Saturday, May 29, 2010

Urgent prayer request

I have an urgent prayer request. Our dear friend, Pastor Larry Pitta of Sunset Park Community Church in Brooklyn, NY, was hit by a school bus and the next 48 hours are critical for his survival. Please pray.

Larry and his wife Margie have ministered to the homeless and needy of Brooklyn for the past three decades. Love In Action has ministered with them for the past eight years and have a trip planned to work with them this August. Please pray for God's healing, and for comfort for Margie and their family.

Below is an email about this situation from our good friend Rick Camacho of Mission New York City.

Ken Tuck
President
Love In Action International Ministries, Inc.
P.O. Box 85
Dothan, AL 36302
334-494-4995
www.loveinactionministries.com
http://twitter.com/liaministries
http://liaministries.blogspot.com

Love In Action's blog


This morning Margie Pitta called to inform me that Pastor Larry Pitta of Sunset Park Community Church was hit by a school bus yesterday. He is in extreme critical condition at Lutheran Hospital in Brooklyn and doctors have told her that the next 48 are essential to his survival from this accident.

I know that over the years so many of you have served at his church through the soup kitchen and shower ministry for the homeless, the annual community block party outreaches to the kids in Brooklyn and in so many other ways.

In addition, those of you who have stayed at the church during your mission trips know that Pastor Larry's heart and hospitality show no limits.

All this weekend I am personally asking that you would please mobilize as many people as you can this holiday weekend to lift up in prayer Pastor Larry, his family and the doctors and nurses treating his injuries.

As I get new news I will send out updates. Please feel free to forward this prayer request. I know that his family will greatly appreciate it.

Rick Camacho

Sincerely,

Rick Camacho
Mission New York City

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Two lives being transformed by God

On a hot Saturday afternoon, two homeless men helped us all day long at the Love In Action Ministry Center. It always blesses me when the homeless want to do God's work and give back to a ministry that's helping them.

Bill and Rick are two men who are making a change in their lives. They are both homeless, but they don't want to live that way any longer. A year from now when we look back, I believe we will see where this week was a pivotal time in their lives.

As I wrote in my previous blog, Bill called me saying he was tired of living a life of homelessness and hopelessness. Rick came back to a ministry that showed him the love of Christ last year.

They are both good men. They don't ask for anything. They didn't ask for a hotel room, but thanks to the generosity of others, we were able to get them both a room. At times during the winter, people think about the homeless freezing outside. But, most don't think about them during the summer. It's 95 degrees here in Dothan, Ala., today with a heat index of around 100. It's not good living outdoors right now.

Bill and Rick worked hard yesterday at the Love In Action Ministry Center. From sorting food and clothes to helping load and unload appliances for those in need, they were with us all day. We enjoyed them being there. Not only because they are good workers, but mainly because it was great to hear them laugh. The homeless often don't have reasons to laugh, but at Love In Action we always try to have a good time no matter what we're doing.

Both men were in church with us this morning at Harvest, and they heard a message that was exactly for them. Pastor Ralph talked about building a foundation on the solid rock Jesus Christ. These men are building a new foundation. They both realized that message was for them, and they were excited about it.

This week they will look for work, and we will help them. Jobs are hard to come by, but we're believing God to open doors. Once they have work, we will work with them on finding permanent places to live.

Martha and I never get tired of seeing God restore people's lives. There is no power greater than God's. He truly does have the power to save and restore. We're excited what God is doing in Bill's and Rick's lives.

We also can't thank those of you enough who pray, give financially, donate various items and your time to help us help "the least of these." (Matthew 25:40) We are the Body of Christ working together to make a difference for God's kingdom. Thank you. We couldn't do what we do without each of you.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

'I'm tired of living like this'

I received one of those phone calls yesterday that I love to get. It was from a homeless man, and he said these words: "I'm tired of living like this. I want to change and live a normal life."

We have known Bill for the past couple of months. We've helped him with food, hygiene items, camping supplies, and we've just been sharing the love of Jesus Christ with him. He's a nice, gentle man, around 50 years old. He's tall, slender and has a thick beard.

When we first met him, I told Bill that when he was ready to come off the streets, we will be here to help him. Then I shared Martha's favorite verse with him: Jeremiah 29:11, "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

That's what we tell the homeless. We want them to know that God loves them, and He has great plans for them. And, we want them to know that we love them. You can't force a person to come off the streets. But when you constantly love on them with the love of Jesus Christ, they will eventually realize God has better things for them. And, when they are ready, they will tell you.

