Dear Inner Circle,

Over two decades ago, two young people enrolled in an “Immersion Course”. It involved 48 hours of being on the streets and sleeping rough in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco. The rules were pretty simple, survive the night with just the clothes on their back and no cash. They slept the first night on empty bellies, huddled in a small clearing with the young guy offering to sleep across an exposed entranceway for safety. In the middle of the night, the course coordinator decided to “frighten” them and jumped into the clearing screaming. Whilst the young lady was filled with terror, her “protector” slumbered on soundly. The next day they ate from leftover trays of fast food that people kindly left at their tables. One even slipped a dollar onto the tray. The boy greedily slipped it into his pocket and spent it later that evening on a cigar. That selfish boy was me and the frightened girl was Lisa. Now, I doubt that my behaviour suggested that I was, “husband material”. Still, I am grateful that Lisa took the chance.

Fast forward a few years to a time when Lisa was eight months pregnant. She flew into the middle of a domestic dispute that had broken out between a couple who lived below us. Blows were raining down and she jumped in between the combatants, yelling at them, “I am not leaving here till you stop!” She stared down the aggressor, and this hulk of a man hung his head in shame. She went on, “I stand here because I love you both but this has got to stop.” The call to make this world a better place has never been a call to Lisa’s head, it’s been to her whole being – hands, heart and feet. Few are lucky enough to see the fruit of their labour in their lifetime, but that was the last time that bloke ever raised a hand against anyone.

Lisa turned 50 this week and we celebrate 20 years marriage in a few months’ time. I’m lucky to have met the girl of my dreams at an early age, and that she risked her future with me. Forgive me for a little indulgence in this week’s note, some opportunities are too good to pass up! I am who I am because of who she is. She makes Wayside a better place in ways she doesn’t even know about.

And so do you our Inner Circle, thanks for being there,


PS. If you’d like to share the love, we have just launched our “Nothing Says I love you like a clean pair of undies” campaign. This Valentine’s Day you can give the gift of dignity so that vulnerable people can access necessities and undies all year round. Donate here.

Jon Owen

Pastor & CEO
Wayside Chapel

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