Sunday, January 31, 2010

Bringing warmth to the homeless in Baton Rouge

It was a cold, windy and overcast day as we pulled our cargo trailer into the parking lot of the Baton Rouge Dream Center. The contents of the trailer were badly needed. Imagine, if you can, being homeless trying to survive in weather with the wind chill below freezing. That was the situation in Baton Rouge on Jan. 30, 2010.

We teamed with our friends at No Place Outreach to help bring warmth to the homeless in their home town of Baton Rouge, La. Our trailer was filled with blankets, coats, wool mittens, winter hoods, socks and Bibles.

Many of the homeless only had on light jackets, so they were very appreciative of the supplies we brought. One homeless woman who was pregnant was only wearing a shirt, shorts and flip flops.

A wonderful ministry called Cooking for Christ made a lot of delicious beef stew for us to serve to the homeless. It was the perfect thing for lunch on that cold day. They cook for No Place Outreach all the time. They make a great team.

No Place Outreach has a very high level of trust from the homeless, which is key to reaching them. Like anyone else, if they trust you, they will listen to you. It's always a blessing ministering with No Place Outreach. They know the homeless by name, and that's impressive.

We ministered to the homeless throughout the city. We started at the Baton Rouge Dream Center, then went to the levee on the Mississippi River. The extremely cold wind kept many of the homeless away from that area, so we followed Franco of No Place Outreach into the woods where three homeless men have a camp. They had a camp fire to keep warm, and they were very excited to receive the supplies we brought them. The visit was topped off with one of them saying a beautiful prayer.

We then drove to an underpass of an interstate, but most of the homeless there had been moved to a new shelter. However, some were still around and it was good to meet them and help them out. We then went to the shelter and spent some quality time there talking with the people and praying with them.

By the end of the day, we were all tired and cold, but we were all very blessed by serving the homeless all afternoon. We ministered to children and adults and people of all colors. Homelessness knows no age limit or race. God loves everyone, and we are to be His hands and feet. It's such a humbling experience. It always is, no matter how many times you do it.

What made this trip even better is a former homeless couple from our hometown of Dothan, Ala., went with us. We met them a year ago when they were homeless and not living for the Lord. It's amazing what God can do in a year. They are both living for God and serving Him every way they can. They can really relate with the homeless because they were once there. Also, they now know what it's like being the ones to minister the love of Jesus to the homeless.

I will be posting a video soon featuring this couple. Be sure to have some tissues with you when you watch it. We serve an awesome God.

Martha and I want to thank those who traveled to Baton Rouge for this outreach. Thanks mom, Justin, Emily, Judy, Robert, Danny and Dana. LIA volunteers are the greatest!

We also want to thank Franco, Vincent, Julie and everyone at No Place Outreach for the opportunity to serve and for their great hospitality.

Also, thank you to all of you who prayed for this outreach, and who support LIA. We couldn't have accomplished what we did on this outreach without you.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

God continues to touch lives of the homeless

As we entered 2010, Martha and I prayed that God would help us reach even more of the homeless this year, especially in our home town of Dothan, Ala. God obviously heard our prayers, because He has been bringing more homeless to us already this year.

For example, on a recent Tuesday there were two homeless people making their way through Dothan. Right now they're transient homeless -- roaming from town to town. As they stopped to talk to someone in downtown Dothan, the man told the young man and woman they needed to go to Love In Action, and he told them where we were located. That man was homeless at this time last year and we helped him. He hasn't been homeless for more than 10 months now.

They made their way to the LIA Ministry Center in the middle of the afternoon. I just "happened" to be there, which is unusual because I'm usually at work at that time of the day. I met them and encouraged them to come back that evening for our Celebrate Recovery. I told them they would enjoy a great dinner, music and preaching.

They came back and stayed through the entire service. A friend provided shelter for them, and two days later they were headed toward Montgomery. God allowed us to show them His love, and to plant seeds of God's Word in their hearts. Our prayer now is for God to send someone to water those seeds.

That same Tuesday night another homeless man showed up and he was talking about committing suicide. He had been drinking, but I told him he came to the right place. He shared some of his story and I told him that he would find nothing but love at our Ministry Center. I told him we had plenty of coffee and we were about to enjoy a delicious dinner, so he came inside too.

Everyone welcomed him and poured the love of Jesus out on him. He received hugs and encouragement. After dinner our friend Alan Watson led worship. I looked over and the same man who was talking about ending his life earlier had his hands raised worshiping God. After Robert Risner preached a powerful message, that man came forward during the altar call, fell on his knees and literally cried to God. He prayed and made things right with the Father.

