All posts by DivinelyDiverted@gmail.com

Priceless and Free Coffee Scoop

As the outreach coordinator for our church, I have been collecting food donations for the past month for our Thanksgiving food drive. Donations will assist a local community organization which provides help to families in need. Little did I know that this effort would lead to another Divine diversion that would help reveal the answer to a question which had long been on my mind – where can we find the homeless population in this area? I refer to today’s Divine diversion as the free coffee scoop – read on to find out more about how God led us to the answer.

My husband and I completed the scheduled drop off of the donated food drive items earlier this week, and while at the community center, asked if any of the folks there knew where homeless populations were living in the local areas. We explained that our church was interested in doing some outreach to help the homeless and those in need. The community center folks indicated they were not aware and suggested we check with a local police municipality.

As we walked out the door, my husband noticed a coffee shop across the street. He wanted to go in to get a coffee and I suggested that we travel back closer to home to visit a coffee shop that we had recently heard about from friends. He said he didn’t want to wait and wanted to check this one out instead. So we crossed the street and went inside the coffee shop. When we walked in the door, we could see that it was a small, quaint shop with a hometown feel. There were a handful of small tables and chairs, and two big leather chairs just inside of their storefront window. We ordered our coffee and sat in the leather chairs for a few minutes. It was clear to see that just about everyone who walked in the door was a regular customer and every one seemed to know the crowd well.

As we sat there listening to their stories, we found an interesting group of people who intertwined and meshed well together with individual life and daily schedules of their own. It didn’t take long for them to join us into their conversations. God seemed to pull us into this coffee shop, for we had been looking to get information about the homeless population and other organizations in the area that our church might be able to partner with for outreach efforts. Interestingly, the conversation was leading to just the information we had been looking to find. Before we knew it, we were talking about outreach efforts. The kind folks we had just met were able to tell us where we could find homeless living in this area just a short distance from the coffee shop. Getting this information was like receiving a gift, and will provide some of the men from our church the opportunity to scope out the areas, so we can plan an outreach event to feed them and hopefully provide for their spiritual needs.

During this coffee shop visit we also met a woman who is a recently recovered addict. My husband shared a bit about his testimony with her, and she shared some of her testimony as well. It is always inspiring to meet and talk to folks who have similar testimonies. I believe that God leads us to cross paths intentionally so we may all be inspired, blessed and committed to keeping a straight path forward. He has provided us these testimonies to share and spark hope in others, and we feel blessed that God allows us now to freely share our stories without hesitation.

We were also given an opportunity to post our blog cards there on the coffee shop bulletin board, and we hope that someone finds their way to our blog, possibly recognizing our story. If this is you, please know that we were truly blessed to meet you all in that amazing coffee shop. We thank you for your cordial greetings and for the information you so willingly shared with us.

For all the rest who may be reading this, if you are new to an area or reaching out and looking for information on just about anything, check out the local coffee shop, for it holds a treasure chest full of free and priceless information. You just may find when you walk in the door that God is working there for your good as well as the good of others.

Be blessed on purpose today!

Great Puzzle of Hope

God has a calling for us all and when we come together, each doing our own part, the powerful things that happen are truly amazing! It is, as my dear church friends describe, just like a jigsaw puzzle, and we are all pieces that come together beautifully for a common cause to fill in the gaps to complete and make things whole. I like to think of it as God’s great puzzle of hope. This story has been inspired by an outreach effort that began as a thought with one single zip-lock bag, and has blossomed into so many “bags of blessings” for a worthy cause! Read on for today’s inspiring story.

 

My husband and I are dedicated to outreach efforts to help the homeless and those in need living in our surrounding community. One of our sisters in Christ from our church has taken an idea of assembling plastic zip bags filled with some necessities to hand out to folks on the street, and given it to her students as an assignment for a recent school project. She is an awesome teacher, who desires to teach her students a valuable lesson in how to reach out and show love. They have been asked to fill these bags with necessities such as toiletries, hand warmers, gloves, snacks, etc. They have also been encouraged to include brief messages of hope in each bag as well. She calls them “blessing bags,” and it is truly a blessing to see the magnitude of what these children have done. They have collected boxes and boxes of blessing bags during the course of this project assignment.

