Giving Tuesday – Project WARM

Slide1Giving Tuesday (#givingtuesday) is a nation wide effort started in 2012 to show support for a heart of generosity during the beginning of a holiday season.  The majority of support for Giving Tuesday is financial around the country, and while Project WARM always accepts financial donations through it’s partner organization Hope Ministries, we want you to think about giving in a few different areas:

1.  Give your time – A few hours given back can make a radical difference in someone’s life, including yours.  It’s easy to sign up (Click on the “Volunteer” tab above) and volunteering can be very fulfilling (and easy!).  Check out the “What Does A Volunteer Do” to find out what to do when you volunteer.
2.  Donate needed items for our guests –  To find out the latest needs at Project WARM check out the “Donations” tab above.
3.  Make a financial contribution –  A financial contribution can be made through out partner organization, Hope Ministries and that information can be found under the “Donations” tab above as well.
Thank you for giving to Project WARM this season!

Project WARM Orientation? Should I go?

?????????????Over the last two years we have come across a number of questions that many of you or your congregations have asked.  This year we are hosting a monthly orientation session to give some really critical updates, as well as share new information. 

Take an hour to hear about:

  •  An introduction to Project WARM
  • A testimony from a previous Project WARM guest
  • What a volunteer does
  •  How to sign up, where to park, review safety
  • Know what to bring and what not to bring
  • Review the newest changes this year regarding food and volunteering
  • Ask questions and get immediate answers

We would love to see you attend our first orientation

 When: November 18th @ 6:30pm

 Where: Hope Ministries @ 432 S. Lafayette Blvd South Bend


“Can I Sing It?” – A Testimony from Project WARM

musicpagebesetfreejesusSomeone shared this testimony from last year, and it was incredible. Read below:

As I was walking through the room to one of the tables around dinner time, a man I’ll call Vincent lying on a mat spoke out to get my attention. I hadn’t met him before but he said, “Excuse me, I wondered if I could get some prayer.”

Who could refuse that! “Sure, I’d love to pray with you. He got up and we went to sit in the back corner on a pew where it was more private. He told me he had been saved a long time ago, but had fallen into bad habits. He hadn’t been living for God and couldn’t get out of the rut he was in. We talked about his life. Although he’d come to know God, he still enjoyed sin. He didn’t want to, but he did. I explained that sometimes we come to Christ but never really understand who we are IN Christ, so we bring out old life into our new life.

Then, he told me he wanted to sing me something for me. He said, “I believe this is true. Can I sing it? I need you to hear it.” I wish I could remember the words, but He began singing a song about being free in Christ. It was beautiful. “He looked at me with hopeful eyes and said, “It’s true. Isn’t it?” He looked at me wanted to confirm that it was. I smiled and said, “It is. If you believe in Christ, it is true.”

“If it is true, then why do I still like the sinful stuff I’m doing?” He explained that He used to love to sing gospel songs and he just couldn’t get out from under the weight of what he’d been living like. He didn’t think he was worthy of God anymore, but the words of that song were hope to him.

Jesus hung out where it seemed like there was no hope for anyone, but there is always hope, I explained.  “We don’t clean up to come to God. We come to God and he cleans us up!”

He paused for a moment, then with a new smile on his face, he said, “That is just what I needed to hear! I’ve never heard it put like that!”

“If you want to change, then you can. Let’s just start over, that’s repentance. You just need to change your thinking? What you sang is true. You just have to believe it. How about if you just recommit your life to God.”

“Yes, could we do that?”

“The Word says that when we come to Him he makes ALL things new, so let’s take Him up on that promise.” We prayed and just asked God to forgive what was past. He confessed belief and that God forgave Him. We thanked God for a new start and prayed for freedom from every stronghold that bound him.” God intervened as we prayed.

As he looked up he said, “Wow, thank you. I feel so much lighter. I just needed to hear that.” Vincent is quite a singer. He began singing Amazing Grace and wanted me to join him. The whole room was full of men, doing other things and we were in the corner singing, oblivious to what anyone else thought. It was really a beautiful moment, singing with someone who has just missed worshiping for so long because he felt unworthy. He finally believed that he could sing the words and they were HIS truth.

