Tuesday, November 16, 2010

It's worth the wait...

There's an old saying, "We didn't get here overnight and we ain't gonna fix it overnight." If an outreach ministry is to be successful you have to be patient. You have to be willing to suffer many setbacks and defeats, but it's worth the wait.

Our city doesn't have a homeless shelter, or a children's shelter or a women's abuse shelter. It's not that we don't want one or that we are cold-hearted, it's just that our city is too small to support one. YES, there is homelessness and abuse but not enough to support a full-time home. We at Crosswind see homelessness almost every week. Some weeks more than others. So how do you solve the problem?

1) We've tried putting people up in motels until they get situated. Usually that takes a couple weeks or more. It costs $800/mo. to put people in a motel ($200/wk) so that gets real expensive real quick especially because you are usually dealing with more than one family.

2) We've tried partnering with the other great ministries in town. But we can usually only afford a night or two each and so pretty quick they are back on the street anyway.

3) We've driven people to Tupelo or Jackson or Savannah where there are shelters. But many people don't want to be that far away, especially when they are trying to get set up here.

4) We even have tried to make people comfortable in their cars. We've brought blankets and got food that doesn't have to be heated etc. And we've provided showers and clean clothes. We've had some people live that way for a month or two. But eventually that doesn't work either.

5) The most desperate attempt was when we dropped off a guy at an abandoned house he knew of. It was his favorite because it had less human feces than the rest of them. I must tell you that was a long ride home that night.

And all the while we kept knocking and seeking and asking to see if there was a better way, a plan that would work better. And then some of our apartment owners in town offered us an apartment. And then another. And we began putting homeless people up. We just got offered six, count 'em... SIX apartments to put people up who are transitioning from homelessness to health! This donation has allowed Crosswind to establish our F.A.I.T.H. Program (Family And Individual Transition Housing).

We still need to pay utilities (about $600/mo. in low use months) and furnish them (two almost completed) but little by little with many tests and trials and suffering with those who are in trouble, God has allowed us a way to help. I think all the time we spent on this problem the last three years has really seasoned us to understand the problem and know how better to help people.

There was so much to learn along the way. The most important thing we learned was this, "Do not become weary in doing good." (2 Thess 3:13) Or maybe this from Matt 7:8 "For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened."

Thank you Lord and thank you kind ones who have opened your hearts and your hands to the poor. Prov 14:21 says "But he who has mercy on the poor, happy is he." God Bless You! It was worth the wait.


PS If you would like to give money to help pay utilities or to help furnish these homes please click on this link. Thank you.

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