Justice & Mercy: Ministry Updates

He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
Micah 6:8

*The below information was included in the March 2022 edition of "Sent & Sending," a bi-monthly missions-focused newsletter. 

Justice & Mercy Ministry Overview

The Mission

We believe that Jesus has a vision for His church: a vision of His people consumed by His love, humbly pursuing His presence and being continuously formed into His image for the good of the city as His Kingdom comes. 

The Justice and Mercy Ministry at Westside seeks to live out this vision through four main ministries:
  1. Reach Teams
  2. Dinner of Love
  3. Local Missions
  4. The Benevolent Fund
The acts of justice and mercy are natural outflowings for all who believe in Jesus, and while some are more spiritually gifted in these areas, each and every disciple has the call upon their life to serve the lowly.
*In this edition, we're talking about the first two ministries and will cover the last two in a future newsletter!
Dinner of Love Dinner of Love

Reach Teams

What are Reach Teams?

They are small groups of people who meet twice a month to go out to the streets of Vancouver. They build relationships with people, share the Gospel, and pray with them. 

Overview (by Daniel Markin, Minister of Youth, Local Outreach & Young Adults)

Through our Spiritual Gifts series, many began to feel a call to step into their giftings of mercy and evangelism. It has been such a joy to see the people of God operate in what they do best! Our team feels a tangible sense of being sent from God to Granville Street. This is displayed in the conversations, both short and long, that occur with strangers.

As a ministry area, Granville Street ranges from the homeless to people hanging out socially. Trying our best to walk in step with the Holy Spirit, the team prayerfully proclaims the good news of Jesus. We have seen the Lord move through people coming to faith and people being healed on the spot! God is so good!

Q&A with Reach Volunteer: Brian Poljak

How long have you been serving for? 

5 years (Justice & Mercy)

Why did you want to be part of this ministry? 

I just wanted to tell people about Jesus and the hope they can have in Him.

What's your favorite thing about this ministry? 

My favorite part of reach is hearing everyone's stories and learning about them. Thankfully, most people I come across are open about their life and are willing to share. One of the greatest joys is when someone genuinely wants prayer after you've had a conversation. Also, I can't forget how fun it is spending time with brothers and sisters sharing the Gospel.

What God has been putting in your heart lately? 

He's been putting His faithfulness on my heart and teaching me that His faithfulness comes by way of His love. Showing me how simple the message of our "yes" to Him and His faithfulness to us is. To let someone who is struggling know that if they call on the name of Jesus, He will be faithful to them, no matter what they've done or where they are in their lives. It's truly a blessing to share such a simple message of God's everlasting love and faithfulness. 

Dinner of Love Volunteers

Dinner of Love Christmas 2021 Volunteer Team. Read about the event here

Dinner of Love

What is Dinner of Love?

Dinner of Love is our bi-weekly event where we serve meals to the community in Vancouver. It's a way to bless those in need and build relationships. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been serving takeaway meals, but are looking forward to gathering in-person again. 

Overview (by Natt Belonio, Minister of Local Outreach and Youth)

Each team member serves so faithfully and humbly, especially throughout the pandemic. Our supportive volunteer leaders (Emilyn Castro and Jocelyn Kwok) have given a great sense of ease during challenging times. It’s uplifting to see how everyone serves together with a genuine desire for connection, both toward one another, as well as with our guests.

Many of our guests are regulars and so we have the opportunity to build relationships over time. And while the goal is to love and serve our guests, we also find ourselves walking away feeling incredibly filled by the conversations and prayers had throughout the evening. It is an honor when a guest comes up to the door, takes a meal and says, “can you pray for me at some point tonight?”

And while we are thankful for the ability to serve take-out meals throughout the pandemic, we are also prayerfully discerning when we will be re-opening our doors for sit-down dinners again. Please pray with us as we really miss the dynamic of sitting down together for a meal (our guests have been mentioning it as well!), yet we want to be wise about next step decision-making.

Q&A with Dinner of Love Volunteer: Lori Leung

How long have you been serving for?

I started serving on Westside’s DOL Team, a few years ago when I moved downtown. The pre-covid format was in-person. I hold fond memories of our Thanksgiving and Christmas services. My involvement then was sporadic and became increasingly regular the year the pandemic hit. Currently, I look forward to working with all my friends on the DOL Team, as well as being present with the community and its needs. 

Why did you want to be part of this ministry? 

I want to remain a part of this team because DOL brings me closer to God’s purpose for me, which in turn (selfishly) restores in me the kind of gratitude that inspires Christ-centered daily rhythms of life. As a civil litigator, my day-to-day work is pretty secular. And so, I have always been passionate about bridging the gap I feel between my occupation here (justice on earth) and the will of God that is store for all of us (justice in heaven). DOL helps me bridge this gap.

What's your favorite thing about this ministry? 

Sharing meals at the same table with local folks offers a really great platform to build authentically and organically the kind of dialogues and relationships most conducive to spreading His Gospel and to discipleship. Serving on DOL has been an awesome source of community.  I love everyone who is involved so much.

What God has been putting in your heart lately? 

Lately, as pandemic restrictions ease, I am hopeful and excited about our team, its energy and compassion for community members in need of the love of Jesus. I am very much looking forward to abiding by God’s direction for this ministry. Please pray for DOL as it continues to navigate this topsy-turvy world and as it aims to remain a light in our local community.

Prayer Requests

Please pray for:

  • Continued passion and endurance to be the hands and feet of Jesus on Granville Street.
  • That our team would know Jesus more through this mission.
  • Growth in spiritual gifts as we seek to Know Jesus and make Jesus Known!
More information about Justice & Mercy is located here.
Categories: Evangelism,Local Missions,Prayer,Stories