Has it been a while since you have pondered this? Our mission is to MOBILIZE Churches for the purpose of TRANSFORMATION of real LIVES and our entire COMMUNITY! and to do so in the very NAME of Christ...whom we want to bring glory too! What does this look like?
Lets look at this via the Population Groups we serve. Included are recent stories of real lives.
most live on a fixed income. So while the cost of items all around us is rising, their income remains about the same. Recently we have had call from family member of three different seniors asking how we can help, as they live far away. We can help by finding volunteers to visit people who are lonely and/or isolated. We can help by taking them shopping and to appointments. Currently we have vests lined up for an elderly person and she is delighted. We are trying to find volunteers for the other 2 seniors. Sometimes we can help via the phones by listening and trying to determine if the senior is in reality. That has also happened several times over the last 2-3 weeks. We can then connect with Senior Services and ask for a welfare check. All of these are ways of impacting lives. Visiting the lonely is especially a way of bringing care and hope into a life.
Tough job. Male or female, being the only parent means you are always 'on." Trying to work and balance children's needs/school/etc is challenging. A young lady we are trying to assist is working and has children in different school and child care and must also try and manage transportation for all. We are trying to help with that. A difficult request to fill...childcare and pickup. Please pray for her. We know a single Mom of 2 small ones, who is now also caring for her siblings, so they have a home. This young lady has a tremendous amount on her plate! We have been able to impact her life with basic needed items as her family more than doubled in size. Gaps are so important here. She was able to get hygiene items and linens and other basic items. Another single parent is heartbroken over the estrangement of an adult child who is likely in serious trouble. Being alone makes it hard to share that heady burden.We offer prayer and comfort and a listening heart.
People who deal with MENTAL HEALTH issues~~
A young man calls us periodically because he is 'so depressed and I just want to talk" he refuses to give us a last name or an address. We listen anyway. A middle aged lady who lives in a Care Facility has been asking for a person to come and visit and do a Bible Study with her. We've been trying to find a volunteer for this for a few weeks now. Called Compassion Ministries finally and they too are going to work on this request. Another person's behavior is getting her into trouble so we call various agencies trying to get real helps for her.
There are several places in our community we can help people get connected. We often get to CELEBRATE with people when they call and share the # of days they have been clean and sober! This week, because of already built relationship, a client confessed that he had 'slipped' but was now back to being clean and sober. Encouragement and accountability is essential.Frequently people who are addicted are also suffering from mental health issues. We work hard to listen and understand where each one is at. We would LOVE for a Celebrate Recovery Group to happen in Corvallis area.
People leaving DOMESTIC VIOLENCE situations;
They are often referred to CARDV if they have not already been there. Then, because they often have to leave everything, we connect them with as many Gaps as needed. Also we connect them with CSC to begin looking into housing helps, food stamps, etc. These women are often in need of supports and courage. We have also connected some to ARMS...a faith based recovery group. Two calls this week from people in this situation.
Sometimes two or three incomes is just not enough. Often when jobs are minimum wage and not enough hours. Again, this is where Gaps can really help. And we also refer people to various agencies that may help. Often these men and women need encouragement and hope! Sometimes groceries do not last until the end of the month. Thankfully we have some food pantries available that we refer to, as well as Lifeseeds Ministries that gifts people with food boxes at the end of the month. Gleaners is also a great resource!
People dealing with being HOMELESS~~
We connect to resources. We try and help by providing the Drop in Center with small packets of hygiene items and warm socks. We wish we had tents and sleeping bags. AND we dream of affordable housing for ALL. Currently we are working with the City and several churches about vehicle Camping on various church grounds. This is exciting and helpful! And it is also not the last answer...appreciate the several churches who have expressed interest in this. Another meeting happening SOON. Will let you know! Spoke this week with a lady in her sixties who was suddenly homeless. She was so tired because of dragging her items all around and not having a place to rest. Thankfully she was able to find a place in another community and was headed out.
Newly released INMATES~~
An often overlooked population. Thankfully Love INC has good relationships with several Parole Officers, so we can get needed information. (Public info). We now know of a group that goes to our local jail and does an afternoon Bible Study...each Sunday afternoon. However, people who are reintegrating from one of the 13 prisons located in Oregon are newly back in community and not as aware of resources. We have not been able to address this population well until recently. We are now helping ex inmates and Churches in our community connect with Prison Fellowship and/or Home for Good. This is great! Re entry teams are being formed and some churches are looking at becoming Bridge Churches...'adopting' an inmate for a year and providing mentoring and other growth opportunities.
This week a friend of a newly released person was looking for clothes for him. People are released with what they had with them at time of arrest. We were able to find resources. Also, recently spoke with a client who has been out for several months now and is doing well. She is working and providing for her children. She is so appreciative of anything we do for them.
We are sharing ALL of this to bring greater awareness to our community...so we can be about impacting our community for Christ's sake! Our community is ALL of Benton County!!!
There is a common 'thread' through all of these groups. Did you notice what it is? RELATIONSHIP! From lonely seniors to single parents...ex inmates needing healthy support and people dealing with leaving a domestic situation needing comfort and encouragement...every group!
Church! We have the answer...we can love. We can mentor. I am reminded of these great scriptures;
..."so we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God, but our lives as well" (1 Thessa 2:8 NIV)
and verses 11-13 "You know that we treated each of you as a Father treats His own children. We gave you hope and strength. We comforted you. We really wanted you to live in a way that is worth of God. He chooses you to enter His glorious Kingdom. We never stop thanking God for the way you received His word."
How is that for IMPACTING lives and community?! Speaking truth, offering hope and encouragement, sharing our lives...praying for one another. Will you join us? There are many opportunities to do this every day.
LOVE the work we get to do in His Harvest fields~~
Call Center Manager