By Pastor Peter Moore
The opiate crisis is now fully realized as an epidemic, and Peterborough is in the top five per capita for overdose deaths in Canada. After serving in law enforcement for many years and now being a pastor, I view drug issues through a different lens. I see how the marginalized are run through a legal system that does not seem to change a person’s circumstances. Drug use is often hiding the pain of trauma and other undiagnosed mental health issues, so a far better solution seems to be meeting individuals where they are and sharing the love of Christ in whatever way appropriate. The parable of the sheep and goats in Matthew 25 weighs heavily on me.
I was introduced to hygiene kits by a humanitarian mission assisting Haitian Refugees through Rotary International. These simple items became lifesavers for the poor. Through these friends, the Holy Spirit showed me, “Why not supply those living on the streets of the Kawarthas with the same type of kits – including, warm hats, mitts, coats, boots, grocery gift cards?” From this, the street mission was born. It began three years ago in the Kawarthas. Since then, we have become trusted faces to many who have little trust for anyone, while driving and walking the streets, providing packages, and engaging personally. I have learned that the message I prepare for Sunday mornings becomes simple on the street during the week. The sermon is this, “We love you.” These words never heard, or not heard for some time, will often overwhelm our friends with tears and a smile.
Members of Lakefield Baptist (LBC) and other supporters are the backbone to this ministry. They add our marginalized to their prayer and shopping lists each week. Bags and boxes of items or financial gifts are regularly brought to the church in response to our “grocery list.” Our church engages in mission, realizing that those we see in Peterborough, are truly the “little ones” Jesus lovingly discussed.
Though COVID-19 brought enormous challenges for the marginalized, the ministry of Jesus continues. When shelters were limited, food was scarce, human traffickers persisted, and our street friends became modern day lepers, LBC continued to find ways to meet needs.
At times we carry heartaches. We have lost many of our friends to opiate poisoning, dying alone under a tree or in a stairwell. In September, we lost a dear friend who was only 30 years old. A victim of organized crime, she was found alone, lifeless from opiate poisoning. But we do not lose hope! At the opposite end of what we experience, a young man who was on the street and addicted to fentanyl, has given his life to Christ. We drove him to Kingston for rapid detox. His story of recovery continues, and he is married with 4 young children. Praise God!
This is evangelism and mission in the simplest ways; the name of Jesus proclaimed in the worst of places.
If you have questions about The Care Package Ministry, you can find contact for Pastor Peter at the church here: http://lakefieldbaptist.com/