Love In Action: Valentine’s Day 2018

Happy Valentine’s Day! On a day infamous for Love, we took a moment to profile our hard working ministry teams to catch a glimpse of what “love” means to them. These are their stories…

We hope you “love” reading it!

Thrift Operations

Q: What about your ministry area best reflects the Love of Christ – how does LOVE motivate action?

A: Jon Fiorenza, Director of Thrift Operations:  The whole model of “thrift” is built on helping those in need (love, honor and serve). When people can provide for themselves and their loved ones, they have dignity and self-esteem. We have the opportunity to impact their lives and help many in this way.

A: Doreen Carey, Store Manager, York Economy Store: We love our customers, clients and donors by offering a kind and listening ear. Love is a growing process and we (our thrift teams) are part of that process.

Admin Office

Q: What about your ministry area best reflects the Love of Christ? What is love to you?

A: Kristi Glatfelter, Business Manager: For me, love is seeing the unseen people and impacting them by simply showing acts of kindness and thoughtfulness. A simple “Hi, how are you today?” goes a long way to someone who may not have had a word spoken to them that day.

A: Steve Brubaker, Programs Director: Love is more than sentimental feeling, it’s an action. Love is acting in someone’s eternal best interest.

A: Matthew Carey, CEO: [We show the Love of Christ through] personal one-on-one connections with our clients… seeing the life transformation in the lives of those that we impact. Holding someone’s hands, looking in their eyes and being a part of walking them through transition. Our team of dedicated people that love one another and those that we serve in all that they do. The determination of our team to come to their post everyday committed to impact those that we serve by offering a safe, healing and caring environment. We love on our community, regardless of the good or the bad, how big or small, known or unknown.

Youth Programs

Q: Through Your Eyes, How Are You “LOVE” to those our Youth Program serves?

A: LaQuinn Thompson, Youth Director: Love in youth ministry comes in various forms. Love is having patience…being caring… understanding and accepting. Working with the youth is [challenging], yet rewarding. Our youth are seeking guidance from others to help mold their minds. The more positive people we can surround our youth with that have the ability to remain patient, [and] caring [towards] others, [while being] understanding and accepting… [the more we] demonstrate the love of God.  …our youth… realize and recognize what love looks like [when these things occur] within our ministry. God provides those special tools (patience, caring, understanding, accepting) to allow us… to assist our youth by guiding them to the path toward salvation. This is what love looks like in youth ministry!

Single Women & Children’s Shelter (SWCS)

Q: Love comes in many forms. How is LOVE best lived out at the SWCS?

A: Tina Hildebrand, SWCS Director: Love is powerful….it is so powerful that it can heal a wound that is so deeply embedded in a woman or child’s heart and soul. It has the power to lead a broken and disillusioned woman to a restored relationship with God. Love has the power to lead a lost and hopeless family to Jesus, the lover of their souls, and we are the ones privileged to be the vessels to minister that love for Him.

Men’s Shelter

Q: What aspects of Love show up most often in the Men’s Shelter? What does LOVE help overcome?

A: Perseus Gross, Manager of House Operations: Love looks like grace and truth. We have to be able to understand that, with certain people,  they need help and people are going through a lot (trauma, addiction, etc) and we have to understand our responsibility is to hold them accountable but love on them through it all… to help push through. In my day to day, I ask myself, “How can I hold this person accountable but make them feel loved?” People are not always ready for truth, so love can look like it’s hurtful or harmful. But if we approach love in a Godly way, we know we are doing what we can to love that person.

A: Micah Heckert, Men’s Shelter DirectorThe very idea of “love” is rooted in the eternal reality that is God himself “is love.”  The Hebrew word Ahavah that offers us the most broad picture of what love can mean ranges from physically romantic love, to parental love, to mutually beneficial business/political relationships, to discipline and accountability.  This makes it all the more important to us that we seek to have both a robust view and an accurate view of what love that [honors] God really looks like.  

In the Men’s Ministry… we seek to utilize the story that Jesus himself told about the father and his prodigal sons (Luke 15: 11-32) as our guiding picture of how we practically love the men that we have the opportunity to serve.  We believe Jesus told this story because it speaks to the realities of our world and the nature of our development as human beings.  We recognize that the development of the people in that story involves both examples of extravagant graciousness when it was undeserved, but also the realization of felt consequences for actions and choices.  We offer grace, second chances, conversations, and gentleness as we walk with men who are coming out of homelessness because these things have been freely given to all of us by God in our own lives and in our own stories.  We offer, and rely on clear communication of guidelines and [consequences] when necessary… because this too has been given to us by God for our own good and for our own personal growth and development.  Truth and consequence without grace become legalism, and grace without truth and consequence results in a license to continue living in error.  To truly love the men that we serve we constantly seek to dialogue about and practice an appropriate balance of both of these realities; for God’s glory and for the good of our clients.  

