Around Town: Sopari Sor, Street Life, Church & Farm, Climate Change . . .

Sopari Sor hopes to return to Cambodia to work as nurse, now that she's graduated from Trinity Western's nursing school.

Sopari Sor has just graduated from Trinity Western’s nursing school; she hopes to return to work in Cambodia eventually.

Sopari Sor was born in a refugee camp on the border between Thailand and Cambodia – so it is surprising, if not miraculous, that she graduated from the nursing program at Trinity Western University this spring.

An April 28 story in the Vancouver Sun explained how she got here:

Sor left Cambodia at the age of 18 and came to Canada on a student visa to advance her education. No one in her extended family went beyond high school and her only brother left school after grade six.

She was raised by her grandmother in a rural village, but moved to Phnom Penh after getting a full scholarship to a Christian international private school there. She stayed with her aunt and 12 other relatives during those years.

After high school, Sor was given the opportunity to go to university in Canada by supporters from the private high school and private benefactors, so she left her family and friends and moved to British Columbia in 2011.

“In the first year I was really lonely, but spending time studying helped take away the loneliness and I got connected with friends,” she said.

Sor married while here, and plans to work in Canada before returning to Cambodia. She said:

It is my goal to eventually return to Cambodia and use the education I received to help those in need. I want to work for an organization in Cambodia that provides health care assistance to women who have been sexually abused and trafficked.

I ran across a couple of other good news stories involving Vancouver and Cambodia over the last few days (I’ll write more on each of them in the next couple of weeks):

Craig Greenfield and his friends from Servants Vancouver held a book launch party while he was visiting in late April, for his Subversive Jesus. To cut a long (book-length) story very short, he was brought up comfortably in New Zealand before going live in the slums of Phnom Penh for several years. Then he and his family lived in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside before returning to Phnom Penh. They now run Alongsiders International, which “equips compassionate young Christians in poor nations [initially in Cambodia, now throughout Asia] to walk alongside those who walk alone.”

Brian McConaghy and his Ratanak International society played a significant role in bringing sex tourist Christopher Neil to justice; he has been convicted of offences both in Cambodia and Canada and will be sentenced in June. Vancouver Sun columnist Daphne Bramham wrote A Canadian gives hope to Cambodian victims of sex tourists May 4.

Street Life is a safe place
youthunlimitedstreetlifeVancouver’s only mobile youth centre is threatened by some of the same issues facing the young people they work with – lack of money and an uncertain future. The lease for the Street Life RV is up this month, and the buy-out is $11,500. In the last week of April, the RV’s generator died, adding another $4,000 expense.
This renovated 25-foot RV provides a safe place for youth where there a sense of belonging and home and a connection to caring adults. Practically, youth receive a hot meal and, when available, clean clothes, blankets and toiletries.
Through Street Life – which is part of Youth Unlimited East Vancouver – Jason Hradoway and his small team run the mobile youth centre. He experienced some of the issues street-involved youth are going through. Here is some of his story, from a release by Keela Keeping:
Jason Hradoway appeared on Breakfast TV to tell his own story and that of Street Life.

Jason Hradoway appeared on Breakfast Television May 4 to tell his own story and that of Street Life.

“When I was in grade 10, I was in desperate need of mentorship,” says Hradoway, who first encountered Youth Unlimited in his hometown in Edmonton. “I had a poor relationship with my family, a lot of angst, and I started hanging out with a group of kids that were destructive. . . .

In that same year, through his music class, Jason met James, a Youth Unlimited youth worker who shared Jason’s passion for music, but who was also a stabilizing force.

“He could see that I desperately needed mentorship and someone to believe in me,” says Jason. “He was crazy enough see past the punk rock exterior to my heart. He didn’t try to change me. Instead he invited me to come help him serve other people in the inner city.”

Jason did, and when his punk rock friends started dropping out of school, he knew he was at cross-roads: did he stick with his friends, or follow the risky tug on his heart to build a different life? With Jason pouring into his life, the latter felt possible.

“In grade 12 I realized it only took one person in my life to radically change it for the better,” he says. “It wasn’t long before I realized I wanted to have an impact on struggling kids like James did for me.”

Jason came to Vancouver in 2010, trained at Lifeteams – Youth Unlimited’s year-long urban youth worker program – and worked in the Edmonton branch of Youth Unlimited before returning to East Vancouver in the fall of 2015 to help run Street Life.

The two staff and band of dedicated volunteers who run the program are hoping the community will help support it through their GoFundMe campaign.
Church & the Farm
This one looks interesting. A Rocha has partnered with a small Anglican church for some outdoor time this Saturday (May 7). They say:

Join us for a Community Garden Network gathering at the New Eden farm in North Surrey. Ken and Rev. Shihoko Warren coordinate New Eden as a garden ministry out of Church of All Nations Anglican Church in Vancouver. We will have a chance to hear from Ken and Shihoko about how they incorporate organic farming as a commitment to God’s New Creation, restoring relationships with God, people and the earth.

