Nick, almost 50
My story goes from being like everyone else to being trapped on the street and trapped in the government health care system. My parents divorced when I was 8 and I went into foster care. My childhood was marred by insanity. I beat up my teachers because they wouldn’t teach me, so I was caned daily.
They thought I was unteachable. They labeled me, then ignored me.
I knew I wanted to be something. Someone told me I needed an education, so at 14, for two years I sat in a closet in the classroom and taught myself so I could join the army and escape. I struggle with PTSD from military trauma and schizophrenia.
I came to Vancouver and met a Korean Rev. through his daughter. She took me to church and I met Jesus. At this time, I had a mental lapse and he kept me for two weeks, then I went into a group house. It didn’t work. I found myself on the DTES. I was really messed up and on the wrong meds.
The Rev. L immersed me in the Korean church to make me a better Christian. I couldn’t understand a word! It was ironic to me and funny now.
His agenda was to reunite me with my family in England. Through Rev. L, I met my father again in 2005 in Vancouver. I forgave my father and other than that we had nothing to say.
Everyone on the street steals to survive. Not being in my nature to steal, my army survival training helped me. I think street life was harder for me than most, being unfamiliar with prison lingo and its street mentality. Looking back, I see it was God’s hand on me.
The audio Bible is a lifeline for me now. Everyday I listen to the book of Job. It is wrestling with the devil. I am always being tested.
No one gives me a chance to move forward other than two breaks since 1999. A friend gave me a job working in her restaurant kitchen without a resume. When I didn’t show up she came looking for me. The second break was being hired into Metro Laundry.
I have no life really. I own it. My traumas keep me from moving forward. I know that. I want to straighten my head up. I want to learn. I used to take a few courses at a local college. With no other place to be, I would hang around all day from when it first opened to when it would close, until I was falsely accused of stalking on the campus. It deeply affected me. I was labeled again and have never returned to the campus.
If it wasn’t for God’s mercy I don’t know where I would be now. What hope am I holding out for? I can’t answer that for this life. I have my mind focused on eternity.
The hell I have been through, I deserve the peace in heaven. But I do have a better understanding of Jesus than ever before. He definitely forgives me and His hand is on me.
I am known for my ready smile. Why? Jesus gave it to me. Also, I know there are a few people who truly have a heart, they understand Jesus and love me. I don’t live for myself anymore. I have given up hope for my life to get any better in this world. Yet I know I am loved by a few. I do say thank you to the people who do love me.
Jesus gives me the hope of eternal life. That’s the only Hope I have left.
Interview by Sandy Shier, photographs by Sandy and Lesley-Anne Evans.