by Billie Corbett
The Sunshine Coast has been my home for over 40 years. I love this community. Six years ago, I was introduced to Linwood House Ministries. A long time friend of mine on the coast had informed me about Linwood House and their labour of love toward the women living in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (DTES).
My journey of volunteering at Linwood began with attending a women’s group hosted at Linwood House, called Happy Hour. It was a time for local women to get together and share the joys and sorrows of our lives. It was a time set aside to focus our attention on and to remember our collective connection with the women living in the DTES as well as our global connection with suffering women throughout the world. Part of the Happy Hour mandate was to seek solidarity with all suffering women.
At Happy Hour, I could come empty and refill my cup. It was a place of safety for us in the same way it is for women who attend Journeys at Linwood that are currently living in the DTES. At Happy Hour, I could unite in solidarity with other women and dream dreams full of hope, faith and love. Happy Hour was a sacred place where I was able to further explore my vision for using the healing, restorative powers of creativity that God had used to preserve me from taking my own life in despair. I felt God’s call to serve hurting people by inviting them to reconnect to their core self through engaging in creative art projects. As this vision began to develop within my own heart, I began to share it with Gwen and the other women at Happy Hour. Eventually, Sue and Jen asked me if I would like to volunteer and provide an “Art Experience” for women living in the DTES while on Journeys here at Linwood House.
OH MY! What a joy and pleasure volunteering in this way has been to me! Most of the women attending the Journeys engage in the art activities and their art work is a sheer delight to me. Volunteering in this simple capacity has opened a door for me to experience the inner beauty of these wonderful women. I take great delight in witnessing their continued growth, healing and restoration over the years serving them in their journey through art work.
Thank you, Linwood House for your vision, passion and compassion. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to dream dreams and have visions. Thank you for the privilege of serving God, serving the Journey Women and serving Linwood House.