Reaching Out to Toronto:
Reaching Out to Toronto:
4 Alumni talk about their work in Toronto’s communities
Tyndale grads are everywhere and doing everything. Here are four grads who are serving God in Toronto. Their ministries are as unique as they are and give us an incredible insight into how God uses the whole body of Christ to bring His truth and light to the world.
Name: Abby Scott, ’09 BA Psychology
Ministry: Assistant Director, Pregnancy Care Centre, North York, 1 year
Ministry Description: We provide many services free of charge such as pregnancy tests, options information, counselling about abortion and adoption, a post-abortion support program, and sexual integrity presentations to high schools and youth groups. The majority of our clients are between the ages of 21 and 29. We also help a number of immigrants who don’t have any healthcare by connecting them with midwives who offer their services for free.
Biggest issue impacting people in your work? What is a good relationship? What does that mean? We get a lot of young girls here who are pregnant and often the father doesn’t necessarily care about them as much as they would want. I enjoy talking with young women about sex and the fact that they don’t have to have sex in order to get love. Girls don't understand their value and their own worth and don't understand what it means to be created by God at all.
What’s challenging about your work? It definitely is emotionally exhausting, even spiritually exhausting sometimes.
What’s rewarding about your work? My joy is in providing support to young women that aren’t getting any from their families or boyfriends - it can make the difference between them having and not having an abortion.
How do you keep refreshed? Daily prayer at the centre and sending out emails to a prayer network.
Name: Scott Bulloch, ’09 BA Psychology
Ministry: Frontline worker, Gateway, Salvation Army shelter for men, 2.5 years
Ministry Description: Gateway houses 108 men in downtown Toronto. Dion Oxford, the director of Gateway and also a Tyndale Grad (BRE ’96), describes the ministry as providing the men with a friend, a job, and shelter. The majority of the men are between 40 and 70 years old, many of them dealing with addictions and mental health disorders. My responsibilities include security, administration and building relationships with the men.
Biggest issue impacting people in your work? Welfare payments are low, especially for Toronto, and lack of enough appropriate housing. The guys go in [to housing], there’s not a lot of monitoring and they just see the same habits they are trying to get away from and slip up again, ending up in the same cycle.
What’s challenging about your work? Watching the men who have been making headway slip up. To see that crushed, before your eyes, is a really hard thing when you’ve been encouraging the person and uplifting them even outside of work through prayer but you take it one step at a time. When you look at the Gospels, God used so many broken people… God’s going to try and reach them so much more because you know they are in need of that.
What’s rewarding about our work? Simply building up relationships where you are able to say something to somebody that nobody else could say. Experiences like that make it all worth it.
How do you keep refreshed? Hang out with friends, delve into Scripture, do Bible studies with friends and rely on the hope of the Lord because that is really all we have.
Name: Karen Robinson, ’00 MDiv Youth and Family
Ministry: Youth Unlimited Worker, presently in the Jane-Finch area, 7 years
Ministry Description: I run an art program for middle and high school girls called Sketch and Believe. The girls get a snack, participate in a devotion and work on various projects. There were lots of programs for boys in the area but few for girls. I am also part of the Community Development team that works in partnership with World Vision and a Toronto Community Housing neighbourhood. We’re working with some leaders who have been identified in the community and they have amazing dreams for the community. We’re walking with them to figure out how to make them happen.
Biggest issue impacting people in your work? For the youth, it’s knowing that someone cares. For the Jane-Finch community it’s having others recognize what an amazing community it is and that the community is not defined by the way it has been reported in the media.
What’s challenging about your work? There are so many things that you could do, so many opportunities and never enough people to do everything. I moved into the community over a year ago and find it can be all-consuming so I’m constantly trying to figure out where the boundaries are and where to focus my energy.
What’s rewarding about your work? Seeing the girls build community and deepen their relationship with God, seeing leaders rise up within the community who want to make positive changes and include us in the process, and the way we have been embraced as part of the community has been a wonderful experience.
How do you keep refreshed? Find the places of fun and rest, making sure you’re still doing things you really enjoy and listen to the people around me when they start to see things taking a toll on me.
Name: Rauni Salminen, ’94 BRE, ‘08 MTS
Ministry: Executive Director, Philip Aziz Centre for Hospice Care, 16 years (including chaplaincy work with the Centre)
Ministry Description: The centre supports people who are dying at home, through the care of a chaplain and 150 trained and supported volunteers. We provide up to four hours a week in emotional, practical, physical and spiritual support in clients’ homes and usually journey with them right through to bereavement. Most of the people we support are under 50 years old.
Biggest issue impacting people in your work? There needs to be more hospice support for families, more education about hospice support, and a de-stigmatizing of HIV.
What’s challenging about your work? As most small organizations would say, we have great demand and a lack of resources to meet that demand. We can only support as many people as we have capacity. Constant fundraising is another challenge. Also, keeping people emotionally and spiritually healthy while dealing with death and dying.
What’s rewarding about your work? It’s an incredible privilege to be invited into someone’s life and death – making the journey more meaningful and less chaotic.
How do you keep refreshed? I play the harp and ride my Harley!