 

Whenever we can, my husband and I routinely provide a meal for several of our camp friends who do not have a place to call home, nor a roof over their heads. Instead, they live in tents in a secluded area not far from us just off a main highway. It is a daily struggle for them to find food and necessities. At times we have taken them to get clothing or other needed items, as we have felt a calling by God to assist them. It seems that my husband and I are now being Divinely diverted from our normal outreach efforts to expand our thinking on a much broader scale. We are now including the blessing bags in other areas of the community to folks we might never have been able to help without them. It is so amazing how God is opening up doors and opportunities to bless so many more through this wonderful teacher, her students and us. We feel so honored to be a puzzle piece helping to fill gaps in God’s wonderful big puzzle of hope.

 

We also see Divine diversions happening all around us every day. Our sister in Christ has told me that in the past she always thought she knew the path God wanted her to take, but now she and her family are being led to do much more. They have developed a new, strong passion for outreach. It is also very rewarding to hear that they have been inspired by my husband’s efforts. I can’t tell you how wonderful it was to hear that she feels called to raise up a generation of children like my husband, who will realize just what a blessing they can be to families in need. The response to this teacher’s assignment has been amazing. She told me that some of her students made extra bags to keep in their parents’ cars to hand out to homeless or those in need on the street, if and when they may cross paths with them. Some of the parents have told her that they are bringing this idea into their workplaces. What an exciting thing to witness, as we are watching God grow something so small into such a huge outpouring of love filled with so many blessings!

 

If you have ever seen homeless folks in your community and wondered how you could help, think of those thoughts as a “tug” on your heart by the Holy Spirit, encouraging you to get involved. Why not pickup the phone today and call or visit your local municipality. Ask about community centers or churches in your area that have outreach programs you may partner with to assist wherever you can. God is waiting for you to answer His call and be a part of His great puzzle to provide a small ray of hope to someone less fortunate today!

 

2 Thessalonians 1:11

“Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power,”

(Bible, King James Version)

Blessings in Disguise

We never know just when God will use us for his glory as he moves us around in our daily travels. Have you experienced blessings in disguise? Read on to hear of one such blessing for children in our community. Today’s post is inspired by an event that happened earlier this year. As the Thanksgiving holiday is approaching, plans for this season’s outreach food drive have brought memories to light from an amazing Divine diversion this past Spring.

 

My husband and I were at church one Sunday morning finishing up on the equipment setup just before service was about to begin. He glanced out the window to see a car had pulled into the church parking lot with a flat tire. A woman and young girl stepped out from the car. My husband went out to see if he could assist them with the flat tire. Since the weather was a bit cold, he suggested that they come inside to stay warm and listen to the service while they waited. When they came into the sanctuary, I greeted them as new visitors, giving them a welcome card to fill out. They filled out the card, but were adamant that they could not stay for the services since they were on the way to take the young teen to work when they  experienced the flat tire, and would have to get her there as soon as possible.

 

Once the tire was changed, they were on their way. They had not returned to our church for the next upcoming weeks, leading me to believe we might not hear from them again. I do always continue, however, to keep an email listing of all visitors who attend our church services, and include them on our weekly mailing list to publish our service times and upcoming events.

 

Several months later, our church outreach group was planning to assist a local community organization with donating candy and filling eggs for their annual Easter Egg hunt. We made a commitment to assist them, but it seemed most of the group that typically responds to assist with outreach events, had prior commitments and would not be able to attend. There were only 3 definite commitments for assistance that day. This was concerning to me and I prayed one evening 3 days prior to the event that God would provide assistance and some schedules would free up so we could have help available to represent our church in a good way. The very next day I received an email from a Girl Scout troop leader who said her troop was looking for an opportunity to do outreach and they wanted to assist us with this event if it wasn’t too late to respond. She had seen my email requesting assistance on the weekly church events communication. She told me that she, too, had prayed to God for this to be an outreach event the girls could participate in for their benefit as well. It turns out that she is the person who had the flat tire that day and pulled off the road into our church parking lot. I was amazed at this Divine diversion that wasn’t obvious to us on that first day, but now had provided us a whole group of Girl Scouts to assist us with this event! All because of a flat tire! How blessed were we to show up to the community center with candy donations and 23 people to represent our church and assist, thanks to our Lord’s Divine diversion and this wonderful Girl Scout troop?! The troop leader has also told us to keep them informed of any upcoming events where they can partner with us to be assistance in the community. We are currently collecting for our fall food drive to help this community center and we will reach out to them to assist with sorting and packing of food donation bags for the center.

