Monday, September 16, 2019

Your giving makes a difference

Sharing the Gospel on the streets of Dothan every Wednesday and Friday.
When people financially support Love In Action, they are making a difference for the glory of God. Those who give help us reach out to the neediest people in our community and show them that they are not forgotten; they are loved and cherished by God and by people right here where they live.
For those who are financial supporters, we say, thank you so much. It humbles us to know people want to make a difference for God and are willing to partner with us. We could not do what we do without you.
As the ministry continues to grow and expand, we need more support than ever before. The needs in our community continue to grow. We see it every day.
You may ask, how does supporting Love In Action financially help? I don’t have enough room in this post to explain it all, but please allow me to give you some highlights.
Your giving allows us to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ through acts of compassion to the homeless and needy in Dothan, Alabama.
So far this year, 60 people have made decisions for Jesus here in Dothan. Glory to God for all of the souls saved and lives being transformed for all eternity.
Thanks to your giving, we are able to meet critical physical needs. We went from helping around 200 people a month with groceries through our food pantry to 435 in August. The hot meals we serve have also skyrocketed. We were averaging around 1,600 meals a month. Now we are serving around 3,000.
One-in-six people in Dothan are food insecure, meaning they don’t know where their next meal is coming from. Thanks to people's financial support, they know Love In Action is here to help. We are also able to help those same people with hygiene items and clothes.
Thanks to financial supporters, our homeless friends are able to take showers, and we can wash their clothes. We are able to take hot meals out into the community and homeless camps. The homeless have a safe, cool place to come to on hot days as we open our coffee house to serve them.
There is so much more that people's support does. They help make Love In Action a lifeline for so many people. We cannot say thank you enough.
Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:19-20, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in Heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.”
Thank you for laying up treasures in Heaven. Great is your reward.
If you would like to make a one-time financial donation to Love In Action or become a monthly financial partner, please mail your tax-deductible donation to: Love In Action, PO Box 85, Dothan, AL 36302. You may also give securely online via PayPal. Just click on this link, https://loveinactionministries.com/donate and then click on the "Donate" button on our website.
Thank you and God bless you.
We serve 3,000 hot meals every month.

60 people have made decisions for Jesus this year.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Needs double since first of 2019


We usually see an uptick in people needing help with food, clothing and hygiene items during the summer months. A big reason is because school is out and children do not receive breakfast and lunch during the week as they do during the school year.

School started back in August, but we didn't see the number of people in need drop. They have increased.

We served 435 people (individuals and families) through our food and hygiene pantries and clothing rooms in the month of August. That's the most we have helped in one month through our food and hygiene pantries. We also served 3,000 hot meals during August ... another record month.

We have seen the number of homeless and those in need continually rise this year. During the first quarter of 2019 we were meeting needs of 200 people through our food and hygiene pantries. The numbers have steadily risen to 435.

We were averaging 1,600 hot meals a month during the first quarter of 2019. Now we are at 3,000. We are reaching more people with our mobile kitchen, and more people are coming to Love In Action to eat a hot meal.

The reach of our food ministry has increased the reach of our ability to share the Gospel of Jesus, which is most important. We have seen 53 people make decisions for Jesus so far this year, and we praise God for that.

As the ministry continues to increase and reach more people with the Gospel and with vital physical needs such as food, our expenses have increased as well. Please help by making a one-time financial donation, or become a monthly financial partner. Your generosity will help us continue meeting the spiritual and physical needs of the homeless and those living in poverty here in our hometown of Dothan, Ala.

You can mail your tax-deductible donation to: Love In Action, PO Box 85, Dothan, AL 36302, or you may give securely online through our website via PayPal by clicking here 
https://www.loveinactionministries.com/donate and then clicking on the "Donate" button on our website.

Thank you and God bless you.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Can a housing development for the homeless work?

This is one of the tiny homes in the Mobile Loaves & Fishes' Community First! Village.
We saw a lot of Grace & Mercy and Goodness in Austin, Texas, at Mobile Loaves
& Fishes' Community First! Village.

Learn, gain valuable insight, plan, pray. Those were our main goals in Austin, Texas this past week.

Thanks to a grant given to the Southeast Alabama Coalition of the Homeless, I was honored to travel to Austin with The Harbor Executive Director Kody Kirchhoff, The Ark Executive Director Jeff Peacock, Genesis Housing Executive Director David Jamison, and Dothan Mayor Mark Saliba.

