Youth Students

I wrote a little earlier in my blog about how hard it is being a college student in this day and age, and being drawn further and further away from our heavenly father. But it isn’t just the college aged generation that has been effected. I am happy to say that I am a leader of my church’s youth group, and it is an amazing time to see these young men and women grow. But the more I get involved in it, the more I see what these kids go through. These young high school and middle schoolers have so much pressure these days. They are dealing with social media at such a young age, telling them who to be and how to “fit” into the world. And a lot of times honestly, fitting in doesn’t usually involve God anymore. So now we have a war of these youth students, going through so much, and so many times lacking guidance.

Well, thank goodness for company’s out there that are reaching our youth aged students! CSM, Center for Student Missions, is here to help and offer short term mission trips to youth groups across the United States. The CSM started in 1988, and their focus was on giving youth groups and churches a life changing short term urban experience. It started in LA and then shortly expanded to Washington DC and Chicago.

Their mission statement is to “provide an effective urban ministry experience that transforms lives, influences churches and communities, and honors Christ.” Their vision is to serve the city, and the often-forgotten communities in the urban area.

What do they do to help reach the urban communities within the city?

The CSM helps you to experience a city living. Their housing locations are right in the heart of the city you choose to go to, so you can experience the sights, sounds, and smells. This also allows you to have the chance to experience my favorite thing… the food! But besides things like amazing sights, smells and food, this allows you to really become one and learn about the city. It helps you to see the unique issues and problems that each city faces, and how God is present in each and every one of them, in different ways. At CSM, they are giving you the opportunity to become part of the solution for the city. You will be included in a variety of hands-on ministry, helping you to dive right in to the culture and problems that these city dwellers face every single day! This is all about opening your eyes to a broken world within our country, and showing that you don’t have to travel across the ocean to find poverty and broken relationships.

The trip can go on if you want it too, they have options that are as short as 24 hours, to a week-long trip. They have moved beyond their original locations, and now have institutes and offices in Boston, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Houston, LA, Nashville, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Tijuana, and Washington DC. So anywhere you feel led to go country wide, they have you covered. The cost of the trip is $68 dollars per person, per night, and this is not including transportation costs. There are six different group types while on the trip: Junior High, Senior High, Mixed, College, Adult, and Family, so they allow you to relate to your own age group, to have amazing fellowship.

This is an amazing trip that you can take with your local church, or even your friends! And you get to experience and amazing city, and see our amazing God at work. So, what isn’t to love?

Check out their website! http://www.csm.org/about/

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Doctors without Borders

I used to be a nursing major, and I loved the idea of being able to help people and be there for them through their darkest hours and time of need. While I am not a nursing major anymore, Doctors Without Borders still is a company who always has a special place in my heart. That is where I wanted to work as I was pursuing nursing, and I think the work they do is amazing and selfless. When disaster or war strikes, there almost is always need in the medical field for someone to come in and help pick up the pieces and help the hurting souls and bodies that are left behind in the disaster. That is where Doctors Without Borders comes in.

Every year, they provide medical care to millions of people in more than 60 countries around the world, aiding in armed conflicts, epidemics, malnutrition, or natural disasters. MSF (another name for the organization) stays neutral in all agendas such as politics, religions, or location. Every day more than 30,000 qualified professionals within the MSF system can be found providing medical care all around the world. In 2014, the teams conducted more than 8 million outpatient consultations, delivered 194,400 babies, and carried out more than 81,000 surgeries. They have active teams in Syria, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Pakistan, Yemen, Iraq, and Afghanistan. When MSF responds, they are there to save lives and to ease the suffering of those in crises, helping them to rebuild their lives and communities. They don’t just stop at sending professionals into the field, they also do a lot of behind the scenes work. They have advocates in capitals and board rooms around the world to fight against any policy that might limit access to medicine or health care that is needed in a certain country.

So, are you as excited as I am about this organization? The other great thing is that they offer so many ways to get involved! You don’t want to go? That is perfectly fine. They accept donations of any amount to help their different causes, but it doesn’t stop there. You can also fundraise for MSF by creating awareness in your community by hosting a fundraising event, and you can also look for upcoming events in your area to support them. There is also bequests and gift annuities, major giving, foundation support, corporate support, and they also encourage something as simple as sharing and learning more about their work to help spread the word. Even if you don’t feel called to go, or aren’t qualified, there are ways to help and to give!

But what if you do feel called to go and are qualified?