 

God is always orchestrating things so perfectly unbeknownst to us. He plans things at times so far in advance, that it is hard to wrap our minds around this grand scale and how amazingly He works His magic every day! We are honored to be called by Him on any given day, and pray daily for God to continue to use us to assist in partnering with others and coming together for His glory! Have you had such a Divine diversion where God has used you for his glory? Why not share it here in the comments to inspire and encourage others today.

Have a blessed day everyone!

Do You Need to Forgive? Don’t Delay!

We have all been hurt, or have hurt someone in our past, whether intentional or not. When these feelings or events are swept under the carpet, they begin to fester and mushroom into an ugly situation for many people resulting in more hurt, blame and separation, distancing relationships. If there is someone who has been hurt by you in your past in some way, please read on for this inspiring story that proves God is watching over us and wants us to forgive and show love in order to break us free from burdens that can weigh us down for months and years if we let them. Do you need to forgive? Don’t Delay!

We had gone on a quick shopping trip to pick-up a few items at a local grocery store, and while there, I reminded my husband that I needed to be quick in order to return to my desk, as I was only on a lunch break at the time. God had other plans for us that afternoon, Divinely diverting us from our path. As we were leaving the store to head to the car, my husband overheard a woman say “God Bless You” to someone who was collecting money for a good cause. He immediately sparked a conversation with her knowing she was a woman of faith. They began talking about their faith and Jesus as they walked towards our car. The conversation soon turned, when she asked about our family and church life. There had been some distance in a relationship over the past few months due to some hurtful things that were said. I am not even sure the hurtful words were realized as they were being spoken, but even so, they were hurtful and placed a wedge in between us for some time.

This woman was very spiritual and prayed with us over the situation at our car, even as the weather changed and it began to drizzle. We took a bit of shelter under the open hatch behind our car and continued to talk for over an hour! She was very adamant that we should be first to reach out to forgive and put this behind us to mend the relationship. As my husband and I discussed opinions, she pointed out that all of that really didn’t matter. The only thing that is important is that God wants us to forgive and mend the relationships along the way. She said we didn’t need to elaborate, only to pray to God, give this burden up to Him, take the initiative to make contact, and say “I’m sorry.” She said trust God… it would be enough.

She quoted scripture from Matthew 6:14 & 15: (Bible, King James Version) “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” She stressed how important it was to do this right away and not delay. We exchanged phone numbers and vowed to keep in touch.

As we left the parking lot that day we were feeling blessed. We were a bit anxious about how those we needed to apologize to and forgive would respond when we approached them. As it turned out, the response was wonderful! This was such a huge blessing to us indeed, as all of us were asking for forgiveness and apologizing. This certainly has mended the relationships in a great way and it provided us with opportunities to say some things we may never have exchanged if it weren’t for this Divine Diversion in the parking lot of our grocery store! We are ever grateful to this woman, who allowed God to use her to bless us on that day. She has become our new friend and we are honored that God chose her to intervene in our lives. We now know just how important it is to be mindful of hurting others, asking for forgiveness and forgiving. There is such a peace that comes with putting a burden like this behind you.

Are you longing for peace in a situation such as this? If so, please don’t delay – pray for God to help you, contact those who have become distant and say “I’m Sorry” – it’s never too late to mend those relationships and open the door to God’s love. Why not pick-up the phone right now, today?

