Not a Second Rate Faith
In a fast paced world that seeks to do one million things in a 24 hour time period it is refreshing to run into someone like Chuck (a recent graduate of the NLDP whose name has been changed for the sake of privacy). We first met Chuck when he came to the City Mission in the fall of 2009. He entered into our New Life Directions Program. Shortly after entering the program we learned that Chuck had an outstanding warrant for his arrest. Chuck took the first step toward life change when he walked to the police station to turn himself in. Turning himself in began what could have been up to a four year prison sentence. Would you or I have the kind of courage and faith to throw ourselves on the mercy of God like Chuck did?
By the grace of God Chuck was released from prison about one year later. He came to the NLDP in the winter of 2010 with a lot of desire to have an authentic relationship with Christ. He recognized that much of his faith up to that time had been motivated by desires to impress others. Those desires ultimately lead to his prison sentence and the divisions in his marriage. But, while in the program he was equipped with the tools to begin to face the hard truths of his life situation. One of the tools that Chuck was able to draw on was Bible Memorization. In the program he would memorize large chunks of scripture, at one point memorizing the first chapter of Philippians. Recently, he told me that he was offered the opportunity to drink and use but he was able to draw upon the truth of Godís word to resist. Please pray for this man to continue to grow in his faith specifically, as he waits on God to restore his family.
by Dewey Harris
Sarah and Sammie
Statistics don't mean a thing unless you can imagine faces to go with them because 1 in 6 Americans living in poverty don't have a face and a name. They just remain a statistic. Sarah and Sammie were a statistic. They were living in poverty, just barely hanging on, until a crisis hit and their lives began to unravel. Sarah began to think, "What am I going to do?" She remembered the City Mission and all the times she and her daughter had come to dinner as well as their previous stay with us. This time is different however. She and Sammie are now going to be on their own. Sarah told me,
"I knew the resources that would be available to me. I knew that once I got a job, my stay would be extended. It was a start. I would have time to save money and time to work on a housing voucher."
Sarah accomplished all of these things. Every day I saw her confidence grow. She would say to me, "I am strong and going to make it on my own." Every day she believed it more and more. Today Sarah is supporting herself and Sammie. For the first time she is solely dependent on herself. A wonderful employer has become a mentor and a great resource to one who truly found herself alone. Sarah is building a new foundation, one that did not take place in her own childhood. It will take time. She will need the influence of good mentors who care about her and Sammie's well-being.
This is not just about feeding and housing people. The Mission is building foundations and relationships to sustain upward growth and change statistics into the faces and the names of those in whom hope has been restored. We are the resources that will make a difference for 1 in 6 who may reach out for help. If you are an employer, teacher, volunteer, or neighbor, step out onto the water. The change will come!
by Karen Crawford
Her Dream Kept Her Hope Alive
Mary came to City Mission, homeless with her 9 year old son, Billy She told me that she had been offered a good job, but the job was from 5AM to 5PM, so Billy's care was going to be an issue for her. The job would create several problems. Mary would need to leave for work very early in the morning and Billy could not be left alone in their room at the Mission. With no car, where do you take your child at 4 AM? Also, she would not be able to meet him at the bus stop after school and there would be no place for him to wait until she could get off work to resume his care.
From every angle she tried to approach this job, there was a road block. This is not an uncommon story for women who have young children to care for. The road blocks can be large, the solutions less than perfect, and the frustrations spill over into every part of your life. Mary wanted that job and the hope of a better life, but it was not to be. She longed to cook and take care of her son in her own home. This dream kept her hope alive and she soon found thejob that would allow her to do just that.
Mary and Billy moved out of the Mission just two months to the day after they had come to us in need of a hand up. Challenges turn into success with hope and faith and a sprinkling of help from those who care to lend a hand.
by Karen Crawford