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Saturday, October 6, 2012

Winter is coming

On my way home today, I noticed people setting up their sleeping arrangements under a railroad trestle. They were getting organized to “hunker down” for a cool and rainy night. Outreach workers will most likely come and offer to drive them to Wheeler or another mission in town so they can spend the night indoors. Many will hold out and stay in their make shift home.


But winter is coming. Any many of the chronic homeless will find their way to our Shelter for Men or our Center for Women & Children. Soon, every one of our beds will be full and we will give hundreds of people a blue mat and offer them a place to sleep on the floor. While they are safely indoors, this situation just adds to the dehumanizing aspect of homelessness. Sleeping shoulder to shoulder with strangers next to you is not always viewed as the next step out of their homeless situation.

Please pray for the homeless, and for the staff of Wheeler Mission. We are in the process of enhancing our facilities so that we will have more beds to offer those who come through our doors. When a person has a good night’s rest and a nutritious meal, they are more likely to want to take that next step to end their homelessness. This might mean setting up a meeting with a Wheeler Case Manager, entering our long term residential program to address their addiction, connecting with mental health care professionals, or addressing a significant health concern at our onsite medical clinic.

Real change this winter may begin by having the opportunity to sleep in a bed. Would you pray about helping us enhance our programs to those who are homeless?

Rick

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Mighty to Save

Do you have a list of favorite Christian songs? Mighty to Save by Laura Story is on the top of my list. It speaks deeply to my heart because it describes the life experience of many of our guests. They could have written the lyrics themselves.


Here’s a few of the lines:

Everyone needs compassion

Everyone needs forgiveness…the kindness of a Savior

Savior – He can move the mountains

My God is mighty to save, He is mighty to save!

Many of our guests have mountains to climb as they face addiction, long term unemployment, lack of education, and have only a fragile thread of hope for a better life. But our God can move the mountains for He is mighty to save.

What a blessing to stand in our Chapel and hear many of the men in our programs sing this song at the top of their lungs. They have experienced God’s saving grace. His compassion. His forgiveness. His kindness. Now they are seeing the mountains moved as they follow God’s plan for their lives.



I urge you to listen to the song and sing it at the top of your lungs too!

Rick

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Joy

“For the first time in my life, I have joy.” That’s what a 55 year old guest told me recently. She said it is because she is free from drugs controlling her life from the time she awoke until she fell into her disordered sleeping patterns.


Now, her day is ordered as she attends classes, and transitions into a job. Her children have remarked to her that they have never seen her so content and her pastor is encouraged by her faithful attendance and service at church. She has been clean and sober for almost two years now and her future holds promise.

This guest has told me more than once that she never realized there was more to life until she came to Wheeler Mission and heard about God’s love for her. She says she lived her entire life thinking that the addicted lifestyle was her only option. Now – peace and joy mark of her life because the “joy of the Lord is her strength.”

Rick

Friday, August 10, 2012

Reconciliation

Have you ever thought about reconciliation?

Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Theology states that “reconciliation involves a change in the relationship between God and man or man and man. It assumes there has been a breakdown in the relationship, but now there has been a change from a state of enmity and fragmentation to one of harmony and fellowship.”

Have you ever experienced a “state of enmity and fragmentation” with the very people to whom you should be most connected? Has there been a breakdown in any of your relationships? We often see this in the lives of those who come through our doors here at Wheeler. It is a sad, disheartening situation.

Yet, 2 Corinthians 5:18 tells us that “Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation” – and this reconciliation comes as we experience life in Christ, where the old is left behind and “all things become new.” It’s true. It happens. I’ve seen it with my own eyes.

More than thirty years ago, when he was in his late teens, one of the men in our Addiction Recovery Program went to visit his dad shortly after his parents had divorced. He went to get some questions answered, but instead the conversation turned into a significant fist fight, with the son fleeing because he thought the police would shortly be pursuing him. They didn’t, but the young man kept running. He ran to drugs and a life filled with the turmoil of addiction.

