Anawim Christian Community is a community church for the homeless in the East Portland area. We have the only warehouse for the needy, the only shower for the homeless, and the only weekly free clothing closet in all of East County. Our warehouse is located in our Red Barn, pictured.
Right now we have an opportunity to double the size of our warehouse, and to provide laundry services for the homeless in our area. We have been approved for a grant of $8,400 to increase our warehouse space and to set up a washer with easy access for those on the street. This grant is a matching grant, so we need the help of others to obtain the $4200 dollars needed so we can access these funds. This also includes a storage space which would be a tiny copy of the Red Barn. Happy us!
Your financial gift would work double, providing the homeless with sleeping bags on cold nights, starter kits for when they get an apartment and clean clothes after they take showers at our facility. We could really use your help for this.
If you would like to participate in this grant, please go to this website and donate with the phrase “SeedNW—Anawim” in the comment section: http://giving.mennoniteusa.org/organization/detail/1450
If you would like to forgo giving to this grant, and just help us financially pay our rent and food so we could help the homeless everyday, please go to our donation page: http://hogansheroesfanclub.com/donate/ We could really use any kind of financial help right now!
If you have clothes or food that you’d like for us to give to the needy in Gresham or Portland, you can just drop it off at 19626 NE Glisan, or you can call Pastor Steve at 503-888-4453.
There are living spaces for community X in every city. The majority of citizens recognizes most of this community on sight, and are disgusted by them. Almost all the members of community X are citizens, but their rights are not recognized or upheld by officials. In fact, many officials are trying to strip the rights of these citizens from them. Their very right to exist is questioned.
An X’er knows that at any time their home might be violated by the police and, at the discretion of the officer, they could be given twenty four hours or ten minutes to pack up as much as they can and move. They might be given a list of places they may move to, which includes an overcrowded building full of people who will often take their possessions, or nowhere at all. X’ers are often told by officers to leave their city and not return. Often they are escorted by the police to city limits and dropped off on the side of the road.
Some cities have a designated place for the citizens that belong to community X and tell all the members of that community that they may not live anywhere else. Of course, this is the most destitute part of the city, full of crime and disease. Often the members of community X feel privileged to have a place to stay at all. It is hard to say whether those who have a ghetto to live in are better or worse than those who are constantly told to move out of their homes.
Local officials often hire people to steal the possessions of community X. These men go from home to home, taking the beds, blankets, sentimental possessions, identification and other necessary items out of their home. These belongings are tossed right into a dumpster and thrown away. In the rare community, these possessions might be placed in a yard for twenty four hours, where the owners might be able to pick them up. After the day, they are thrown away to make room for more possessions of community X.
Some churches have mercy on members of community X. The members of this community may spend a short amount of time on church property, safe from officials that want to ravage their possessions and themselves. But other churches are just as likely to call the police as soon as they see an X’er trying to hide on their property. They agree with officials that members of this community are dangerous to society and deserve to be harassed and even arrested. If a church does help those of community X, they are punished by their neighborhood or police officials, fined or occasionally arrested for assisting those who need mercy.
Members of community X are considered so offensive, that they are not offered jobs, although they may be allowed to work without pay. Occasionally kids will beat up a member of the community, or an officer will shoot an X’er, but these crimes are winked at. After all, they aren’t really people.
This is no allegory. Nor is it a description of early Nazi Germany. Community X lives in the United States and they are the homeless. The chronic homeless are the feared and dehumanized of our society, even worse than homosexuals or illegal immigrants. They are segregated and hated by many in our society.
The way we treat homeless people is the dividing line of this nation. When people look back on the individuals, churches and governments within this nation at this time, they will divide us between those who assisted the hated citizens of this nation and those who poured derision and shame upon these citizens who did nothing wrong apart from not having the ability to rent private property.
We need to take a stand for the homeless, or we will find the next holocaust is in our own backyard. This may sound over dramatic, but from what I’ve witnessed, eventually the pity will drop off and all there will be left is disgust for our fellow human beings without roofs.
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth, and they are His because he made them and subdued them and established good for all creatures—clean water, clean air, good food and sufficient shelter for all. He then created women and men in His image, and gave us this good creation: all the earth, all the creatures of the earth, the real of the air, the realm of the sea and the realm of the land. God also gave us ourselves to rule. He gave us this world to rule for good, not for ill, to sustain and to create the Good, for we were made in His image and we were to rule in His likeness.
Humanity soon decided, although morally we are as toddlers, to rule ourselves and the earth without God’s counsel or assistance. This is not as it was intended by the Creator. He and we were supposed to rule in partnership, we ruling and he advising and empowering. In rejecting the Creator in the rule of the earth, we rejected Love, we rejected Justice and we rejected true Power. Without the Creator, we became narrow-minded, established self-serving systems and those who understood the good were powerless to establish it.