Doctors Without Borders is currently looking for several different medical personnel, from physicians to RN’s and nurse practitioners, to surgeons, midwives, anesthesiologists, and human resources administrators. If you are in the medical field, or considering it, they have a place for you! You can go onto their website and look up the different areas of specialty they are needing. And what if you aren’t in the medical field? They can still offer you the opportunity to help, through their office work. They are looking for office volunteers as well as full time employment, as well as offering office internships.

I love all the options this organization offers, and for what they stand for. They don’t discriminate, and wherever they see a need, they go. So, knowing all of this information, do you feel led to go and help as a medical personnel? Or even willing to give a small amount of your time or money to such a great cause?

Check out their website below and look at some amazing stories, and videos! http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/

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Love Conquers All

Love conquers all.

What is the problem?

Fear. At the center of violence and conflict is fear. We have a fear of loss, of being alone, and we fear being vulnerable. We fear ideas and religions that don’t match up with our own. So from this fear stems fighting. It starts with attitudes and words, and then it escalates to fists and bombs. So, when it seems that all of this unsettled attitude is all around us, what does one do? We call in the peacemakers. At Preemptive Love, it’s a global movement of peacemakers that are changing the way we engage the world’s most unsettled conflicts by confronting them with acts of love, not fear.

How does this organization show love to the world in the face of fear?

There are many ways that Preemptive Love goes out and reaches lives. They work in emergency relief for families victimized by ISIS, they help make lifesaving heart surgeries for children possible, they provide education for at-risk children, provide grants for small business owners, provide peacemaking in conflict-zones, and counsel to policymakers in Washington D.C, London, and Baghdad. They currently have offices in Tobruk, Syria, two locations in Iraq, and Iran. So far they have provided 2,200 lifesaving operations for children, over 1 million pounds of food aid for ISIS victims, and over 95 businesses have started by the displaced men and women.

They do amazing work in providing for those overseas in the Middle East to have a second chance and a brighter future. One Empowerment story, as they call it, comes from a woman named Madeeha. Madeeha’s family and family farm was attacked in 2003, when Coalition soldiers entered the farm where her family worked. Fighting broke out, and too late for them to flee, her family came into the line of fire, killing her mother and brother, and leaving her with an arm that had to be amputated. She and her sister were left with ten orphans to feed and take care of. ISIS then came, and the horror was relived and Madeeha and her family escaped to Baghdad where other families were staying, and that is where she found Preemptive Love. She decided it was time to start working and provide for her family, and she borrowed 70 American dollars and began selling vegetables, and now, her business is growing with all her hard work. The grant that Preemptive Love provided her allows her to keep expanding her store and her profits, so that she can continue to take care of her family and community.

If that isn’t an amazing redemption story, I don’t know what is!

Their impact is reaching deep, and they have core values to match with the impact. Preemptive Love’s core values would start out with one of the most important ones: love anyway. We all have our own political beliefs, and our own religious beliefs, but we are called to love anyways. They call us to wrap our arms around those we fear, and invite others to do the same. Their second core value is to simply show up. Presence matters. Healing starts when we bring our entire being into a problem, including our fears. Ask questions, risk failure, and don’t hide. Their third core value is “get out of the way.” This means stepping back after we show up, so that others can stand on their own. Step back and see the bigger picture.

How can you help this amazing organization? As with every non-profit, there are ways to give. You can go online and donate any amount to help provide for things such as business empowerment, surgeries, or disaster relief. You can also go on to their website and shop their collection, where the proceeds go to areas in need. You can buy products that are specifically made by refugees! They make things like soap and candles that you can purchase, and you can also invest in a refugee’s small business, and provide the tools or animals they need.

Will you join the fight in the Middle East by acting out of love, and not fear? By opening your heart and arms to those in need?

Check out their website! http://www.preemptivelove.org/

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Nature and Animal Lover’s Petitions

Happy Friday everyone! This next non-profit is a direct call for all the animal lovers out there, as well as nature lovers. I personally am not a huge animal lover or nature lover, I know I know, I am weird! But my friend Katie recommended this specific organization to me and said that she fully supports it and all that it stands for. She stated that she loves this council because it covers a lot of ground, and doesn’t just concentrate on one area of the world, but it spreads out and tackles big issues as well as small issues. The organization’s name is NRDC, which stands for Natural Resources Defense Council. NRDC “works to safeguard the earth- its people, its plants and animals, and the natural systems on which all life depends.” The council has more than 2 million members, as well as online activists comprised of 500 scientists, lawyers and advocates across the entire globe to ensure the rights of all to air, water, and wild.

