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Gwen, Sue, Jen, Robyn, and all the staff and volunteers at Linwood House are very excited about the unveiling of the new Linwood House website on or about APRIL 1, 2013.
We will post the NEW address and send out flash emails to let everyone know the new website address. But for now, you will have to wait and wonder about the new websit until March 15. The new website reflects the vision of Linwood House more dynamically and is visually stunning.
This website and blog will eventually be abandoned, but in the meantime, stay tuned for the new address. We look forward to this change as we move into 2013 with an even greater committment here on the Sunshine Coast, in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, Williams Lake and around the globe.
We are excited to announce that a date for Thailand 2013 has been set. We are inviting you to join us on a life changing journey, departing Vancouver on July 8 and returning on July 23. We will be spending our time in and around Bangkok, with our base being The Home for New Beginnings right in the heart of the city. For some of us this will be yet another visit to reconnect with old friends, Bonita and her staff at the Home, and the wonderful young women who live there.
For some, this will be your very first visit. When I spoke to Bonita recently, she shared with me that the face of sex exploitation and trafficking in Bangkok has changed since our first time there almost 7 years ago. So whether you consider yourself a veteran, or brand new to this journey, I am confident that there is much for us all to learn and be challenged by.
While there we will have the privilege of coming alongside the staff at the Home to offer support and encouragement for the work they do daily, and to benefit and learn from their experiences. Part of their work is to guide the young women living at the home into formal education. We know that when you educate a girl, you change the world. It has been a dream realized for the staff to see so many of their girls go on to further their studies at local colleges, universities and bible schools. When the girls are not in classes we will have the opportunity to spend time together and, through creative storytelling, share the challenges, hopes and dreams that we all carry as women.
Lastly, we anticipate a particular goal for this trip to be a focus on educating ourselves and understanding more deeply the realities of human trafficking and exploitation in Thailand today. We hope to connect and visit with other ministries in and around Bangkok who are serving the needs of the most vulnerable there.
The cost of the trip is $3300, covering airfare, hotel, food, bar fines for outreach, additional ground travel expenses, plus an administration fee. If you are interested in joining us, we require a firm commitment by February 28 with a $500 deposit to Linwood House Ministries. To indicate your interest, or if you have any additional questions, please email Sue at firstname.lastname@example.org or Gwen at email@example.com.
Please consider taking this journey with us! There is no pre-requisite, only that you come with your story and a heart wide open to join with the women of Thailand as we unite to press into freedom for ourselves and for women everywhere.
Sue for Jen, Gwen and the Linwood House Ministry Team
Fall is upon us and it’s a wonderful time to breathe in the beauty that’s all around, cozy up, light a fire, slow down and just be. The invitation to hibernate is sometimes such a welcome rest from the busyness and activity of the summer.
I think it’s for these reasons I can say that the October Journey is perhaps my favorite. Last week a creative, bright, intelligent and driven group of women from the downtown Eastside gathered at Linwood House for this three day retreat. Deep conversation by the fire, hot steaming mugs, walks in the crisp air, pampering, creative art experiences, friendships born, and beautiful healthy food filled our days together.
The smell of food always gathered a crowd in the kitchen, wondering eagerly, “what’s on the menu today?’ We were never disappointed. But this time, there was something else on the menu.
Fall is often a time that seems as if everything is dying – the leaves, the grass, flowers, even the birds abandon ship. Sometimes we wonder if the lush abundance of spring and summer will ever come back. Is it possible or is it gone forever? But spring reminds us that nothing, in fact is dead. It’s simply dormant, lying as a seed that with all the right timing, nurture, and intention, will come forth. Bloom.
As we sat together each day in our sacred circle we talked about the hurts of life, about the desires of our stories that seem impossible, of hope deferred. But through the gift of the seasons, we were reminded that nothing is impossible with God. In our faith economy, nothing is ever dead. There is always hope – for broken relationships, for health challenges, for addiction. There is even hope, after 19 years, for reconciliation between a father and his daughter.
We left those three days together in the heart season of Spring, celebrating our stories and our friendships and all that God can make possible in our lives.
What a gift that time was. Our team is looking forward to continuing the journey with many of our friends through the Great Room in the downtown Eastside. We’ve been encouraged and blessed by volunteers who, through their time, have enabled the Great Room to be open 5 days a week! Food with Friends, the Women’s Circle, art, bible study, and one to one time during a walk or over coffee in the community are all happening each week!
We’re grateful for each one of you who journey with all of us in your own unique way. May you find your own hope, possibility and miracle in this season.Sue Todd
To bear witness. To be a part of a greater story, another’s story.
To know that we are known.
