We have men on the 5th floor at the mission who are elderly and/or disabled with no family to go to and no way to earn a living. They are residents. In return they volunteer at the mission as our “Ambassadors”.
However, their living space looked more like a prison institution rather than a home. I made a phone call to a friend who has a knack and an interest in interior decorating. She got involved and enabled Deed and Truth to transform their living space. Where they once isolated in their rooms, they are now enjoying community with one another and building healthy relationships.
This is Sylvia’s story in her own words…
“Beauty will save the world” – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
In the midst of suffering and disease how can one perceive beauty? Beauty should
be a path to truth, and thus faith. Still as one gazes down Skid Row the physical eyes
see only displacement and lives trapped in darkness; an internal spiritual madness
that impairs the perception of true beauty. Yet, there are also eyes that have the
ability to see what could be, what should be, what was originally intended to be the
In 2016, the non-profit ministry of “Deed and Truth” was founded by Pastor Dan and
his wife Betty. They had the eyes to see that beauty. I came to see Pastor Dan after
he moved into his new position as one of the Chaplain’s at the Union Rescue Mission.
After touring the building my head was full of all kinds of ideas pertaining to
cleaning, organizing, painting, decorating. In actuality these thoughts seemed so
frivolous at the time while looking at so much need of various kinds. Backstory here
is that I am a woman from Orange County who was privileged to be a full time stay
at home mom for many years of my adult life…honing my skills at entertaining,
cooking, decorating, helping my friends decorate and remodel their homes. I am
sure this talent of mine is not needed here…Skid Row of all places?
As I listened to Pastor Dan share various ideas and visions he mentioned his concern
for community up on the floor where he oversees the residence who live at the
mission. These men had worked very hard persevering through the program in
place for any one willing to leave homelessness and get their lives straight and in
line with the purpose of what God intended for them from the beginning. Yet, living
under the same roof doesn’t mean that people are communicating effectively or
even integrating into each other’s world. These men have assigned living spaces and
a small area where they can commune. However, this space wasn’t inviting enough
to draw the men out of the comfort of their own rooms. The look and feel was a bit
institutional. Hence, Deed and Truth (Pastor Dan) called me with a vision to remodel
the area and create some Beauty.
It did not take long before Betty had Rudy the painter involved who has volunteered
at the mission for years to hop on board the project and off we went. The wing got
painted and every week some new decor. It was interesting to see the men slowly
emerge out of their rooms as they watched the progress and for myself the great
blessing of getting to know and spend time with them. The remodel of all things
brought with it a sense of excitement and curiosity and satisfaction. Along with the
final goal being that of creating a beautiful place for community and integration. A
cozy place to call home. Every week the wing became more beautiful, not only
physically but spiritually also. There was and is a sense of dignity that is felt when
you wonder up to that 5 th floor now. I was thrilled to be apart of this Beautification
While up on the 5 th floor looking down from the windows at the URM I see rows of
tents and people. Beautiful people created in the image of God, all wanting
community and attempting to create that space themselves without help, right in
front of a place where they could receive so much assistance and be part of a loving
healthy family. But like Dostoyevsky said, “Beauty will save the world.” That beauty
was found in the person of Jesus! The horrific atrocity of beautiful love hanging on a
cross? Are you willing to see Beauty while looking at the disfigured and mangled?
Awakening people to remind them they are created in the image of God. I never
would have imagined that the talent I had would find purpose on Skid Row. What is
A huge thank you to Sylvia for demonstrating love in her own language… Interior Decorating. Her response has made a huge impact on the quality of life for 60 graduates still living at the mission.
What passions, skill, or talent do you have that could be a way to demonstrate love to those our society has long forgotten but whom Jesus has close to his heart? Contact me and let’s explore the possibilities.
– Pastor Dan