Looking Back on 2014
I am remembering the words of some of the men I met this past year.
“All I need is someone who will care and someone who will listen”
– Daniel, at one of the Isaiah House outreach dinners.
“I’m gonna tell you like this. It’s all about hope. When I first got here (Open Door Mission) I cried because I wanted to go get high and couldn’t. We need others who can help us through this.”
– Terrance, after I asked what difference it would make if every man had a mentor.
This past month one of the men I have been mentoring, Jesse, graduated from his recovery program at Open Door Mission! We are spending a lot of time together. It was great to see him smiling, drug free and about 50 pounds heavier at graduation. It was rewarding to see him reconnected with his family, and encouraging to see him taking the next steps in his job search and getting “back on his feet”.
The sobering reality is many men don’t make it as far as Jesse. Not every man makes it to a place like Open Door Mission, much less has a mentor. Open Door Mission currently has a need for about 25 more men who can help mentor and disciple men like Jesse. The relapse rate for men in recovery can be as high as 60%. This is typical, but, the good news is God is not calling any of us to be typical. While statistics can be telling, they do not have to determine anyone’s future. By being intentional and taking an active role in the lives of men like Jesse, we can create a new set of statistics. But what does this look like? Moving into 2015, we plan to develop four main strategies.
Being First Responders – Not every man makes it to a place like Open Door Mission. Jesse is alive because someone reached out to him on the streets. This is one of the strategies we plan to develop this year, actively going to men in need.
Mentoring – Transitioning from addiction or homelessness, to responsibility and stability, can create many questions and decisions for a man. We need others who can join us as mentors. Being a mentor is best accomplished by simply showing up and listening. Everything else flows from this.
Discipleship – Graduating from a place like Open Door Mission is not the end, but rather, this is where the heart of our ministry begins. Jesus spent three years with his disciples. What a treat it has been to help Jesse start leading small groups of new men at the mission. We plan to do more of this; help the men we reach, reach others.
Catalysts – While we seek to be “first responders”, mentors and disciplers, ultimately we need to work with others. Reaching men like Jesse, and helping them make it, is a task bigger than any one person, and bigger than any one organization. As we work together, God gets the glory.
Because of your generous donations we were able to give Jesse a phone for his job search, bus fare for the next month, and a Walmart gift card to purchase new clothes for his job interviews. We also helped Jesse get a “TWIC” card something he needed to pursue offshore, and other, job opportunities. Additionally, we presented Jesse with his own Bible, in the “Common English” translation he prefers. Thank you again for helping make all of this possible. Please join us as we pray and ask God to lead us into this new year.
If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?