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Category: Testimonies
Topic: Need Homeless Ministry Advice



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Comment Author Comment Text
CJS

Member Since:
2005-07-07

I need some advice and spiritual support and encouragement and especially your prayers for direction. I have not read the book yet, I have ordered it and am eagerly awaiting its arrival.

Ever since last October, when I went to downtown Denver on our church's women's retreat, my life has changed completely. A group of us went to feed, talk to, and pray with the homeless. It was something I was terrified to do, I did NOT want to do it, but because I am a recovering alcoholic, 15 years sober by the grace of God, I knew I would have a connection. I knew God wanted me to help others as he has helped me. So, I was obedient, and it was the most amazing 3 hours of my life.
I was able to connect deeply with 6 homeless people, they were amazed that I wanted to shake their hands, know their name, sit next to them on the ground, and just hear their stories. They all wanted me to pray with them, and their tears and broken voices as they thanked me for reminding them of God's unconditional love will stay with me forever as I continue to daily pray for them, DJ, Jessica, Danny, Mike, Ray, and the woman who wouldn't give me her name. Then, on the way back to my hotel, God used me to heal a young woman, about 16 years old, who became pinned at the knee by a car and couldn't move. God used me to heal her knee, in a very public way, in front of dozens of people. When the paramedics came, and lifted up her jeans, her knee was perfect, no scratches, bruises, swelling, nothing. Just a very grateful girl who thanked me for praying over her, and she told me now she understands the power of prayer. Praise God! Now, ever since God has been sending me detailed instructions on starting a homeless ministry, these details are too organized and good to come from me, they are from God. I brought these details to my church, hoping they could just give an announcement to the congregation and place to meet before we go minister to the homeless. I was willing to organize and do all the hard work. They don't want any part of it, because they said ministries like this have started and fizzled out before, and they don't want any part of something that will fizzle out. That really frusterated me, because God has already had me start a seperate ministry 1 1/2 years before, that is blossoming and expanding, and miracles happen continously in our church because of it. It is even listed on our church's website, and now hundred's of people are blessed because of it. I know in my soul, that if God places a ministry on someone's heart, and then gives you the tools, talent, and most importantly sends you people who are pure of heart who volunteer to help you, and your main reason for doing all of it, is for God's glory, then I know, without a doubt, that ministry is from God, and He will not let it fail. Well, I have approximately 10 people who are as passionate as me to get this ministry started, and we will go ahead. Any words of advice/encouragement?

Posted: 2005-07-07 13:38:00
revtrenga

Member Since:
2005-07-06

Dear Cathy,
God Bless you for your faithfulness, and do not get discouraged.
It always amazes me how those who call themselfs followers of Christ, do the very work of Satan.
Please remember that Christ Himself said "away from me for I do not know you", and remember who he was speaking to "people who think that they are His followers". As they called Him Lord, and said "when did't we feed, or cloth you", and what did He say? "When you didn't do it to the lest of these", then He casts them away.
By golly, you keep on feeding, clothing "ministering" to the homeless, as they are without a doubt the lest of these.
I get the same reaction from people. What it is, they don't want to have to deal with them.
My dear, you are doing God's Work, and even for just one "just one" it is worth it.
Whenever I go down to the mission in our area, I make sure that I shake their hands and hug them all "no matter how bad they may smell", because a simple human touch means so much to these people, "nobody wants to go near them most of the time" and so they miss out on the most basic human need, and thats just a kind and gentle touch.
Remember Jesus touched the lepers.
I know at times that it seems like a thankless ministry, but not so. Your reward is not here, it is in the eternal.
God Bless
Pastor Mike Trenga

Posted: 2005-07-07 21:46:00
ev631

Member Since:
2005-07-04

Cathy...

I wish I could just reach my arms through the screen and hug you! I can understand to a certain point, what youre going through. At the church I'm in (which ministers to the homeless and street people of Colorado Springs) we raise them up to be ministers.