Standing in Faith and Moving Forward

The phrase “standing in faith and moving forward” can seem almost like an oxymoron if you think of the words literally. We have been repeatedly assured, however, that if you stand strong in your faith in God, He will let you know everything is going to be just fine as you are taking small steps to move forward. Isn’t it wonderful to know just how much God loves you, how He is ever present, and how he watches over you every day? Read on for one great example in today’s story. This post was inspired by a recent event that was leaving us feeling hopeless and wondering how we could help in a particular outreach situation.
Upon our return from vacation, my husband went out the next morning looking for some of his camp (homeless) friends to see how they were doing. We had been away for a couple weeks and he wanted to check to see that they were all doing OK. He called me to say that he didn’t see any of them at their usual fast food meeting place. He did, however, run into a person he had never met who seemed to be homeless, and began a conversation with him asking if he had seen any of the others. This man told him that something had happened to one of our specific camp friends, but didn’t have more details to share.  Rich was upset to hear this news and called me to inform me. We felt so badly and were not sure how we would or could find out more about him. We were sad to realize we may not get to ever know what happened, except through the “rumor mill.” We both prayed for his health and welfare.

In the mean time I had been planning to go to the post office on my lunch break from work to pickup the mail they had been holding for us during our vacation. As it turned out, my plans were delayed since I had to handle a priority incident for my job and was unable to take my normal lunch break. After the incident was cleared, I headed to the post office a bit late and, knowing I would have to be quick, decided to take a shortcut through a residential section off the main road.
After turning into the section, I spotted a man on a bike and as I got closer, recognized him as our camp friend. This was the friend we were so concerned about due to the news we heard earlier in the day.
I rolled down the window to speak with him briefly, asking if he was OK and he indicated that he was fine. It was such a relief and a blessing to know he was OK. I called my husband to let him know and he was relieved as well.
If The Holy Spirit hadn’t diverted me from my schedule, I most likely would not have been at the right place to know our camp friend was doing fine! It’s always amazing to me to see that God knows what we need and He provides it just in time. We are so grateful for answered prayers. Feeling blessed

Letting Go and Letting God

Who knew that we would be Divinely diverted so far from home to find a special Sunday church service to attend simply by “letting go and letting God?!” God surely uses all His children to bless and be blessed each and every day no matter where we may roam.

In between some activities, while we were traveling this past week in Florida, we stopped at a local department store to pick up a few items. My husband began a conversation with two women while at the store, and before long the subject turned to Jesus and our spiritual beliefs. These women showed their obvious love for Jesus and in turn, my husband proceeded to share his testimony with them. He mentioned that we were visiting our family and looking for a church service to attend this coming Sunday, but were unfamiliar with the area.

One of the women gave us her business card and wrote the name and number of the youth Pastor from her church on the back suggesting we speak with him regarding our search for nondenominational churches in the area where we were staying. My husband called him and spoke with the Pastor for 40 minutes on the phone. Both were blessed by this diversion and the sharing of their testimonies. We decided after the call that we would visit their church for Sunday service.

When Sunday came, we traveled to Unity Christian Church in Jacksonville, Florida. Everyone we met that day was very friendly and welcomed us with open arms. It was a somewhat small congregation and very obvious that those in attendance had a true love for Jesus, so much like our home church. We certainly were blessed and most definitely led to them by God that day. The Reverend who delivered the sermon is actually familiar with the area where we attend our home church in New Jersey, and told us that he travels to the area routinely driving trucks to make deliveries. He intends to visit our home church when he is in the area and would love to meet our Pastors. He said he can tell we have great Pastors who are dedicated to our Lord and Savior just from the short time he was in our company. It was such an enjoyable service and a great word from God. We are honored to know that God is using us, and thankful that all of these wonderful Pastors allow God to use them as well to reach and teach us all every day no matter where we may roam!!

We thank our sister in faith, whom we met at the department store, for allowing God to Divinely divert her that day. It was such a comfort to find this awesome church congregation, and to join them as part of their praise, worship and fellowship while we were so far from our beloved church family. We are so grateful to God for aligning things perfectly in bringing us together to praise and worship Him and to keep our paths straight.

Bible Scripture (King James): Proverbs 3:6: “In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.”

God is in control and we are at peace and amazed that we have finally realized that “letting go and letting God” is the best life secret we all could possibly learn! If you are struggling with life trials, and long to be free from such burdens, please reach out to God and I know you will find the same peace we have come to know today simply by handing over your burdens to our Heavenly Father and allowing the Holy Spirit to guide you each day. He will help navigate the waters for you.

Be Blessed on Purpose today!