I like the idea of this one, because there are so many different options, depending on what your specific interests are! Their areas of work include climate change, health, communities, energy, food, oceans, water, and the wild. NRDC believes that the world’s children should inherit a planet that will sustain them, as it has for all of us. Online, you can check out each avenue that might interest you.

The way that the company works is by having experts using data and science to discover the root cause of problems that the world is facing. Using the information that they have given, they create transforming solutions, and then from those solutions they get support from partners, members, and advocates from law and policies to come together and protect our environment. They do this through litigation, business, science, partnership, and advocacy. They are planted globally, with sites in the United States, all the way to Southeast Asia and Africa. They pride themselves on being available to communities across the globe, to your very own backyard.

Once you find the specific area that speaks to you, how can you help?

On the website, there is a “Get Involved” tab, and if you click on it is provides a place to give your email to stay connected with the numerous calls to action they have to present to the world. The top three that they are promoting today is a petition to stop climate destruction, a petition against Trump stating that they won’t stop fighting global climate change, and then one to help protect the beautiful Monarch butterfly from toxic pesticides. There are so many other petitions that you can take action with and sign, the options are endless! On top of allowing you to be a part of the movement, they also provide great information on each different movement, such as “10 ways to reduce plastic pollution” and such. It is a great resource information site. It also has a donate tab, where you can donate a one time gift, or become a monthly giver. You can also give through estate planning, honorary gifts, and sales/event proceeds.

This is an amazing company, and although they don’t provide the opportunity for you to go into the field and get your hands dirty, it is still amazing to be a part of making our world a little bit brighter and better for our future generation, even by sitting in a coffee shop and just giving.

A petition just requires a signature, won’t you put aside a little bit of your time to go and see what changes can be made?

 

Check out their website! https://www.nrdc.org/

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Community Matters

So, I made a little bit of a slip-up, much to my embarrassment, about one of the posts on my page. I have a close friend who is a mission director at our local church, and she told me about a few of her favorite outreaches and organizations, one of them being ENLACE. I was able to locate the organization online and wrote about it (which you would have seen in the past couple of days), having no idea that it was a completely different company than the one she was talking about! I had a great time looking up information for the other company, and really enjoyed learning a little bit more about private prisons, and the injustice of it all.  Life is one big learning opportunity after all! The company that my friend referred me too, and wanted me to talk about is still called ENLACE and it is based out of El Salvador and has a completely different mission. Not better or worse, mind you, than the first enlace I talked about.

ENLACE’’s mission is to create a sustainable and empowering living environment to the communities in El Salvador, and now Nepal. The organization commits to a 10 year relationship with local churches, and helps to coach the church leaders to become the change of church desperately needed within the country. They help empower them to see who they are as a body, to listen to their communities, and develop programs and projects that target 8 community transformation outcomes.

The 8 Core Outcomes:

  1. Develop leader churches
  2. Build the organizational capacity of community associations
  3. Eradicate extreme hunger and poverty
  4. Improve enrollment rates and increase access to education
  5. Assure local environmental sustainability and bolster community health
  6. Improve infant and maternal health
  7. Prevent the spread of infectious and viral diseases
  8. Strengthen community infrastructure

The long-term goal of ENLACE is that churches become leaders who equip their surrounding churches. They walk alongside churches through the process, and equipping them to transform their communities. Many of these families in the communities of both El Salvador and Nepal live on less than $2 per day, as well as having limited access to clean water, adequate housing, and basic health care.  As I talked about in an earlier post, poverty is the result of broken relationships, and therefore, that is why ENLACE is coming alongside the churches to help them. They know that even after their training is done, and they did all they can, that church will remain there as a light for all those in the community, and continuing on the good work.

How can we be a part of this team?

ENLACE offers many different ways to be included on their team, and some of them can be done right from your home, or hometown! If you have a local church, I would reach out to them and talk to them about considering partnering with the organization. Through that partnership, it links them to ongoing mission trip experiences with partner churches and communities, fundraising campaigns, reports of your donations and your local church ‘s impact, as well as sustainable community development projects impacting entire regions.

If you aren’t a part of a church in your area, or at all, that is fine as well! They offer short-term serving opportunities as well, and you will become a part of a team of other like-minded individuals, and invest a week’s time and resources to see a long-term change in that certain region of El Salvador. Also, if you are a student (I always have to look out for my fellow college peers!), they have a community transformation study abroad program. This program is over a three-month period, and is unique in that students receive 5 academic courses while also credit for an internship with ENLACE. Area of studies offered are: Latin America, Theology, Church-based community transformation, economic development and poverty alleviation, community/public health, social business development, and microfinance. As well as going on trips, as always, there are opportunities to donate to the organization as well, and I would strongly encourage that as well if you feel led!