Climate Change and the Church

 Earthkeepers: Christians for Climate Justice will host Climate Change & the Church, which will feature a screening of the influential documentary This Changes Everything next Friday (May 13) at First Baptist Church in Vancouver.

There will be discussion after the film.

May 4, 2016

Pastors and Leaders Conference 2016: Beyond the Monday Blues - Equipping People for Vocations in the Workplace – May 4, 2016 - May 6, 2016 at All Day

May 5, 2016

Greater Vancouver Festival of Hope Involvement Seminars – May 5, 2016 - May 10, 2016 at All Day
Maria Gaudin: Life Among the Deadwood – May 5, 2016 - May 6, 2016 at All Day
OM Ships Partner Dinner – May 5, 2016 at 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Euthanasia & Assisted Suicide Bill C-14: What Do I Need to Know? – May 5, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Greater Vancouver Festival of Hope Involvement Seminar – May 5, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Greater Vancouver Festival of Hope Involvement Seminar – May 5, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Greater Vancouver Festival of Hope Involvement Seminar – May 5, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

May 6, 2016

Leadercast 2016: Architects of Tomorrow – May 6, 2016 at 7:45 am - 4:00 pm
Mission Possible: Community Table Fundraising Dinner – May 6, 2016 at 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Greater Vancouver Festival of Hope Involvement Seminar – May 6, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Greater Vancouver Festival of Hope Involvement Seminar – May 6, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
The Trafficked Human – May 6, 2016 at 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm

May 7, 2016

I Am Ready: One Day Evangelism Conference – May 7, 2016 at 9:00 am - 3:00 pm
The Bread & the Cup: A Symposium on Communion – May 7, 2016 at 9:30 am - 2:00 pm
Church & the Farm: Learning from New Eden Garden Ministry – May 7, 2016 at 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Greater Vancouver Festival of Hope Involvement Seminar – May 7, 2016 at 10:00 am - 2:00 pm
New Hope Community Services Society Open House BBQ – May 7, 2016 at 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Elektra: In the Abbey Garden – May 7, 2016 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Marcus Mosely Chorale: Shine On – May 7, 2016 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

May 8, 2016

The Anglican Communion in Changing Times: Forum – May 8, 2016 at 12:15 pm - 1:30 pm
Marcus Mosely Chorale: Shine On – May 8, 2016 at 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Muslims Next Door: Christians Thinking About Muslims and Islam – May 8, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

May 9, 2016

Greater Vancouver Festival of Hope Involvement Seminar – May 9, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Speaking of Faith: From the Left – May 9, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Iain Provan: Chicken or Egg? Scripture, Canon and the Rule of Faith in the Early Church – May 9, 2016 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm

May 10, 2016

Greater Vancouver Festival of Hope Involvement Seminar – May 10, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

May 11, 2016

New Wine in Old Wineskins? A Conference on (Re) Planting in Historic Christian Spaces with Rev. Graham Singh – May 11, 2016 at 9:30 am - 3:00 pm
Pilar Mehlis: I Belong Here . . . – Opening Reception – May 11, 2016 at 4:30 pm - 7:30 pm
Amanda Russell-Jones: A Woman's Bible? – May 11, 2016 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Jazz Evensong: Cory Weeds – May 11, 2016 at 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm

May 12, 2016

March for Life: Caring Not Killing – May 12, 2016 at 1:45 pm - 3:15 pm
Alpha 'Invite Canada' – May 12, 2016 at 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Book Launch: Simon Choa-Johnston – The House of Wives – May 12, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

May 13, 2016

Divorce: Our Families, Our Friends, Ourselves – May 13, 2016 at 7:30 am - 8:30 am
Life in the Margins Workshop – May 13, 2016 - May 14, 2016 at 6:30 pm - 4:00 pm
Climate Change & the Church in Vancouver: Screening of 'This Changes Everything' – May 13, 2016 at 6:45 pm - 9:00 pm
Ian Sherwood – May 13, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

May 14, 2016

Journey with People in Recovery – May 14, 2016 at 8:00 am - 12:30 pm
Starting a Social Enterprise – May 14, 2016 at 9:00 am - 12:00 pm
Vancouver: Alpha Lab – May 14, 2016 at 9:00 am - 3:30 pm
Cyrilika Slavic Chamber Choir: Our Spirit and Our Soul – May 14, 2016 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

May 15, 2016

Book Launch: Simon Choa-Johnston – The House of Wives – May 15, 2016 at 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm
Holocaust Memorial - Yom Hashoah – May 15, 2016 at 2:30 pm - 4:30 pm
Arbutus String Quartet: Music by Haydn and Beethoven – May 15, 2016 at 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Muslims Next Door (Sunday evenings) – May 15, 2016 - May 22, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Muslims Next Door: Beliefs and Practices – May 15, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

May 16, 2016

Focus on Life Gala Dinner: Protecting Vulnerable Hearts – May 16, 2016 at 5:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Janet Danielson: Hearts in Harmony – Hymns as Communication Technology – May 16, 2016 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm

