By: Thairu Taban, Summer Intern at Flemingdon Park
Flemingdon Park aka "Flemo" (or "The Giddy") is my home. I've been living in the neighbourhood for nearly 14 years. I spent some of my infant years on St. Dennis Drive before I moved to the Danforth area in Toronto. I moved back to Flemo at the start of grade four (Fall 2004) and I've been living here ever since. When I was younger, the neighbourhood was much more rough than it is now. I heard shootings, witnessed people getting robbed, etc. Now it's quieter and becoming a safer place to live, but the poverty still lingers.
I never pictured myself being a summer intern for Toronto City Mission (TCM). I didn't even know TCM existed until Felicia told me about the position back in March. Running, planning, and organizing a summer camp was a role I was initially hesitant (and scared) to do, because leadership was never my strength. However, I felt God speaking to my heart, telling me to give it a chance. From the start of training, the workshops were intense. There were so many things I had to learn prior to camp starting, that I felt overwhelmed. But what calmed my spirit, was the prayer support and encouragement I received from family, friends, and other people I have crossed paths with from school and church; and most importantly, just trusting God with the spiritual gifts he gave me.
At camp, I was surprised at how fast the kids embraced me. They really admired my height (sometimes a little too much) as they would ask for piggyback rides and “über rides” whether in the pool, or during the day. What brings me joy though is seeing them happy and learning what we teach them from the Bible. Hearing from one of the kids themselves saying that "I look up to you because you're the best" warmed my heart. I never thought I would have that big of an impact.
I am so glad I made the decision to serve with Toronto City Mission this summer. I built friendships, positive relationships, and memories that I'll hold dear for a long time. I'm thankful that I get to be a blessing towards the kids and show them God’s love. This opportunity gave me a chance to impact my community in a positive way by building leadership and ministry. And since I live in the neighbourhood, I can always follow up with most of the kids I met at Sonshine Day Camp through the after school programs. At this stage in their lives, I feel that they need consistency. Someone who will be there for them and help guide them as they grow.
My goals are to plant seeds in the lives of the children in my community, and to continue building my confidence in sharing the gospel to others who have not heard of Jesus.
"So my dear brothers and sisters, stand strong. Do not let anything move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your work in the Lord is never wasted." 1 Corinthians 15:58
Thairu is serving with TCM in Flemingdon Park for a first time. He loves that he got to learn unique ways to share the gospel, and build lasting relationships with the children and coworkers alike.