We attended a symposium put on by Mobile Loaves & Fishes, which is a social outreach ministry that has been empowering communities into a lifestyle of service with the homeless since 1998. They do this in three different ways:

- Truck Ministry: provides food for the homeless in Austin seven nights a week.
- Community First! Village: A 51-acre master planned development that provides affordable, permanent housing and a supportive community for men and women coming out of chronic homelessness.
- Community Works: Provides micro-enterprise opportunities that enable residents of the Community First! Village to earn a dignified income, while also developing new skills and cultivating enduring relationships.

Our main reason for attending the symposium was to learn about the Community First! Village. Our ministries do excellent jobs of meeting many of the needs of the homeless in Dothan. Permanent housing is one major area we have not been able to accomplish as ministries and as a city. In Austin, we saw how they do it.

It's not as easy as copying and pasting, because one size does not fit all. However, we witnessed a true breakthrough in providing permanent housing for the homeless.

The homes are not just given to the homeless. They have to go through an application process and pay monthly for their homes. Those living in the Community First! Village pay for their homes through their disability checks, SSI checks, earned incomes or sponsorships.

Does everyone succeed in the Community First! Village? No. However, their success rate is an amazing 88 percent in the first four years of the village.

Mobile Loaves & Fishes believes the single greatest cause of homelessness is the "profound catastrophic loss of family." They also believe housing will never solve homelessness, but community will.

I can't argue with either of those statements. In most of the lives of the homeless I've ever met, they lost their family at some point. They don't have a support system through family as many of us do. That often leads to poor decisions that furthers the downward spiral.

They have a strong argument about community as well. When you live in true community you have so much support, encouragement and hope. When you live in community through Jesus Christ and how the early Christians did in the Book of Acts, then there will be true transformation and people can overcome anything through the power of God.

Can a community like this become a reality in Dothan? It sure can. It will take a lot of prayer, planning, work, and money. It won't just happen overnight. But, if the Body of Christ can truly come together with the support of our community it can happen.

What are the next steps? Stay tuned and keep us in your prayers.

The Community First! Village has an amphitheater where a Friday night movie is
shown every week. People from Austin and other areas come to attend this fun,
family night.
RV campers are also part of the Mobile Loaves & Fishes Community First! Village.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

We need each other to reach the lost and hurting

Taking the Gospel of Jesus Christ and food to the streets of Dothan meets two
vital needs. Most importantly, the need for salvation through Jesus Christ alone.
Secondly, meeting the need for food as 1-in-6 people in Dothan are food insecure. 

It takes the Body of Christ to effectively reach people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ and meet needs of the homeless and poor. Just one or two parts of the Body cannot accomplish this mission. It takes all of us doing our part.

Romans 12:4-5, explains that we are members of the Body of Christ, "For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another."

We read in Ephesians 4:15-16 that when we all do our part as members of the Body of Christ, the Body will grow: "Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love."

We are able to reach more people when we all do our part and the Gospel spreads and God's Kingdom increases in number.

For example, last week we saw six people make decisions for Jesus. Hallelujah! This is why we do what we do at Love In Action. We also served close to 1,000 hot meals last week, as well as help close to 200 people through our food and hygiene pantries and clothes. Our homeless friends took showers and we washed their laundry.

All of the work meeting needs led to those six people making decisions for Jesus. None of those could have happened without our staff, volunteers, people who donate financially, people who donate items we use, and people praying throughout the week.

Our volunteers are amazing as they give of their time to show the love of Jesus and share the Gospel with those who come to Love In Action and as we take the Gospel and food to the streets. It's not easy, but they keep coming to serve, because they know they are fulfilling the call of God on their lives.

There are many others who deserve just as much credit and those are the people who support LIA financially. While you may not physically be able to be at LIA every day sharing the Gospel and helping people, your giving makes everything we do possible. Without finances, we cannot do what we do.

We have bills to pay just like a business. We have a mortgage payment, utility bills, insurance premiums, and payroll. We need to purchase fuel for our vehicles, which are used to transport our homeless friends to and from Bible study, Samaritan Clinic, other doctor appointments, social security office, food stamp office, and more, as well as pull our mobile kitchen around town. We purchase items to help meet needs of those we serve, such as tents, restock our food and hygiene pantries, office supplies and more.

