Hi everyone! I wanted to give all of you who are following Rising Hope an update to the ministry this year. A lot of amazing things have happened so I will do my best to include them here in this post. This year, we had the privilege of hosting North Cascades YWAM team for their missions portion of their DTS. For the past few months, we have been meeting at The Majestic building in downtown Bellingham Tuesday nights to receive some training in evangelism, relationship building, apologetics, and how to approach and minister to the homeless. We began with a goal in mind: through discipleship and relationship-building, slowly bring together a bible study fellowship on the streets with both homeless and non-homeless people.
We kicked off our initial weeks by talking about identity, and preparing for the breakdown of our characters as we step foot into the world of front-line ministry: seeing who we are when we engage in actual ministry where the stakes are high, both for those whom we minister to, and the actual danger that we expose ourselves to. We hammered home humility as our primary weapon in homeless ministry, and how it helps us survive the bombardment of enemy attack and the seemingly lack of progress at times. And once we got past that phase, began to investigate our own callings and giftings; where do we fit as individuals in the body of Christ? Are we pastoral? Evangelistic? Prophetic?
Lastly, we began to scratch the surface of apologetics and spiritual warfare. How do we tackle the tough questions now that we’ve gained relational trust? How do we identify when the lack of progress we’re making is simply due to natural obstacles, or something that can be moved out of the way with prayer? Once we received this training, it was a race to the finish line as we spent the last few weeks putting together what we learned and bringing the friends we’ve made to a gathering downtown.
During this 3.5 month journey, we had a chance to make relationships downtown with some of the homeless, some that will continue even past this class as some of the DTS students have them added on Facebook! A man named Chuck was led to Christ a couple weeks ago, when he realized what he needed was Jesus and how the times he heard His voice and followed His word were some of the best times of his life, and it was that night when we prayed with him that he committed his life to the Lord. I am happy to let you all know that Chuck has been admitted to rehab and will finally get off the streets and into the help that he needs! Praise God!
It has been such an incredible blessing getting to know these guys whom I’ve come to call family. It was such a joy for me to have been given this small window in their lives to pass on my knowledge and help them grow in this very tender, vulnerable stage in life that will determine the remaining course of their lives. Many of these students will very soon move on to other parts of the world to put their training into action, and I have great hopes that these students will effect tremendous Kingdom impact with their travels and obedience. I pray that God will bless them with a heart that will break for what breaks His, a humility that conquers the arrogance of their enemies, and a love for the least of these and the last among us. I pray that God will strengthen them in times of trial and give them supernatural faith to perform wonders that glorifies their Father in heaven. Though many I will not see until the Kingdom comes to Earth, I have confidence that I will see each and every one of them again, and I will be even prouder of them then than I am now.
Some housekeeping as far as big picture and a summary of our end of 2016 review, I will just bulletpoint as this post has gone on far enough.
- Rising Hope is now part of Envision Mission, and a part of Jesus Gathering.
- Rising Hope has switched to a “class” model, which includes taking on classes several months at a time to help equip a group of individuals by giving them a full homeless training experience from start to finish.
- We have seen at least a dozen salvations and life transformational testimonies in this year
- We have successfully initiated a small gathering for the homeless downtown that we intend to disciple long-term alongside our other services.
- Rising Hope is still committed to working towards a long-term housing solution. Progress has been slow, but when we get there, we will get there.
- Rising Hope crossed its 4th year!
- As part of our last day of class, we handed out blankets as Christmas gifts to give away to anyone living outside.
Thank you so much to all our supporters who stay up-to-date with us, praying with us, giving to us, and joining us on the streets. We love you all and we will resume Street Ministry very soon. Please continue to follow us on our Facebook group for future activities and when our next class will start. God bless and have a Merry Christmas!