March 2019 Newsletter
Imagine having all of your possessions in one bag. Everything. No family photos. No yearbooks or jewelry. Socks, underwear, a toothbrush, deodorant, an old cell phone, soap, an ID, two t-shrits, and a sweatshirt. The only money you have jingles, but doesn’t fold. Everything is in the bag.
And now imagine that while sleeping on a bench or in a shower at a shelter, that bag is stolen. Or it is lost in a fire. Or you had to leave it to flee an abusive relationship.
Many of our Mission friends have little or nothing. Some visitors have made grave errors in life. Some have been victims. Others have been unfortunate. And for some, we don’t know.
In some ways, we are arriving at the scene of a car accident. And instead of approaching as police to ask who is to blame, we come as paramedics to ask how we can help. And we are so grateful that you have arrived with us to help.
We truly thank you and we need you. We covet your prayers, advice, financial support, and volunteer hours. This is a team.
Every week we welcome visitors who have lost everything, sometimes even hope. The Helping Hand Rescue Mission is one of the few remaining Gospel Rescue Missions in the area. We are here to share the love of God. We are here to distribute hope, as much as we are here to serve meals.
And because of your generosity, when a homeless friend comes in with only the shirt on their back, we have another shirt for them. And deodorant. And a belt or bag. And a razor. A closet full. And we have hope. Hope that we have been given to pass along.
It is not difficult for our guests to ask for a pair of pants. It is wildly embarrassing to have to ask for underwear. But we are a family here. And like the paramedic, we are here to help.
We are reminded of Jesus’s words, “You will always have the poor among you,” in John 12:8. We know there is great poverty in the world and this area. We are also reminded, that the call is to have our friends among us.
Your support helps thousands to get back on their feet. You have made a difference for good.
2019. Faith. Action. Results.
• We have slightly altered our Sunday pre-meal service, and have been asking our homeless visitors to read Scripture, sing up front, and do introductions. We have seen gifts blossom and it has been amazing. We want them to leave and say, “I went to church today.”
• Our homeless program on the Parkway continues to help addicts get into rehab, and to help thousands get back on their feet.
• In May, we expect to add 3 college grads to our growing list of success stories. These Junior Leaders are crafting a different story in the community. Instead of writing letters to judges, we are scripting speeches for parties.
• Pastor Tom continues to press in deeply with his Strait Gate Men’s Discipleship group. Tom loves these guys. He has one man who is barely off of the streets, and Tom went over to fix his toilet last month. Imagine being looked down upon for your whole life, and then having a Pastor fix your toilet. That’s more than ministry.
• Dr. Garrett Marsh has started a phone church through the Sunday morning Christ Community Bible Church (that meets at the Mission). About 20 people are on the line every morning for devotion and prayer. It’s amazing. You are invited. 605-468-8794 (passcode is 483959).
• We continue to renovate the 3rd floor. “Old School” Jim Warwick was crawling through the attic insulation this month to install a fan. I don’t know any other 79 year old board President that could (or would) do this, and we are grateful.
• This weekend a man returned after a month away. In February, he started an angry physical fight in the sanctuary. We had to gently ask him to leave. Last week he humbly returned to apologize. This Sunday he returned with keys to his new apartment. Next week we will help him furnish his new place. We are grateful for every opportunity given to us and through us.
We have come a long way and we have a long way to go. Thank you deeply for your love and prayers.
United Way # 782
In 6th grade, Montae Ballard was expelled from Kearny Elementary School for fighting. At his new school, his teacher introduced him and said, “He reads on a 5th grade level.”
About that time, he started attending our youth programs. In his freshman year of high school, he began to work at the Helping Hand Rescue Mission as a Junior Leader. He became a mentor, tutor, referee, and more. In May of 2019, Montae will graduate from West Chester University. He says simply, “Thank you, thank you, I don’t know where I would be without you all.”
Helping Hand Rescue Mission
PO Box 37005
Phila, PA. 19122