Bible Scripture (King James)

Philippians 4:7 “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
John 16:33 “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
Matthew-11-28 “Come unto me, all [ye] that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
John-14-27 – “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

Amazing Grace, Once Lost Now Found

God watches over those in despair every day, providing for them in amazing ways! This is a brief story of one of those people, once lost now found. Read on to see how God’s amazing grace saved a homeless man who desperately needed Him, blessing other lives as well along the way.

About 10 years ago my husband’s brother befriended a homeless man he met on the streets in our area. He was very good to him, inviting him to stay on cold nights in a garage-type building behind his home. He and his wife would often provide food for him and make sure he had necessities. Over the next couple years, he continued to bring him into this building in his backyard whenever the weather conditions were extreme. As the years went by, my husband’s brother moved to another location, losing touch with the homeless man. My husband, concerned about the welfare of this homeless man, often searched for him on the streets, but was no longer seeing him at any of his usual hangout locations. He feared something may have happened to him, praying that instead he had possibly moved on to another area.

One day about a year later, we had gone out to do some errands and spotted him walking in the opposite direction. My husband quickly turned the car around and we picked him up. He was so happy to see that his homeless friend was still around. We took him to get a meal and brought him in from the weather for several hours. My husband began to help him whenever he would see him on the streets, and eventually began to visit the homeless camp where he was living in a tent. This man would resort to searching parking lot areas hoping to find some loose change on the ground to try to save up to get a cup of coffee. He would also check the dumpster of a local store and gather expired food items they may have thrown away. He relied on these things to survive from day to day. There were other homeless folks living in tents in the same area as well. My husband would often take a couple of our camp friends to get a warm meal and coffee at a local restaurant. He would sometimes take them to get clothing at a thrift store. He began to check up on his friend routinely to make sure he was OK, because he seemed to be looking more frail each time we would see him. At some point about 6 months ago, we learned that this homeless man had been taken to the hospital by ambulance and while he was there, doctors discovered that he was highly diabetic. They were able to get his blood sugar levels down close to normal over a period of about a week’s time, but upon his discharge, he was given insulin medication prescriptions, which he was not able to administer to himself. This man is unable to hold a job or truly care for himself when it comes to taking medications, as he suffers from a schizophrenic condition that leads him to be confused at times and not be able to hold his concentration. He continued to have episodes over the next couple months of being in and out of the hospital for the same reasons and was getting very thin… looking like the pictures we see of people from other countries who are suffering from starvation. His tent conditions were getting worse as there had been storms in the area and he was basically sleeping on wet blankets many nights on the ground. After about the 4th hospital stay, my husband began talking to the social workers and trying to plead to get him into a facility, fearing that if he were to return to woods, he wouldn’t make it through another winter. He tried to get him signed up with help at local community centers in the past with no success. It’s difficult to get help for someone who has no photo ID, or address, even though it seems to us that these are the people who need the help the most. Our camp friend ended up in the hospital once more and my husband was finally able to get them to transfer him to a rehabilitation center.

Our camp friend is now in a facility where he has a bed to sleep in, a roof over his head and is fed 3 meals a day. He has access to running water and a shower whenever he wants one. He has attended our church services several times and has accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior. His life has been turned around since going into this facility. We are praying that he will have a permanent home there or in an assisted living facility. He has shown much improvement and is putting on weight. It’s amazing to see the difference in him and his spirits are up as well. God is working through us and many others to help transform this man’s life, and we are honored that He has chosen us to do this important work. To God be all the glory!

Shine His light – Answer His call!

It is plain for us to see that whenever we let God’s light shine inside us through the Holy Spirit, amazing things can happen. Through one outreach effort to help a homeless man, we have been Divinely diverted to a nursing and rehabilitation facility. This facility has provided us many encounters with residents there resulting in new friendships. Read this inspiring story to see one example of how God uses us to let His love flow, multiply and spread when we are willing to answer His call and open the door to allow Him to bless others.

My husband recently felt called by God to help a homeless man in our area whom he had befriended several years ago. This man was in the hospital for the 5th time in a year, and during his last hospital stay my husband was able to work diligently to get him into a rehabilitation center upon release. I won’t go into too many details about this man in today’s blog post, but do promise to share his story in an upcoming post. Be sure to watch for future posts, as his story and personal testimony of how God has turned his life around is an amazing one.

