In all cases, credibility is earned, not given

The story goes that in about 1850, a young man named Francios Coillard was a single, clean-shaven 23-year-old who set out to be a missionary in South Africa.

The story goes that in about 1850, a young man named Francios Coillard was a single, clean-shaven 23-year-old who set out to be a missionary in South Africa.

Although a fervently hard worker, he soon realized that the South Africans would not listen to him because he had no hair on his face, and furthermore, he had no wife.

In order to remedy the situation, he grew a beard, but a wife was a different matter. He remembered a young lady from his school days that he had found attractive, so he wrote to a friend to approach her with a marriage proposal.

Her rejection came with this statement: “I couldn’t possibly marry someone I hardly know.”

It took two years for Francios to realize that her answer was not a flat no, so he wrote her directly and proposed again. Much to his surprise, she accepted.

They were soon married, and for the next 30 years, proved to be an awesome team as they ministered to the people who would now listen, because he had met their criteria for an acceptable preacher.

As I thought about this true story, I realized that in whatever society one wishes to work, there is always an expectation by that society about the worker’s character. In other words, if I was to speak to an engineering society, my credibility would be valid only if I was an engineer. I think you catch my drift.

It was no different with Potters Hands. When we started serving the city centre community, we did not realize that we would not be listened to unless we met the streets’ standards. Anything else would be a threat to their way of life.

It took more than two years for the people on the street to realize that we were here to stay, and that we accepted them without judgment. Certain events taught them that we could be trusted not to discard them, but to accept them just as they are.

It was no easy journey, because we had all these preconceptions that over the years we’ve had to discard or modify. Even now, we are only tolerated by some, because we bring food and other forms of help, but by and large, we are accepted as caring individuals that desire only to help where we can.

As a Christian community, we have a story to tell that offers a listening ear, a view of a changed life, help to make that change if desired, and above all, hope. We have learned that we can not force this on anyone; all we can do is offer it to them without strings attached, and let them decide if they want it. Our help is not limited to those that accept our offer but to everyone who walks through that door, Christian or not.

The statement that we would always have the poor with us, has been true for thousands of years, but that does not mean we should have no compassion.

Rather, we should meet people on their level and do everything we can to help them elevate their own acceptability in society so that they no longer have to feel inferior or afraid to be part of it.

The way I see it.

Chris Salomons is kitchen co-ordinator for Potters Hands Mission.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta has 1,910 active cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday. Red Deer is reporting five active cases, with 108 recovered. (File photo)
Red Deer reports 25th COVID-19 death

415 new cases identified provincially Saturday

More than 120,000 Albertans have signed up to get the COVID-19 vaccine in the first two days of appointment bookings. (Photo courtesy Alberta Health Services Twitter)
Alberta Health Services apologizes after seniors struggle to book vaccine appointments

The CEO and president of Alberta Health Services is apologizing after seniors… Continue reading

Red Deer’s Kyle Moore, 26, will be a houseguest on Season 9 of Big Brother Canada. (Photo courtesy Big Brother Canada)
Red Deer man will be a houseguest on Big Brother Canada

A Red Deer man will be a houseguest on the upcoming season… Continue reading

Red Deer Public Schools says that in the absence of additional funds from the provincial government, there was no consideration of using alternate classroom sites in the district. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Red Deer Public Schools launches online engagement process

Red Deer Public schools is seeking community input to help ensure a… Continue reading

Red Deer Rebels defenceman Mason Ward battles with a Medicine Hat Tigers’ forward during the WHL Central Division season opener. (Photo by Rob Wallator/ Red Deer Rebels)
Tigers come back to spoil Red Deer Rebels home opener

It’s been nearly 345 days since the Red Deer Rebels last played… Continue reading

An arrest by Red Deer RCMP is facing online scrutiny. No charges have been laid and the incident is still under investigation. (Screenshot of YouTube video)
Red Deer RCMP investigating violent arrest caught on video

Police say officer ‘acted within the scope of his duties’

Ottawa Senators goaltender Matt Murray (30) stands in his crease as Calgary Flames left wing Andrew Mangiapane (88), left to right, defenceman Rasmus Andersson (4), Matthew Tkachuk (19), Mikael Backlund (11) and Mark Giordano (5) celebrate a goal during second period NHL action in Ottawa on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Calgary Flames beat Ottawa 6-3 to end Senators’ three-game win streak

Flames 6 Senators 3 OTTAWA — The Calgary Flames used a balanced… Continue reading

Toronto Maple Leafs centre Auston Matthews (34) falls on his knees as he skates around Ottawa Senators defenceman Artem Zub (2) during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Thursday, February 18, 2021. The Maple Leafs will be without star centre Auston Matthews when they take on the Edmonton Oilers Saturday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Toronto star Auston Matthews won’t play as Leafs face Oilers

EDMONTON — The Maple Leafs will be without star centre Auston Matthews… Continue reading

Crosses are displayed in memory of the elderly who died from COVID-19 at the Camilla Care Community facility during the COVID-19 pandemic in Mississauga, Ont., on November 19, 2020. The number of people who would have died from a COVID-19 infection is likely to be much higher than recorded because of death certificates don't always list the virus as the cause of a fatality, experts say. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Death certificates don’t accurately reflect the toll of the pandemic, experts say

The number of people who would have died from a COVID-19 infection… Continue reading

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto, Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021. A single dose of Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine is barely enough to cover the average pinky nail but is made up of more than 280 components and requires at least three manufacturing plants to produce. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
From science to syringe: COVID-19 vaccines are miracles of science and supply chains

OTTAWA — A single dose of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine is barely enough… Continue reading

Wetaskiwin RCMP say a Maskwacis man died after he was struck by a vehicle. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Clare’s Law in Saskatchewan used handful of times; Mounties review their role

REGINA — A first-of-its-kind law in Canada meant to warn those at… Continue reading

The Magpie river in Quebec is shown in a handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Boreal River MANDATORY CREDIT
Quebec river granted legal rights as part of global ‘personhood’ movement

MONTREAL — With its kilometres of rapids and deep blue waters winding… Continue reading

Thorough sanding of a table top is usually the first step to renewing a finish. Wax contaminants can sometimes still remain on a surface like this after sanding. Cleaning with rubbing alcohol and a rag gets rid of these contaminants without leaving a residue behind. (Photo by Steve Maxwell)
Houseworks: Fixing wood finishes

Q: How can I stop polyurethane from beading up on a mahogany… Continue reading

Most Read