Hanging out with R on the street….reading Jackie Pullinger and her accounts of sharing the gospel in Walled City

I can still remember that night when I was out on the street in a cold Canadian winter night. I was at Nathan Philip Square. The howling wind made every pedestrian walked faster. It was quiet, even for downtown. No one wanted to stop and talk.  Everyone is heading some where. On their way to the night shift. On their way home after a good dinner.

I stood there looking at R.  I could see his wheelchair. He was beneath a sleeping bag and heaps of blankets.

I didn’t want to bother him. I wasn’t sure if he was sleeping or not.

I often wonder what he do at night. He had so much time. He ain’t going anywhere. If I was him, stranded in a wheelchair, I would bore to death.

I was upset. I was upset over God. I read in the Bible that He was the one that delivers. He promise. This is His world not mine. And I don’t understand why I was called to go out.

I don’t know why no one see what I see.
I don’t understand why I have such a desire to go.
I try to make sense and rationalize. I can’t.

I remembered telling God...You promise! Now R is out here freezing and I don’t know what to do. I can’t do anything. I don’t know how to fix his problems. It’s over whelming. Where are you? I don’t see it. Tell me what I should do. Where are you? You are suppose to help him.

He didn’t reply. Today, two years after, I still see R at Nathan Philip Square.

R once told me he would go to Vancouver. He would settle there. He enjoyed the Rockies. He disliked Toronto. Concrete jungle. People milling around. Too busy and fast pace for him.

He had it all plan out (or so he told me). He saved some money and would take the VIA train.

I was thinking, great, I will help ship him over there and I will deal with someone else. This is the last push. I will give him money too….we will even do a little celebration!

God had a different plan. R’s wheelchair broke.  He had some issues and had to stay in Toronto to have it fix.

To be honest, I don’t know if R was telling the truth. He could be lying for all I know. But what if he was lying. Jesus got used as well. People asked Him for help. He healed them and they never follow Him.

This is the crazy world of the Kingdom. Just do it anyways. It ain’t about the results. God takes care of the results. He is in control. I am a pawn.

I  still remember the quiet conversation between God.  It was the first time I went to Nathan Philip Square and shared a hot dog with a homeless person.  I wrote a post here.  There’s actually a huge revelation I didn’t added in the post.  After the hot dog, I went to MEC and was looking for a winter jacket to train in.  They were 200 dollars each.  I was trying them out when God tapped me on the shoulder and reminded me…

hey Cliff, you already have a winter jacket. Why do you need another one?  Do you know who needed it?  The guy who you share the hot dog with.  Do you know I got so many lost sons out there without a jacket? They are cold.

I stopped.  I realized what kind of Pharisee I am to consider spending 6 bucks as a Christian thing to do when I spend 200 bucks on myself when I already own a jacket at home.

I put down the jacket and walked out of the store.

That was two years ago.  R’s condition never got better.  I never really active in sharing faith.  I never plan too much either. I just see what he needed and go get it for him.  I pray and just ask the Holy Spirit for help.

R becomes my friend. I enjoyed listening to his tales and his poems.  He loved to watch movies.  He loved to take photos.  Each photo he had a story behind it.  We would huddle over his digi cam as he showed me pic after pic.

But there is so much more.  I can sense He is working.  God is working in protecting R from the cold.  He is using me and others to help R.  I am glad I have someone in church like A to ask me to go see him. If not for A, I will never go.  I am just too busy with stuff.

Recently all I’ve been praying about is not for protection or safety.  I just want to see God at work.  I long to see His Kingdom at work.  Whatever it cost.  I am learning to let go.  It is like through R, God is telling me that this is His Kingdom and He leads.  He has a master plan to redeem.

Trust and obey.

And I know He is.  This is also why I am so excited.  I am intentional on what I am doing.  I counted my cost.  I understand the ‘future‘ I am giving up.  I understand the future I will rejoice to see coming.  I almost want to say it is already here.  I need to go.

He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep in order to obtain which he cannot lose Jim Elliot


  • hey Cliff,

    this post really encouraged me, keep doing what God called you to do even if no one sees what you see or how you see it, God sees it and by doing it, going the extra mile even if it's for one homeless person, it is worth it. i'm encouraged by what you do, because i try to care for homeless people at my workplace to, though not as noble as you. i still have fears when i talk to some of them sometimes because they are either high on alcohol or drugs. i enjoy reading your posts, they talk about real issues and struggles a God-loving and God-fearing christian faces while practising his/her faith in practical ways of loving others. keep writing and keep doing what God's called you to do, you're a champion for Christ!


  • Thanks Adel.

    Just want to praise God out there..I don't think I done much. It's funny and amazing how the Lord changed my heart through the years….

By Cliff

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