Saturday, March 27, 2010

Finding Jesus in Montreal

During March Break, I traveled to Montreal with some of the youth I work with at Benton Street Baptist. Pastor Jaye, who is originally from there toured us around various parts of the city. March 14-18 were the days. First, the drive was fun. 7 People crammed into a van, and it was a tight space despite the fact a baby was with us. Jaye's daughter made our trip fun. 6 Hours is a long time to spend in a van. Ouch. We arrived at Montreal just in time for supper and after some good food we settled in for the night.

Monday was fantastic: We met Ron, a missionary in the city. He works with homeless people in the biggest gay village in North America. Talk about a mission field! What hit home for me was that he called all these people his friends. He knows of many people who died from murder, OD, suicide etc. His challenge was simple: Dont cast someone aside cuz they're different. He told a story about a youth pastor who was fired after some event flopping or something... then, she was told: "take 3 months off, quit smoking and get rid of your tattoos.. such a thing have no place in Christians." It ticks me off that senseless rules have become attached to our faith that have no scriptural merit. Example: tattoos, hats and wearing suits to church. It saddens me to see people making big deals about pastors wearing jeans. Grow up and take the log out of your eye.
Ron's talk reminded me of the Parable of the Good Samaritan: I have seen homeless people cast aside by many so-called believers. Our love should be boundless like Gods. We had general tao chicken this night (Craig). I know God's protection because, this day I walked all over Montreal from Ste Catherine to who knows where with Leafs apparrel on. And I did not get jumped, I got one comment about being in enemy territory in a store. Thats it! wow!

Had real smoked meat too...... oooohhhhh.

Tuesday was a bit more of a serious day. We saw St.Joseph's oratory. Quite a sight to see, beautiful but so idolatrous. They set the father of Jesus to be some kind of saint.. or Christ. By saying Joseph is the healer, terror of demons and junk. I have to disagree. We then followed it with a trip to the Holocaust Museum. Wow. That place was so depressing it's conjuring up tears thinking about it. The evil of some people is beyond me. A whole nation supported the crazy ramblings of one man, and because of it almost an entire race was destroyed. Seeing this almost made me feel guilty to be German. I mean, I do not support Hitler obviously, but my lineage. Possibly even some in my bloodline went through this, and fought for Adolf. I read a book called Night, about a man who survived the death camps in Auschwitz. Totally made me cry. I dared to ask "Why would God allow this to his chosen race?"

Wednesday was filled with sight seeing and food. Montreal bagels... mmmmmmm. The Bio-dome was pretty cool, 4 different climates in one building. Nice diversity in God's creation. That night, we went to the youth center Jaye built and did some rock climbing. I HATE heights...HATE them. But I tried anyways, got about 10 feet up and down. The teens were doing very well, even going many times. One of them, was having difficulty. Jaye stopped what he was doing and gave the young lady sound help. "You WILL do this, put your foot there, push up" and so on. He then challenged us on lining our values with the bible, taking constructive criticism and encouragement. It's one thing to say "you can do it" but to mean it is different.

Thursday was home and traveling. Overall, I experienced a lot in Montreal. It's a culturally different city, not christian at all. There are cathedrals everywhere, but the whole province has about a 0.1% Christians!! How can you find Jesus there? You gotta look hard. You can find Him in the homeless and in some people there. The museum changed me forever. It was so hard to be there but glad I know what I know about it. I would love to go the city again! Theres so much more to say.