Unexpected Meeting

downtown Vancouver shot of the street

Unexpected Meeting in Oppenheimer Park

- Isabella F

Miriam and I went to Oppenheimer Park. I really wanted to run into a guy that I had met there before named Doug (not his real name) who told me he was struggling with cancer. I expressed this to Miriam during our walk around and prayed silently that God would lead us to him. I looked around intently to see if there was anyone I recognized, especially Doug but the park was pretty empty, quiet and I didn’t see anyone I knew. We walked through it and stopped at the corner to ask God where to go next.

While we stopped, Miriam prayed, “God, do you want us to go, right, straight, or left?” When she did, I thought the word 'right' stuck out at me but I kinda put it off as it was just the first direction word she said and so it echoed over the other ones. So when she asked if I had any feelings, I said "no." She prayed again and just like before the word 'right' stayed in my mind. This time I decided to follow my feeling and told Miriam that I felt we should go right. She then affirmed it by saying that she felt the same thing! Cool, I thought. I guess we’re meant to go that way.

We started to walk and when we came upon the first alley, I looked over and there was a man with a basket on wheels. I looked closer and I knew right away that it was Doug!! I told Miriam in excitement and we walked on over to him.

"Hi!" I said with a big smile on my face. When he didn’t seem to completely recognize me, I asked him if his name was Doug. This is when his face lit up and his voice echoed with joy.

“You know my name!” he said. “How do you know my name?”

I explained that I had met him about a month ago and that is when he told me his name. He seemed to be under the influence of alcohol and perhaps drugs, so I don’t think he remembered or completely understood. Miriam and I stood with him in that alley for a while talking and encouraging him, pointing him to Jesus during the whole conversation. He expressed that life is hard and that he needed money for drugs, even though he told us they are bad for him. He said that it is hard to break away from them and drinking. Miriam and I tried to lift him up with God’s strength.

Throughout the conversation, he always came back to the point that I knew his name. A couple of times he called us angels. Doug also knew and quoted certain Bible verses about God’s love and what He has done for him. It was great to know that Doug believes in what he has read about God in the Bible and that God's love for him is never failing. However, I pray that he will also move past just believing and really begin to trust God. Trust that God can help him and wants to build more out of his life.

I had been wanting to run into Doug for the last month. Every time I have gone to Downtown Eastside I would look for him, but every time I would leave without seeing him. I had him on my mind constantly when Miriam and I were walking around and praying that I would be able to talk to him again somehow. God answered my prayers this time with a yes, and with the gentle guidance of His voice. I'm so glad I listened!

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