Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Renovations update

Things are coming along nicely with the renovations of the Love In Action Ministry Center. We are close to having it ready to open.

The city's fire marshal, plumbing and electrical inspectors have all been to the building now and told us what we need to do to be compliant. We accomplished the plumbing tasks last Saturday and this week thanks to George and Robert.

Lowe's of Dothan donated about $1,300 worth of materials we needed to come into compliance with the fire marshal. What a great blessing! Robert has been busy this week installing all of that, so hopefully we can get the fire marshal's sign off soon. Both Dothan Lowe's stores have committed to helping us, including tiling all of the restroom floors and the foyer to the sanctuary. Praise God!

The big project now is electrical. Thankfully, Robert is a master electrician and he will be able to handle all of that. Last weekend we received a financial blessing that should pay for all of the electrical upgrades. Praise God! Does God want this ministry center open or what?

Robert installed the new soundboard in the sanctuary, and that thing is sweet! I never knew our speakers could produce that kind of sound, but as Robert said, "It's all in the soundboard, baby." The overhead projector should be installed soon as well.

So, we are getting close. We hope to open the week of Sept. 12. It all depends on if we get everything done that the city wants. We are happy to do what they want. They have codes for a reason, and that is for safety, so we appreciate the work they do.

Please keep us in your prayers.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Pray for a miracle

My heart was broken today as I walked out of Southeast Alabama Medical Center.

There is a homeless couple we met about two months ago named Donald and Carla. They have been working hard to come off the street, but keep running into hurdles. This morning, they faced their greatest obstacle ever as Carla underwent a 6-hour surgery to remove two brain aneurysms.

The good news is the surgery went well and she is resting in the critical care unit. The bad news is the doctor found two more aneurysms deep in the back part of her brain. The surgeon has scheduled a 12-hour surgery in two weeks to remove those two.

According to brainaneursym.com, "a brain aneurysm, also called a cerebral or intracranial aneurysm, is an abnormal bulging outward of one of the arteries in the brain." This is a very scary and deadly condition. Prayer, much prayer is needed for Carla and Donald.

My heart broke as I talked with Donald, and listened a lot to his heart breaking. What do you tell a homeless man who has nothing and nobody but the woman who is on the brink of death going through very dangerous surgery?

I told Martha, imagine one of us going through that and how tough it would be. But, we would be surrounded by family and friends to help us make it through. They have nobody but us. That's why he called to let us know what was happening.

All I knew to do was ask God to give me the words to say and let His Holy Spirit led me.

There is a prayer room outside of CCU, and we went in there pray. I wish all of you could have heard Donald's prayer. I've never heard a more genuine, heart-wrenching prayer. But he also prayed in confidence of the miracle working power of God. Then, in the midst of all of his agony, he prayed for Martha and me and Love In Action, and thanked God for the people at the hospital who have been so helpful to him.

I am asking all of you to pray for Carla and Donald. Pray for healing, comfort, peace, and even joy. Pray for the surgeon and nurses and all of those involved in her health care.

If you live in Dothan, please go by the hospital to pray with Donald. You won't be able to see her since she is in CCU, but Donald could sure use the encouragement. CCU is on the fourth floor at SAMC. Use elevator A to get there.

They did have a house to live in, but that time ended earlier than they thought, so they are in a hotel room. Well, Donald is. He can't get out and find odd jobs right now with his wife in CCU, so we want to help take care of that burden for him. It is $186 a week. We have taken care of this upcoming week, but we could use help for at least a couple of more weeks. Who knows the recovery time and what all will be required of Donald.

Donations can be mailed to: Love In Action, P.O. Box 85, Dothan, AL 36302 or there is a donation button at the bottom of the homepage of our website at http://loveinactionministries.com/
Please note that it is for the Donald and Carla situation.

If anyone has any other living arrangement ideas we are certainly open to that. Everything they own is in that small hotel room.

If anyone would like to cook some meals for Donald, that would be a big blessing too. Or, just picking up some food at a restaurant and taking it to him would be great. I have convinced him to get some rest, so he went back to the hotel this afternoon to try and get some sleep.

They both need their Love In Action family. Please help us show the love of Jesus to them during this very tough time in their lives, and again, please, please, please pray for a miracle and ask others to pray as well.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Making the final push

Thanks to Covenant United Methodist Church, a lot of work was accomplished at the Love In Action Ministry Center this past week.
It was Covenant's "Missions Blitz Week" and they converged on the ministry center.

A team came out Tuesday night and then all day Saturday. Together with our regular group of wonderful volunteers, the ministry center is looking great.

All of the crown molding and baseboard is up in the sanctuary, and we now have a good floor in the coffee house. They installed plywood, and then got most of the tile put down on the floor. It all looks great.

We have new windows in the sanctuary and coffee house now. They look good and do a great job of silencing the outside noise and keeping cool air inside. Our third and final medical room now has all of the sheet rock on the walls. They just need sanding and painting.

