Sunday, July 18, 2010

Thank you for tremendous love & support for Rick


This was such an emotional weekend.

I will never forget receiving that phone call from Rick, the homeless man who was attacked and then hit by a train this weekend. Walking into that hospital room and seeing Rick just broke my heart. Cuts, gashes, bruises and blood all over his head, and a brace to stabilize his neck was a very unsettling sight.

Rick looked at me with tears in his eyes and said the words he often says, "I'm sorry." He said he was sorry for bothering me. He was sorry he got hurt. That broke my heart too. It wasn't his fault someone decided to jump him and leave him on the train tracks. And he knows I don't mind stopping what I'm doing to help a person in need. But that's how people with low self esteem react. They feel like it's always their fault.

I was glad he remembered my phone number, and very humbled that he would call me. He says I'm his pastor. Now that's humbling. I'm glad he remembered his sister's phone number so I could call her and inform her about his condition. I'm thankful she drove more than three hours with another one of their sisters and his nephew to be with him and talk with the doctors.

What really blew Martha, my mom and me away was the response from our Love In Action family. So many of our volunteers visited Rick this weekend. It's rare for a non-homeless person to receive that many visitors. It was amazing, and it showed Rick and his family that there are a lot of people who love and care for him. We can't say "thank you" enough to our Love In Action family.

I told Rick on Saturday that I would start the prayer chain and that people all around the country would be praying for him. He smiled and said "thank you." And, all of our Love In Action family around the nation are praying. From my friend Micah in Hawaii to our friends in Louisiana and points throughout the nation, people are praying.

A number of people on Facebook reposted my first blog about Rick and encouraged people to pray. At church this morning one person after another asked Martha and me about Rick. Love In Action co-founder Mike Shroades and his wife, Laurie, went with us this afternoon to visit Rick.

Martha and I just can't express our gratitude enough to everyone. For any of us to feel that kind of love is incredible. Just imagine how much more it feels to a homeless person to receive that kind of love and support. It brings tears to my eyes every time I think about the great outpouring of God's love for Rick and his family.

Rick has a long ways to go, but he knows God is with him. He told a visitor today that he was going to walk out of the hospital because "Ken prayed for me." Now that's faith. Rick loves God and he is such a precious man. Like I told him today, God has a great plan for him, because not too many people get hit by a train and live to talk about it.

Thank you again for your prayers and for showing your love to Rick and his family. Please continue, and I know you will. The Love In Action family is made up of the greatest people in the world. Thank you again, and may God continue to bless each of you and your families.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Homeless man possibly mugged, robbed, hit by train

Life on the streets is tough. Some times it's violent as one of our homeless men found out Friday night.

Rick is a precious man. The reasons why he's homeless vary, but that really doesn't matter. He's a child of God. He's a human. He loves the Lord, and if you ever want to hear an awesome prayer, just ask Rick to pray.

He called me this afternoon (Saturday) and said he was in the hospital. I went to see him. He's in bad shape, and is in desperate need of all of our prayers. I don't know everything yet, and apparently nobody does at this point.

All Rick remembers is crossing the railroad tracks, then the next thing he remembers he was under a train.

He managed to pull himself out from under the train without the use of his legs. Someone saw him and called 911. Both of Rick's hips were dislocated. They found his wallet, but his money was missing. They couldn't find his cell phone, and the pocket knives he always carries were missing. It appears he was mugged, robbed and hit by a train.

Trains are constantly moving slowly in and out of that rail yard. That's the good thing, the trains are moving slowly. If Rick was lying on the tracks, one could have hit him and dragged him on the tracks. Again, all of the facts are not known at this time.

Rick is in a lot of pain. The good thing is he's not in ICU, he's in a regular hospital room. The bad news is he has no movement below his hips. They have his neck stabilized. His head is covered in gashes and cuts, and his right eye is black and blue. He looks really bad.

I fought back tears as I talked with him and tried to encourage him. We prayed and my prayer was for him to walk out of there.

I talked to one of his sisters, and she and another sister are coming up from Florida. I also talked with a good Christian doctor who will keep an eye on the situation and make sure social services are involved. I thank God for that doctor. He has a heart for the hurting and has helped us before. I couldn't stand the thought of Rick not receiving the proper care because he is homeless and has no insurance. Not that that would happen, and they have been taking good care of him, but like I told that doctor, I just needed to talk with someone to make sure Rick is taken care of. He's at a good hospital, so I'm confident he will continue receiving quality care.

The best thing is Rick is in God's hands. God is in control, and I know He will turn this into good. Pray for Rick, his family, and the doctors and nurses. More updates will follow. Thanks for your prayers.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Amazing ministry taking place

So much has been going on I haven't had time to blog this week. Between ministry and work, it's been a crazy week, but a good kind of crazy.

Remember the family we gave a car to two weeks ago? Well, the car had a couple of problems with it, but not any longer. Richard, a former homeless man we helped get off the streets last year, is an outstanding mechanic, as well as an outstanding Christian man. When he saw the need, he jumped right on it. In a day-and-a-half he was finished and now their car is running good. Talk about giving back. We appreciate Richard.

It's amazing the ministry that goes on at the Love In Action Ministry Center. The homeless come and we give them food, hygiene items and clothes. Recently, one of our volunteers gave a homeless man, Junior, a haircut. I didn't know he was a barber, but he did an outstanding job and Junior looked and felt a lot better after the haircut and beard trim.

I take haircuts for granted. If I need one, I go get one. The homeless can't do that. Some go a year or more without a haircut, and when they receive one like Junior did, it blesses them. It really helps their self esteem.

Tuesday nights continue to be amazing. Despite not having air conditioning, an average of 120-125 people still attend. It's hot, but people still enjoy the service. Yes, we would like to have A/C and we are praying for God to make the way, but until then, we'll keep praising and worshiping Him.

