1st Corinthians 15:58 Therefore, my dear brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the Lord’s work, knowing that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. (HCSB)
Summer has wound down and fall is upon us at last. As the summer activities have diminished, our resident caseload has increased. We generally start to see an increase of residents in the fall as people consider the changing weather. We are tying up the last few loose ends of summer and preparing for fall and winter activities. The leaves are just starting to change colors and the weather is starting to get consistently cooler. We have yet to have a hard frost but it is not far away.
Jonah is in the middle of his freshman year of football, starting on the JV team and filling in on special teams for varsity. He is enjoying the first few weeks of high school. He is already coming home to tell us what he learned in Spanish class or how easy Math is going to be this year (I’ll believe it when I see the grades at the end of the quarter). He went duck/goose hunting for the first time this year, brought home several ducks and two geese. He is currently in camouflage from head to toe, face all painted up, bow hunting for whitetail deer as I write this. He loves spending time outside and hanging out with his brother.
Chase is loving college! He enjoys working with metal and is totally in his element learning what it takes to be a machinist. He continues to work about 20 hours a week while going to school full time. Michelle and I don’t usually see him until he comes home from class in the evenings. He spends his weekends fishing or hunting with his friends or spending time with his girlfriend Brooke. He had been saving his money to buy a woods truck (his car gets great gas mileage but isn’t suited for mud), and a few weeks ago he found one with enough miles on it to fit into his very limited budget. I’m not sure what color it is underneath the rust and mud but the exhaust is just loud enough to hear him pull in the driveway without waking the neighbors. Oh, to be eighteen again.
Michelle and I built a chicken coop this summer and she is absolutely spoiling seven rather ornery hens. We get eggs out of the deal so I’m excited. I am hoping to harvest a little honey this fall. One of my hives did well while the other hive took the summer off I think. Michelle’s women’s bible study group has started again this fall and she is excited and encouraged to get together with ladies from the community for fellowship and spiritual food. I continue to lead the singing/worship portion of Church services on Sunday. Benjamin and I fill in for dad when he is required elsewhere. Our regular Wednesday night Bible study started back up a few weeks ago and we continue our men’s group every Friday morning.
Things here at the shelter are busy. We have one single man and three single women in emergency shelter, and 2 single men in transitional housing. In August we hired a part-time case manager to help out with our caseload. Her name is Ilirijana and she is doing a great job. Kathy and Russ continue to do an incredible job handing most of the everyday needs of the residents. It is such a blessing to have brothers and sisters in Christ that work very well together to split the workload so no one of us is overwhelmed. We continue to do a lot of transportation for our residents. Thankfully this year fuel prices are still lower than they have been in a few years. We are serving a total of six households, occupying all of our four apartments. We do have a couple of empty beds so we don’t have to turn people away, but we get calls almost every day. Overall things are going smoothly here at the shelter; our program participation numbers are consistent through these last six years. We encourage our residents to join us in church, bible studies, and fellowship groups but they are not required to attend. Some of our residents are interested in the discussions and message while too many are not. All we can do is provide the opportunity.
In the last six years we have served more than 200 residents providing over 10,000 shelter nights. Annually we typically receive approximately 120 calls from people looking for shelter. We continue to average about five residents per night. We continue to help people transitioning from jail, rehab, and probation/parole providing a stable supervised place from which they could find employment and seek housing. Please keep in prayer our staff as we struggle to reach out to our residents. We are praying for opportunities to minister to not only their physical needs but also their spiritual needs. Please continue to pray for our residents as they struggle to grasp hold of stability and sobriety. Please keep in prayer our staff/volunteers and their families.
Thank you for your continued prayers. It is through your persevering faith in God’s ministry here that we are able to keep doing His work in our community. We are so thankful for your donations of time spent in prayer on our behalf, the gifts of day-to-day supplies, and your generosity of financial support that keeps us moving forward in HIS perfect plan.
In His Service,