Dear pastors, missionaries, chaplains and friends,
Steve Jones here… What would you do if you met a homeless man sitting in Canada’s largest International Airport?
Pat Di Fonzo has been a Fellowship Chaplain at Pearson International Airport (Toronto) for many years. He recently told me that our chaplains at Pearson are encountering homeless people trying to live in the airport. They find it a safe haven while pretending to be travelers.
Our airport chaplains often meet the basic needs of the homeless, while also making every effort to reconnect them with their family or airport management. Very recently Pat encountered a man in need and ended up learning a valuable lesson. I’ll let Pat tell his story:
“From time to time, the Lord allows us to cross paths with some people to teach us invaluable lessons on humility and faith.
“This past April 16 was the day of one of those special encounters. A gentleman approached me with a pressing problem. He had arrived in Toronto, his port of entry, from Honduras and was to proceed to Quebec City by ground transportation, but he claimed that he had lost his money while he was in transit to Canada.
“The man’s story sounded as one of those classic cases frequently presented to us by most homeless people. So as usual, I offered the man something to eat. He responded promptly and asked for coffee and an apple fritter – a type of doughnut from Tim Horton’s.
“Although I was not able to communicate clearly with the man using my broken Spanish, we managed to understand each other very well. After I bought the man what he had requested, he never went too far from the chapel. Even when he sat outside, he had his gaze always fixed on me as if he knew that I was the one who had to help him solve his difficult problem.
“When I went in for the noon worship service, the man came into the chapel, knelt down in a corner, and prayed for the duration of the service. I could not help but notice the heavy perspiration on his forehead as he prayed. After the service, we started talking again and I learned that the man (referred to herein as ‘N’) was a ‘born again Christian’; he was a migrant farm worker from Honduras who was bound for Quebec City, where he was to spend the summer season.
“As ‘N’ shuffled through his meager belongings — he had only a hand bag with not even a change of clothes in it — it seemed to me that he probably had no money with him when he left his wife and two little children behind in Honduras. And, when I noticed one of my business cards that he had picked up at Terminal 3 the previous night, it became evident that ‘N’ was walking by faith in God and that the Lord Jesus had directed him to me!
“‘N’ agreed wholeheartedly to be examined by the airport authorities. By the time he was cleared according to security protocol, I had contacted every agency available in the greater Toronto area, but every door was tightly shut for no one was able (or willing) to help in sending ‘N’ to Quebec City.
“So since I always keep some funds for the homeless in the office, I pooled what was there with all the money that I had on me, but much more was still needed. Then, gradually, the Holy Spirit began to work. Several people were moved by compassion and offered some money. By God’s grace, we were able to raise enough funds to buy the fares from Toronto to Montreal, then from Montreal to Quebec City, and for ‘N’s’ travelling expenses.
“As I watched ‘N’ during the several hours that we spent together, I learned lessons on humility and faith that are not found in text books. ‘N’s’ face was darkened by the equatorial sun, but it was adorned with dignity. His hands were cracked and calloused, but they were ready to work very hard to provide for the needs of his family. He faced abject poverty, but he was content for the Lord Jesus was the hope of glory for his life. His heart was burdened, yet he trusted the living God to meet all the needs for his journey.
“As ‘N’ proceeded to embark on the last leg of his trip, I was moved to tears, for I saw clearly the sharp contrast between his faith and mine. I tend to take things for granted, but ‘N’ literally depended on God for provision and protection. And, whereas I often focus on my wants, ‘N’ focused only on his desperate needs. So I could only express my profound gratitude to God.
“God glorified his holy Name on that day by allowing two of His children to cross their paths so that they might receive a mutual blessing. The former was blessed when he saw his faith becoming a reality; the latter was blessed when his faith was challenged to yield more to the Lord Jesus, who has said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ (Acts 20:35).”
Consider Joining the Fellowship Chaplaincy Team
We’re looking for Fellowship people to join our Fellowship Chaplaincy family. Many chaplains and pastors are seeking credentialing through the Fellowship while working in a wide variety of chaplaincy roles, including: airport, armed forces, hospital, truck stops, nursing homes, sports, community — and the list goes on.
If you are looking for a ministry team to share the journey, why not consider joining the Fellowship Chaplaincy team? Find out more about us at www.fellowship.ca/chaplaincy. Some benefits of credentialing include member care, annual training gatherings, free registration to our National Conference, and $10 million in liability insurance coverage. Check out our website above and then contact Thomas Hopkins, Associate Director of Fellowship Chaplaincy to ask questions or possibly start the appointment process. We’re here to serve you.
Have a blessed week,
Our 2015 Fellowship theme verse is:
“"For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Luke 19:10 (NLT)