It’s hard to believe I’ve already been living in skid row for three months. It’s been a whirlwind of activity and significant ministry opportunity. I had kidded with friends saying, “I feel like for the first 25 years of my ministry I had been a family practitioner and now I’m working in the E.R.”
I want to thank all of you who have prayed for us in this transition. It has been felt. Early on I had one week in particular that was so heavy emotionally. I wasn’t use to the level of constant suffering I was seeing day in and day out on every turn. Your prayers helped me through to see the level of transformation that was also taking place to balance the pain in my heart that I was feeling.
We also want to thank those who have given financially to help us get started and get some important ministries created. Here is a list of the outreach projects we have done in the first 100 days…
URM TRANSITIONAL ASSISTANCE This project comes along side those who have completed the programming and are transitioning out of the institution into the next phase of independent living. This is a critical time and a difficult time. We want to assist their transition through mentoring, coaching, training, and financial aid. The criteria to receive funds one must:
Be leaving the mission in good standing.
Be enrolled and active in the Alumni’s Band of Bros.
Be a active participant in a local church.
Have a mentoring relationship outside the mission.
Upon their transition out of the institution this fund will give each man who transitions successfully a grant to be distributed for the first four months in equal installments providing they continue to meet the criteria.
HOPE GARDENS TRANSITIONAL ASSISTANCE This helps single mothers with children who have been experiencing homelessness who have graduated from the transformation program. This fund will give every mother who transitions successfully a grant to be distributed for the first four months in equal installments providing they continue to meet the criteria.
CLASSROOM RENOVATION This project is to renovate one of the classrooms at the mission where those who have been experiencing homelessness learn from the chaplains and guest speakers as well as their 12-step programs. We want to make their environment more conducive to learning important biblical truths.
BIBLES FOR GRADUATES Deed & Truth has provided funds to give every 2016 graduate from the Union Rescue Mission and Hope Gardens an engraved Bible. Each program has three graduations per year.
SUPPORTIVE SERVICES EMPLOYMENT PROJECT This project would help launch Supportive Services. It enables us to recruit companies to agree to employ our clients to get hire our clients as temporary employees with an intent to hire permanently. Supportive Services sponsors the salary of these prospective employees during the trial period.
CHAPLAIN & CASE MANAGER RETREATS This project is to provide a beach house for three groups of chaplains and case managers to hold three much needed retreats. These retreats provide a get-away for these dedicated workers to find physical and emotional refreshment as well as spiritual renewal. We will also be ministering to them while they are at the retreat as we believe that our public ministry effectiveness is tied to an individual’s personal wholeness.
COMPASSION PROJECTS These are projects to help individuals with unique and specific needs. Here are a couple of examples so far:
THE MYRA PROJECT: Myra Hooper is a woman who was experiencing homelessness and came to Hope Gardens to find shelter and turn her life around last November. She soon found out she had stage four pancreatic and liver cancer. In counseling with her, Myra stated her wish was to create memories with her daughter in the days she has remaining. At the top of her wish list was a trip to Disneyland. We were able to supply this special time for Myra, Nevaeh, and the good friend who is going to become Nevaeh’s legal guardian.
TRANSPORTATION FOR MIKE: Mike is in the Christian Life Discipleship Program and has been diagnosed with colon cancer. He must travel four days a week for six weeks for extensive treatment. He was going to have to use public transportation because of the cost of using other, more sensible options. We are providing the funds to get him scheduled with Access for more suitable transportation for his 24 trips for treatment.
HOPE GARDENS BIRTHDAYS: U R Wonderfully Made Events (12) This project is to underscore the value of each individual’s Christ-image. We celebrate the birthdays monthly to highlight their dignity of being made in the Image of God. This is a monthly party involving small gifts, cake, and games for the children. The party is also a context for relationship building that is vital to gaining trust and the ability to help individuals move forward.
ALUMNI BAND OF BROTHERS SUPPORT This is a project to keep the graduates and alumni connected to each other and the mission to keep a positive relational support system in place upon leaving the program. We group alumni into Bands of Bros consisting of 4-6 men. We encourage them to stay in contact with each other and the mission via a point-man. We provide them with activities and tickets to create on-going contexts for their relationships to continue in healthy ways.
The past 100 days can be summed up nicely with these pictures:
PRAYER PARTNERS This project connects individuals in churches with individuals in the Mission and @ Hope Gardens. The connection point is prayer. We hope to build relationships with the program guests with people in churches who pray for one another and communicate via electronics or mail. These prayer friendships will provide spiritual support and needed friendship support. It will also develop a sense of value for those in program to be serving others by praying for others.
TEACH THE CHILDREN This project may have many looks but focuses on teaching the children about Jesus’ love for them and training the mothers to train their children in the ways of the Lord.
REPLICATION OF MODELS This is a long-term goal to replicate the models of ministry for Mission Staff Spiritual Care, Mentoring Ministry, and Alumni Partnerships. We hope to continue to develop models for each of these ministries and share them with other Missions locally and nationally.
INTERNATIONAL LEADERSHIP TRAINING This is another long-term goal to go to other countries and provide leadership training to Christian churches and organizations.
Thank you all for partnering in this ministry. Literally nothing on this list would have happened without you. We also enjoy reading your emails. Keep them coming.
Please accept my invitation to visit the mission on Skid Row. Feel free to bring your friends, family, or business associates. I will personally give you a tour so you can see for yourself the amazing things God is doing.
If you would like to help financially with any of these outreach ministries we would appreciate your financial support. You may donate by going to our website: deedandtruth.org or by clicking on the button below.
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!