Thursday, September 8, 2011

"I met God at the Mission..."

At our recent staff breakfast, one of our staff men was telling that he had recently "run into" a former guest of the men's shelter. This guest had been a drug addict for many years, but when the staff member saw him, he hardly recognized him. He wouldn't have stopped but "John" (former guest) stopped him.

"I'm trying to keep away from the old lifestyle and the old friends," John told him. "I met God at the Mission," he continued. Though he was suffering from health issues as a result of his former choices, John was so grateful for the change in his life because of the Mission and the Message that he heard there.

Our guests, especially at the men's shelter, are "transient," meaning a person who stays only a brief time. They come and go, and while we are grateful for even limited opportunities to present to them the gospel, often times they don't return to tell us of the impact on their life (similar to Luke 17:11-19).

What a blessing when two ways meet again, and we can hear from men, like John, who were trapped in a lifestyle of sin and slavery and are now free. Because of you and your faithfulness to the Mission. Thank you for helping us help others. Thank you for being a rescuer!

Friday, September 2, 2011

"The victims of sin..."

I should be working on the video for the upcoming centennial... Instead I keep thinking of the words of Leon Kellogg. The video will actually be a recreation of a presentation done by Leon sometime in 1980. It really is fascinating to hear (although we don't know the exact "slides" that went along with his presentation) and discern what is the same and what is different in the ministry of rescue.

Without giving too much away, I can say that they were "lodging" about 24 men a night (no women and children's shelter then) and serving 55 meals a day. Compare that to the average from last month, July 2011, of sheltering 56 men and 84 women and children a night (for 140 people a day) and serving 334 meals a day.

What does remain the same is our goal of sharing the truth of Christ to those in need. One phrase that sticks in my memory is when Leon referred to the then-guests of the Mission, as "victims of sin." We recognize that today, especially with our current economy, circumstances play an increasing role in homelessness. However, there are still those whose choices bring them to a state where they have nowhere else to turn but the Mission. At the time Leon gave his presentation, over thirty years ago, the stereotype of homelessness was stronger than today, and the attitude was very often "they deserve to be where they are," or "why don't they just get a job."

Leon didn't offer criticisms; he offered compassion. He saw, with the eyes of Christ "the multitudes, [and] He was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd" (Matthew 9:36). A lesson in compassion and humility from a man who gave many decades of his life in service of the Mission and these "victims of sin," not only those who are led away by their own desires but also those who truly are the victims of the sins of others.

Thank you for your support of the Mission and our efforts to meet the physical and spiritual needs of men, women, and children in Michigan's capital area. Thank you for being a rescuer!