Hope is a Small Word With Huge Meaning

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Paul and Marlene Vanderlaan, who recently visited the Village of Hope, are no strangers to the long lasting affects of drugs and alcohol on both the individual, families, and a community.  Paul is a Constable with the RCMP in Nova Scotia and Marlene works in a detox facility, daily they see the devastation caused by drugs and alcohol.  Marlene sees clients at detox experiencing sadness, brokenness, and often hopelessness.  As much as she can she pours life into her clients but knows full well many may detox but will return again…it is a vicious cycle.  Paul too see individuals time after time who have had their lives destroyed by the decisions they have made.  “I have arrested them and brought them forward in the court system.  Time, and time again, I see these individuals go through the system, do their time and come back through the system.  I have been frustrated and struggled in questioning what good are we doing in the community.  Worldly speaking, yes, we are working to keep our communities safe, but as a Christian and a Police Officer I question how to show people that come across my path the hope that I have found in Jesus.”  Paul shared a key principle his father lived by, that behind every face is a story, he had a heart of compassion for the lost and he himself was involved in prison ministry.  Paul and Marlene both try to live their lives by the same key principle but at times they are both weighted down by the brokenness they see day after day.  Their visit to the Village gave them a renewed sense of hope in going forward in their respective jobs.  “I was so encouraged this past weekend, seeing these men have hope in Jesus.  It was heart breaking to hear some of their stories that were shared and yet I was encouraged to hear the men truly grasping total forgiveness and hope found in Jesus.  We experienced the Holy Spirit at work through tears of joy, through testimonies, and through the freedom of forgiveness.  We witnessed families coming together, forgiving each other, and pressing forward with Jesus’ leading.  Thank you to the Village of Hope, both staff and clients, for reminding Marlene and I of the hope found in Jesus.  It is easy to get discouraged seeing brokenness in our world day after day in our jobs.  We both feel renewed to carry on with what we have been called for at this time in our lives, and for that we are thankful to Jesus and also to you all at the Village of Hope.”