We call ourselves, “Refuge.” We meet in Milwaukie, just south of Portland. As a fellowship we became concerned about the homelessness problem in the metro area. It was evident to us that for the love of Jesus to be real we can’t just keep it to ourselves. It needs to be shown even to the outcasts of our society.
We knew about a ministry in the Gresham area called My Father’s House. It is a shelter in west Gresham for 28 homeless families that provides a safe place to live while they get back on their feet. Most families enter the program with nothing but a few clothes. While at MFH, they are provided with a private, furnished living space where they spend three to four months getting ready to live on their own. During this time they get training in job skills, parenting, budgeting and life skills, and are also given relational counseling and encouraged in their spiritual journey. Our part in this is small, yet important. Refuge has adopted one room for a year, meaning that, during the year, we provide three or four families with linens, cookware, dishes, and a few other household items that they can use during their time at My Father’s House and then take with them when they finish the program and move out on their own.
The first family in our room was a mother with three children. They
had been forced out of their home due to an abusive relationship. According to Cathe Wiese, the Executive Director of MFH, this mom was very motivated to provide a stable situation for her kids. She was eager to take part in the classes and willingly accepted the mentoring that was provided. In addition to outfitting the room, we were able to pray for the family while they were at MFH, that they would heal emotionally and experience Jesus’ unconditional love.
In addition to adopting a room, several in our church are participating in a community work day at MFH, doing cleaning, sorting donated items, landscaping and painting. Not only will this spruce things up a bit for spring, it gives us an opportunity to work
alongside residents and show them Jesus’ love in a visible, tangible way. Matthew 25 tells us that by serving the least, we are actually serving God. Can we do anything greater for His kingdom?