Are you willing to give up one week of your time, to give the chance of a long term impact to thrive in El Salvador?

 

Check out their website below! https://www.enlace.link/

 

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Calling All College Students!

Calling all college students!

So many times, we get swept up in the college life, and it’s so hard not to. Life gets busier and busier, and all of a sudden, you are pulling all-nighters in the library, and spending late nights with friends. We sometimes fall away from our much needed time with our Heavenly Father, and struggle to find time to draw closer to Him. Don’t fear though, many of us have walked through this exact same problem, and we understand it really is hard to rekindle that relationship again, and to breathe it back to life.

But do not fear! CCO, which stands for Coalition for Christian Outreach, has an amazing opportunity for anyone wanting to step out and faith and learn to become a leader. Their mission statement is “transforming college students to transform the world.” How powerful is that? I was able to be a part of CCO on the Indiana University of PA campus this past semester, and always had an amazing time connecting and serving with like-minded men and women who were in the college setting. The leaders are truly there for you, and ready to listen and give you a helping hand whenever you might need it. I could go on and share more about the on-campus ministry (go and check it out!), but one opportunity that I would like to discuss is the CCO’s “Ocean City Beach Project”.

My first thought is, SIGN ME UP! I mean come on, it is right in the title, Beach Project? I am in. But in all reality, besides having an ideal setting, OCBP (Ocean City Beach Project) is a two-month long summer community living for college students to dive deeper in their relationship with Christ, as well as furthering themselves as campus leaders. The project began back in 1983, and it has since then been an opportunity for further personal faith growth, and developing a deeper vision for your life. The crazy of college life fades away, and you have the opportunity to be surrounded by amazing peers that will push you to your limits, and to open your heart back to God, or help you continue on your journey to deeper faith. This summer I actually have multiple friends in the program right now as I type this, and they have so far had an amazing time. One friend that I just texted today asking a little about the project stated that along with a great time, she is finding who she is in Christ again and feels on fire for the kingdom! That was so amazing to hear.

Along with living with other college students in a large house, you also have the time to find employment and secure a job, so that you have some spending money to do fun things with your new friends, or pay off college loans. The latter might be wiser, but the first option sounds a bit more fun. The cost of the OCBP is $2750, and they will help support you in raising and earning money throughout, and help you with reaching full support for the trip. While there, along with a job, you will have two three-hour sessions per week on different Christian topics and biblical issues taught by various Christian speakers. You will also be involved in weekly meetings for one-on-one discipleship with a CCO staff worker, as well as worshiping at the First Presbyterian Church of Ocean City. Also, if your denomination is not Presbyterian related, that is okay! My best friend is currently there and would consider herself to be an Assemblies of God “goer”, but was still welcomed into the program and is learning so much.

This is an amazing opportunity for any college student, no matter where you are in your walk with Christ. It will help you grow, and help refine you into all that God has called you to be.

Are you ready for the summer of a lifetime?

Check out their website, and apply today for next summer! http://ccojubilee.org/students/events-trips/ocean-city-beach-project/33/

 

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Fight Against Private Prison

This blog post has been especially interesting to write, in the way that I have never heard of the cause that this organization promotes and protects against. Maybe this is new knowledge to you, or maybe it is just something unknown to me, but this organization is called to minister against private prisons.

My first question upon learning of this organization was, what is a private prison?

A private prison or for-profit prison is a place in which individuals are physically confined or incarcerated by a third party that is contracted by a government agency. One of the largest private prison owners in America has seen its profits increase by more than 500% in the past 20 years, and it isn’t showing signs of stopping.

Knowing this now, ENLACE is here to help. They are an organization set out for racial and economic justice, as private prisons are targeting people of color and immigrants.  It is an international alliance of organizations that is focused on teambuilding and strategic campaigning across the globe. The company wins campaigns against transnational corporations, and it helps to build capacity of organizations through trainings and team building systems. Enlace helps to promote racial and economic justice in partnership with unions across US and Mexico, and they are helping to build the strength and capacity of organizations to advance a pro-worker, pro-immigrant and economical justice agenda.

So now that we know a little about the company, how can we help?