I spent a lot of time with him that weekend. He's been sober since that night. He's a sweet man, who really does love the Lord and desires to start walking closely with Him again. He's a hard worker and is looking for a permanent job. He'd been living in a tent in the woods, as many of the homeless do in Dothan. But after experiencing the love of Jesus that Tuesday night, he's ready to change his life and get out of the woods.

The weather turned cold, so we got him a hotel room. He was so appreciative. He went to church with us, and loved the service and enjoyed how nice everyone was to him. He's been able to find some temporary work since then and is paying for his own room. We're trying to help him find a full time job. He's someone who has experienced many hurts over the course of his 52 years. God can heal those hurts, and we are asking God to let us help him to get back on his feet again.

Then there was another homeless person recently. She's a woman and she was tired and hungry when we met her. She was a sweet lady, but she had some mental issues. She wasn't "crazy" as some people call those with mental problems who are living on the streets. She's just a little slow in some areas.

We asked her what she was hungry for and she said pizza and that CiCi's Pizza was her favorite place to eat pizza. So that's where we went. It's a buffet style restaurant and she must have been starving, because she stacked her plate. She's a very tiny woman, but she ate more than I did. For those of you who have seen me eat, you know not many people can do that. :-)

Then she did something that just brought tears to my eyes. She served us. She went up to my mom and asked if she thought if Martha and I wanted some dessert. So, she fixed us two dessert plates and served us. Have you ever been served by a homeless person? Let me tell you, it's about the most humbling thing you can experience.

Afterward, she was so tired that she fell asleep in the chairs at the LIA Ministry Center. Who knows how long it had been since she had a good night's rest. We found safe shelter for her that night, and she was in church with us the next day. Now she's made contact with a friend in a nearby town and she's living with that lady. More seeds planted by sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ through acts of compassion.

God continues to touch the lives of the homeless, and it's so humbling to see how He uses Love In Action to do that. It takes all of us. All of you who pray for us and donate your finances and your time make it all possible. Thank you for helping us help the "least of these brothers of mine." (Matthew 25:40)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

730 health kits for #Haiti

Wow! What an awesome day it was on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2010, at the Love In Action Ministry Center. When Martha and I decided to ask for help in responding to the needs of the people in Haiti, we knew people would help us. But the outpouring of love from so many people was incredible.

More than 30 people came out on a cool January morning to give of their time to help the people of Haiti by assembling 730 health kits. Many more donated items so we could make so many kits. And others donated complete kits, so all we had to do was put the kits in boxes.

It was an amazing day as children to senior citizens came out to help. It was a great example of the body of Christ working in unity to show His love to the hurting people in Haiti. Volunteers came from Dothan, New Brockton and Ozark, Ala., and many different churches were represented. However, the only banner raised was the banner of Jesus Christ. It was awesome!

One of the volunteers was a homeless man we are helping. We first met him last Tuesday night when he just showed up at the LIA Ministry Center. He was so touched by the love of Jesus Christ that was shown to him that night that he wanted to come back and help us. Praise God! Please pray for Ricky. He has a heart for God. He just needs a hand up and plenty of love to get him back on his feet again.

Thank you to everyone who gave supplies and kits, money so we could purchase a lot of items, and your time to assemble the kits. We are not finished. This is just the first shipment. If you were not able to donate this time, we're still accepting donations of supplies and kits through Feb. 5.

Below is the list of items. We must follow them precisely.

Health Kits:
1 hand towel (15” x 25” up to 17” x 27”)
1 wash cloth
1 comb (large and sturdy, not pocket-sized)
1 nail file or fingernail clippers (no emery boards or toenail clippers)
1 bath-size bar of soap (3 oz and up)
1 toothbrush (single brush only in original wrapper; no child-sized brushes)
1 large tube of toothpaste (4.5 or larger, expiration date must be 6 months or longer in advance of the date of shipment)
6 adhesive plastic strip sterile bandages

All items should be placed inside a sealed one-gallon plastic bag. No money, notes, religious or political literature, or other items should be placed in the kits.


Thank you again, and please continue praying for the people of Haiti and the disaster relief teams who are there working.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Help us respond to needs in Haiti

Hey everyone. I'm sure you have been closely watching the horrific events that are happening in Haiti following the massive earthquake that totally devastated the already devastated country. Haiti is the poorest country in the Western hemisphere and they are even poorer now.

