God became the reason I was miserable. I started to gradually withdraw myself from the church and other Christians. Instead of community, I chose to look after myself and pursued belonging in the world through work and relationships. Healthy boundaries that were ordained in my life by God were thrown out and I exposed myself to the ways of the world.

This distancing continued for 2 years. One day, I decided to reject God and the church. It seemed perfect. I was starting a new job and I was ready to taste “the good life.” I was done waiting for God to save me out of my misery and decided to take my future into my own hands. I was now excited to live my life to my own expectations. The second I made the decision, it felt as if a huge weight had been lifted off. At first, life was fresh and full of hope, but soon the sense of impending doom crept in. I was confronted with futility of my choices and found myself helpless. The question of “Am I damaged beyond repair?” would ring through my mind and I would find anything to drown it out. However, I was stuck in a cycle. I went from week to week of going to work followed by weekends of escape and trying to numb the pain. Outwardly, I professed to my friends that I was no longer a Christian and God did not matter to me. 

Yet, God never gave up one me. Praise Him! A handful of my Christian friends stayed in touch with me and never gave up on Jesus bringing me back. On the way to meeting one of them, I was debating how I would be able to fix my life. The thought of going back to church and repenting entered my mind. That’s when I heard God speak clearly, “I can forget the last two years of your life.” For the first time forgiveness and grace felt real. I no longer had to work my guilt away like a prison sentence. Instead of listening to the voice of self-criticism, I was overwhelmed by love that I could never manufacture. I did not know how to contain my joy in the moment. That week, I joined a small group and went to a church service at lunch. My colleague and partner-in-crime asked me what had suddenly changed. I had no “cookie-cutter” response and all I could tell him was that I was excited about following Jesus again. 

The journey back to faith has been one of surprises, turns, falls, anger, regrets, love and filled with grace. There have been days and weeks filled with the same doubt and struggle where the bitterness towards God followed by the guilt of my past actions overtakes me. Yet in those moments, I feel God telling me “It’s ok. You’re ok.” My response to that is to repent, praise Him and thank Him for saving me from my own self-destructive ways. I thank God that I have a future in Jesus’ death and resurrection.

God has instilled compassion in me for the people around me. God has taken away envy and judgement I had towards people in the Christian community and instilled in me love and grace for my brothers and sisters. My current work as a recruiter means that I figure out a person’s strengths and weaknesses and find their ‘Red Flags’. After receiving repeated forgiveness, I now feel empowered to extend grace to my candidates. God has opened so many opportunities to me to show the same grace that I have received. My conversations with candidates are no longer about their work but about helping them realize that they have been gifted and called for a special purpose in life. I now feel ready to trust God more in my work and believe in His transforming power in people’s lives.

The call to come back to Jesus was a very clear and distinct one. It was borne out of a need to fix myself and find a purpose. I have come to understand now that I cannot do this on my own strength. Instead, I thank God for my salvation and that I do have a future in Jesus’ death and resurrection. Everyday, I chose to wake up and praise Him for my life up to this point and what the future holds. 

“The cross before me, the world behind me. No turning back, no turning back.”

Ashish has been attending Redemption Church since 2011. While he is not networking with every Architect, Engineer or Construction Manager in Vancouver, he enjoys music, sports, learning about the latest advances in the wheelchair and walking all around Vancouver. 

 

Return to the Lord by Maria Sibaja

Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.

Joel 2:13

At the age of 15, I was exposed to a world that until that point I hadn’t believed truly existed. One of my classmates and close friends tragically passed away one Friday night while we were all at a school function. We were in the midst of celebrating when the school’s director got on stage and shared the news. I don’t remember exiting the theatre or how I got to a bathroom stall but sometime later another girl found me where I was huddled in a corner, in shock. Finally, as I was surrounded by my family and teachers I remember turning to the school director and asking her how it happened. It scares me to know that upon asking that question, somewhere a part of me knew that this hadn’t been some accident. She merely looked down and I knew that my friend had made the decision to say goodbye.

I knew what suicide was but in my world it wasn’t real. It was portrayed on TV or in books, perhaps the opening scene of a cop show or Holden Caulfield’s blasé remarks. It was so removed from the world I lived in that it felt like it was meant for shock value; nobody you knew actually committed suicide. Worst of all, I thought that if someone were to ever decide to take their own life you’d know. You’d see the warning signs, the obvious suffering. Never, in my very short 15 years did I ever think a 14 year-old boy, who seemed relatively happy, would decide that the world was so unbearable he didn’t want to be a part of it anymore.

