The Mission's Changed My Life

November 15, 2017

 

It has brought me boundless joy to be a part of this experience. Being able to help the homeless in a meaningful way has made me a better person. We organize and put together a presentable atmosphere for our residents. I have learned how much we truly help the homeless survive and how grateful they can be for simple things in life that many take for granted. When I first started I saw that love of Jesus Christ on the walls of the building, welcoming everyone. I was very comfortable right away. The City Mission of Findlay truly makes the guests feel like they have a home. I have learned to be grateful for what I have and what my friends, family, and loved ones give me. The hardest part of the job is seeing the homeless men, women, and children suffer and watching them struggle to get by. The most enjoyable part is being able to help and see the smiles on their faces. Also, getting to work with a team of people who truly want the best for our guests is very encouraging.

 

 

A typical day at work does not exist. I have learned how to be thankful for what I already have in life. The City Mission management is great with wonderful personalities. My co-workers are awesome. We work together as a wonderful team, but getting use to change is the hardest part. The reality check for me is to see some of our residents very sick and not being able to eat. The most enjoyable part is to come and celebrate the Christmas holidays with them and to see a smile on their faces.

 

I started working at the Mission in October 2016, right before the busy holiday season. We were bustling to get the family rooms set up for the holidays. At one point we had 17 children from age 17 down to newborn babies. One baby had her first Christmas right here at the City Mission. The fun of setting up the Elf on the Shelf each night and planning his next attack in the weeks leading up to Christmas Day has no comparison. The joy of working on Christmas Day and enjoying the residents faces light up when the gifts are “discovered” in the morning is priceless.

 

 

This year I am looking forward to the holiday fun! If you would like to find out how you can be part of this wonderful time of year please contact me at 419-423-9151 or vancecuthrell@findlaymission.org.

Let the Celebrations Begin

November 1, 2017

 

November 1st is a significant day for me. It is the official day that Christmas celebrations can begin! Yes, you read that correctly. I begin celebrating the Christmas season on November 1st. (Much to the chagrin of my family and co-workers.) Recently, a friend asked me why exactly I choose to celebrate so early and as I began extorting the beauty and wonder and fulfillment that is Christmas, I realized that my celebrations are simply an attempt to recapture the feeling I had as a child.

 

I did not grow up in a wealthy family. In fact, the polar opposite. My childhood was unique in that I lived in a foreign country because my parents were called to serve God as missionaries. I know I was well loved, because I never questioned it.  I was not spoiled with excessive gifts or possessions and Christmas was no exception to this rule. And yet, despite the few gifts, meager decorations, and balmy weather, Christmas was always a joyous time. The excitement of decorating, baking, and family time was palpable in the air. I have wonderful memories of watching home movies while eating my mom’s ooey gooey caramel popcorn, and celebrating with church guests and friends. The feeling of ‘home’ must have been almost tangible because guests flocked to our home to be a part of the celebration. My mom would play the piano (poorly) and sing Christmas carols (loudly) and all those around would join in. My dad would read the story of Jesus’ birth and remind everyone in his firm and kind voice of the true gift of Christmas.

 

As my memories of holidays past raced through my mind, I couldn’t help but think about the residents I pass in the hall every day. I wondered about their Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations as children. Did they have warm memories they wanted to recapture? Maybe holidays were a time of painful memories? Or a time of no celebration at all. Are the people who walk through our doors seeking a hot meal, a warm bed, and a kind word hoping to recapture a time where they felt safe, cared for, and loved?

 

I didn’t know it then, but my Christmas memories with my parents were numbered. God called them home and I was left with warm memories, a full heart, and a solid foundation in the word of God. Unfortunately, most of the men, women, and children who come through the Mission’s doors are equipped with memories of a broken home, scars from abuse or neglect, and no concept of the immense love their Creator has for them. Most have been discarded, broken and empty.

 

At the Mission, we feel truly privileged to care for our residents and community guests who come to us broken and hurting. We feel honored to have the opportunity to be a part of their story of redemption and renewal and as we care for them in practical and necessary ways through meals, shelter, and guidance, we also diligently pray for their hearts and find opportunities to share the message of God’s transforming power.

To be a part of someone’s story and make an imprint on their lives is a tremendous gift and my hope is that when our guests look back on this time of their lives, their experience at the Mission will be a warm memory of a time they were cared for, loved, and supported in their journey.

The Power to Transform Lives

October 16, 2017

 

 After watching this year’s video for the City Mission at our Fall Gala, and listening to some of our residents’ stories, I realized something.  The City Mission of Findlay is a living, breathing entity that has a divine whisper that calls to people and pulls them in.  It is a beacon; a light house in troubled waters. It doesn’t seem to matter if you are a resident or a staff member.  We are called here either for our gifts or for our problems and the demons that we face.  There is a magnificent unseen beauty within these walls.  You can sense it and you feel it.  It is the power to transform lives.

