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Todd Kenneth

2003-2005 Community member

October 20, 2021

It was Jacob’s Well that started me on my journey to recovery and out of the downtown eastside (dtes).

“Is anyone thirsty? Come and drink—  even if you have no money! Come, take your choice of wine or milk— it’s all free! Why spend your money on food that does not give you strength? Why pay for food that does you no good? Listen to me, and you will eat what is good. You will enjoy the finest food. (Isaiah 55: 1-2 )


Wow! 20 years!

Congratulations Jacob's Well. You have much to celebrate past and present. I was excited when asked to contribute something of my experiences at Jacob’s Well.


As I reflected back on my experiences at Jacob’s Well 18yrs ago (2003), I was quickly struck with a deep sense of gratitude and wonder for life and for my life today. It was Jacob’s Well that started me on my journey to recovery and out of the downtown eastside (dtes). 


While living at the Jubilee rooms in one of their 10x10 single rooms known as SRO (single room occupancy) which was the rooming house above Jacob’s Well,  I was drawn into Jacob’s Well by Tuesday night community dinner and a physical hunger. I discovered a deeper hunger along the way. Simple acts like preparing meals with Roberto and staying after to do dishes with Jessica Richmond where we just shared tasks and conversation and it was us just "doing life" together mattered. These people and many others didn't try to fix me or change me, they simply met me where I was at and were always there to welcome and listen and pray. Joyce and Dawn helped me with housing issues and eventually encouraged me to get out of the dtes to pursue recovery. 


With the help of Jacob’s Well, and the deep richness of community life I experienced there, I was able to begin turning my life around. My life looks so different now. Back then I was living in an SRO and living day to day for the next "high";  in and out of hospitals, detoxes, treatment centers and recovery houses. When I look at where my life today is, it is without a doubt the hand of God that has got me here! (Todd as sous-chef at Rivendell)


Today I work part-time as a custodian at my local church Grandview Calvary Baptist church and live at Co:Here, a community focused housing complex across the street. I have been sober for 5 plus years and my day to day life has changed drastically. Now my days consist of things like helping care for an elderly neighbour, planning and preparing meals for the community and meeting weekly with other men in the building to pray and fellowship. I also have become part of the Rivendell Community on Bowen Island which hosts and provides space for retreats and I enjoy helping cook for retreats and serving the community there. 


Sometimes, I need to pinch myself to make sure it's real. How on Earth did I get here?  There was lots of help along the way but it was at Jacob’s Well that began to lay the foundation all those years ago,  and I still maintain some of the very same relationships today from back then with Joyce and Dawn and others. 


Jacob’s Well has had a profound impact on my life and how I live out my personal walk with Jesus: simple acts; meeting others where they are; preparing and having meals together; caring for my neighbours and just "doing life" together. These are ways that Jacob’s Well has helped shape the values I live by today. So congratulations Jacob's Well. You have much to celebrate. 


I also have to finish by saying thank you to Paulina Fell, the elderly founder of Jacob’s Well. She spent years meeting us on the streets and in the hotel rooms in the dtes. She made a difference in my life!

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