Now we are making the final big push to complete the renovations so we can open the week of Sept. 12. Can you help us? Here are the needs we have. If you are skilled in these areas please come and help us.

- We have a lot of baseboards and crown molding that needs to be caulked and painted. We also have more that needs to be installed.
- Carpet to be installed in sanctuary
- A small amount of laminate flooring to be installed
- VCT tile needs to be put down in a medical room and a small amount in the coffee house
- Tile flooring in two restrooms

Please pray for us as we continue to seek approval from the city. We must be in compliance with city codes, and we have been working hard to do so.

Other expenses we need to take care of include electrical work, which will include the installation of a 600 amp panel; we ordered a shower, a little more sheet rock and shower wall panels, and tile for the bathroom floors. Those needs, along with the extra expense we incurred on the large sanctuary floor and two restrooms, our financial need is $7,000. If you can help us reach that goal that would be a tremendous blessing.

We are so excited about the opening of the LIA Ministry Center.

We are so close. Praise God!

Please help us make the final push to get the work done so we can open the week of Sept. 12.

To contact us, please email loveinactionministries@hotmail.com or call us at 334-494-4995.


Friday, August 19, 2011

Volunteer meetings scheduled

In preparation for opening the Love In Action Ministry Center, we are scheduling two meetings for volunteers and those who would like to find out more to see if they want to become volunteers.

Our first meeting will be for those working with and who are interested in working with our Love In Action Medical Clinic for the Homeless. That meeting will be held at the Love In Action Ministry Center on Thursday, Aug. 25, at 6:30 p.m. Physicians, eye doctors, dentists, hygienists, nurses, medical assistants, pharmacists, pharmaceutical reps, etc. are invited. If you would like to help check our patients in and assist in other non-medical ways, you are invited too. If you would like to cook and serve dinner for our patients, please attend.

Our second meeting will be on Tuesday, Sept. 6, at 6:30 p.m. at the Love In Action Ministry Center. It will be for all volunteers who are involved with our Celebrate Recovery Inside, Wednesday night Bible studies, Laundry Ministry, and those who would like to become involved with those ministries and the new ones we will be starting soon, like our coffee house for the homeless, bus station ministry, homeless outreach, and Adopt-A-Block.

If you are interested in being a part of all of the exciting things God is doing and will be doing through Love In Action, please come to this meeting.

The Love In Action Ministry Center is located at 320 N. Foster St. in downtown Dothan. It is at the intersection of North Foster and East Burdeshaw.

We invite you to help us continue to put feet to Matthew 25:35-36 as we reach out to the lost and hurting. Society would like to forget about the homeless, prisoners, drug addicts, prostitutes, gang members and all the others who make up the inner cities. 

But God hasn't forgotten about them, and He has called us to reach these people and let them know that Jesus loves them so much that He died for their sins and came back to life to give them eternal life. We minister to the people's felt needs - food, clothing, hygiene, health. As we reach them through acts of compassion, the door swings wide open to show them their number one need - Jesus.

Come be a part of this exciting ministry.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Getting close to completing renovations

We are so close to completing renovations at the Love In Action Ministry Center we are about to explode. OK, hopefully Martha and I will not self-combust, but we are very excited.

This past Saturday we saw a lot of progress made. All of the sub-flooring was put down in the sanctuary, and the majority of the painting was completed. This next week we should see a lot more accomplished as teams from Covenant United Methodist Church will put their skills to work at the LIA Ministry Center. More floors will be completed, including the one in our coffee house. They will also be installing baseboards and crown molding throughout the building, among other things.

We have three of the four new windows in the sanctuary installed. They make a huge difference. In addition to keeping the cool air from our new A/C units inside, it keeps street noise outside. The other window and the new windows in the coffee house will be installed soon as well.

Speaking of A/C, Bob Woodall Air Care Systems has four of the five units up and running. Oh, it feels so good to have A/C. The final unit will be installed before we open, which we are praying will be the week of Sept. 12.

We are working hard to complete all of the renovations and to have everything approved and signed off on by the city of Dothan. We believe in doing things the right way. That's the way Jesus wants us to conduct ourselves in all things.

Please keep praying for us, and pray that we will indeed be able to open the week of Sept. 12. Also, please continue giving financially. We need another $7,000 to pay for everything we need to do to finish. We ran into some extra cost on the sanctuary floor and in the third and final medical room we are renovating. But $7,000 isn't a lot of money, and we know God has brought us this far, so He isn't about to stop now.

Thank you all again for your prayers, financial donations, donations of items like food and hygiene products, and for your volunteer work. Martha and I thank God for each of you.

Another life changed for eternity

I never grow tired of seeing people get saved. It's the start of a new life, and the beginning of an awesome eternity.

It happened again today. A young man, who has been coming to our Wednesday night Bible studies every week and working every Saturday on the renovations of the Love In Action Ministry Center, knelt at the altar at Harvest Church this morning and accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior. Praise God!