We now have a children's service on Tuesday nights. Martha and I had never thought about a children's service. But we started meeting more homeless families, more needy families, and some families of the Houston County Communication Corrections Work Release inmates are joining their loved ones at Celebrate Recovery. Praise God! Seeing families restored and worshiping together is awesome!

We started the children's program two weeks ago. A few of our younger volunteers said they would lead it. We had 15 children that first night. This past Tuesday we had 21. Wow! Teaching the young and old and all of the family the Word of God. It's amazing. God is totally blowing us away.

Our Wednesday night Bible studies are getting better and better. Like Tuesday nights, we have a good mixture of homeless, needy and work release inmates. Our theme the past few weeks has been "Decisions." Life is full of decisions and we need to make more right ones than wrong ones. We have seen in the Bible and talked about how our decisions affect more than us individually; they affect our family and friends, too.

We have looked at Daniel, Noah and David and the decisions they made. We will keep looking at David for a few more weeks. The discussion has been great. So many of the people are participating through reading and discussion. This past Wednesday we had a lot of new men from work release, and they jumped right in on the study. They really blew Martha and me away by their humbleness and participation. This is going to be a good group of guys to work with.

It was also great hearing one of the older work release guys, who will be getting out in a month, give the new inmates advice. He told them they had a great opportunity to really get to know God by coming to Love In Action. And, if they get serious with God their lives would be totally changed like his. James is a good man, and he is a totally different person than when we first met him. He is going to do great when he's released. God has already provided a good job and home for him. He's going to keep coming to Love In Action and his home church of Harvest.

It's so awesome seeing lives changed by the power of God, and I never get tired of seeing it. We serve an awesome God! And, we thank Him and praise Him for everything He is doing.

We also thank all of our volunteers, those who give financially to LIA, those who give items to us, and those who pray for us. Without all of you, we could never do what we do. Thank you!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Filling a need

Imagine not having a car and trying to find employment. Go even further and imagine having a wife and child and not having a car. You need to take your child to the doctor. Or, you need to go to the store and buy some diapers or groceries. But, you can't do any of that. You have to call people and ask for rides. Some times those people can't come, so you are stuck.

That's life for more people than you might think. Thankfully there is one family who is no longer in that category. Bryan, Melissa and little Gregory now have a car thanks to the generosity of someone who donated a car to Love In Action.

We gave them the car on Wednesday. They were so excited and thankful. It's just hard for me to imagine not having a vehicle. That's a need most of us take for granted.

We have known Bryan for nearly two years. When we first met him he was homeless, but working. We helped him come out of the homeless population and later he moved and met Melissa. They got married and ended up moving back to the area.

They have a place to stay thanks to a church in Midland City. However, he has been unable to find work. He has applied for the few jobs that have come open in Midland City, but without a vehicle it's been tough to make it to Dothan and apply at more places. Now, he can.

Please keep them in your prayers and pray for a job to come through soon.

We have another family in need of a car. They have two children. If you know of anyone who could donate a car, please tell them about us. We are a non-profit organization, and all donations are tax deductible.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Testimonies of God's mercy and grace

It's so neat how God works. Last Tuesday night a band was scheduled to lead worship and share their testimony at Celebrate Recovery. At the last moment they had to cancel. No panic. I just needed to find someone to lead worship and a speaker in eight hours.

There really wasn't a panic. Our regular worship leader, Alan Watson, had told me months ago if a band couldn't come, just let him know and he will be there. Alan is a man of his word. I sent him a text message and he quickly responded with the words, "I'll be there."

Martha and I appreciate Alan so much. Not only is he a tremendously talented musician and singer, but he also has a great heart for this ministry. Thank you Alan. You are a great blessing, and God is using you mightily for His glory.

Now I just needed a speaker. One person had already contacted me letting me know he could speak if I needed him. He didn't even know I needed a speaker for that night. But, I felt God leading me in another direction. I felt Him saying we needed to have a testimony night. Simply ask the people to share what God is doing in their lives.

Wow! What a great night Celebrate Recovery turned out to be. Alan shared his testimony on how he started singing for God. It was a very powerful testimony of how God has a plan for each of us. Many times we are hard-headed, but God will keep working in our lives to show us His plan. Then, once we grab a hold of Him, amazing things happen.

Then Timothy, a young man who was homeless, had been addicted to drugs, and spent time in prison, shared how God changed his life around ... a complete 180. It was very powerful and touching. I'm happy to announce the young man is not homeless any more.

Then one of our outstanding volunteers, Robert Risner, shared with the 100 people in attendance. Robert is very passionate about God and God's call on his life.

Then Kelly, an inmate from Houston County Community Corrections work release, came forward. She said she's not comfortable talking in front of people, but she will sing. And, sing she did - "His Eye Is On the Sparrow." Wow! What an incredible voice! Her testimony was that song. And, she dedicated the song to our Celebrate Recovery director, Emily Hinderliter. Think Emily has touched some lives? You better believe it. They all love Emily.

All of these testimonies are on video on our website, www.loveinactionministries.com

God keeps amazing us at Love In Action. We are constantly seeing lives changed by His power. Lives that so many people have given up on. But God doesn't give up on any of us. He tells 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."

That is God's promise to everyone - the rich, the poor, the homeless, the incarcerated. Our prayer is for God to work through Love In Action to open the eyes of people, especially those who society has long ignored and given up on , and to show them that God does indeed love them and He has a great plan for them. And to show them that there are people, good Christian people, who love them.

Everyone of you who prays for us, volunteers, and gives financially helps us show them all of that. Thank you. Together, we are making a difference for the glory of God.