Through the organization, they have two separate branches of work to get involved with. They have the Enlace Institute, and the national Private Prison Divestment Campaign. The Enlace Institute’s purpose is to help advance organizational development and to develop leader’s within the lower- wage working force who are willing to help lead, and shine a light on the  injustice in the movement. In the Prison Divestment Campaign, they aim to stop the lobbying power of private prison industry so that common sense reforms are possible in criminal and immigration policy. You can help endorse this campaign online! And as far as the institute goes, they are currently looking for campaign research and organizer interns, as well as communications interns. So, if you are looking for an internship somewhere exciting such as Portland, Los Angeles, or NYC, then look no further! They also welcome volunteer opportunities, and I for one found the entire idea of lobbying for the voiceless an exciting idea. And one that can really help make a firsthand impact on this country and in Mexico.

Are you willing to join the fight against private prisons?

Check out their website here! http://www.enlaceintl.org/

 

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What is Poverty?

Every mission trip I have been on, I have had the opportunity to be provided with wonderful material to back the trip, and learning how to properly go into a mission setting. It is so easy for us to go into a third world country, or a place where poverty is prevalent, and think that we are going in and truly changing their world, and making a huge difference. While we are making a difference, sometimes it could be said that we get a “big head” over it, basically having it boil down to the fact that many times, we give off the vibe that we are better than them. We have what they lack. I am not saying that everyone’s attitude is like this, but I am just saying that I have seen it happen many times. I think that is why it is very crucial that you have some sort of learning aide to help you before you go on to a mission trip.

One book that I have read before every trip that I go on is called “Helping Without Hurting” by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert. In their short book, (I promise it is a short read, it is quick and very good!) they get down to the roots of the whole idea of poverty, boiling it down to broken relationships with God, self, others, and the rest of creation. Before reading this book, I had what I thought was the picture of real poverty in my mind: lack of money, and lack of materials such as food and water. But after reading through the chapters, I came to the realization that I have poverty in my own life. Poverty is about the broken relationships in our lives, and I can almost confidently say that almost each and every one of us has a broken relationship in our lives. Having this knowledge helps you go into the trip humbled, realizing that you are no better than these other men and women around the globe, and help us to connect with them better.

When on a trip, it is so important to help meet the physical needs of those that we are helping, such as providing fresh water, food, and shelters, but having this new idea of poverty brings to light that relationships are key. If someone came over to you while you were walking around and gave you 50 dollars for no reason and walked away, you would hardly remember them, and soon their gesture would be forgotten to you. But say someone walked up and gave you 50 dollars and shared a little bit about their lives. They mentioned that they saw you with your daughter and wanted to bless you with some money to take her to a park, being as the girl reminded them so much of their own daughter, who is now grown. Wouldn’t you remember that moment so much more than just a hand out? That is basically what a trip boils down to. Handouts don’t change too much, they solve the problem of the day, such as having a full belly, but then a new day dawns and the problem is back again. But by forming a relationship, these people know of a safe place they can come back to and come to see Christ in your relationship with them.

I know that this is a step away from my usual posts about what kind of opportunities are out there, but I think that this is a very important thing to learn about, and it certainly helped open my heart and eyes to how close minded I was about the idea of poverty and the “poor”. Knowing this made going into the trip and a different country a completely different experience for me, and I still to this day, and humbled for it.

What has your idea of poverty been? And now after reading this, I challenge you to think a little more about poverty and the lack of relationship that is behind it.

Buy the book at Christian Book Distributors, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles.

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Water Saves

You just got back from a hike in the woods, and you brought your little cousin along, so she completely tired you out from the constant energy bursts she had. You drop her off at your aunt’s house, and then run home. Once you get home, you cannot wait to just sit down in your kitchen and have a little snack and some cold water. You grab your glass, and turn the faucet on, then guzzle down the refreshing drink, quenching your thirst and your dry throat. How many of us have had this experience before? We couldn’t wait to grab a cold glass of water, and just relax. We never had to worry about the quality of water we were drinking, or the fact that when we turned on the water, nothing would come out. It isn’t our reality, but it certainly is the reality of many in this world, Africa being one of the leaders in underdeveloped availability to drinkable water. Through some searching and researching on the internet, I was able to find some statistics about the water crisis that is affecting our world:

  • Worldwide, 1 out of every 5 deaths of children under the age of fie are due to a water related disease.
  • 783 million people do not have access to clean and safe water worldwide.
  • 319 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa are without access to improved reliable drinking water sources.
  • In developing countries, as much as 80% of illnesses are linked to poor water and sanitation conditions.
  • Half of the world’s hospital beds are filled with people suffering from a water-related disease.