When Jesus came, he demonstrated a life of true partnership with the Creator. He lived out and taught the law of Love, which did not have so much as specific rules as the basic principle of living for the well-being of others. Jesus established justice by inviting the Creator to breathe life into those who are dying. And Jesus relied on the Creator to demonstrate that true power comes from Him—not from politics, not from medicine, not from education nor from religious ritual. Rather, it is an ongoing relationship with the Father that justice and love and power arises from.
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The church is but a shattered image of Jesus. Some pursue a relationship with the Father, praising exuberantly, attempting to live out His will, seeking His truth, to the exclusion of all else. These will spend hours a day in prayer or study or meditation, seeking the descent of heaven in their lives. They seek God to work in our world, believing that He alone can establish the Good.
Others are working to establish God’s kingdom on earth. They are loving all, creating places of peace, establishing justice, working with the needy and establishing the good. They look to God to infuse them with Love and Truth, and they do the work for they believe that they are His hands and feet.
Both sides have forgotten the partnership. There is a place for human work and a place for the Creator’s work. The Creator guides us to acts of love. Like Jesus, the Creator shows us the work we are to do and we step into it. But we must pray to depend on the Creator’s power. We recognize our weakness, but it is easy to rely on human power to establish “God’s work”.
Yet Jesus didn’t rely on his own power. He left his home and family. He had no medical knowledge to heal, yet he healed. He didn’t carry food with him to feed the thousands, yet he fed them. He didn’t have a degree in psychology to bring peace to the mad, yet he gave them peace. He accomplished his work through his boldness to approach the most needy around them, to understand the work of God and to step into God’s power to create life. Jesus had nothing but his compassion and his reliance.
On the day of his arrest, Jesus saw the crowds coming, and he warned his disciples. The disciples, having not prayed, only saw those who would separate them from their God. They were the enemies, the hateful, the despised. So they fought, then they retreated, then they scattered. But Jesus, having prayed, was full of the love and power of God and saw people whose lives were on the edge. So he healed, he comforted, he taught and he forgave. He did not see enemies, he saw the needy.
Even so, God has put in our path the needy. We know people whose lives hang in the balance. They will die unless they have the touch of the Creator. And we are to be Jesus to them. We are not their Savior, rather, we are here to provide the way for them to touch the Savior. We are to speak the word of love the Creator put in our mouths. We are to touch them and pray for healing. We are to ask them what they need. We are to speak the hard truth in gentleness. We are to feed the hungry. We are to give shelter to the homeless. We are there to save lives.
But we are not to do this on our own. We are not the Lifegiver. We are not the Creator, but simply the mediator for the Creator. We do not have energy to be there for everyone who is dying. But the Creator does. And He will give us the energy and power and love to create justice. If…
If we would but pray and listen and work His work. We need to pray because the work is not our own, but a partnership with the Creator and He gives us the power. Without prayer, God does not act through us and our strength is insufficient to do the work. We need to listen because in many ways we are still toddlers. We deceive ourselves into thinking that our way is God’s way. We listen to truly understand love. And we need to work. Without work, our prayer is simply words. We pray and then we step in our prayers, embodying them, with God to give us the power.
Thus is the world subdued to peace.
I have come to believe that we all have this anointing from the Father to us via the Holy Spirit. This anointing is like unto a pheromone that attracts those who are searching and those who are hurting.
So when I got into the advocates office at the VA there was one ahead of me and when she went in I was the only person in the room and I was reading a magazine. Then 4 other people showed up and before I know it I am listening and ministering to each one, each with a horrific story or stories that happened in or near Vietnam. One was on a flight deck and a cable broke when a disabled jet was landing and it whipped across the deck killing four out of five guys working and he was the 5th. Or the guy whose job it was to defuse enemy booby traps and one had a hidden delayed trip and the blast blew him out the door but killed 14 of his buddies. Another was a sniper and I could not make out what it was he did because of the crying.
So for about and hour and a half while the advocate interceded for the vet in her office the Holy Spirit held court. And in the end we prayed and then hugged, for we are brothers. Not because we are veterans, but because we have each walked through the valley of death under the hand of the living God and though we didn’t all find the Grace of God until we were on the other side, as it is written, He knew us in our mothers womb. So there in the waiting room of an intercessor the spirits of healing and forgiveness were unleashed and tears of joy were shed openly and freely. It did not stop with just us for the receptionist joined in for she was a widow at the age of 27 with a son– her husband died in Iraq.
Then the door opened and the advocate called my name and asked are you finished and I said yes and walked in and the door closed.
Ever wonder what it would be like to go from a middle class individual with hopes and dreams and visions, to a non being? One who occupies space and time but who has had all his or her hopes and dreams and visions ripped away and destroyed, one by one, until you become numb and purpose-deficient? Unable to even consider a different life?
Next time you see some one flying a sign pull over load there stuff into the trunk and take them out to lunch and have them regale you with their story. DO NOT Interrupt with your insights, just let them tell their story and really listen and then take them back to where they were flying their sign and grease their palm with some cash and go off and meditate on the story you just heard. Keep a box of tissues close at hand for you will end up in tears after the Holy Spirit opens the eyes of your heart.