I don't remember much about the days that followed but bits and pieces stand out. His mother’s anguished cries as she held on to me and tried to thank me for being her son’s friend through a mixture of tears and mucus. The colourful balloons used in the ceremony we had at school. The whispered conversation in the kitchen while my aunts discussed the friend of a friend who had also taken their own life and how tragic it was that I was going through something similar. A whole summer went by without my noticing, but throughout it I was left with a constant burning sensation inside and along with this burning sensation was the heavy aching of three questions. Three questions that had been playing on repeat inside my head since that night:

  • Was I not a good enough friend? 

  • What could I have done differently? 

  • Why did God allow this to happen?

That burning and aching, I would later learn, were the physical signs of fear and anxiety. I now lived in a constant state of alertness, tense like a rubber band that’s about to snap, always checking for signs that this could happen again. If a friend said “goodbye,” I wanted to be sure it wasn’t a permanent goobye. If anyone was sad or angry I needed to check throughout the night that they were still around. I had constant nightmares of finding out my loved ones had chosen to leave their lives behind prematurely. In the years that followed, that anxiety spread into every area of my life and with it spread anger and resentment. I had lived in a world of safety, love and comfort. I’d grown up extremely active in the church, a place that told me that there was a God who loved us so much he had sacrificed his only son to save us. He loved us so much he’d always be looking for us, protecting us, fighting for us. How could this same God let this happen? How could I live in a world where a boy suffered so much he chose to leave it? 

At some point in my late teenage years, my anger and resentment continued to grow until one day I decided God did not exist. There was no way the God I grew up loving and worshipping would allow this type of suffering in the world. With that decision came a break that at the time I saw as a break to freedom but in reality was a break in my relationship with God. All my life God had been the hard rock that I leaned on, my anchor and focus point; with him gone I thought I was free of the “silly” Christian rules that governed my life. What truly happened is I was left in a kind of void, like an astronaut whose tether has been severed, aimlessly floating in the cold vacuum of space. My lifeline was gone.

The years that followed were hard, my anxiety developed into a more serious problem and invited its friend depression. I entered university and was constantly in an exhausting state of mind where everything felt too big to tackle and I was living in a constant state of panic and fear. Small things like ordering a coffee became so stressful that I avoided leaving my dorm; big things like exams and projects felt like they could potentially end my world. Finally one night, during finals week of my sophomore year it all became too much.

I remember sitting on my dorm room floor, surrounded by my friends as I bawled my eyes out over a calculus exam that was the tipping point after a long series of events. I came to the point described in Joel 2:13 where my distress and grief were such that I might as well have been rendering my garments. My world was falling apart. Later that evening, as I was trying to pull myself together from hours of crying I got a message from someone I hadn’t seen in years, an old coworker of my father’s who had no reason to be messaging me. In this message he wrote that he’d been praying that evening when he saw a picture of me, sitting on the floor crying in grief. Upon seeing that picture he felt God tell him to reach out to me and let me know that everything would turn out okay.

You can imagine what this did to me. Here I was, five years after my friend’s death, after years of turning away from God, lost and angry and yet God was still reaching out to me. He was still trying to love me whether I wanted him to or not. In that moment I realized what I had known all along. God was always there for me, still willing to look for a lost sheep that had stubbornly run away. He is gracious and merciful. I had pretty much renounced him, turned my back on him and yet he held on. He was not angry with me; he didn’t disavow me, or give up on me. It took a long time after that for me to forgive myself but God had already forgiven me. Like the father in the Prodigal Son, he’d been standing with his arms open waiting for me to return home. 

He is our Father, who gives his grace freely to those who ask for it, rich in mercy and always ready to forgive. He is slow to anger, he doesn’t pour out the wrath that our sins deserve nor does he retain anger forever. He is our good and kind father, who will never leave or forsake us.

Maria can currently be found at Redemption Church’s office where she is the office manager. She is originally from Costa Rica but has fallen in love with Vancouver and its people. Her greatest treasure is her cat Sherlock, who is a truly wonderful ginger purr-ball and she loves talking about him.