Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Help for the homeless in Madison

I've taken a step of faith and am opening our new office/prayer center/day center for the homeless. I recognize that I cannot do this alone. I need help. I'm fighting discouragement and at the same time I am excited about what God is going to do in Madison in this next year. Please pray that the Lord will supply all the help that is needed.

Roger will be volunteering mornings from 8 or 9am til noon 5 days a week, keeping the office open for people to come pick up their mail (in Madison you can't have a post office box if you don't have a street address), have coffee, read the want ads, pick up needed items like clothing, shoes, toiletries, back packs, etc. We also offer a place where they are welcomed to come and sit, think, read, converse and where they may receive prayer for their needs. A friendly face and a willing ear are often hard for the homeless to find. We also like to keep snacks and cans of soup on hand. We have a microwave where they can heat the soup.

We're still waiting on God's provision for phone and internet at our new office location. Please pray that the Lord will provide this service either as a donation from the provider or in the form of monthly pledges committed to making these services available to the homeless and poor who are job hunting and needing to connect with their families and rebuild their lives. We offer a sense of home and belonging. We do not give out financial assistance, but we give Jesus love, respect, friendship and the tools to help the poor, lonely, sick and homeless go forward, grow and change in the face of their difficulties. We bring hope to the hopeless and light to those in darkness.

Our current expenses for local ministry are about $600 a month for rent and utilities and including $150/month for my college loan for the education that helped prepare me for ministry. Internet and phone would add about $90/mo. This does not include the gas I spend in ministry, the donations my husband and I make to cover my expenses and food donations we make. Our income over the summer averaged about $390/month. The savings we had going into the summer is depleated. I praise and thank God that we are not in the red. Please pray with me for increased income. We cannot continue like this. Also, the phone and internet and postage are integral in enabling us to help others. We are not able to offer these now. Some days I feel like giving up on offering a place of warmth, love and shelter and prayer, mainly because I don't want to spend my time fund raising. I want to be working with people and spending time in prayer and worship that will bring lasting change. I know from experience that it is hard for me to do these things out of my home -- it disrupts family too much. So, here I am, plodding along and hoping that we will be enabled to continue.

Things we could use:
If your heart is moved we can always use new or clean unstained underwear for men and women, toiletries of a size that can be carried around all day in a backpack, snacks (home made is wonderful), fruit, microwave popcorn, sandwiches, peanut butter and jelly, razors, feminine supplies, back packs (clean and in good shape), envelopes, stamps, resume paper, 9x12 manilla envelopes, file folders, 24lb bond inkjet paper and money for photocopying. (I'm praying for a photocopy machine in good repair.) Good quality coffee, and specialty creamers also help create an environment of care. All of these things are needed as we go through the process of helping them in applying for jobs or medical disability and advocating for those who don't have the needed social skills or understanding of the forms and processes.

We are also looking for a few warm hearted volunteers to host or hostess. All you need is a willing ear, a heart to pray, and a desire to give of whatever the Lord has invested in you. It's easier than you think. And it challenges us daily to grow in our faith as we connect heart to heart with the Lord in His compassion for them. Come and meet Jesus in the faces of the homeless and lonely. Let your heart be broken with the things that break our Heavenly Father's heart. I dare you to do something that will make a difference!

Love in Jesus,
Sherry

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