MCC photo/Jennifer Vandermolen

TOOLS is a short-term learning and service opportunity in Toronto, Ontario

A reflection on MCC's TOOLS (Toronto Ontario Opportunity for Learning and Serving)

We got off the subway at Yonge and Bloor and were given an hour and a half to find, listen to and connect with the homeless. Here I was…an adult, the supposed leader of the two youth who were with me…well-versed in talking to people, but not necessarily in taking risks. As I had many times since I had arrived in Toronto for the TOOLS experience, I felt uncomfortable…disconnected from my usual mini-van driving, small town Ontario lifestyle.

But that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? God didn’t ask us to help people only when it was easy, convenient or organized. Jesus showed us time and time again how he cared for those who were hurting.

In the stories I heard that Saturday morning and throughout my long weekend in Toronto, I heard sorrow, grief, and unimaginable pain…words from people who had lost so much by choices they had made or ones that were forced upon them. They are “invisible”. Their day-to-day lives, filled with cold, hunger and loneliness, are ones that we could easily try to push out of our minds and forget.

But Jesus doesn’t want us to forget.  He led me to TOOLS because He believes, even when I don’t, that I can make a difference. He gave us a very skilled leader, Pete, whose role was to guide, inspire, and challenge us. And then Jesus said, “Go and do likewise.”

In the few weeks that have passed since the Elora United Toronto experience, many people have asked me how it impacted my life…. I feel more blessed for the life that God has given me, which may seem obvious. But it’s more than that. Some of it I have yet to find the words for.  So for now everyday, with the people I have always known or the ones I am now seeking out, I am just trying to let no one to feel “invisible”.

TOOLS is a discipleship adventure for youth and youth groups groups where young people will consider Kingdom truths as they serve, and reflect on issues of poverty and homelessness. They will encounter Jesus in the people living in the margins of Toronto, and rub shoulders with those who serve and walk with them. For more information on how you or your youth group can be a part of TOOLS, contact Pete Olsen at 226-747-5453.

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