Giving 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:
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
RSVP : CLICK HERE
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.
Two 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!
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.
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.
It comes down to reaching out and asking God to help you live!
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!