There's a lot of talk around these days about homelessness – homeless men, homeless women, homeless children and even more talk about homeless families. Just who are we really talking about? For the most part, it's people who for a variety of reasons don't have a clean and safe place to be. It's people needing a place to sleep, people needing a place to be warm and dry, people needing not just one meal, but three hot meals each day. They are men trying against all odds to rebuild their lives or to keep their families together, women trying to keep their children-and themselves safe and young people wanting to make better choices than their parents but unable to stay at home to do it. Where do they all go?
For 30 years you've made Hospitality House an option for many of them. Our Men's Shelter, Women and Children's Shelter, and our Family Shelter are all open and serving the needs of over 100 individuals and families each and every month, in addition to serving thousands of meals to many unsheltered and needy families.
But we can't reach them all. Some refuse to come, even when their lives depend on it. I recently met with a man outside the Post Office in Wenatchee. We'll call him Randy. It was cold and the forecast for the night was temperatures down to 10 degrees. This was not a night to be on the street. As I spoke to him about coming in for a hot meal and shelter, it was clear he had been drinking – again. He'd been in our shelter before and knew about our clean and sober rules. I offered to get him some coffee and sit with him while he sobered up. He refused. He simply stated that he'd rather drink and take his chances outside. We talked for a while more, but he refused to give up his right to drink when he wanted to.
I left him there with a cry in my heart for this man. Likely the same cry many of you have felt as you have seen him or others like him. Why doesn't someone help this man? How can we just leave him there to suffer?
The next day Randy was found face down in the gutter on Wenatchee Ave. Those that found him thought he was dead, likely frozen in the night. The truth is he was alive. In his drunken stupor, he had found a warm air vent in the street and passed out on the spot. His luck held out again. He's currently in jail, again. When he gets out he will likely beg for more handouts, use the money to drink himself out of his misery, and then repeat, repeat, repeat until he at last succeeds in his quest for it all to be over.
Randy is just one of many out there who refuse help.Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â But rather than give up because we can't reach them all, we celebrate for those that can be reached. We rejoice for the many that do want to heal from their brokenness. For those that want life restored, those that want and receive forgiveness from God, from friends and family and from themselves.
A key role for you who support Hospitality House and share our concern for the homeless is constant prayer for us as we serve. Without your faithful and powerful prayer support we couldn't keep trying to reach Randy; and we will keep trying. And without your faithful financial support we couldn’t provide the thousands of meals and being a safe place for fellowship that so many count on at Hospitality House each month and for shelter during these dark storms in their lives. None of the people we serve start out with a plan to live in a homeless shelter, but I thank God each and every day that we're here to help. I'm thankful that so many of you hear that cry in your hearts for those in need, thankful for the opportunity to show the steadfast love of the Lord every day.
Please be encouraged, because the success stories far outnumber the “Randys” we see. The majority that pass through our doors do make it out of homelessness and back to restored lives and self-sufficiency. Families are reunited. Lives are turned around, and many find a saving relationship with the Lord. Praise God, and Thank You for making it possible.
Peace be with you,
Hospitality House Ministries