Then there are the recent unexpected bills, such as two compressors going out in A/C units, a tire blowout coming back from a food bank run, an electrical disconnect that needed replacing, and someone throwing a brick through a window on our bus. Oh, I forgot about a clogged drain we couldn't take care of ourselves.

Your giving helps in all of these areas and more, and therefore makes it possible for us to share the Gospel with others, see them come to Jesus, and meet their physical needs. Thank you.

Those who donate items for our food and hygiene pantries, clothes, and more help us have the items we need to serve people without having to purchase the items ourselves, which saves on our budget. The food you donate keeps people from going hungry here in Dothan. When 1-in-6 are food insecure what a blessing it is to be able to help people who are struggling. The hygiene items help people who have to decide between paying for medicines and food or purchasing needed hygiene items.

Here is a link to a page on our website showing our ministry needs, https://loveinactionministries.com/dothan/ministry-needs.

Those who pray are bombarding Heaven with prayers for us and those we serve. God hears your prayers and we see Him answering them. We stand in amazement every week as we see firsthand those prayers for salvation, protection, and provision being answered.

You see, it takes all of us. Please continue doing your part. If you aren't involved in any of these areas, please join us. We need you. Those we serve and are trying to reach with the Gospel need you.

We are in real need of finances. The summer months are usually tough as people get out of their normal routine, which includes giving. Summer is also a time when our needs increase. The extreme heat greatly increases our utility bills, and children being out of school pushes the need for more food and serving more food even higher.

We actually started struggling with finances during the month of April, and the annual summer months decline has made this summer even tougher. God keeps coming through, and we praise Him for it. We are currently around $5,000 below our budgeted needs. Please help us catch up and get ahead.

You can mail your tax-deductible donations to: Love In Action, P.O. Box 85, Dothan, AL 36302 or donate securely online via PayPal through our website by clicking on this link, https://loveinactionministries.com/donate, and then clicking on the "Donate" button.

Thank you for giving. Thank you for volunteering. Thank you for donating items. Thank you for praying. 

Talking with and praying with people is such an important aspect of our ministry,
and baptizing new believers is a very exciting part of what we are blessed to do.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Wired evangelism team touched hundreds of lives

The Wired evangelism team serving with Love In Action were amazing young people.

If the youth attending Wired 2019 are any indication of how the generation will carry on the Gospel message, the Body of Christ has a bright future.

The Wired evangelism team serving at Love In Action last week was amazing. They were not shy about sharing Jesus with others and praying with pretty much everyone they came in contact with. They sat down and talked with the homeless in our coffee house. They ministered one-on-one with the homeless in suite 6 at LIA, which is where we talk with people one-on-one to share the Gospel and help them with physical needs, such as food, hygiene items, and clothing.

They prayed with our friends in homeless camps and parking lots of hotels. They knocked on doors in a community with mostly elderly residents to offer prayer and bagged lunches. Wherever we went, the youth were ready to minister.

Three decisions were made for Jesus last week, and the youth were part of helping to lead people to Jesus. We saw many acts of compassion, including one teen taking a lot of time with a deaf homeless person, who was visiting Love In Action for the first time. That personal attention made him feel welcome and loved. Nobody told that young man to do that. He was moved with compassion.

Another youth asked to do a prayer walk around one of the hotels we frequent with our mobile kitchen. She led the prayer walk and stopped at certain doors as she felt the Holy Spirit led her to pray specifically over the people in those rooms.

We even experienced a Love In Action and Wired first ... an impromptu wedding in the parking lot of the Beeline hotel. One of the youth brought his guitar and three others joined him singing praises to God in the parking lot. A couple heard the music and came out. They were amazed and loved it.

After talking with them for a while, I understood they loved Jesus with all of their hearts, and they had known each other for many years. Then they asked if I could marry them, because they want to live right in the eyes of God. I said sure. They asked if I could marry them at that moment. I turned around and said, "Hey, y'all. We're about to have a wedding."

Without missing a beat, the youth joined in and began playing music and singing for the wedding. One of the youth prayed over the happy couple. After I pronounced them husband and wife, the youth started singing another song.

The woman burst into tears and said, "That's our song," as she lovingly gazed into the eyes of her husband. Only the Holy Spirit could have done that, and He could because the youth were willing to flow with Him. It was awesome and so sweet.

Thank you Wired youth and team leaders for an awesome week. Y'all come back anytime.

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