A few decades later, he ended up in Wheeler’s Addiction Recovery Program where one of his assignments was to “make right” the “wrongs” he had done to others in his past. He wrote a letter to his father, asking for forgiveness in starting the fist fight so many years ago. He hadn’t had contact with his dad since that fateful day and wasn’t sure if the address he had for his father was the correct one.

As it turns out, his father did receive the letter, and responded to his son with a letter of his own. Both father and son longed for reconciliation.

After not seeing or speaking for 30 years, the father came to Indiana to visit his son. They have cried and talked and cried some more as God allowed confession and forgiveness to flow freely. Reconciliation has come.

What about you? Do you have a letter you need to write? It could be the first step in experiencing reconciliation in that relationship that has been broken. I encourage you – be the person who takes the first step and see what the Lord might do.
Rick







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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A Job Well Done

It’s always a great feeling when someone acknowledges your hard work and offers you a “well done!”  You want your efforts to be noticed and appreciated, and that pat on the back propels you to continue offering your very best work.  Knowing the power of these words, I encourage you to notice the hard work of someone in your sphere of influence.  Who can you encourage today?
Rick
John C. Maxwell said, “Every worthwhile accomplishment has a price tag attached to it. The question is always whether you are willing to pay the price to attain it – in hard work, sacrifice, patience, faith, and endurance.”


I am so inspired by the endurance of one of the ladies at our Center for Women and Children (CWC). I’ll call her Pat. In her mid-50’s, she decided it was time to earn her GED. She spent a lot of time in our Computer Center, working through the GED preparation materials with our Education Coordinator. Pat also attended classes with an outside agency that provided tutoring as well as volunteer tutors who came to the CWC. Other CWC guests were also preparing to take the GED test, so Pat led the charge for study groups and GED discussions.

The day came when it was time for her to go to the site where the GED testing would be administered. She hadn’t been in school for more than 40 years, so it was a little intimidating. She completed the test, but failed.

She would not be discouraged, as she said she felt this is something the Lord wanted her to do, so she set herself to study again. After a few months, she returned to take the GED test a second time. She fell short by two points!

Hard work, sacrifice, patience, faith, and endurance were the marks of her efforts. After more diligent study and practice tests, she went a third time to tackle this test. With her third attempt, SHE PASSED!

Pat serves as a great example of determination. Our CWC guests often question whether or not they can overcome that next obstacle – and then they look at what Pat accomplished.

What are you determined to overcome?

Rick



Thursday, May 31, 2012

Alumni Picnic

Memorial Day weekend is a fun time for people here in the Midwest. We've been bundled in our homes all winter, avoiding the cold, and now we can enjoy the beauty of summer with our families. In this Facebook age, we can see pictures with smiles, pools, and sun posted from those we know all over the country. Around here at Wheeler Mission, things are a little different. Our current guests won't be posting any smiling pictures with their families and friends. They weren't hanging out at picnics and pools. And the beginning of summer means only that hot, dangerous temperatures are on the way, and shelter is vital for survival. With many of our clients being Veterans, Memorial Day brings additional somber emotions into their already stressful circumstances. This is why what happened this weekend was so incredible. 30-40 graduates of our longest and toughest addiction recovery program spent Memorial Day weekend together at a picnic in a local park. These individuals set it up to fellowship together, along with their spouses and children, celebrating what God has done in their lives. The families at this picnic were once torn apart by addiction, homelessness, and hopelessness, only to experience the true joy of a life resurrected. Scenes of laughter, sober enjoyment, love, and friendship causes a reaction similar to those who were near the man healed by the pool of Bethesda in Mark 2:12. "All were amazed and glorified God, saying, 'We never saw anything like this.' " Fruit such as this makes what we do worth it. - Rick


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If you give yourself to the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then your light will rise in darkness