May 17, 2016

Book Launch: Simon Choa-Johnston – The House of Wives – May 17, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

May 18, 2016

Loren Wilkinson: The Singular Universe and the Triune God – May 18, 2016 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Jazz Evensong: Linda Szentes – May 18, 2016 at 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm

May 19, 2016

Joseph and the Amazing Techicolor Dreamcoast – May 19, 2016 - May 21, 2016 at All Day

May 20, 2016

Historymaker Conference 2016 – May 20, 2016 - May 22, 2016 at All Day

May 22, 2016

Chris Tomlin in Concert – May 22, 2016 at 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Muslims Next Door: Major Objections to the Gospel – May 22, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

May 23, 2016

Doug Moo: Translating the Bible for a New Generation – May 23, 2016 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm

May 24, 2016

EFC Webinar: The Problem of Pornography – May 24, 2016 at 9:00 am - 9:45 am

May 25, 2016

Pastoral Approaches: Sexually Addictive Behaviour – May 25, 2016 at 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
Yonghua Ge: What Has Christian Theology to do with Chinese Philosophy? – May 25, 2016 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Jazz Evensong: Jennifer Scott – May 25, 2016 at 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm

May 26, 2016

Public Lecture on Pope Francis's Encyclical Letter Laudato Si': On Care for Our Common Home – May 26, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
The Tourist Company – May 26, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Marc Dupont: In His Presence – May 26, 2016 - May 27, 2016 at 7:30 pm - 10:00 pm

May 27, 2016

Church Leaders Forum: Cultivating a Culture of Dare – May 27, 2016 at 9:30 am - 12:30 pm
Chapel: Unified – May 27, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Ignite Maple Ridge – May 27, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

May 28, 2016

Blessed are the Peacemakers: Concepts and Tools for Better Conflict, with Darrin Hotte – May 28, 2016 at 9:00 am - 3:00 pm
Irresistible Community: Small Groups Leadership Training Broadcast Conference – May 28, 2016 at 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Neighbourhood Garage Sale – May 28, 2016 at 10:00 am - 2:00 pm
Soul Gospel: Featuring Canada’s Queen of Soul, Dawn Pemberton and choirs from Sarah McLachlan School of Music – May 28, 2016 at 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
New Beginnings Concert: Fundraiser Concert for Refugees – May 28, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Soul Gospel: Featuring Canada’s Queen of Soul, Dawn Pemberton and choirs from Sarah McLachlan School of Music – May 28, 2016 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

May 29, 2016

Worship and Prayer for the Lower Mainland & the Festival of Hope – May 29, 2016 at 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Switchfoot in Concert – May 29, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm

May 30, 2016

First United: 9th Annual Golf Tournament for the Homeless – May 30, 2016 at 1:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Dying Well: Panel and Discussion – May 30, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 8:45 pm
Faith & Justice Roundtable: Housing & Displacement Crisis – May 30, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Cindy Aalders: And a Little Child Shall Lead Them: Children as Spiritual Guides in 18th Century England – May 30, 2016 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm

May 31, 2016

NightShift Charity Golf Classic – May 31, 2016 at All Day
Religious Freedom Protest for TWU Law School at Vancouver Law Courts – May 31, 2016 at 11:30 am - 1:30 pm
Faith Rising: The Church Responding in the Middle East – May 31, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

June 1, 2016

Walking in the Spirit of Reconciliation: Langley Churches for Reconciliation – June 1, 2016 - June 4, 2016 at All Day
Vancouver Pastors Prayer Fellowship – June 1, 2016 at 10:30 am - 12:30 pm
Business By the Book: Peter Fassbender – June 1, 2016 at 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Faith Rising: The Church Responding in the Middle East – June 1, 2016 at 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Laurel Borisenko: A Geography of Scars – Stories and Responses to Refugee Crises – June 1, 2016 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Jazz Evensong: Christie Grace – June 1, 2016 at 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm

June 2, 2016

Drama: Screaming in Silence – June 2, 2016 - June 4, 2016 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Stephen Woodworth – June 2, 2016 at 7:30 pm - 8:30 pm

June 3, 2016

Andy Atkins: Fighting Poverty, Saving the Earth – June 3, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Love the Stranger: Responding to the Current Refugee Crisis – June 3, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
More Than a Roof Presents: Art from the Shadows – June 3, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Pacific Mennonite Children's Choir: Folk Songs Far and Near – June 3, 2016 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

June 4, 2016

Launch of Victim Circles of Support Program – June 4, 2016 at 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
Peter Anderson: Youth Explored: Tools for Understanding and Engaging the Next Generation – June 4, 2016 at 9:00 am - 3:00 pm
Rosemary Heights Retreat Centre Garage Sale – June 4, 2016 at 9:00 am - 1:00 pm

June 5, 2016

DTES Church Gathering – June 5, 2016 at 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm

June 6, 2016

Gordon Smith: What Can Evangelicals Learn from Catholics? – June 6, 2016 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm

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