The death toll could hit in the hundreds of thousands. The needs are tremendous and the first responders are on the ground doing everything they possibly can.

At Love In Action, we are not equipped or trained to be first responders, however, we can still help bring relief to the Haitian people.

We are joining with the United Methodist Committee On Relief to put together Health Kits for Haiti. Below is a list for the Health Kits. We must follow them precisely. When you ship and deliver items internationally, many times you cannot include any kind of literature, and that's the case with Haiti. However, we can help meet the physical needs of the people, which will help Christians who are already in Haiti share the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

We are collecting items this week, and we're asking you to help us. Tell others as well. This is a great project for individuals, families, schools, Sunday School classes, churches, businesses, civic groups, etc. However, we must respond quickly. We are accepting items through Jan. 23, and on that day we will assemble the Health Kits at the Love In Action Ministry Center. If you live in the Dothan area, please come to the Ministry Center at 8 a.m. on Jan. 23, to help us assemble the kits. We will then deliver the kits to the UMCOR Sager Brown Depot in Louisiana, and they will deliver them to Haiti. The UMCOR is entrenched in Haiti, so they will be sure these kits make it into the hands of those who need them.

This is not only for those of you who are Methodists, this is for everyone. Love In Action has never been about denominations. We only wave the banner of Jesus Christ. This is a great opportunity for the Body of Christ to work together to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ through acts of compassion.

Please visit our Web site at www.loveinactionministries.com for more information, including a video.

Please help. I thank you in advance.

Health Kit Contents:


1 hand towel (15” x 25” up to 17” x 27”)
1 wash cloth
1 comb (large and sturdy, not pocket-sized)
1 nail file or fingernail clippers (no emery boards or toenail clippers)
1 bath-size bar of soap (3 oz and up)
1 toothbrush (single brush only in original wrapper; no child-sized brushes)
1 large tube of toothpaste (4.5 or larger, expiration date must be 6 months or longer in advance of the date of shipment)
6 adhesive plastic strip sterile bandages



All items should be placed inside a sealed one-gallon plastic bag. No money, notes, religious or political literature, or other items should be placed in the kits.

Friday, January 15, 2010

See, you are making an eternal difference

The bitter cold weather has subsided for now in southeast Alabama, but thanks to the awesome response from Dothan and the surrounding cities and counties, and donations from out of state, we were able to help people stay warm during a record cold snap that saw 13 consecutive nights of below freezing weather.

When we ran out of coats I made the need known and the response has been unbelievable as I wrote in my previous blog entry. We have picked up more coats since that blog, and I have more to pick up today.

We write blogs, update our Web site, take photos and shoot videos to show those who support us how they are making a difference in the lives of the people we serve. We couldn't do it on our own. It takes individuals and churches helping us through prayers, financial donations, volunteering their time, and donating items like coats, blankets, hygiene items, food, etc.

With this blog, I want to tell those of you who donated coats and blankets how you helped during a frigid two-week period, and how your generosity will help throughout the rest of the winter.

The coats and blankets didn't just trickle in, they were donated by the truck load. We spent an entire day sorting them so we would know what we had. That makes distribution so much more efficient. Volunteers came out and spent a chilly day at the LIA Ministry Center sorting coats and blankets.

That evening I went out looking for any homeless people who didn't have shelter. I looked in the box cars on the rail road tracks behind the LIA Ministry Center. I drove throughout Dothan looking in places the homeless usually stay. Thankfully, I didn't find anyone. I talked with a police officer who said they had taken the homeless they found to the Dothan Rescue Mission.

I went to the Mission to make sure they had sufficient blankets and coats. They did. I then called our friends at the Ark, and they needed some blankets, coats and hygiene items for the people they took in. Martha and I filled up the truck and delivered them. We were also able to help with some food.

The next day after church we drove around Dothan again looking for people who needed coats and blankets. It was another frigid day and the streets were empty. After driving to one more location we saw a man digging through the dumpster. We had seen him months earlier and offered help, but he abruptly turned us down.

I asked him if he didn't a blanket. "No, I'm OK," he said has he waved us off. I asked again, if he needed a blanket, coat or gloves. He stopped digging through the dumpster and walked toward us. He asked, "What?" I told him again what we could help him with, and he said he could use some gloves.

Then I asked if he was hungry, and he said that's why he was looking through the dumpster. He was picking out the aluminium cans to turn in for money for food. Martha and I told him about the LIA Ministry Center and the items we had there for him. We told him we would like to buy him dinner and take him to the Ministry Center. He kind of smiled and said, "OK, that would be nice."

