A “Treasure” We Were Privileged to Know: Roy Simeon, August 4, 1956 – Nov 30, 2019
Written by Pastor Bob Swan from First Baptist Vancouver
Sixty-three years ago, Roy was born into the Haida First Nation on British Columbia’s North Coast. His childhood and adolescent years were troubled and difficult. He struggled to teach himself the skills that are needed to hold down a job. But whenever he had a chance to work, that is what he did. He experienced a large variety of work places.
Near the age of twenty, Roy got a job at a car-crushing metal recycling plant. One of his jobs was to remove the documents from the glove compartments of cars before the crusher hit. But on one fateful day, a new young operator dropped the crusher before the light turned “green” and before Roy had removed the documents. This man’s error cost Roy his right arm.
He was still in the hospital recovering when he heard that the young man who made the “error” was out drinking heavily trying to erase the memory of the accident. Roy then asked that the young man be brought to his bedside.
His request was granted and Roy “seized the moment.” He consoled the young man and told him that is was indeed an accident and that he was forgiven. Roy told him that he needed to forgive himself and give himself a chance to live well. He blessed the young man in the midst of his own suffering.
Some years after the accident Roy made his way to Vancouver and met his wife to be, April. She recalled seeing Roy’s right-arm prothesis and his right-hand hook for the first time. She said, “I loved him and it was irrelevant to me whether he had one arm or two.”
They married and shared life together with all its struggles and challenges. The “brokenness” they shared was crippling and they ended up on the street; homeless and addicted. April recalled the tough times of living under a bridge near Powell Street and Heatly Avenue in Vancouver. Those were very difficult years but by God’s grace they made it into a recovery program in a home called, “OUR HOUSE.” It was at this home that Roy heard about our First Baptist Shelter and he soon showed up to volunteer.
That was more than 10 years ago and it turned out to be an enormous help for Roy and April and a gigantic blessing for First Baptist Vancouver, myself and many others. Roy gave thanks to God for his “new life” and poured out God’s grace to many in our shelter, to us as staff, and to the homeless in the alleys near our church. Whenever Roy was present and an argument or fight was about to erupt, Roy’s God-given voice conveyed authority, wisdom and grace. Roy was the best peacemaker we ever had. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” Matthew 5:9
Roy also proved the words of Isaiah 58 to be true:
6 “Is this not the fast which I choose, [says the Lord],…7 Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into the house; when you see the naked, to cover him; and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?
8 Then your light will break out like the dawn, and your recovery will speedily spring forth; and your righteousness will go before you;…9 Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’… 10 And if you give yourself to the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then your light will rise in darkness and your gloom will become like midday…; and you will be called the repairer of the breach,
the restorer of the streets in which to dwell.”
Not only did Roy volunteer at a number of churches but he was determined to learn a new skill, and he did. He became a Computer Tech after graduating from CDI College in Computer Technology.
Roy also attended First Baptist on Sunday mornings and helped with security for 8 years. His smile, while greeting people on their way into our fellowship hall after the service was over, is emblazoned on the minds of hundreds of people who came in for coffee.
Whenever Roy was engaged in a conversation with someone, he gave them his full attention and greeted them with his incredible smile. He would slightly squint his eyes and look right through you and you knew he was reading you. He was very perceptive.
Roy had an incredible sense of humour and God used that to help us in many tough times; even on the day of his passing.
I thank God that twenty-one years ago, First Baptist Vancouver gave permission for us to start the Shelter Program, because without it, I may never have gotten to know Roy Simeon. He was one of God’s great gifts to us.
We thank God for Roy and we miss him deeply. He is now with Jesus, his Saviour; his suffering from accidents and cancer has ended and he is at peace.
His friend and pastor,
Matthew 5:16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
Revelation 5:9 And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood people from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.
Mark your Calendar!
July 2-5, 2020: BCY Assembly/BC Convention and Pastors and Spouses Retreat in Nelson, BC
July 2-3: Guest Speaker- April Yamasaki. April is an ordained minister with 25 years of pastoral ministry experience. She is currently the Resident Author at Valley Crossway Church and the Editor of the monthly magazine; Purpose: everyday inspiration. She also writes numerous articles online and in print on Christian living and spiritual growth and is the author of many books.
July 3-5: Assembly
On-line Assembly: May 21, 2020
Banff Pastors Retreat: Nov 2-5, 2020
Keats Camps registration is now open! Go to https://keatscamps.com for more info!
This regional newsletter is published quarterly within the CBWC’s monthly newsletter, Making Connections. Have a story idea? Want to tell us how great we’re doing? Or how terribly? Email our senior writer, Jenna Hanger: firstname.lastname@example.org