Reading these facts completely blew my mind. I knew that we had water shortages throughout our world, but I had no idea that is was this extreme! It breaks my heart to know that while I can just go inside to grab fresh water, there are people out there that must search miles for it, and then the water that they do find, unsuitable to drink. Reading those facts make you think twice about just going to the faucet, and complaining when it is to warm or to cold.

So what can you do to help?

Blood:Water is an organization based out of Africa that joins both the fight against Aids, and then their main focus, water relief. They center their approach around the WASH principle- water, sanitation and hygiene. All three of these are necessary for the other to thrive. When we think of the water shortage, we often think of drinking water right away, but fail to think of all the other factors water has in our lives as well such as hand washing, and simple toilet flushing.

The teams install wells within the community that have hand pumps or are mechanized, as well as including household-level filtration and treatment. While short term missions are very important, they have a community team built in as well to ensure that the well stays up to date. As mentioned, drinking water is very important, but as is hygiene associated with water. With the organization, you will be a part of teaching hygiene practices such as hand-washing. and installing things such as dish drying racks, garbage pits, and latrines.

If this spoke to you, then plan your next trip to Africa with Blood:Water, and help save the lives of hundreds  through something as simple as water.

 

Are you willing to give up your time and reduce the statistics of the water crisis?

Check out their website!

http://www.bloodwater.org/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIheXk777D1AIVhIKzCh1LFgnFEAAYASAAEgIIJvD_BwE

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The New Flier

So you aren’t ready to fly out of the country just yet?

That is totally fine! There are so many amazing options that is within our own country. Sometimes we get this idea that mission work is just in third world countries, and that poverty isn’t a problem in our own country. It couldn’t be farther from the truth! While we may not even be close to the poorest country, we still have an incredible need for people to come and serve within our borders, to reach out to our hurting countrymen and women. And on top of that, some people just aren’t ready to step on to a plane to another country, and that is totally okay! We are all called to different things, and along different paths. So first off, thank you to all those who have the heart to stay in the country and serve the US. One problem that we face in our country is homelessness. In Los Angeles County alone, there are over 51,000 men, women and children who have no place to call home. 1 in 45 children nationwide are homeless, which is the most ever in U.S. history.

If any of us has ever visited a city, we are almost guaranteed to walk by at least one man or woman sitting on the ground, holding out a cup and jingling what small amount of change they have in it. How often though do we just walk by them, completely uncomfortable at even the idea of making eye contact with them? So often we forget that just because they are currently without a home, that doesn’t make us any better than they are. Just because they don’t have access to a shower doesn’t mean that we can just walk by without giving them a second thought. Even a smile their way can completely brighten their day. A couple of weeks ago I had the amazing opportunity to go to LA and work with the homeless on Skid Row, which spans 52 blocks, full of 44,000 homeless people. As we walked through the streets, we could give out water and food and necessities such as socks and underwear. Socks… such a simple thing that I took for granted every day. While we were handing out supplies we could connect with them, and hear their stories, and we were able to make some amazing and unforgettable memories with these people. I cannot even begin to tell you how eye opening that experience was for me, these were not homeless people, these were people with real stories of heart ache and hard times.

The organization that I had the chance to team up with is called the “Dream Center”. There main campus is in Los Angeles, but they have multiple different smaller sites around CA and NYC. They have done an amazing job with dealing with the hunger and the homelessness facing LA, all while spreading the good word of the Lord. They offer many different outreaches in their community and throughout Los Angeles, but one of their most known for outreaches is dealing with the homeless. Their moto is that “homelessness isn’t hopeless”. I couldn’t agree more, they have so many testimonies of those living on the streets, coming to know Christ through the organization. They have an opportunity to do the Skid Row Outreach, and then they also have a food truck, which goes to low income parts of the city and offers food to those families. Most the food they receive is through donations, and it usually consists of two different drinks, beans, rice, canned vegetables, and fruit pouches. We were able to help hand out the food, and I cannot begin to describe how it warms your heart to the core when a mother with three kids in tow looks at you and says, “thank you, God bless you”. If you have a heart for the homeless and hungry, then look no further than the Dream Center and their amazing ministry. You don’t need to leave the country to serve!

The next time you see someone who is homeless, I challenge you to stop and look them in the eye, and ask how they are doing. Get to know them if you have the time. Pour into them.

 

Interested in serving? Check out short term missions!

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