Sunday, May 19, 2013

Love In Action on the move

Love In Action's new international headquarters is located at
279 W. Main St., Ste. 2, in downtown Dothan.

 The past 13 years has been a great adventure as God has continuously molded and shaped Love In Action into the ministry He wants us to be. For the past two years, God called us into a season of ministering to a community in downtown Dothan that needed to know God still loves them. It's a section of the inner city where no one was reaching out to the people.



LIA is not a church, but for the past two years we've had to fill the void of a church in this community, and we have seen God do great things at our building at 320 N. Foster. Nearly nine months ago, The Harbor Church started meeting in our ministry center. Pastor Dwight Deal and their members have a heart to reach that very community. We have been turning some ministries over to them, so they can further connect with the people. First, it was the Friday night coffee house, and then the Saturday Adopt-A-Block outreach.

Two weeks ago we signed a contract to sell our ministry center at 320 N. Foster to The Harbor Church. We are aiming for July 1 as the closing date. We are very excited about this, because now the community will have a loving church to minister to their needs and we can get back to where our heart is truly at, and that's outreach.

This is a panoramic photo of Love In Action's building at 279 W. Main St. in
downtown Dothan. It's about 7,000 square feet.


 We will now be able to focus on our building at 279 W. Main St. in downtown Dothan that we purchased a year ago. Through this 7,000 square feet of buildings, and nearly 1 acre of land, a lot of great ministry and outreach will take place, and already does. This is where the Samaritan Clinic is located. Every Thursday night our volunteer medical staff treats the homeless, women from House of Ruth and inmates from Houston County Community Corrections Work Release for basic health care, dental, eye and podiatry. It's a great blessing seeing the homeless come in with a toothache and leave not having that bad tooth to bother them any more. Or, see an inmate come in with high blood pressure and receive care. And, see a woman who is so far down because of abuse, come in with bad eyesight and leave with new glasses and smiling because she can see clearly. Do you know how important podiatry is to the homeless? They walk all the time, so foot care is a tremendous blessing to them.

The Samaritan Clinic is located at 279 W. Main St.,
Ste. 3, at Love In Action.


Volunteer dentists extract a tooth for a homeless man at the
Samaritan Clinic at LIA.

LIA volunteers serve food outside the
Samaritan Clinic


 We also have volunteers who pray with the patients and prepare and serve food every Thursday night. It's awesome seeing the Body of Christ come together to share His love with the neediest in our community.

We have also moved our offices to our West Main Street campus. They are located in Suite 2, there are seven suites in all. We have been calling the building the Love In Action Compassion Center to distinguish it from the LIA Ministry Center on North Foster. However, when the sale of the North Foster building is complete, we will just call our West Main Street building "Love In Action."

This is Suite 6 at Love In Action, which will house many of our ministries like
showers, laundry, clothing and food for the homeless, and Discipleship.
 Between now and July 1, we are hard at work on Suite 6. That is the suite that will house many of our ministries such as shower and laundry for the homeless and food and clothing for the homeless. We will also hold our Wednesday night Discipleship Bible study there. We will also use that suite to teach life skills to the homeless, such as budgeting, writing resumes, job interviewing and more.

Once Suite 6 is complete, we will begin work on the upstairs part of the building - Suites 5 and 7. That is where we will have transitional housing to help the homeless come off the streets and transition back into society. It will not be a shelter for people to come and go, but it will be for those who are really ready to come off the streets and get their lives back.

The upstairs suites - 5 and 7 - will be turned into transitional housing for the homeless.

We will have a discipleship program that will keep them in the Word of God, because following Jesus is the key. Through the transition program we will also teach them life skills and work them to obtain a job. From there we will teach them how to budget their money. By the time they finish, they will have money for a down payment for their own apartment or house, deposit for utilities and money saved to give them a head start as they re-enter society living for Jesus Christ.

We are really excited about the transitional housing. This will be an answer to a long-time prayer. We have worked with the homeless for 13 years, and to know we will be providing transitional housing for them in the near future is exciting.

This is the large parking lot behind LIA's buildings on West Main Street.

We also have a large parking lot behind our buildings. We have been praying about different uses for it and are excited about what God is going to do with that area. We can see large outdoor evangelistic services and more buildings. We will continue to pray and follow God's direction.

It is easy to find our West Main Street campus. As you travel down West Main Street you come to intersection of West Main and Lena. You will see Dakota Coffee Works. We own that building, too. Dakota is a tenant. When I first showed my pastor, Ralph Sigler, the building last year he said, "A coffee shop? You know this is a God thing." And, Dakota does have great coffee and serves a delicious breakfast and lunch. Of course we want Dakota to succeed as they are a tenant, but they really do have great coffee. People who know me know I enjoy Starbucks, but Dakota is even better. Ron, the owner, roasts his own beans right there in the coffee shop, and it smells so good when he is roasting beans.

