A family from western Manitoba has seen first-hand the struggle for those living on the streets during their 10 weeks involved in the mission outreach TREK program.

Ryan and Nadine Smith and their 2 daughters, recently moved from Killarney to Winnipeg. They've settled into their new life in the city as they prepare for a mission trip to Myanmar later this year through the TREK program.

COVID-19 has put the trip on hold, however, the training that has taken place has been a refining of their faith and personal walk with God.

The Smiths moved to Winnipeg earlier this summer to begin 2 ½ months of training in the mission field, and they’ve come to understand more of downtown Winnipeg and the needs that come with living in the inner-city.

Each week Ryan and his oldest daughter are involved in learning different facets of the Christian faith walk through a series of modules.  It has enabled the whole family to experience first-hand the ministry opportunities in inner-city Winnipeg and has also set the wheels in motion to reach out to help in whichever way they can.

Several weeks ago, Mark Pranger spoke to the TREK team on the needs of the homeless in Winnipeg.  Mark and Hilde Pranger are involved with the Living Word Temple Church and have their own mission outreach, ‘710 Aberdeen WPG’.

“Mark is living that missional lifestyle, ministering to the inner-city community,” explains Ryan. “There are a lot of marginalized people here, people that the vast majority of society are afraid of, that the vast majority of society turns a blind eye to.”

Needed donated clothing includes warm jackets, sweaters, pants, socks, etc for men, women and children.  Also, all donated clothing must be clean and new or gently used.

“Mark is asking for anything, any kind of outerwear clothing,” explains Smith, “We want to bless him so he can bless others in this community.”

What’s coming up for the Smith family over the next few months?

The original plan for Ryan and his family is that they would be travelling to Myanmar at the beginning of November.  Due to COVID-19, that plan has been put on hold for the time being.  With their 10-week mission training coming to a close shortly they will be placed in inner-city mission outreach in Winnipeg.

Smith jokes that putting his 45-year-old brain into learning-mode, school-mode and homework-mode has been a bit of a challenge over the past 10 weeks.  “But the bigger challenge was actually making that sacrifice and basically selling 90-95% of all our personal belongings, giving up work, giving up a home, and stepping into this missional lifestyle where we’re purposefully chasing after God and looking for opportunities to serve Him wherever he leads us.”

“Part of living lightly is letting go and allowing us to go where He tells us to go,” adds Smith.

So, this Thanksgiving you might find some time to go through your closet and find items of clothing that could be passed on to folks who don’t have much, who need a warm sweater or jacket as temperatures drop and the calendar page turns to November just a few weeks.

As we look around us and see how much we have, let’s also remember how we can help others and be thankful that we can do just that.