By: Chiara Tari Arnold - Outreach Worker in Flemingdon Park
"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do" - Ephesians 2:8-10
Praise God for his Grace! When I first became a Christian God revealed Himself to me and allowed me to have a second chance at life. I was made new and was able to see my life and the world through a whole new lens. I have always had a heart for people, social justice, and children; yet I struggled in the direction my life was headed. After coming to Christ and growing in my relationship with God I was able to see how my passions and gifts aligned with God's heart.
God too wants us to be passionate about serving one another, advocating for the poor, and sharing unconditional love for the least of these. After becoming a Christian, I finished my degree at Ryerson in Arts and Contemporary studies, majoring in Global Studies and minoring in Politics. At this time I had been volunteering in schools in Regent Park and Parkdale, falling in love with both communities. I then went on to do a teaching degree at York University in the Regent Park Site. I was able to do a placement in St. James Town and volunteer at Yonge Street Mission in their children's program.
This experience solidified the fact that God was calling me to work with children and youth, yet I did not know if I was being called to be a teacher. After graduating I began to work with a service agency that works with children in inner city areas in Toronto. Although I love the work and the kids, I felt like something was missing; Jesus was missing. In addition, my desire to share the love of Christ with the kids was limited and restricted due to the work environment.
In recent weeks I have been actively praying about God's calling in my life. I know that it is only by His grace that I have been blessed with such an amazing new start at life. After my first day getting to meet the kids in Flemingdon Park I know that the work being done there is good work. I am so excited for this opportunity to minister to this community and to do the good works that God has prepared me for. Going into this Christmas season I pray that all the children at Flemingdon Park may know the love of Christ and that He truly is the reason for the season. I pray that God blesses the work already being done, and that He blesses me in the work I will be doing in the New Year. I give God praise for allowing me this privilege to minister in this unique and fitting way and I look forward to seeing what He has planned in 2016!!