A few days later, I happened to be at WARM and Vincent came running over to me. He was so excited. “I can’t get over this. I just feel joy like I never have and it doesn’t go away. Could you pray with me about one more thing.” We prayed about one more thing. Then, he wanted to sing again. It was 9:30 and all the other men were quiet and in bed. The lights were dim, so no matter how quiet we sang, everybody was going to hear.  I couldn’t say no. So we praised God sort of quietly by the door while everybody lay still, almost asleep and just celebrated how amazing it was to know Jesus. It was the first and probably only night that everybody got sung to sleep, but it was beautiful.

I don’t think there could be any greater reward for a servant of Christ than to celebrate moments like this with a once broken, now shining child of God. I once was lost, but now I’m found. Was blind but now I see.

Faith Comes From Hearing

romans10-17Two people tonight asked me if I was a Pastor and a couple of others told me they liked my preaching! The best of all was when a worker at Project WARM told me that the men respected me and really liked it when I came and gave a devotional. I’m still smiling! I told him that I had never talked about God or did a lesson out of the Bible until about a year ago! He was shocked!

I told them that I was not a preacher and didn’t know how to preach! One guy said “You preached it tonight!” I had to laugh! I read and discussed Matthew 25:31-46. It best tells why I spend time there if for no other reason just to be positive and welcoming. Treat every person as though they were Jesus standing in front of you! Feed them, clothe them, take them in, visit them in prison!

The Bible spells it out simply in those verses! I have to keep it simple for myself!

I try to choose something that applies to my personal life and also lets these men know that I am there because I would not want to be anywhere else. I realized tonight that 30 or more homeless men here in South Bend know me by my first name. . When I leave they thank me and bless me and know my name! (Without seeing my name tag!)

Tonight before I prayed the last time, I asked the men to please keep me and my healing foot in their prayers. I need their prayers just as much as they need mine, that’s a good relationship between friends and many have become friends now. There were questions and concerns about my health! Homeless men concerned and praying for me….God is Amazing in the way He works!

How many of you can say that you know the names of at least 10 homeless people in your home town? How many know you by your name? By sight?

I used to go to a nearby bar and meet friends several evenings a week….like the show Cheers! Sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your name!

Now I go to Project WARM where everybody knows my name and I come away feeling on top of the world and blessed beyond words!

Alcohol cannot do that, drugs cannot do that, but giving time and sharing God’s love can do that!

Once again, I just had to share my experience! I got there at 7:45pm and was pulling into my drive at exactly 8:57! So much happens within that short time frame that it doesn’t seem possible! The men come in at 8pm, eat about 8:10 and around 8:40 we have a devotional, tonight a man played a guitar and sang “I Can Only Imagine” by Mercy Me. After that, I read, discussed and played the song “What If God Was One Of Us” from my cell phone while the guys read the words I printed out for them. We prayed, I came home and they keep warm and will rest out of the elements.

So thankful for this opportunity every time!

Thankful – 1/2 Way Through!

thankful-1-thessalonians-5-18This is a copy of the letter that went to the churches who have sponsored cots at Project WARM. We thought since we are 1/2 through the season our FaceBook friends might like to read this as well:

We are now officially 1/2 way through the Weather Amnesty season! The first half of the year has been remarkably busy, a learning experience for many of us, an impactful experience for the guests and we continue to be excited for the next two months. As I look back to the beginning of this season to today a few things stick out to me:

1. The pace of volunteer activity could not have been imagined. While I was concerned about how we would feed up to 30 guys a night, and how our volunteers would react, we have filled EVERY night with wonderful food for the guests. The volunteers are so excited about this that the entire month of February is also reserved by volunteers! As I write this the next food reservation available is 3/5 and there are only 14 days left for food volunteers. This is incredible!

2. The Bible study that is held on Thursday mornings has been incredible. We are slowly walking through the Gospel of John and we continue have super participation. This last week we had 12 guys attend and many participate. There are guests who know the Bible solidly and some who have never read it. The Word is jumping out on Thursday mornings to the guys in fresh new ways.

3. One of my favorite moments of the year occurred just a week ago. We had a volunteer that gave a short devotional about how iron sharpens iron (Proverbs 27) and walked through a quick explanation of what that meant for him. He sat down and then for the next 15 minutes the guests asked for specific Bible verses to be read to the entire room. It was unprompted, raw and incredible. When all of the readings were done a guest tugged on the shoulder of another volunteer and was moved that all of those verses were positive and motivational. This guest had never read the Bible and was surprised to hear what great messages it had, and that many of the other guests knew the scripture. HE wanted to know the scripture and read it as well. The volunteer pointed him to a Bible and he was excited to dig in.