We picked him up some dinner and drove to the Ministry Center. We told him to take his time eating, then he can look through the clothes, coats, blankets, gloves, scarves and other items and pick out what he needs. He was very thankful. He picked out some items for himself and a friend, who we later met. We were able to help them both with hygiene items and some food as well.

They weren't homeless, but not far from it. Their little apartment was cold, but at least they had shelter and new blankets and coats to keep warm.

Now we have a surplus of coats and blankets, even after we gave out more this past Tuesday and Wednesday nights. We will be able to help with the Dothan Homeless Standdown that will take place on Jan. 30. It's an event to provide items and assistance to the homeless, and a number of agencies are involved. It was scheduled after we had already committed to being in Baton Rouge, but we will still be able to help by providing winter coats.

We also have enough blankets and coats to take to Baton Rouge to help the homeless there. And, we will still have plenty for when the next cold snap comes to the Dothan area.

None of this would have been possible if all of you didn't donate and support Love In Action. Martha and I can't say "thank you" enough. You help us spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ through acts of compassion. And, because you give, lives are being eternally changed. This past Wednesday night, someone who was new to our Wednesday night Bible study gave his life to Jesus Christ following LIA board member Brian Turner's powerful teaching. That's another life changed because you help us meet physical needs to open the door for their spiritual needs.

Praise God for all He has done and for all that He is going to do.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Help in Haiti

I have been asked by people today how could they help with the horrible situation in Haiti. I've been asked if Love In Action was going to do something. I wish we could, but we don't have the contacts any more, nor do we have the finances to go to Haiti.

However, there are things we can all do. First, we all need to pray for the people of Haiti. Two years ago they suffered through four hurricanes that devastated the already devastated country. And now, up to 500,000 people or more may be dead after the worst earthquake the tiny country has experienced in 200 years.

Second, pray for the emergency workers and volunteers responding to the tragedy. They need strength to see the carnage they will see and to help in the worst of situations.

Third, help organizations you trust will properly use the money to help the people of Haiti. There are two Christian organizations that I highly recommend giving to - Samaritan's Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

Love In Action has had the privilege of working with both organizations during disaster relief efforts, and I was extremely impressed with them. They have wonderful first response teams that assess the situation, then respond to the needs. In addition to providing food, they look for ways to help long term, like digging water wells. They do just as good, and in most situations, better job than major international relief organizations.

Through their actions, the people see the teams care about them, so that opens the doors to sharing Jesus Christ with them. They do it all with the love of Jesus Christ in such a very caring way.

Visit their Web sites and check them out, and please give financially to help. It costs money to do ministry and disaster relief. The Haitian people need to see the light of Jesus shining brightly in this extremely dark situation. Let's be God's hands and feet and bring His love and help to Haiti.

Here are the Web sites:
Samaritan's Purse: http://www.samaritanspurse.org
Billy Graham Evangelistic Association: http://www.billygraham.org

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

An awesome response

Last week I sent out a notice that we were out of winter coats. This week, our supply is full and overflowing. Wow! Martha and I are humbled at the awesome response to our need. We send out of big "Thank You" and "God Bless You" to everyone who donated.

Here in our hometown of Dothan, Ala., we have experienced a record cold snap, and we are still in it. By the time it's over, we will have had at least 10 consecutive nights of temperatures below 32 degrees. The previous record was six nights in 2003. Most of these nights have been in the teens and low to mid 20s with wind chills in the low teens and single digits on a couple of nights. That's cold any where, but especially in southeast Alabama where the normal temps at this time of the year are highs in the upper 50s and lows in the upper 30s.

So many people responded. His Radio 94.3 started announcing our need and after I pick up more coats this afternoon at lunch, we will have picked up four truck loads of coats and blankets from them. Earl Kelley, his staff and their listeners are awesome!

Every Thursday from 4:15-5 p.m. I am on the air on 91.7 WAQG with Debbie Irby. We announced the need last Thursday, and the next day people started showing up at the Love In Action Ministry Center with coats and blankets. Debbie and 91.7 has long been a great blessing to LIA.

Pastor Ralph Sigler of Harvest Church, which is our home church, announced last week that they were doing a coat and blanket drive for us. We knew the response would be great, because the people of Harvest have tremendous hearts for the hurting. We took two truck loads of coats and blankets to the Ministry Center on Sunday from Harvest, and there are more to pick up. We have an awesome home church family.