Shortly after this homeless man was moved into the Rehabilitation Center, it became obvious to me that God had a much greater plan and purpose for bringing us there. We began to meet other residents of the Rehabilitation Center, listening to their stories, or talking to them one-on-one. My husband began to routinely visit many of them. During the daytime hours most residents are taken from their individual rooms to an activity/dining area, where they spend the day. As we began to make routine visits a few times a week, it was so amazing to see the pleasant looks on many of the residents’ faces when my husband would walk into the activity room and begin to talk with them. He definitely is a people-person and I could tell the residents were beginning to grow very fond of his visits.

There was one particular woman who would never smile, nor did she show any expressions on her face. Instead, she would sit still, not wanting to respond to us on our first several visits. My husband continued to talk with her on each visit even though there was no response. She continually had a sad look about her, seeming determined to hide her expressions from the world around her. On one visit, my husband kept asking her to smile for him, saying he would love to see her smile, and he repeated this several times to her. After talking with her for a few minutes, all of a sudden, she turned her head up and looked at him and gave him a huge smile from ear to ear. We were all amazed by this response and this special moment, knowing that he had in some small way actually brightened her day. Even the staff was very surprised to see that he was successful in unmasking her smile. On our most recent visit just the other day, she actually stood up from her wheelchair extending her arm to reach out to my husband. He took her hand concerned about her balance. A member of the staff told us that this response meant she wanted to go for a walk. We were told that she was able to walk with assistance, so I took her other hand as she began to walk. We walked with her down the hallway and she seemed very content. She gave us several smiles that day throughout our walk down the hallway and our visit with her. It’s so wonderful to see what a kind word and cheerful greeting can do for those who have become depressed, withdrawn, or perhaps even brokenhearted.

There’s a song we hear on the radio often containing this lyric: “God put a million, million doors in the world for his love to walk through, one of those doors is you.” (“With Every Act of Love” by Jason Gray)  Everyone has a gift of love to give, and a heart with which to carry and reflect God’s light out to the world.

I encourage you to look around as you go through your day. Is there someone you know or pass by who could use a token of kindness from you today? Why not let God use you to spread His light to touch and bless some hearts today?

Colossians 3:12 (NIV)  “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”

10 Tips Reaching Out to Homeless

It is a sad but true fact that the homeless populations are increasing in numbers in our society today. Many homeless people who were victims of hardships in their lives are struggling to survive on our streets without a roof over their heads and don’t know where or when they will get their next meal. Have you ever passed homeless people on the streets wanting to help, but unsure of what to do? Ever thought about reaching out to homeless in your community?

I had a different blog post planned for today, but then I came across some disturbing statistics about those who are currently unemployed and how some government programs have been cut in the past year or two, resulting in a higher homeless population in America. I viewed this as my Divine diversion for today, feeling a strong need to encourage people who may have thought of reaching out to less fortunate folks, but may not be quite sure how to begin going about it. Think about those things that you may take for granted on any given day: having a place to lay your head to sleep with a roof to protect you, a bed to sleep in, running water and soap to take a bath or shower, a refrigerator with food in it, clothes and shoes to wear. These are all things you and I may feel are just simple necessities of life. But for many on the streets, these things would be a luxury. We encourage you to consider reaching out in your community to those who could use some donations or just a kind word now and then.

Here are some tips based on our own experiences which may help you with reaching out to homeless in your community:

