Bridge of Hope is celebrating its sixth year starting this month. What a blessing and a privilege to be in the family of God. This last year was a real growing year. We saw approximately 520 people each month in our store, we delivered furniture to families that are leaving shelters between 8-12 times each month and distributed food to approximately 1430 families per month in 2010-that equates to about 120,000 lbs. of food. God continues to pour in the resources and provision to serve those in need. We pray that the Kingdom of our Lord will continue to advance in an even greater measure in 2011.
One thing that God continues to remind me of as we are flooded with needs and the realities of poverty is, “Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time and always start with the person nearest you.”-Mother Theresa. The needs can be overwhelming at times, but if I am only looking at the one in front of me, it is not overwhelming. Another quote from Mother Theresa is “If you cannot feed a hundred people, feed only one.’ Loving, listening and caring for the one is MOST important.
One neat story- before Thanksgiving time, I received a call from some concerned friends of a man named Joe. He came to America 5 years ago, from Africa. He had great plans to use his education and savings, to start his life here. Unfortunately, he became very sick with an auto-immune disease and already struggled with diabetes. He was hospitalized and unable to work due to sickness, weakness and pain. It did not take long for him to loose his home and become homeless like so many are in these times. Thank God he had a car that he could live in. His friends contacted me asking if we could help him with food. I said yes and asked if we could meet him and pray for his healing. Apparently, he had grown up having faith in Jesus, but due to some difficult circumstances, he was struggling believing God was with him. His friend picked up the food for him, but after that, Joe called me directly. I was so excited he called. We talked a bit, he thanked me for the food we had given to him and asked if there was anymore food available. He told me he was open to receive prayer.
Joe came to Bridge of Hope a couple days later. He was so fragile. I grabbed the box of food we prepared for him and walked it to his car. As we prayed tears rolled down his face. His eyes looked so sad, so desperate, but a sense of relief appeared as we prayed and asked the Holy Spirit to touch him. It was beginning to get colder at night and more difficult to be in his car. He was being hassled by the police for sleeping in his car, and the area he was staying in is dangerous. He ended up hospitalized for a week or so.
The hospital social worker contacted me the day before he was released asking if we could help him with some food and a place to live after he left the hospital. I told her to have him call me when he was able, and in the meantime I would work on finding some housing options for him.
A second grade class at Sante Fe Christian Elementary School, did a project for Thanksgiving and made care boxes filled with everything you can imagine- shampoo, soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, band-aids, sewing kit, hairbrush, and more. I had 30 of those to give to families in need and each came with a sweet note from a second grader encouraging the person receiving the box. Joe showed up at Bridge of Hope a couple days after being released from the hospital. I had been praying he would. We were able to give him some food, a down blanket, beanie, gloves, and the box and note.
When he opened the box of necessities, he began to cry. He could not believe the abundance of provision in that box. I also found a place called Dreams For Change. It is located in downtown San Diego. It is a giant parking area where they let those who are living in their cars come and sleep, use the outhouses and showers, and there are security guards watching out to protect the people staying there. Check in is a 6:00 p.m check out is at 6:00 a.m., first come first serve. I did not know how he would feel about that opportunity, but he was overjoyed. He was so excited. His face lit up. We packed his car, prayed together and off he went. He came by the next day to say thank you and that Dreams for Change is a answer to prayer. He felt safe and secure and slept well. I believe that by providing the practical, as well as the spiritual, the recipient experiences Jesus’ personal touch which reveals, “I am with you. I see you. I love you. Do not be afraid.”
Please pray for Joe’s healing and job security.
We are looking to form a few teams to do our furniture pick-ups and deliveries each month. Please email Sheri if you want to know more about this opportunity.
Thank you for your prayers and support,
Bridge of Hope