A couple of years ago our church met a young street worker named Carrie. When we met her, she was cold and hardened; it was quite difficult to get through to her in the beginning. I specifically remember bringing her to the Sport’s Rock to eat with us and when I put my arm around her shoulder and introduced her, she gave this “look” as if to say, “get your hands off me… now!”. It was an awkward moment and feeling for me. This young lady had walls built up all around her, to let no one in as she didn’t know what love was or how to give or receive love.
On a regular basis we’d see Carrie; with each meeting we had she’d become a bit more softer towards us and myself in particular. I don’t say “myself in particular” with any pride; I say it because she and I came to share a deep bond which went much further than ministry. She became like a younger sister who needed a bigger brother to come alongside her. That’s how I felt about her.
Slowly but surely the walls melted away. We’d seen her weep and confess deep heart issues that gave us a glimpse into her life and her views on the Lord. I can recall one particular instance where we had her in our home and I played a video for her (this was the video that was played: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hrgl9z3grKU). After watching it it, she said, “I want to leave.” It was an awkward moment as I saw she was upset – visibly upset.
In the car, she broke and said, “I’m mad at God. My grandparents are Christians and they suffer. Why would God let them suffer like they do?”. She was referring o physical illness. Rather than give a pat answer, I simply said “I don’t know”. We dropped her off and said our goodbyes at that point.
Another time, I saw Carrie intoxicated, about to be taken in by police. When I approached, she told the officers that I was her Christian friend. I explained to the officers that we would take her and take responsibility for her. They agreed and let her come with us. She was quite thankful.
We’d built up a relationship with her to the point that she’d see us and when she’d leave she say to me, “I love you”. No one can know or understand what that did in my heart. This young lady who in the beginning showed anger and coldness now said she loved me!
Not long after the Justin Bourque RCMP killings, we were downtown and a police officer came into the parking lot of a local business. I asked the officer if we could pray for her and she accepted. As we chatted, I saw Carrie…with a bandage around her throat. She cut herself and was extremely intoxicated. As she saw us with the officer, she was hesitant to come closer but I was able to convince her. We took her into the car and she explained that she had been assaulted and subsequently cut her own throat. She was a total mess but a glorious mess because she was with us.
She needed to get to the hospital so we were able to see her get there and when she did get to the hospital, we waited in a room. When the doctor came in, what I heard still haunts me. Carrie explained to the doctor that she needed drugs. She then began to say she was worthless and did things for drugs that made her ashamed. She called herself things that broke my heart.
They kept her overnight and then released her, I believe, the next morning. I’m unsure of the details of “why” they let her go… I just don’t think they should have. She was in need – desperately – of help. Especially seeing that she was clearly in a state where she should not have been alone but rather helped and observed, they released her. I suspect – and of course i could be completely wrong here! – that it’s because she was a street worker. I doubt that a business man’s child or a politician’s daughter would have been released in the same state.
After that incident, we were walking downtown and saw Carrie. She said, “I;ll be right back; those are my Christian friends!” and immediately came over to us. It was so good to see her! It always was! Carrie was happy and had a wonderful disposition about her that day.
We’ve ministered to several women downtown…but none have gripped like Carrie has. She had the Hand of God on her life and I praise God for the opportunity of having been given by God a friendship with this young lady that allowed us to pray for her, befriend her and come alongside her. She trusted us; she said she did once, and for a young lady working the street to trust you is a big deal. A bigger deal than most can ever possibly comprehend.
Carrie was one of the most precious girls I have ever met; there will never be another like her. One day, praise God, we’ll meet again, and when we do, it’ll be by the side of Jesus the Christ. Sister Carrie has gone in to her eternal reward and now dwells in teh Presence of Majesty, where there is no sorrow, pain or suffering.
While such a tragedy that she’s gone at such a young age, I’m blessed to have read this portion of her obituary: “Recently, Carolyn found faith in God and was excited to read the gospel. We know today, she is at peaceful rest alongside her family and friends in heaven especially with her mother, Lucinda.” (http://www.fundyfuneralhome.com/notices/Carolyn-Warnock)
As I close, I want to encourage all of the brothers and sisters reading this that we’re not called to have constant good times; the Holy Spirit calls us to reach the lost, the hurting and the broken wherever they may be found. If we’re not loving the least of these – those whom society has given up on – then woe is us! May God raise up more workers for the Harvest that they may reach more Carrie’s!
(In jail, Carrie gave her life to the Lord. She spoke to her grandmother and explained that before the Bible made no sense but that now it did. She gave herself to the Lord Jesus while incarcerated. Her death? The autopsy showed that she had a sinus infection and something in her brain burst open, leading to her passing away.)