  • Visit your local municipality community relations office or police department and ask them if they know where homeless populations may be located in your local areas.
  • Ask them also if there are organizations that assist the homeless in your community. You may want to contact these organizations to volunteer your time, assistance or perhaps make a donation of money or items which may be helpful in their efforts. Ask them about their needs and they will be happy to tell you how best to assist them.
  • When you approach homeless folks, don’t be afraid to talk to them! Homeless folks are mostly just people like you and me who have fallen on hard times and/or have been victims of unimaginable circumstances. Many have testimonies to share of difficult struggles and trials in their lives. Most all are certainly not homeless by choice. They should not be judged and we should never turn our backs on them. Any one of us could be in a similar situation if not for fate and different choices or paths we have chosen to take in our lives. Show them compassion, kindness and generosity.
  • Bring them donations of items they desperately need. Typical needs are clean clothes (especially socks and underwear), toiletries to use to cleanup and make a good appearance (soap, deodorant, shampoo, combs, brushes, shaving cream, razors and nail clippers)
  • Bring them Water: bottled water is important for them to have on hand if they are living in a tent or camp-like area to be used for cleaning up as well as drinking.
  • Provide them with opportunities to get food: Restaurant or grocery store gift cards for places where they can get out of the weather for a bit and get something to eat, and perhaps a cup of coffee. Look for local, easy to travel by foot fast food restaurants that serve coffee. If you feel comfortable, have them join you at a nearby restaurant for a meal and coffee – most would love to talk to you if you show an interest in their story.
  • Bring donations of weather-appropriate items for your community areas such as blankets, gloves, hats and scarves if the weather is cold.
  • If you introduce them to someone, please call them your friend, do not refer to them as “homeless.” They deserve respect just as anyone else, and should not be labeled by society.
  • Please tell everyone you know about the homeless in your community to spread awareness about their needs. Share their stories, so people will know they are real folks who are need of their compassion.
  • Never go alone when you are performing outreach efforts – many of the homeless are completely harmless, but there are some who will prey on others. Travel in numbers and in daylight hours. Keep your cell phone handy and let people know what you are doing and where you will be going.

We have felt a strong calling to do homeless outreach in our area, after seeing the needs of those less fortunate. God certainly is working through us to be there for these folks as much as possible, but he is also working through these folks to bless us in a grand way for His glory. We feel honored that we can serve such an amazing God!

Acts 20:35
“In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

Bible, King James Version

Two Recovered Alcoholics Discover Testimonial Tools

It has become obvious to us in the past few months that we are used for God’s purpose, as are many who have struggled in life through tough trials. Many drug addicts and alcoholics discover testimonial tools that help them to stay on a straight path forward. Sharing life stories (or testimonies) certainly is helpful to others going through similar circumstances, and is exactly what God intends for us to do.

Several weeks ago, we went out to get something to eat and couldn’t decide where we wanted to go. My husband said he wanted to get a good cup of coffee after eating, so I suggested we go to a specific restaurant, which is right next to Starbucks. At first he said he didn’t want to go there, so we drove around for at least 30 minutes, coming back around in a complete circle and ending up back at the original restaurant. We went inside to eat, and while having dinner, we overheard a Christian man speaking with one of the servers who was on her break. She kept looking over at my husband and me, while this man was talking to her, seeming to want to talk with us. After the man left the restaurant, she got up and walked in our direction. We said hello to her and she sat down at our table. My husband began to ask her about the Christian man that was speaking to her, and that sparked a conversation between them. She said he was from a local church in the area. We believe she may have been drawn to us by the scar my husband has on his head from the traumatic brain injury which he suffered in 2005.

This meeting turned out to be the result of a Divine diversion for sure, as the timing would have been off if we had not driven around for 30 minutes before going into the restaurant.

My husband shared his testimony with her about his past alcohol and drug addictions, as well as his resulting traumatic brain injury. She shared with us her testimony as well. She had been through so much already in her young life. Her father committed suicide right in front of her when she was only a young child. This was devastating to her and drove her into an alcohol addiction at a very young age in her attempts to escape the harsh realities and memory of her father’s suicide. She had no interests in school or hobbies and her grades were failing. She eventually attempted suicide herself and was rushed to the hospital where she almost died.

After this near death experience, she found Jesus and He helped her to turn her life completely around. Even though she still has painful memories of her father, she has been delivered from the chains of her alcohol addiction, knowing that God is her strength and is with her always.

King James Bible: Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me”

What an amazing story she told us about how she went from failing grades before her suicide attempt to becoming an “A” student and Valedictorian of her senior class at graduation. She is currently attending college and is also engaged to be married to a very nice young man whom she met during her recovery. We were so happy for her after hearing her testimony, knowing just how far God has brought her from those dark days of her alcohol addiction.

We all were amazed to realize just how God is using us to bless others, and others to bless us as well!