While there may be challenges every now and again we are continually open to God’s instruction, incredibly and humbly thankful for the financial support, and completely taken by the overwhelming support of the volunteers.

Thank you for your ongoing support to this important ministry.

Stepping Out In Faith – A Guests Testimony

images (17)Great things continue to happen at  Project WARM when volunteers step out in faith for God. This is a testimony from a volunteer from last week. A very powerful message for the guests:

“Tonight at Project WARM was the most meaningful night of volunteering for me to date. I made special cards with the words to Amazing Grace on the inside with a handwritten message simply saying “Praying for you” on the inside.

The card and song was part of my message from Ephesians 2:1-9, message being that God’s amazing grace is what saves us and not the great works we do, or who we are in the world. None of that matters! God loves us unconditionally and I am so thankful for that!

After I prayed, talked about God’s love for us all, no matter where we are in our lives or the mistakes we make that God will always love us! I thanked them for listening and they thanked me for coming and then Jon Stevens asked me to tell them my story.

Really, my whole story? I did. I told about the first time I used cocaine and the hold it got on me at age 25 and that I was addicted for 14 years to meth and cocaine. Ashamed and not wanting my family to know anything about it, I never went to rehab to quit. I reached out to God and prayed hard letting Him know that I did not want to die like this!

A guest interrupted me at that point and said….”That was your rehab!” God was my rehab! I agreed with him!

I have not used since that day, have never looked back and have never had the urge to use drugs again.

God grabbed my hand and answered my prayer for life.

I thank Him every day for letting me live and I know that I am alive to tell my story to everyone that needs to hear it. To hear that there is life after addiction and that God loved me at my best and loved me the same at my worst, I just had to call upon Him!

When I was finished, I let them know that I come there to give them hope, I care about each of them and that I pray for their safety, health and a better life every day. If I didn’t have a family that supplied my place to live, I would have been on the streets just like them.

The man that interrupted my story apologized before I left for butting in! I let him know that he was right, God is way better than other rehab options! He wanted to give me a hug! He was high, his eyes were red, but he related to my story and knows there is hope!
He thanked me for being there, many or them thanked me for being there!

I’ve never left Project WARM with a round of applause along with handshakes and lots of hugs like tonight! I have connected with many more men on a whole new level now thanks to Jon asking for me to tell my story! He said that he wanted these guys to know why I am really there, not just a woman from a church with a bible reading lesson. Of course, I am a woman, from Clay Church with a very important message about God’s love! Thank you Jon! It was simply amazing tonight!”

Praise God – Reach Out And Ask!

imagesThis is a guest post from a Project WARM volunteer and a wonderful testimony to the ways in which God’s love is shared at Project WARM.

Met a man tonight at Project WARM that reminded me once again that God loves us unconditionally right where we are in our lives. 

I come away from there each time thanking God for grabbing onto my hand when I called out for help when I was at the end of my rope of addiction. The man placed into my path tonight is at the end of that same rope, Tim is addicted to crack cocaine and alcohol and is sick and tired of living this sort of sick life.

Only because I’ve been an addict can I relate to the pain on the inside of his heart that the smile and light hearted comments from his mouth try to cover up. He wants to get into recovery as soon as possible and was listening to some options that Dana and I were telling him about.

This is his first time of ever being homeless and it is because of drugs, this is his rock bottom and he’s very aware that he cannot rehab on his own and wants to get into Hope Ministries for a second chance at a good, clean life. I assured him that life on the other side of addiction is not only possible, but is a very wonderful, peaceful way to live!

It comes down to reaching out and asking God to help you live!

There was another homeless man at the table and he also had been addicted, but is 7 months clean and is willing to show Tim exactly where to go in the morning to get into a meeting at 6am! I thought this was amazing! The two men bonded within 30 minutes and one was willing to help the other one, no questions, just willing to help and show Tim where to start the process of getting clean! God is amazing at putting us where we need to be!I asked Tim if I could use his name and add him to a prayer list and he said “Yes, Please! I can use all the help I can get right now!” Please add Tim to your prayer list and all of the other men sleeping on the mats at Project WARM and in the streets at night.

Pray that God will keep them safe and warm and unharmed and that they will all know that He loves them unconditionally right where they are!

Thankful to be on this side of addiction and relating to others needing a smile, a kind word, a prayer, a handshake or a hug to get through another day. God has blessed me in ways words cannot explain!