This morning started off at Boston Rescue Mission again. While some were cooking, organizing the cabinets of cans, others were testing their knife skills chopping squash, or doing dishes. We had a busy morning sorting through all the food donations, discarding food that had gone rotten, and getting the meal prepared.
The meal that we served was for the employees and residents of Boston Rescue Mission. Those who are in BRM’s program are men and women who have been released from prison or are recovering addicts (you need to be “clean” for a certain period of time before being admitted to their program). BRM provides a case worker to each resident who helps them spiritually, emotionally, and mentally so they can get back on their feet. Many of the residents we spoke with have families they hope to reconnect with and have some real job skills to put into action. For many, their biggest challenges include finding an employer who will take a risk on someone with a criminal record and re-earning the trust of family members.
Pray for these men and women who have a steep hill to climb. Pray that they were remain clean, make good choices consistently, and that they would find their hope and strength through Jesus Christ.
After eating lunch at Boston Rescue Mission, we hopped on the T and headed to Community Servings. This is a fantastic organization which provides five frozen meals each week for low-income families with a family member who is critically ill. These meals are all cooked fresh on site, then frozen and hand-packaged within a day or two before delivery. Each family member receives one meal per day, and they have kids meals too! What a great and tangible way to help families who are struggling with an uncertain future. They deliver 8200 lunches/dinners to nearly 875 people each week from communities ranging from Brockton to Boston to Worcester and anywhere in-between.
Our team of students and leaders worked hard all week and represented Emmanuel very very well. We all learned a ton about homelessness and preventing gang-involvement by providing strong support networks.
Among the chief lessons we learned, some included:
- How few people fit the stereotype of “homeless.” Many of the homeless men and women we met were educated, had jobs for a long time until being laid off, or had so much medical debt that they couldn’t meet their financial commitments.
- The number one cause of homelessness: Lack of support-network. Most of us have someone to help us we need someone to pick us up. When a person has no one to fall back on, they often tall into the street.
- Come Back! This was the message the boys at the Eagle’s Nest Landing Center sent us. They want us to come back, and we want to! It’s great to go and serve for a week… but how will we continue serving the other 51 weeks of the year?
- “Do justly, love mercy, walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8). All three are important. Loving mercy is like rescuing someone from drowning in the river, while doing justly is going up the river and stopping the person from pushing other into it. As Christians, we are called to both mercy and justice ministry for the sake of glorifying the God we humbly serve.