Monday, May 26, 2014


 We had a busy time at church this Sunday.  It was youth Sunday, in a way.  Members of the Sunday School read the call to worship, Scripture and took up the collection.  They also hosted a hamburger lunch after service.  The reason for the lunch was a presentation by Rick Wismer, of Youth for Christ ministry.
      Rick has visited our congregation before to say thank you for the support SPPC gives his ministry and to bring us up to date on what's happening with the bus. 

      When the bus first appears in Sidney, it was an old double-decker painted blue with the words "Refuge Bus" painted on the side.  It was parked in an area well-known as a hang-out for at-risk youth.  Over time, the mission and work of this ministry has changed but it's still a bus and it's still blue -- or, at least, it will be blue.
       That was Rick's big news.  They have a new bus.
 One that can seat 54 passengers, travel over the Malahat, ride the ferry and drive up into the interior.  A great improvement over the last bus which was a bit shaky and wore out the drivers because it had no power steering.  The new bus was purchased second hand and is now undergoing a refit, including installation of a television, wi-fi, and, of course, a blue paint job.
        Currently the bus serves mostly First Nations, where they are welcomed by children and adults alike.  The kids love to play games, eat snacks, unload their troubles, listen to "God Talk" and do crafts.  It's kind of like church camp, but it happens in a bus, one day a week, after school.  
         SPPC has long been a supporter of the ministry.  We are a big contributor of snacks -- fruit, veggies and cookies.  Rick told us the first question when kids come aboard the bus is, "Did you bring snacks?"
        The Blue Bus (the name Refuge bus has vanished from use) is one of those ministries our congregation undertakes that we hear about only now and again but is perhaps one of our most valuable.  Like donations to the Sidney Food Bank, and services at Saanich Peninsula Hospital, the Blue Bus is a short line in the budget, but it is constant.  Constancy, reliability, persistence.  These are marks of the faithful.
         Years ago I attended a funeral where a nephew of the deceased told us of his aunt's importance in his life.  The man's mother had died when he was only a child.  He lived in a nice house, had a kind father and never lacked for food or clothing or help with his homework.  What he lacked was a mother.  His aunt made it her personal mission to come to his home once a week, on Thursdays.  That day she would bake cookies, mend socks, cook a good dinner and be there when the children came home from school.  It was that "being there" every Thursday, without fail, that remained in the man's heart for the rest of his life.  He wouldn't have cared if she'd given them pickles and rice to eat, the cookies were a bonus.  What counted for him was her reliability and her presence -- every Thursday, without fail, for as long as the family needed her.
        Sometimes we may wonder if our work is worthwhile, if it's noticed, if anyone cares -- the answer is yes.  If we are faithful, constant, reliable and present, we make a difference.
         Thanks Rick for your presence among us and on the Blue Bus.


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