James Wiseman and his wife have spent ten years in Winnipeg's core and aren't ready to quit yet.
Walls of Freedom, a ministry in Winnipeg's core area, has now been running for ten years. Wiseman has become even more passionate about the ministry and shut down any notion of retirement anytime soon.
"We've talked a bit about it," said Wiseman. "I turn 68 in February and I'm not interested in retiring right now."
Why would he want to? He's worked with so many amazing people, both those who come to the ministry in need and those who volunteer. Walls of Freedom operates as a drop-in and a church throughout the week. Wiseman runs a men's ministry on Saturday morning to get brothers and fathers back on their feet.
He works with high-risk youth and visits the Headingley Correctional Institue and visits the young men in jail, then works to get them jobs when they get out. Wiseman and his wife also run women's events for those who are living in abusive conditions.
"We have a massive home visitation program with over 1760 families on our list," Wiseman remarked. For perspective, that's almost five families a day if they would do that every single day of the year.
Wiseman recalls the start of Walls of Freedom with joy. "In May/June of 2007, we rented a gymnasium and the gym was packed every time it was open," Wiseman said. "It was amazing the people that were responding to the needs we were offering."
Wiseman said he wasn't planning on being a street pastor. "I started visiting kids on the street when I saw them there and I got a real passion," Wiseman said.
It wasn't all easy. Wiseman lost his first wife 11 years ago to cancer, right as the idea for Walls of Freedom was beginning to take off. But he remains passionate about his mission and is seeking to meet the needs in his area.
"If we don't get into the inner city as a church . . . our inner cities are going to continue to grow as they have," Wiseman said. "Let's step up to the plate, let's get in there, let's love on people and disciple them, and let God [guide them] in a new direction."