 

For some residents that walk through our doors, all they need is a place to stay until they can get back on their feet.  Other residents, I have come to realize, are in need of something more.  They are in need of a safe haven away from drugs and alcohol; they need their hearts and souls mended.  They need to learn to trust again and to love again, starting with themselves.  We don’t just offer a warm bed and food to eat.  We offer our own hearts, our love and support, and we guide them to finding a path to Christ and we remind them what humanity is.

 

 I have seen people enter our facility broken and beat down by life.  They come to us with troubled pasts that weigh heavy on their hearts; shackled with shame, addictions, broken homes and broken lives.  They trust no one.  Friends and family have given up on them or written them off, and discarded them because they have burned their bridges until none were left.  They were hopeless and lost.  But we welcomed them with open arms.  We accepted them and we loved them. With this, I have seen many transform into happy, and healthy individuals who have come to accept Jesus Christ as their savior.  They now walk around with bright eyes and a zest for life.  They began to open their hearts, their minds, and their eyes.  They started seeing a future for themselves.  They know that better days are ahead now.  All because we love.  For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Jeremiah 29:11

 

The staff is no different.  Some of our staff were raised with a strong religious background.  These are our God Warriors; ready to share the gospel, ready to pray with those in need.  They are just a natural fit for the Mission.  They are our foundation.  Other staff members came to the Mission just because it was a job and they have bills to pay.  But eventually, it became more than just an income.  It became our home away from home.  It is because of their recoveries and triumphs that we transform as well.  They touch our hearts and give us purpose.  They inspire us.  They bring out the best in us.  For some, coming to the Mission is truly a divine intervention.  I could never wrap my mind around what that phrase meant until I saw it in action.  Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.  1 Peter 4:10

 

I believe we are all touched by the Holy Spirit.  He speaks to us.  All we have to do is stop for a moment and listen.  Recognize that we are all truly blessed to be here at the Mission.

Jesus' Teaching About Prayer

October 3, 2017

 

Jesus' teaching about prayer-Luke 18: 1-14 (NKJV)

1 And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not faint; 2 Saying, there was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man: 3 And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary. 4 And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man; Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me. 6 And the Lord said, "Hear what the unjust judge saith. 7 And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bears long with them? 8 I tell you that he will avenge them speedily, Nevertheless, when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?"

 

These verses include two of Jesus' parables about prayer. Note one was addressed to the disciples (vv. 1-8) and the other (vv. 9-14) to "some who were confident of their own righteousness."

 

18: 1-8. Jesus told the Parable of the Unjust Judge to teach persistence in prayer: that they, His disciples, should always pray and not give up. Verse 2-5 contains the parable itself: A widow continued to go before an unjust judge to plead for justice in her case. He continually refused to "hear" her case, but finally he decided to give her justice so that she would not wear him out with complaining. Jesus interpreted the parable (vv. 6-8), pointing out that if the unjust judge would give justice, then imagine how God (the just Judge) would see that they get justice, and quickly Jesus' question, When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth? was not spoken out of ignorance, nor was He questioning whether all believers would be gone when He returns. Instead, He asked the question to exhort the disciples on to faithfulness in prayer, challenging them to keep on in praying.

9 And he spake this parable unto some, which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others. 10 Two men went up into the temple to pray, the one a Pharisee and the other a publican. 11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. 12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. 13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalteth."

 

18: 9-14. The purpose of the Parable of Prayers of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector were to show that one cannot trust in himself for righteousness and should not view others with contempt (v.9). The Pharisee's prayer was concerned with telling God what a good man he was, for not only did he keep the Law by fasting and tithing (v. 12), but also he considered himself better than other people (v. 11). He was using other people as his standard for measuring righteousness.

 

On the other hand, the tax collector used God as his standard for measuring rightness. He realized that he had to throw himself on the mercy of God for forgiveness. Jesus' application of the parable echoed His teaching 13: 30. It is necessary for people to humble themselves before God to gain forgiveness, and those who are proud ((everyone who exalts himself) will be brought low (humbled) by God.

 

The widow's persistence in prayer (vv.1-8) and the Publican's humble heart (v. I 3) are both laudable whereas, the Pharisee's self righteousness (vv. 1 I, 12) is sadly laughable.

 

Sheltering the homeless since 1934.

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The City Mission of Findlay is a proud member of the following organizations:

Association of Gospel Rescue Missions, Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, Findlay Hancock Chamber of Commerce, and The Better Business Bureau

*The pictures and names of the homeless, unless specifically noted, are not of local homeless people.

This organization is tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. It is eligible to receive contributions deductible as charitable donations for federal income tax purposes.