I can imagine how scared you were going in, thinking about your past. But Jesus USED that! You can look at those women and men and tell them that you understand where theyre at (to a certain point) and it means something to them. I think that is so powerful and Jesus uses that in an incredible way!

It sounds like the Lord has given you some awesome plans. My one encouragement/piece of advice is what Paul said (I think in 1 Corinthinans) and it was "I was determined to know nothing among you but Jesus and Him crucified."

Lift Jesus up... preach His love, His grace, His cross to the street and the Father will bless your ministry in ways you won't even begin to fathom. I don't mean it will be all temperal blessings. Jesus will make Himself real in away you never thought possible.

He says in John "If you love me you will keep my commandments and if you keep my commandmets I will love you and My Father will love you, and We will make Our abode with you." The Spirit will continue to lead and direct as you minister Jesus to the street.

Youre in my prayers... God bless you!

Carrie

Posted: 2005-07-10 21:57:00
rmartin

Member Since:
2005-07-24

Hi Cathy:
I found your entry inspiring. I too am a recovering alcoholic.....8+years sober....As the years pass, I find the frustration of reaching those in difficut situations a continuing problem.. Now comes Mike's book and new encouragement. I know that if we ( those that understand) do not offer hope to the hopeless we will be condemed.
The idea of some kind of half-way house seems to me to be a idea who's time has come....I wonder if there is anyone involved in some kind of successful addendum to the Rescue Mission mentality. So many addicted people leave these wonderful programs only to return to the location of all their problems. Sick families, sick neighborhoods,,,,sick condeming churches.......no wonder the recidivism is so total.....
I learned an interesting fact at an A.A. conference though,, if someone from the program is at the prision door to take an inmate to a meeting as he leaves incarceration,,,,,and stays with him untill he is assimilated,,,,the chances for relapse go from 80% to 20 %.
Isn't it time for the church to take a place in becoming Good Samaritians and doing what you have in mind?


Posted: 2005-07-24 20:05:00
Dmansur

Member Since:
2005-07-25

Cathy,

There are men pleasers and God pleasers and you sound like youre following God.

Don't be discouraged and press on. I've seen some of the same in different areas and I have to say - just do it. God will provide the support even if it starts out slowly (His way of teaching responsability or just teaching to grow -- ?? ).

May God bless your efforts,
--David

Posted: 2005-07-25 15:19:00
CJS

Member Since:
2005-07-07

I just wanted to say a BIG THANK YOU to all of you that responded and prayed over this post I wrote last year. And now God has expanded and grown this homeless ministry into a reality, see my post below, God is Faithful. Without support from yours and others prayers and encouraging words I would have given in to the fear and warfare, and believed the lie from the enemy, "you are only one person, what can you do?". Well, over this past year I have learned that when you are doing what God wants you to do, one person with faith and obedience in Christ, then one person can do alot.

And I urge any of you who feel the desire or pull on their heartstrings on this site or anywhere, to encourage someone who is hurting, wondering, or questioning, if you have an overwhelming desire to share a scripture with them, to pray, or just give an encouraging word, or to share your testimony on how God helped you in a similiar situation, just do it. Your encouragement meant a lot to me, so thank you!

CJS


Posted: 2006-12-16 02:46:00
emilyrice

Member Since:
2007-08-13

I got very excited to see this forum - I am in the middle of reading Mike's book - but it seems like the most recent posts on here are from 2005 - is anyone still reading?



Anyways, a few of my friends and I go up the street to a homeless shelter every Tuesday to knit and play games and now some of them are coming to church and it has been really awesome. Very different from the life on the streets decribed in this book, mostly because this people have some sense of home and most have never lived without a roof over their heads, but the hoem is filled with broken people all the same.