Dakota Coffee Works is a tenant in our store front building. Our offices, Samaritan
Clinic, and the rest of the space we will use for ministry is behind Dakota.

 We have new outreaches coming up that we will announce as we get closer. One I will announce now is an outreach at the Dothan bus station on South Foster Street. This has been on our hearts for a few years, but it never worked out until we officially signed the papers on our North Foster Street building. The buses are filled with hurting people. Some are homeless, some are running from problems not knowing where they are going, and others are traveling to visit sick loved ones or for funerals. Also, many of the them can't afford to purchase food at stops. So, we will be there on Tuesday and Saturday nights serving a meal (hamburgers, hotdogs, chicken, sandwiches, etc.), offering prayer, handing out Bibles and Christian tracts, and just listening to the people. We are excited about this new outreach. If you are interested in joining us, please email us at loveinactionministries@hotmail.com or call us at 334-494-4995.

One question some of you may have is where do you bring donations of food? Until some point in June, keep bringing them to the 320 N. Foster location. Once we are set up in suite 6 on West Main Street, we will let everyone know.

If you have carpentry skills, including roofing, electrical and plumbing, we could certainly use your help as we remodel suite 6 and then start working on the transitional housing. If you are interested, please email us at loveinactionministries@hotmail.com or call us at 334-494-4995.

Another exciting aspect of moving the ministry under one roof is, not only will we be able to focus even more on the homeless, but we will be able to focus more on international ministry as well. God has opened many awesome opportunities in the Philippines, Myanmar, Haiti and Ecuador. Jesus says to "Go and make disciples of all nations..." (Matthew 28:19) It is humbling and exciting to be doing the Great Commission as Jesus commanded us.

We thank everyone for your continued prayers and support as we move to the next phase of what God has in store for us to accomplish together for His glory.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

'I feel so much love'

Ken, Heather and Roy

I met Jesus today in two different people. They were a homeless couple - Roy and Heather. They were passing through Dothan going to a family member's house in Florida. It has been a long time since they've been home. They have lived on the streets in different parts of the country for while.

Roy was about my height with a bushy gray bread and long matted hair with a few dreadlocks. He wore a yellow bandanna and overalls. Heather had a beautiful smile and wore her hair up. Neither had had a shower in a while. They both carried backpacks, and Heather carried a little long-haired black dog. He was very quiet and sweet.

My good friend and LIA volunteer Rick Denney saw them and invited them to the Love In Action Ministry Center today. Rick came in first and asked if it was OK for them to come in even if she had a little dog. I said of course they could. If it had been a large dog we would have made other arrangements, but then again, as I have learned over the years, most homeless wouldn't even ask if a big dog could come inside. They have too much respect for others.

As most of us know, pets are like family members, but to a homeless person, they are family. For some, a dog is all the family they have, so keeping them together is important.

They came in and LIA volunteer Bryan Cole talked with them as I got them some food. We offered them new clothes, hygiene products and the use of our shower. They were in awe at the love that was being shown them. In fact, it brought them to tears. They were so appreciative.

As it turned out, they were just passing through hoping to catch a bus to Florida to visit Heather's dad, who had sent them money for tickets. They thought they would have problems getting a ticket because Heather didn't have an ID. I told them they didn't need one to get a bus ticket. They were surprised and happy. They just needed someone to tell them, "It's OK. There won't be a problem."

When people have been homeless for a long time, like they have been, they grow accustomed to rejection and failure. The simplest task can seem daunting.

 It was noon and the next bus left at 12:30 p.m. My friend and LIA volunteer Jonathan Ellis said he could drive them to the bus station here in Dothan. They were so excited.

As they purchased their tickets, the bus rolled in. Perfect timing. I had told them earlier, while they were eating, that we would like to pray with them. After they bought the tickets, Roy said, "Will you pray for us?" So we held hands and prayed in the bus station.

They both said several times they kind of wished they were staying because they felt so much love. Roy said, "Keep doing what you're doing. It's great." I told him it was Jesus showing His love for them. Heather kept saying, "My eyes are leaking. I feel so much love."

They didn't have a Bible, so Jonathan went back to LIA and brought them back a Bible. I told them to read John and Luke. We all four hugged about a half dozen more times before they got on the bus with their little dog.

Heather said she would send a post card and maybe a photo of her and her dad. I'd never throw that postcard or photo away if she does.

They came to LIA broken and feeling down, not much hope. They got on that bus with Jesus, renewed hope, smiles, tears of joy, full stomachs, bags of food and hygiene items, and a Bible.

They experienced the true love of Jesus today. And, Jonathan, Bryan and I experienced the love and joy of Jesus today, too. Jesus gives us opportunities every day to serve Him. I am thankful we obeyed Him today. If we hadn't, we would have missed out on a tremendous blessing of serving Him.