Martha and I are excited for Bill. He came to Bible study last night at the Love In Action Ministry Center, and afterward Bill and I talked for a long time. We started mapping out action plans for him to come off the streets.

One of the first things he wants to do is "clean up." He said he wanted to get a shower, a haircut, shave his beard off, and wash his clothes. "I don't need to look like I live in the woods when I'm trying to get a job," he said. That's why we can't wait to get our building project completed. We will have showers and a laundry room where the homeless can get clean and have their clothes washed.

We're looking for a place for Bill to stay until he gets a job and is able to afford his own place. A hotel is too expensive, so far now, our bus is his home. Bill said, "I'm tired of living this way. I'm tired of camping in the woods and being run off or not knowing who is sneaking up on you when you're sleeping. I'd be happy sleeping in someone's shed with my sleeping bag just to be safe."

We take so much for granted. To think that a shed would be a nice home for someone really blows my mind. Most of us really don't realize how much God has blessed us.

Bill has a hope and future. God says so, and we believe it. And now we set out on that road with Bill to help him come out of homelessness and into the real life God has for him.

If you can help us, please do. Again, Bill needs a place to stay until he gets a job. If anyone has a loft apartment or, for now, even a shed he can sleep safely in, please let me know.

As for work, Bill has a variety of skills. He can do warehouse work, run a fork lift, front end loader, any kind of farm tractor, lawn work, chain saw work, some carpentry, and he has worked in tire stores in the past.

If you know of any jobs, please let me know. Call me at 334-494-4995 and/or email me at loveinactionministries@hotmail.com

Wow. As I was about to finish this blog, a friend and Love In Action volunteer just called and asked if he could get Bill a hotel room for tonight so he can shower and get a good night's rest. Praise God! See, it takes the Body of Christ working together to change lives. That's why people were added to the church daily in Acts. The Body of Christ was in one mind and one accord working together.

It's a blessing helping others. If you can help us help Bill, please let me know.

Please pray for Bill as he starts this new journey.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

God's love and peace is overwhelming

The roll of thunder, bright flashes of lightning, and the sound of a summer night rain were like the applause of Heaven affirming God was pleased with our Celebrate Recovery service.

Last night's Celebrate Recovery was one of the most incredible nights of worship and ministry I have ever experienced. The presence of God was so strong from the moment I entered the Love In Action Ministry Center. I knew it was going to be a special night, and it was.

People kept pouring into the Ministry Center as we kicked the night off like we always do with prayer. Our cook, Ms. Diana, also knew it was going to be a special night, so she prepared a dinner for at least 140 people. I'm glad she allowed the Spirit of God to lead her in her preparations, because we had a record crowd of 145 people in attendance. Wow! Praise God!

One of our favorite bands, "From the Heart," led worship. Oh my goodness, those folks are so anointed and talented. They led us all into worship as the presence of God grew even stronger.

Then Sean Nix delivered a very powerful and challenging message. Sean is one of the pastors at Harvest Church in Dothan, Ala. Sean has a great heart for the homeless, the needy, the lost and hurting.

Following his message, we had a time of prayer. At least 15 people made decisions for Jesus Christ! Praise God! Others came forward for prayer about different needs. It always blesses me when people come forward asking for prayer for family members. They realize God loves them and that He can do anything.

After everyone left, Martha and I sat down at a table at the Ministry Center and thanked God for His mercy and grace, and for such an awesome night. Then we ate dinner there instead of going home to eat. The volunteers always fix us both a plate of food each Tuesday night. They know we probably won't have time to eat when everyone else does, because we're always busy talking with people and helping them. Our volunteers are the greatest!

Martha and I didn't want to leave. We just wanted to stay and rest in God's presence there at the Ministry Center. But, we knew we had to get up in the morning and go to our jobs. When we got home we couldn't sleep. It is so cool how God pours out His peace on His people. It feels so good.

Remember in John 13, when Jesus is telling His disciples that He will be betrayed. John was leaning back on Jesus. He was actually resting in the arms of God. That's how we felt last night, and still do. The meaning of the worship song "The More I Seek You" is how we feel:

"I wanna sit at your feet
Drink from the cup in your hand.
Lay back against you and breath, feel your heart beat.
This love is so deep, it's more than I can stand.
I melt in your peace, it's overwhelming."

