Seattle is a colorful city, with houses and buildings that are all wonderful shades of yellow, blue, green, brown, and white. It is rich in history and seeped in American patriotism. The age of the city is a contrast to what I’m used to, because Canada is a younger country with less history. Parts of it do remind me of Vancouver though, particularly the winding roads that go up and down the city, which is of course all built into the mountains. I love the ocean-city feel of Seattle: artistic, outdoorsy, fresh, and clean.
I heard that a lot of films have been made here, and I believe it because areas of the downtown look like they came straight from a movie! There are tall, red brick buildings decked with fire escape ladders and green vines growing up the walls. There are barred up casino’s, eery allies, and fire scorched apartment buildings- it definitely stirs the imagination!
I haven’t seen enough of the city, or talked to enough people, or walked the streets enough to have a true feel of it, but I do love what I have seen so far and I want to get to know Seattle more.
My time here has had God’s fingerprints all over it, and He has been working in wonderful ways. For those who don’t know, I have been in Seattle for the past 2 1/2 weeks volunteering with my school at Union Gospel Missions women’s shelter called Hope Place. Hope place is in a quiet residential area of the city, just a few minutes from downtown. The area we are in is predominately Muslim, and that is because of the large number of immigrants from Africa who reside here.
My team and I spent our time cooking, cleaning, doing childcare, washing carpets, organizing closets, and basically doing anything else the mission needed us to do. We also got taken on tours of the other Union Gospel Mission buildings, and spent some time volunteering in different aspects of the ministry. Our meals were usually had at the shelter, which meant that we got to meet and interact with the women who lived there, as well as spend time with their children.
It was wonderful to spend time getting to know the women, and hearing what God has done in their lives. Meeting them stirred so many things in my heart, things that I’m not sure I can explain with words. Have you ever had something resonate so deeply within your soul that it is almost frightening? Have you ever had something cut so deep to the core that it makes you afraid to feel what you feel? Meeting them changed the way I see people, and the way I see myself. “The Homeless” are not just an unknown demographic to me now, but they have names and faces and stories. They are human beings, too complex to fit into stereotypes and labels.
The Rain City taught me that I am small, I am just one person out of millions. It taught me to be humble, because I can never fix anyone, and to think that I can is the pinnacle of arrogance. I can’t be a solution to the pain I saw – it just isn’t possible for a person to do – but I was reminded me that there is infinite power in the name of Jesus. He can change, transform, make new. He restores dignity, He gives HOPE.
There is so much pain, so much hurt, so much brokenness- but these women taught me that the gates of hell can’t prevail against His kingdom, because there is power in the name of JESUS to break every chain.
Rain City, I’ll be back someday.