This is why I believe in LHM. Because all that it stands for is rooted in the common human experience, challenging each other to love radically and beyond rigid definitions. We exist to love and be loved. The challenge is learning to express love in a way that constructs peace and leads to reconciliation and redemption. The sort of love that fights for freedom of heart, mind, body, and spirit: exposing the areas that we live in secret, in isolation, in loneliness and giving space and voice to those experiences. Maya Angelou has said, “there is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” We all know those stacks of brick, pot holes filling with liquid cement that begin to anchor themselves deep within our true selves, threatening to prevent our next steps forward. Sometimes all it takes is space to unload, to be honest, to be raw before an open heart willing to stand in solidarity with ours, ready and willing to bear the weight of our story and respond in love and compassion. A voice that validates our experience, our very existence, and calls on our courage to move towards our potential, towards healing and wholeness: an enthusiast in our quest towards hope. This is why we at LHM call those we connect with "friends", because that is what we all quickly become. We do what we do because we know the absolute necessity of being discovered, known, and loved. We can’t sit with the knowingness that there are too many that remain undiscovered, whose stories remain hidden, shamed, even exploited, and that this hiddenness is what perpetuates so much of the injustice in our world.
The 6th Annual Art Experience will be a taste of this in an always uniquely inspiring Linwood House Ministries sort of way. You should come, with expectations. We can’t wait to see you.
by Sue Todd
Earlier this month we gathered for our annual Art Journey – 15 women, 2 artists and countless volunteers came together for a creative and inspiring three days together. So much to share with you – where to begin?
First, three of the women who joined us came all the way from Williams Lake. Our dear friend Dina Kennedy, who journeyed with us to Thailand last year, was so moved and inspired that she went back home to her community and has opened up a Great Room there! One day a week she meets with women who are journeying through addiction and exploitation towards a more whole life, and we were so encouraged to spend time with her and two of her new friends.
With art as our theme, on Tuesday evening we went to tour the pottery studio of Liz DeBeers. She is a very gifted artist and a great storyteller, and there was no shortage of laughs that evening. We were so surprised when Liz brought out huge hunks of clay and taught us all how to make adorable clay elephants (a nod to her homeland of South Africa).
That got the creative juices flowing as we rolled, sculpted, shaped and painted our beautiful creatures. Even the self proclaimed “un-artsy” women were pretty proud of what they had made! Thanks Liz!
The next morning, our friend and artist Ron Stevens arrived with paints and canvasses and no shortage of jokes to get us going on our day of painting. With flowers as our inspiration, we all sat down to paint various interpretations – abstract, still, and garden scenes. It took concentration, courage and an extra dose of confidence to push through, but the work that was created was absolutely beautiful.
The next day, as we gathered for our final circle, we reflected on all that was accomplished, taking up the challenge and doing something that at one time might have seemed impossible. These three days weren’t just about art – they were about life lessons, about believing in yourself, discovering parts of yourself that had been long buried, and about the power of dreams.
Thank you to each of you, our community, for your practical and prayerful support. We couldn’t do this without it, and we are so grateful.
On Sunday August 12th from 12 – 5pm, please join us at Linwood House for the Annual Art Show where the work of these amazing women, plus other artists from the Sunshine Coast will be on display and for sale. Come and meet the women who took this month’s Art Journey, and be inspired not only by their art but also by their amazing stories of courage and hope!
Jimmie Briggs, a New York based author, activist, journalist, and lecturer, started the Man Up movement in 2008 that seeks to educate and train youth to be agents of change within their own communities to end vioence against women and girls. "Man up" as a statement has a number of negative connotations. Briggs' movement seeks to redefine the statement, suggesting, instead, that it means to take a stand, speak out, etc. Read more about the movement here.
Here at Linwood a lot of our work focuses on empowering women, seeking to "journey alongside" our sisters in whatever their story may be. However, we recognize that men, our brothers, are very much a part of this conversation and this work. We need each other as we work towards wholeness and healing. We need brothers who are willing to stand up, speak out, and act on behalf of their sisters- globally. At LHM, we have some amazing men who have partnered with us in various ways (you know who you are!). I propose that Fridays be dedicated to hearing from men, those we know, you may know, and from around the world. So, every Friday I will be posting a story that gives a brother some room to speak.
What do you think?
This week, I want to share an article with you that initially inspired this idea. World Pulse Magazine has a brilliant section entitled "Through His Eyes." In a similar way to what we will be atempting to unearth on Fridays, World Pulse has an entire column dedicated to hearing about and from men around the globe that are standing with women to end violence, inequailty, exploitation, etc. However, there are only two articles! My hope is that, together, we can discover how men are partnering with us to expose truth, seeking justice and healing for women.
A man by the name of Satish Singh began a movement called Men's Action for Stopping Violence Against Women that began in Uttar Pradesh, India, and is now over 100 villages strong. In fact, the government has requested Singh's network be in all 75 states in India. Singh's network seeks to "change the way men think about violence against women" in a country that has staggering statistics concerning the widespread abuses of women and girls (Ramanathan, 2010). Singh has an army of men throughout India committed to protesting violence against women, supporting survivors of violence, educating entire villages, and committing to be role models for men and boys in their communities. Read the full article here and watch Shishir Chandra, below, describe one of the organizations recent campaigns.
Ramanathan, R. (2010, April). Not alone anymore.World Pulse Magazine. Retrieved from http://www.worldpulse.com/magazine/columns/through-his-eyes/not-alone-anymore.