Tabernacle United Methodist is bringing a large load of coats and blankets to the Ministry Center this evening. They are an awesome church. They have done so much for us this past year.

I will be picking up at least one truck load of coats and blankets at Wiregrass Church today on my lunch break. Their response to our need is wonderful. Several members of Wiregrass are supporters of LIA and they have a great church.

Southside Baptist Church in Ozark was a drop off site for His Radio listeners and members there donated coats and blankets as well. Southside has assisted LIA ever since the ministry began.

Crossroads Community Church in Enterprise brought a truck load of coats, blankets, and some food to help. They have been a real blessing to LIA this past year. They have great hearts for the homeless and needy.

The response was great and we were able to immediately start helping people with winter coats and blankets. I will write another blog to show how your quick response helped those without immediately.

I've said this many times and I will continue to say it, because it's true. We could not do what we do without all of you. We are all working together to meet the needs of the homeless and needy, and that opens the doors to their greatest need - Jesus Christ. Thousands of people have given their lives to Jesus over the past 10 years, and that wouldn't have happened without all of you helping us. It's an eternal difference that we are all making, and that's exactly what Jesus instructs us to do.

Thanks so much for everything you do to help us help the "least of these brothers of mine." (Matthew 25:40)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The homeless and frigid weather

I received a text message the other night. It simply stated, "Do you have any more blankets?"

It was a text from a homeless couple here in Dothan, Ala. Yes, homeless people have cell phones. With the pay as you go plans, the homeless can have cell phones. It's a big need when they are job hunting.

This couple lives in their car. We have helped them with blankets, clothes, hygiene items and food. The four previous nights they had stayed in a hotel thanks to our home church. Their time was up at the hotel and they were preparing to go back to living out of their car.

It's cold throughout most of the country, and southeast Alabama is no exception. The temperature at night since last Friday has been in the low to mid 20s with wind chills near 10 degrees. Imagine sleeping in your car on nights like that. I couldn't.

Our finances are very tight, but we had enough money to get them a hotel room for a week, even though they didn't ask for that. All they asked for were more blankets. These frigid temperatures are supposed to last through the weekend, so at least they will be out of the cold this week and weekend.

These people are not lazy. They are from Michigan, and upon arriving in Dothan, she landed a job at a convenience store. It took him a few weeks to find work, but he now has a job at a restaurant. They are trying to get permanent housing. There is a program that will help them do that, but they have to go through a bunch of red tape. It could take a 2-4 weeks, but once that comes through they will have a home. We will be able to help them with furniture when they get a home.

I worry about the homeless on these frigid nights. Not all of them are able to find shelter. Some will sleep in their cars, some in abandoned houses, some under bridges or in the woods. It would be nice to have the money to provide shelter for them all, but we certainly don't have that.

When looking at the homeless situation here in Dothan and throughout the country, it can be overwhelming. But, early on God ministered this to me, "One at a time." When you look at it that way, it's not overwhelming.

Thankfully, we have been able to help a lot of homeless people transition off the streets. It's not a quick or cheap process. Last year we helped 35 people transition off the streets. That was awesome and we praise God for it.

How many will we help this year? To me, numbers aren't the most important thing. If we help one or two then all of our work is worthwhile. And, it's not just taking them off the streets. Seeing their lives transformed by the power of God through His Son Jesus Christ is what's most important.

We need your help. As I've said many times before, we cannot do this ministry without you. We need your prayers and your financial support. If you have never given to Love In Action, please pray about it and know that every penny you give goes directly to the ministry. Nobody with Love In Action receives any pay, benefits or perks. We do this all for the glory of God.

Thank you for your prayers and support, and please keep the homeless throughout the U.S. in your prayers. It's very cold out there.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Do what is right

Sharing some thoughts from my Bible study tonight:

We have all heard that if we do what's right good things will happen, and if we do the wrong things there's trouble ahead.

God made those points perfectly clear from the beginning.

The story of Cain and Abel is told in Genesis 4. Cain is upset because God looked more favorable on Abel's sacrifice than his. So Cain gets angry with God and starts pouting. Sounds like modern day people, doesn't it.

In verses 6-7, the Lord says to Cain, "Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it."

God is telling Cain, and all of us, that if we do the right things, good things will happen. But if we don't do what is right, we are opening the door for sin to enter our lives and take over. God says we must master it; don't let sin be the master of our lives.

