Hi, my name is John, and I am the Mental Health Therapist for homeless men, who are, sadly, categorized in society as “throw-away” people. Thankfully, God has other ideas for every man that enters Open Door Mission.
A man (I will call Frank), whom I have worked with for three months, recently got a job. Frank’s journey was not unique. He has no family he is close to and has been on his own all his adult life. His parents divorced when he was a child and his mother died when he was eighteen. Frank has a distant relationship with his father, and no siblings. In his adult life, he has worked a series of jobs, but has also had many “lay-overs” at shelters throughout the Midwest.
Frank is a loner, does not drink or use drugs. Most of his jobs have been dead-ends. Spiritually, he knew God was out there, but never considered any personal relationship with Him. While most of my interactions with Frank have been spur-of-the-moment, because he was anxious or worried, I listened, offered reassurance, and offered advice on what he could do.
His first month at the Mission, Frank arranged his evening so that he did not attend chapel. As he described it later, it was not that he had anything against hearing about God, it was just that God never seemed to have any direct relevance in his life. So Frank was content to let God go His way, and Frank would go his.
What is so wonderful at Open Door Mission, is that we have volunteers that take time out of their busy schedules and provide help—in the kitchen, at the Timberlake Outreach Center, chapels, and other areas. We have a man who comes almost every week and leads a small group in Bible study or shows a video, which provides a more personal setting where men can hear God’s word and interact with it.
Frank was encouraged by his case manager, Mike, to take advantage of the services offered at the Mission. One evening, Frank attended the Bible Study. He said later that he didn’t know quite what to think about it. The man leading it was nice; however, Frank had never thought much about God. But Frank continued to attend. One week, the leader shared the plan of salvation, and Frank began to consider God in a new way.
Later Frank shared with me that he has benefited from his time at Open Door Mission. He found a job, is saving money, and has hope. He knows that God loves him personally and whatever the future holds—God will be there for him.
It is such a blessing working at Open Door Mission. Even though we see the shadier side of life, and come face to face with hopelessness, I don’t become overwhelmed by the neediness and chaos that comes through our doors. Experiences with people like Frank, remind me of Open Door Mission’s purpose and its provision of hope and new life in Christ. Taking the time to treat a fellow human being with simple things like food, clothing and shelter, in the name of Jesus, can make all the difference in the world.
Thank you for praying, giving and serving at Open Door Mission.
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