God is so awesome! To see people saved, lives being changed by the power of God, and needs being met is incredible. Seeing volunteers' lives being changed as they step out of their comfort zones to serve the "least of these brothers of Mine" (Matthew 25:40), is so wonderful.

To have God continue to pour His love and peace out on us all is more awesome than words can describe.

Martha and I thank all of you who pray, give financially, donate items, and volunteer your time. This is indeed the Body of Christ working together to accomplish the will of our Father.

To God goes all of the praise, honor and glory.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Giving transients hope

Coming home last Tuesday night I was in tears and asked God, "What's happening to young people today?" It was the second consecutive week transient homeless people 20 years of age and younger came to the Love In Action Ministry Center.

It's sad to see anyone homeless, but there's just something about seeing kids homeless that really tugs at my heart. I wonder, why are they homeless? Was life at home so bad they chose life on the streets? Were they rebellious and took flight? Or, do they just simply have no hope and don't really care how they live?

I believe the answer lies within all of those questions.

The latest two homeless kids we met were Josh and Stephanie. They said they were from New York City, but have been living in California. They said life was much better out there. They said they were heading back to NYC because one of Josh's family members was in bad health and dying.

We met them because Patrick, a former homeless man in Dothan who we helped off the streets, directed them to us.

They arrived on Monday night, the night we received 4 inches of rain in Dothan, Ala. Patrick told them they could stay in our bus to get out of the rain. He called me to make sure it was OK. Then on Tuesday night, Josh and Stephanie came to our Celebrate Recovery.

It was spaghetti night and they devoured it. Stephanie asked me, "Can we go back for seconds?" I told her they could go back as many times as they wanted to. Then we fixed them a to-go plate.

They picked out some new clothes at the LIA Ministry Center and trashed the clothes they were wearing. We also gave them hygiene items.

Most importantly, they experienced worship and heard the Word of God. And, they received hugs and prayer. That's what we do when we meet transient homeless people. We plant the seeds of God's Word in their hearts and show them the love of Jesus.

Our prayer is for God to send others their way to water those seeds and that one day they will realize the promise God gives all of us in Jeremiah 29:11, "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Sunday, May 2, 2010

An incredible four months

It's been amazing watching God transform Love In Action over the years from an idea to a ministry without a home to a ministry with not only a home, but a ministry center and warehouse.

Since moving into the building at 1140 Montgomery Hwy. in Dothan more than 1.5 years ago, we have seen a dramatic change in how we minister. For the first eight years of Love In Action we saw God do a lot of amazing things throughout the nation. We traveled to Los Angeles, New York City, Atlanta, Nashville, and other places and helped churches reach the homeless in their communities.

We still travel, but not nearly as much as God has given us a home where we can reach out in powerful ways to the homeless and needy in our hometown of Dothan, Ala.

We traveled to Baton Rouge back in January to help our brothers and sisters at No Place Outreach minister the love of Jesus to the homeless there. We will be going to Brooklyn, NY, in August to help our friends at Sunset Park Community Church. We hope to go back to Atlanta and Memphis before the year is over.

God has called us to go to those large cities, and we love to go. God used all of those trips to inner cities throughout the nation to train us for what needs to be done in Dothan. It's awesome when you can look back and see how God's plan has unfolded.

We love to see people from the Dothan area go with us. For many, it's a new experience. It gets you out of your comfort zone, which is a good thing. Then it opens the eyes of many people to see we have the same issues back home in Dothan. It spurs them to get involved when they return home from the trip.

Dothan is our main mission field. There are so many needs, and thanks to those who pray for us, support us financially, donated items and your time, we are making a difference in the name of Jesus.

In 2009, we helped 35 people come off the streets in Dothan. We saw 70 people give their lives to Jesus, and we began new ministries, such as Celebrate Recovery.

In the first four months of this year, we have seen more than 20 people give their lives to Jesus Christ, and many more rededicate their lives to Him. We have helped 15 people come off the streets, and provide discipleship and food for more than 100 people every week. The numbers continue to rise.

People in Dothan, whether they are homeless, needy or an inmate at the Houston County Work Release Program, know they can come to the Love In Action Ministry Center for spiritual and physical help.

We serve an awesome God, and we get to see his awesomeness daily. To see lives change, people receive hope, and to see people grow in their walk with Jesus Christ is beyond words.

It's hard to believe more than a quarter of this year is over. It's been an incredible four months, and we can't wait to see what all God does over the course of the remaining eight months of 2010.