God's Word is so powerful and when you really break it down, what God asks of us isn't really that hard. He wants us to do right because He loves us and only wants the best for us. He doesn't want us to do wrong, because He knows that puts us in danger.

God is so loving, so awesome! Like a good father, He gives us warnings to protect us.

So, if you are facing a situation or situations, remember what God tells us in Genesis 4, make the right decision. Do what's right, so sin cannot enter in and enslave you.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Read the entire Bible in 2010

People always make resolutions this time of the year and by now, most have already broken them.

Here's a challenge for you. Don't make it just a resolution; make it a challenge, a lifestyle change. Join Martha and me in reading the entire Bible in 2010. I call it a lifestyle change, because if we aren't taking time to read God's Word, we're missing out.

The Bible is God's message to each one of us. If you want to know who God is, what His will is for your life, all the wonders of God, then read His Word. And, what better way than setting a schedule to read the entire Bible in one year. It will change your life.

My favorite online Bible resource is www.biblegateway.com. Check it out. It has many versions of the Bible and other resources. It also has a plan for reading the entire Bible throughout 2010. Check it out. Here's the address: http://www.biblegateway.com/resources/readingplans/index.php/today

So come on, and join us in reading the greatest book ever written and grow more in God in 2010. Before reading, ask the Holy Spirit to teach you, and be sure to thank God for giving us His Word.

2009 was an awesome year

Throughout our 10 years of ministry, we have seen God do so much. We have seen Him take the homeless off the streets and give them a new life. We have seen Him deliver drug addicts and alcoholics from their destructive lifestyles.

In 2009, we saw Him do all of this to an even greater degree, and even more. In years past we have always been very good at the first part of the Great Commission. Jesus said to "Go." (Matthew 28:19) We have traveled all across this country; from L.A. to New York City and many places in between.

The second part of the Great Commission is, "... make disciples of all nations ..." (Mat. 28:19)

In 2009, we started truly making disciples. In the past, we directed those we reached to churches where they can receive discipleship training and help. For example, in Enterprise, Ala., we direct them to Christ-Life Church. In Atlanta, it's Eagle's Nest Community Church. In Brooklyn, NY., it's Sunset Park Community Church. In Dothan, Ala., it's our home church of Harvest. And that has worked great. We have seen many lives transformed through reaching people and directing them to those churches and others.

But now we have the LIA Ministry Center and every Tuesday and Wednesday we are providing discipleship through Celebrate Recovery and Wednesday night Bible studies. In 2009, we provided discipleship for more than 150 people. Discipleship, which means to teach or train, is so important. If we are truly going to experience a changed life, then we need to be taught the ways of Jesus and live according to God's Word.

If we led someone to Jesus then just said, "Good luck," that wouldn't be good. Now, when we reach out to help the homeless, needy and work release inmates in our hometown of Dothan, we have teaching and training for them. For those who don't know Jesus, this gives them a chance to see what kind of life they can live with Jesus.

It's been great. Martha and I enjoy teaching, and God has blessed us with so many other great teachers, like LIA board members Brian Turner and Mike Shroades, LIA Director of Operations Franklin Moore, Celebrate Recovery Director Emily Hinderliter, former work release inmate Russell Ham, and others.

The pastor of our home church, Ralph Sigler, wrote five phases of discipleship, and Harvest gave us the materials to teach Phase 1 at the Ministry Center. In December, 15 people successfully passed Phase 1 and will move on to Phase 2 in February. A number of others came close to moving forward, but they will go through then entire course this winter.

Praise God! That's awesome! Once someone learns how to share their faith, then the Kingdom of God multiplies, and we have seen that happen. We have seen new Christians sharing their faith at the Ministry Center. We will teach Phase 1 and 2 at the Ministry Center this winter/spring.

In 2009, we saw more than 70 people accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior, and many others rededicate their lives to Jesus. In 2009, we helped more than 35 homeless people come off the streets in Dothan, and we helped thousands of homeless and needy people with hygiene items, clothes, boots, blankets, food, furniture and other physical needs. We have seen God restore the homeless to their families.

Thank you Jesus for an awesome 2009. Thanks to all of you who have prayed for us, supported LIA financially, donated items and volunteered your time. You were a big part of everything that happened in 2009. We couldn't have done it without you. Your support is making an eternal difference.

Keep going forward with us to show the love of Jesus to the unlovable and to those who are ignored and pushed aside by society. Continue to help us share the Gospel of Jesus Christ through acts of compassion.

Happy New Year! Can't wait to see what God does in 2010!