I also work in NYC and though my office has moved and I do not encounter them as much anymore, I have seen so many people living on the streets in New York and always wonder what is the best thing I can do for them as a young girl just walking by on the way to and from work...trying to come up with something - maybe knitting and handing out the scarves and blankets and things in the winter or carrying an extra lunch every day to work to give to someone along the way - but I was hoping here I could find someone to make more suggestions or tell me from experience what might be most helpful and how to share Jesus at the same time without being annoying. Russ and James in "Under the Overpass" helped by showing that you just have to be loving and do it in Jesus name. I haev trouble talking to strangers as it is though and always wish I had just one person going with me to work to help me have more confidence. Anyway, if anyone is listening, any ideas? I will have to read the other posts on here to see if anyone else had a similiar question in the past. And, Mike and Sam, if you still check this site, I was so amazed by what you guys did - it is one of those really radical things some of my best friends talk about doing but haven't wuite stepped out to do. Makes me love Jesus even more and reminds me how important it is to show love in His name - if we don't, maybe nobody will and I want so bad to be one of those people whom Jesus says He knows because I fed him when He was hungry. Thanks for the inspiration.

Posted: 2007-08-13 22:39:33
emilyrice

Member Since:
2007-08-13

I finished the book yesterday and today I read more of these posts and realize there are alot of recent ones - so people are still reading! I am also excited to have read the suggestions in the book of buying fast food coupons or just showing homeless people you care instead of passing them by - even still, I was too scared to say hi to two I saw resting in the subway this morning - more because I am shy when it comes to talking to strangers I think. But I hope to overcome that.



Anyways, this book was really good and I am glad I read it and will have something to share with my brothers and sisters who visit the homeless shelter near our home every Tuesday.

Posted: 2007-08-14 14:16:55
srozzell

Member Since:
2008-09-02

Hey Emily! It's been over a year since you wrote your first post but I am hoping you'll be back. I too face a similar situation as you. I go to school in Camden and feel burdened for the people I see on the streets there. People come up and ask me for money but I know it is unwise to give them some. Let me know what you have been doing and how it's working please!

Posted: 2008-09-02 20:04:03
davesib

Member Since:
2009-08-08

I heard an interview with Mike and Dr. James Dobson on Focus on the Family on Thursday and Friday of this week. (I'm pretty sure it was a replay) on CDR Radio a ministry of Cedarville University in Cedarville, Ohio. I obviously haven't read it yet but have it on order.



I was moved by the interview. I related to something that Dr. Dobson said on Friday. Paraphasing he said There were times he had been approached by panhandlers and he would have liked to help but knew the money would have been spent on drugs or something other than necessities and Mike said it was unwise to give them money. I have had similar experiences yet I would like to help. I have an idea and plan to begin its implementation soon. I have since read that Mike suggest giving fast food coupons which is a great idea but even those often require additional purchases. My idea is to form a non-profit organization that will make available VISA debit cards for use at retail or fast food restaurants. These could then be given to panhandlers without giving cash with the stipulation on the card it is not to be used for alcohol or tobacco. These cards could be for denominations of $2, $3, $5 or $10. I would like to encourage people to carry one or two of them at all times. I would like to encourage small churches that don't have the resources to operate a food panty to keep some for those who may stop by needing help but are reluctant to give cash to individuals. I will try to post progress of Christians Fighting Hunger in America as it happens. Please pray for this endeavor. Thanks Mike and Dr. Dobson for the seed thought.

Posted: 2009-08-08 04:54:06
davesib

Member Since:
2009-08-08

My idea was not workable because the VISA cards were too expensive. I will however continue to look for workable ideas. Thanks again Mike.

Posted: 2009-09-09 07:02:31
NicoleTerranova

Member Since:
2010-01-09

Thank you for letting the Lord use you as He is right now. You give hope to the hopeless and encouragement to believers. May God eternally bless you and your ministry! And don't let anyone get you down; God's will is above any doubt people suggest, and His will be done. All glory and honor to Him!

Posted: 2010-01-09 21:43:56
 




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