Monday, December 13, 2010

Milestone Ministry Blog: A Day to Remember

Milestone Ministry Blog: A Day to Remember: "It was December 13, 2007. The first major snowstorm hit the Springfield, MA area early in the afternoon. By 2:00 we already had 6 inches ..."

A Day to Remember

It was December 13, 2007. The first major snowstorm hit the Springfield, MA area early in the afternoon. By 2:00 we already had 6 inches of snow and it was snowing hard. The last minute decision was made to open the Overflow Shelter in Springfield, tonight.

At 1:00 I was driving through the snow to pick up a man, Rick, who had agreed to go into detox 3 days earlier. He called to tell me, that he had left detox and he needed a ride, and of course, he was already drunk. "To where" I asked him? "You won't go into the shelter, you just left a warm bed and 3 square meals to brave a snowstorm and get a drink, where can I take you?" "Ok" he answered from the other end of the line," I'll go to the shelter".
It was just 4 days earlier that Rick and I met on the street very late at night, he was drunk and sleeping on stone steps. "Let me get you to a shelter", I begged. "No, I will be fine, don't like the shelter and so I'd rather take my chances of dying in the cold." "That's my plan, I'll die in the cold"
When we agreed to open the shelter with volunteers we also agreed that it would be a dry shelter. In other words if you were drunk or high you could not get in. But I had one condition to opening the shelter this night, I wanted Rick in my shelter. The Director agreed to let me break the rules for this one night and so Rick spent the night. The second night Rick showed up to the shelter again but of course he was drunk again and so I had to turn him away. It broke my heart and so after making my decision I was gripped with guilt and went searching for him, no luck, it is amazing how the homeless can become invisible.
Night 3, Rick showed up again, but this night he was sober, completely sober, praise God. That was the first night of the rest of his life.
Rick has never returned to drinking. He has returned to the streets, but only to minister to others. He has a powerful testimony of how God can change everything. "That shelter saved my life" he proudly proclaims, "the Holy Spirit told me everything was going to be OK and my life changed for ever."
Today Rick is restored, he lives in a two bedroom apartment, has a freezer full of food and has been reunited with his family. Now Rick dedicates his life to helping others find Jesus Christ, the only way out. He is the way, the truth and the life.
Rick has become my good friend and I am so proud of him.
Everytime I am with Rick I think of the song lyrics: " Look what the Lord has done. He changed my body, he changed my mind, he saved me just in time."

This is a day to remember!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

With eyes wide open

The Bible proclaims "He who gives to the poor will not lack. But he who hides his eyes will have many curses." Pvb 28:27

I have learned that most homeless residents are invisible unless they step in front of you with a donation cup or wander into your church.

For years I was blind to the needs of those around me. Concerned with my own needs and the needs of my family there was very little time for the needs of others. An occasional coin for the Salvation Army bell ringer, money in the church basket or donating my old clothes seemed to satisfy my obligation.

Interesting, as I look back, it's plain to see that the harder I worked to provide for my family the less time and money I had to help others. Ever since I stopped hiding my eyes my heart is heavy and all of my needs are met. Those in need are no longer invisible to me and I no longer struggle to provide for my family. Trusting my heart has opened my eyes.

Those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing. Psm 34:10

I am grateful to those who bless Milestone Ministries so that we can serve others. Today the ministry was gifted warm blankets and soft pillows and by tonight they will be put to use.
Thank you.

Amherst Shelter

Thank you for your continued prayer and support for our new shelter effort in Amherst MA.

Since we opened on November 15th we have seen many blessings. Every night has been peaceful warm and safe for our guests. The peace of the Lord is always present.
Jesus promised, "Peace I leave you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give you peace" Jn 14:27

We are open every night at 9:30 PM when our guests are served a wonderful hot meal until 10:30. Thanks to Chef Stephen Denalis (you may be familiar with his brothers incredible Tommasos Restaurant in Agawam) the meals are always something to look forward to. Thank you Chef. Also thanks to Stephen many local restaurants have agreed to help out with a meal each week.

Our goals, by the grace of God.....

1. Keep Amherst Homeless Residents phyically alive.
2. Invite them to become spiritually alive by giving them hope. When you restore hope homelessness fades.
3. Get them out of a shelter (their current condition) and into and back to life.

If you are able.....pray for our guests.
If you are called......ask us how to volunteer

Thank you Lord for allowing us to serve You through those whom you love.