Jesus Transforms a Life Through Street Church
Have you ever heard the name of Jesus while waiting for the C-train? I don’t mean a whisper, I mean have you ever heard “JESUS!” belted out over the treetops and echoing between the skyscrapers? If you have, it was probably Maurice Boyer – a guy who obeys Jesus to the full. Maurice told me, “I yell out his name down there. He wants me to say His name. I can’t stop.” When asked why he obeys Jesus, Maurice replies, “Because He’s the way. If I don’t have Jesus I don’t have a life. He encourages me. I know He loves me so much.”
This is a full-moon story, only in reverse. It is the story of someone who opened himself to the power of Christ and found himself changed. Transformed from what he described himself as, a killing-wolf, into a man.
Maurice was a fighter. He was tough. Raised in a large family of 17 children he learned to fight from his brothers. Growing up with a learning disability, Maurice was teased mercilessly. His increasing ability to fight came in handy, and flipping a quick switch to rage and physical violence served him well. Experiences with drugs and alcohol began in his early teens launching a successful career on the streets. Being a tough fighter was a career asset. The street was his life and it turned him from a man into a killer wolf.
It was the wolf that approached the Street Church on April 7th, 2006. Drunk and high on crack, Maurice was a ball of fury. He heard David Pawlowski preaching and approached him to ask a question. “I wanted to kill him and beat him so bad while he was preaching Jesus. Every word out of his mouth enraged me,” Maurice remembers. “But I didn’t have a knife.” Two women working with the Street Church pulled Maurice aside and talked with him, calming him down.
Two days later, Maurice saw the same women on the street again with three other men. “They were preaching God to me,” Maurice recalls. “Jesus loves you, they said, and prayed for me. I started listening. I could never have gone into a church. If they didn’t come out and find me, I’d have gone to hell.” Maurice continued to listen to God – more and more each day. On April 20th Maurice witnessed a stabbing. He cried out in prayer “What do you want me to do?” and got an answer. “This guy’s hurt. Call EMS!” In his first act of direct obedience to God, Maurice called.
“I was ready for Jesus. I gave myself to the Lord right then and there. I was baptized in the Bow River. They kept me under a bit longer than the others because they knew I was going to be such a warrior for Jesus.” Maurice now ministers four days a week with the street church. He describes their ministry: “We go to six different locations: the Drop In Centre, The Mustard seed, Salvation Army, Olympic Plaza, City Hall on Wednesday mornings, and the Stephen Avenue Mall where we preach to the rich. We show people there is hope and share testimonies. After they accept Jesus we baptize them. Then we tell them to keep on coming back. We pray for people on the spot and try to find places for them. One day we’d like to have a building for people to give them meals and a place to stay – in God’s timing – the best timing.”
“He’s given me so much love for these people. Not AA, not AADAC, nothing will save you except Jesus. I lay my life down to him 100%.” What does Maurice do when the urge to rage and violence bubbles up inside of him? He says, “I pray and worship and He calms me. I call a brother. I’m growing. I want to turn all those angry wolves into sheep. Show them they have a chance in this world.”
Maurice is passionate about the needs of the Street Church Ministry. He encourages CSC attendees, “When you get filled up in church, don’t stay in there. Come out! It’s open out here on the street. Jesus is out there and people can come on their terms. I was going to hell and they are going to hell, these people out in the world. In statistics, 173 000 people die every year on crack because they don’t know Jesus. They need the people of God to show he’s real.”