We don't always see the harvest, but it is so cool when God allows us to see the moment someone's eternity changes.

If you have been telling others about Jesus and showing them through your lifestyle, but still haven't seen them accept Jesus, don't give up. We have to remember, we are not the ones who can save them. It is up to us to plant and water, but only God through His Son Jesus can save them.

I like what Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 3:6-8, "I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor." (NKJV)

You may be the one who starts the person thinking about Jesus. Your actions may cause that person to think more about Jesus and his or her's eternity. Then, someone else may say just the right thing that brings it all home to them and they give their lives to Jesus Christ. As Paul says, the one who plants and the one who waters are one. In other words, we are a team working together to reach people for Jesus Christ.

We have seen that over and over throughout the past 11 years of Love In Action. Today, we saw a young man we have been ministering to for months give his life  to Jesus after Pastor Ralph Sigler's message about the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. We have seen two others recently join Harvest and one get baptized.

It happens at every church where people are actively reaching people for Jesus. Today at Christ-Life Church in Enterprise, the church where Love In Action's co-founder Mike Shroades is pastor, two women who recently got out of prison gave their lives to Jesus.  Someone planted seeds in their lives, and today Mike watered those seeds with the Word of God and God brought in the harvest.

We all must be about our Father's business as Jesus so often says in the New Testament. Jesus tells His disciples in Matthew 9:37-38, "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” (NIV)

There are a lot of people hurting in this world. Many of them are controlled by fears due to the economy, wars and natural disasters. As Christians, we have the answer, and His name is Jesus. He is the only one who can truly give us peace in the midst of life's worst storms. His is the only love that can heal our hurts and deliver us from addictions. We need to be telling people and showing them Jesus through our actions.

The lives that are changed through Love In Action are changed because of many people working together as the Body of Christ. There are those who pray for us and those we serve, those who give financially so we can operate the ministry and help others, those who donate items like food and hygiene products, and those who volunteer their time.

So please continue to support Love In Action through these ways. Together we are making a difference for eternity. And don't grow tired in your support. Remember what Paul says in Galatians 6:9, "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." (NIV)

We are reaping a harvest, so please keep doing good. To God goes all of the praise, glory and honor.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Homeless ministry increases

The more work we accomplish with the renovations to the new Love In Action Ministry Center the more homeless people God sends our way.

For example, there is a couple we have been helping. Donald and Carla were homeless and he was hitting the streets every day looking for work. Odd jobs ... whatever he could find to earn money so they could stay in a motel that costs about $25 a night. Not the best accommodations as you might imagine. But, when that is your only option, you take what you can get.

Carla has some medical issues that we have been able to assist with, along with other needs. Then one evening Donald called me and said, "I have an awesome praise report to tell you." A local businessman had given Donald some work and saw how hard he worked to take care of his wife. The businessman and his wife, buy houses, fix them up, then sells them. So, they told Donald and Carla they could move into one of their houses rent and utilities free for two months to help them get back on their feet. Praise God!

That brought tears to mine and Martha's eyes. I told a group of women from Mt. Gilead Baptist Church who were helping us that evening at the LIA health clinic and they were excited too. In fact, they bought Donald and Carla a bed, sheets, pillows, a table, and groceries.

They didn't have any furniture, and wouldn't you know it, God placed it on someone's heart to donate a house full of furniture to Love In Action. The cool thing about that is if we didn't have somewhere to take it, we would have had to turn it down because we don't have any storage space like we did with the warehouse we rented the past two years.

We loaded up the cargo trailer and my truck and moved it into Donald and Carla's house. Praise God! I love it when God does stuff like that. A need arises, and He fills it.

Then a couple of weeks ago we met a really sweet homeless woman named Hayden. We have been able to help her and she has been coming to our Wednesday night Bible studies. She is a hard worker too. She works at a fast food restaurant and walks to it from her hotel room every day she is scheduled to work. Finding a full-time job for her is our goal.

She is very quiet and doesn't ask for a thing. Martha has really taken Hayden under her wing so to speak. The two of them hit it off wonderfully right from the start. I couldn't think of a better mentor or role model for Hayden.

She feels comfortable at Love In Action. Last Tuesday night a big thunderstorm hit Dothan. We saw it coming and closed down the clinic before it hit. Nobody was in the clinic and our outside table and supplies were about to get blown away.

Martha and I drove back to the ministry center and unloaded our trucks. Hayden saw us and came over just before the bad weather hit. We invited her in and the three of us enjoyed a spaghetti dinner that we were serving at the clinic. It was a very nice time and meant a lot to Hayden, and to us too.

We treat the homeless like family, because they are. That's how Jesus treats everyone, and we just want to follow Him and His ways.

We couldn't do any of this without all of you who pray for us, and who donate financially. And, we are so thankful for all of our volunteers. Together, we are making a difference for the Kingdom of God.