What a beautiful fall day we are having. The sun is shining and the temperature is just right! I am excited that my family is camping this weekend. It will be perfect to sit around the campfire catching up and telling tales. Whenever I have a fun family event planned and start to get excited about leaving work for the weekend, my heart usually has a twinge, for I know that for the homeless and near homeless that we serve their weekend may not be as peaceful.
Knowing there is such a great need, makes me all the more committed to the work of Open Door Mission. It has been amazing to see over the last sixteen years, that I have been with Open Door Mission, the growth of space and services and the improvements of our service delivery. If you have not visited the Open Door Mission in the last few years, it may be hard for you to recognize us. That is until you see or hear a staff member working with a resident and hear God’s word being shared to offer hope, encouragement, and guidance as it has been for the last fifty-seven years!
Working in the Housing First Department, I see applicants as they are completing their paper-work to move into Lydia House Shelter or our Permanente Supportive Apartments. I see them at the time that they are in most despair and it is an honor to assist them through the paper work, let them know of all of our services, listen to their story, and pray with them. During this first meeting, I see transformations begin. A mom’s shoulders release a bit of their stress – now no more wondering where her family will live. A women’s face softens and hints a smile when she knows she is now welcomed after being turned away from so many other places, fare too many times due to her mental or physical health needs. And a child laughs and smiles as they leave with a toy or much needed pair of shoes. For most applicants, this may be the last time I see them. The PSH and LH staff welcomes them and handles their move-in process.
But, then there is a graduation! And I get to see a completely transformed family or women as they stand tall and smile boldly as they accept their Work-Net or New Life Recovery program diploma. Often, I do not recognize them! But, then I hear them speak their testimonies and I hear them offering Gods’ word, ministering to their family, residents, and me and all who will hear, a message of hope and encouragement. Yes the need is great, but WOW God is greater!
Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Ephesians 3:30 (NLT2007)
Thank you for the support that makes a way for transformations to happen! Come by and have a tour or volunteer – or maybe I will see you at our next graduation!
Housing First Director
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