Five Dollars Well Spent
It all began with just $5.
Shane Clairborne, keynote speaker at the 2012 Ontario Youth Convention, gave participants five dollars and a challenge: use it to help someone. David Schuurman, now an Hamilton District Christian High Grade 12 student, was one of the individuals who took up the challenge.
David’s sister organized a trip to downtown Hamilton and they used the $5 to buy some Popsicles to hand out in front of Jackson Square. It was there that David met George. George, a homeless man, connected with David and told him about his struggles and about life on the street. This inspired David to become more involved with Deedz and downtown ministries.
Deedz is a program run by Redeemer University students. Every Friday night, students head to Hamilton with hot chocolate and hand it out for free as a way to start conversations. HDCH’s Hearts for Hamilton group attends Deedz weekly. The students venture to the Downtown Hamilton Urban Core Health Centre and chat with the people who use the Salvation Army food truck. Over the past year, about 30 HDCH students have been on a Deedz trip. David believes this program is an incredible way to live out his faith and learn more about his own faith.
“After going to the soup truck weekly, you don’t just see the community, but you become part of it. We have built so many relationships and have become good friends with dozens of people who would otherwise have nobody else in their life. We have seen many people surrender their lives to Christ and I have seen God heal many people.”
For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger and you invited me in. Matthew 25
“I really do see Jesus in those who we are helping and it is impossible to ignore the revival that God is doing in Hamilton.” David is reminded weekly that everyone is equal in God’s eyes. “We are all human and nobody is more important than anyone else. I talk to people who own nothing and sleep on the streets every night, and they are some of the happiest people I know. Money doesn’t define a person. Everyone is important and has a voice that needs to be heard.”
David explains that through Deedz, he has learned a lot about a world different from his own. “For most of my life, I was in a Dutch Reformed bubble and hadn’t seen much else. Through Deedz, my bubble was popped and I got to see what life is like for the majority of the world. I see pain, hunger and struggles. Through Deedz I have seen all different denominations of faith come together and fight for the same cause.”
After graduating HDCH, David hopes to study International Development and Social Justice at Redeemer University. His goal is someday to work for a relief agency locally and internationally. He attributes his encouraging HDCH friends, classmates, teachers and guidance counselors for helping to prepare him for his post-secondary education. Here, he has learned more about his faith and how to live it out.
“I have changed a lot since grade nine,” says David and he reflects on some great memories of the Boston music tour in grade nine, the grade 12 trip, and the Outdoors Club trips. “HDCH has helped me along the way by shaping my faith and preparing me for the troubles in life. Attending a Christian school has filled me with light even though I don’t always realize it. I think we are so surrounded by the Holy Spirit and by light that we don’t even realize how full of light we are. “
“HDCH has filled me with light so that when I leave, I can still be shining.” That $5 given in 2012 was $5 well spent.