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A Journey of Hope

With a university degree in electrical engineering and a successful career, life was moving along smoothly. Then God began to speak to me about spending my life serving Him full time. He showed me that the foundation of my life and my destiny needed to be in Him. Of course, I wondered, How am I going to live? Who will be responsible for my family? God spoke words of reassurance and promise. “For I know the plans I have for you, says the LORD. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.’”(Jeremiah 29:11).I surrendered my life to God. He sent me to difficult and hard places such as a war zone as a missionary, but through these steps of obedience, I began to discover my true destiny in Him.

In 2009, I was living in Halifax, Nova Scotia. For three days I fasted and prayed for God’s direction and the Holy Spirit showed me a vision of a city called London. I continued to pray about it, but I did not know there was a London in Canada. I thought London was in England. Because I had no visa, I couldn’t go to England, so I went to the bus station and asked if there is a city named London in Canada. They told me there is a London in Ontario, and they had buses that went there. I went home and prepared to come to London. In 2010, I went to the bus station, purchased a ticket, and began my journey to London.

I arrived at the Greyhound bus station in London in the evening. I did not know where to go nor did I know anyone in London. I didn’t even have enough money to rent a room in a hotel. I sat down on a bench in the bus station and began praying. I asked God, “Where do you want me to go now? Do You have a place for me to stay?” I heard the word “Hope.” Not knowing what that meant, I stayed in the bus depot. Then I heard a voice saying, “Go out.” So I went outside.

Outside, a taxi driver asked me, “Do you need a taxi?” I said I did and asked if he knew of a place called “Hope.” He shared my question with another taxi driver, who after a short pause said, “Do you mean the Centre of Hope, the Salvation Army?” I sensed a resounding “Yes” in my spirit. This was the confirmation from God I needed. I said, “Yes, I am hoping to go there,” and off we went.

I had never heard of the Salvation Army or the Centre of Hope, and didn’t know it was a shelter. Upon arrival, I registered. They told me they didn’t have a bed for me that night and asked if I would mind sleeping on the floor. That was fine because I was very tired after the long, two day, sleepless bus ride from Halifax. They gave me a spot on the floor. The following day they gave me a bed in a dorm with 10 other ladies.

Most of the ladies were either using drugs or alcohol, had mental health issues, or came from prison. Never having experienced anything like this, exposure to such an atmosphere was almost overwhelming. It was then that God spoke again, “Love them, because I am love.” I continued to help them for the remainder of the time I stayed at the shelter. I invited them to chapel and they became connected, and God helped them to become clean. Some even went back to their families.

One of the ladies in the dorm was using drugs so heavily she wasn’t capable of doing anything for herself. I helped her with daily issues like doing her laundry and taking off her shoes before she went to bed. I began to feel a lot of love for those women. I started praying, ministering, and sharing the love of God. “God is love. Whoever lives in love, lives in God, and God in them.”(1 John 4:16). I encouraged them to come to chapel or a local church. I shared my faith with them, gave them Bibles, and offered them hope. All my hope was in Christ and in His shed blood for me. I shared the love He has given me with others.

Sometimes I felt anxiety and depression during the time I stayed at the shelter. As I shared the hope I have in God with those around me, I won my own battle against hopelessness. God have me hope. “He is the One who goes before me He will be with me; He will not leave me nor forsake me.” (Deuteronomy 31:8).Haand aaaaa

 

God began to do miracles with the men and women I was working with. I continued to volunteer and help them. Subsidized housing provided an apartment for me after almost a year, but I continued to minister at the shelter. The executive director asked me if I would volunteer to conduct services in the chapel. By doing so, I could continue having contact with those I was ministering to, since they needed to be discipled. I continued this for one year until I was employed as a chaplain. That gave me the opportunity to minister to a wider audience, including staff.

I continue to minister on the streets of London by sharing the love of Jesus, providing Bibles, prayer, inviting people to church, and fellowshipping with them. By God’s mercy and grace, I have seen the lives of many people transformed and reconciled with God and their families. “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.” (2 Corinthians 5:18-19, NIV).

During that time I was taking courses at Tyndale University College and Seminary in Toronto, studying for a Master of Theological Studies. I graduated on May 10, 2014, ready to be used by God for His glory.

Glory be to God,

Violet Lema

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