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LifePath Christian Ministries is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit, faith-based organization, accredited by the Association of Gospel Rescue Missions and with a 3-star rating from Charity Navigator. 73.3% of all gifts are put back into life-changing programs. We receive no government funding. All contributions are tax-deductible. Donate, or get involved today!

Educating the Whole Person for Life Transformation

WRITER MICHAEL VYSKOCIL
PHOTOGRAPHER ERIC FORBERGER

LifePath Christian Ministries provides for the needs of the community in an environment where all can be loved, honored and served. Its staff and volunteers are the makers and creators of new beginnings for those in need of hope and a transformation for life. 

Educating the Whole Person for Life Transformation

This holistic transformation is central to the organization’s mission and vision. The LifePath Christian Ministries Learning Center demonstrates how LifePath continues to evolve to meet the needs of individuals who need assistance with education, job training, life and conflict resolution skills to achieve a better quality of life. Chief Program Officer Steve Brubaker describes this vision.

Q: What is the purpose of the Learning Center?

A: The most obvious purpose is to improve the academic status and the employment capacity of the adult learner. Students will be challenged to meet a demand to learn something they might not have naturally pursued. They will learn to tolerate failure and achievement, get along with their fellow students and ask questions for understanding.

Q: How will the Learning Center help people further their education or receive job skills training?

A: The Learning Center provides individualized assessment and education planning. Software and instruction centers on academic review of basic skills, preparation for obtaining a GED or diploma, work to become computer literate and assistance with job searches and job acquisition.

Q: How do you believe the Learning Center fills a need in the community?

A: The unique aspect of the Learning Center is that it is housed in a homeless residential facility. This positioning gives support for a population that is often less used to expectations of regular and on-time attendance and accountability. The Learning Center staff meets regularly with LifePath’s residential and operational staff so that a student’s entire week context of attitude and behavior is considered as his or her progress through the recovery program is monitored.

Q: What do you envision for the future of the Learning Center?

A: We would like to develop an alumni association as a follow-up for graduates when each returns to the community. Also, a partnership with a technical school to accept appropriate graduates to learn a trade is a goal.

INSIDER TIP

Help create new beginnings and life transformations. LifePath Christian Ministries seeks donations of technical resources such as educational software, appropriate hardware, printers, etc. for the Learning Center and adults to serve as classroom helpers and tutors. LifePath also invites area employers to help with mock interviews, resume help, job search counsel and hiring opportunitiesfor graduates.

 

This post was originally published in YRK Magazine’s Issue No. 19. Winter Edition, devoted to York’s Makers & Creators.

My Father is Always at His Work

My Father is Always at His Work

In John 5:17, Jesus says to his disciples, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working.”  Since joining Lifepath Christian Ministries and taking over the York Economy Store, I have never been more convinced of this truth.  I have seen God work in some amazing and tangible ways over the past 9 months.  But none is more amazing than an experience I had last month.

On Tuesday, April 11th, an elderly gentleman came to our loading dock with a note in his hand from his wife.  His wife had written down the name of the place where she wanted him to go – “The Goodwill.”  After holding back a few chuckles, I explained that he was at the York Rescue Mission, which is now called Lifepath, and told him a little bit about our ministry.  He asked if we accepted hospital beds as donations.  My initial thought was oh no!  I had gotten one or two hospital beds in prior to this.  First, they are extremely heavy and not very fun to move.  Second, we usually just recycle the metal and scrap the rest since they typically are not in good condition and no longer function properly.   I felt somewhat better about this one after he explained that he had recently purchased the bed for his wife while she recovered from hip replacement surgery, and that the bed was practically brand new.  I wanted to honor this gentleman who was very kind and appreciative of what we do, so I agreed to accept his donation.   I scheduled one of our trucks to pick up the bed from his residence on Thursday, April 13th.

The bed arrived at the store on the morning of April 13th.  My first instinct was to scrap it as it looked very complicated to assemble and I could not be sure if it worked properly if I did not put it together.   However, I sensed something, or Someone, inside of me telling me to keep the bed.  Ignoring my instincts, I made the decision to put it on a cart, roll it onto the elevator, and take it up to our furniture department on the second floor.  I grabbed one of my men and proceeded to see if we could get this thing set up and working.  To my joy and amazement, we had the bed set-up and working flawlessly within 30 minutes.

Now I had to decide how much we could sell the bed for.  This is an important decision as we rely on sales from our Economy Stores to help fund many of our programs.   A quick search of the manufacturers website revealed that the bed was still a current model and retails for $1,767.50.  The actual selling price found online ranged anywhere from $900-$1200.  Needless to say I was in shock.  I could not believe the generosity of this donor who would just give us this bed rather than trying to recover some of his investment.   Surely, I thought this is what Jesus meant when he told us to store up treasures in heaven.

I immediately knew that none of our customers would be able to afford the bed.  I also knew, or thought I knew, that there was little or no demand for a hospital bed.  Not one person had called me or come in to the store since I’ve been manager to ask if we had any hospital beds.  I thought about possibly listing it on Craigslist or eBay so that we could maximize its value.  I was really not sure what to do with it.  So I decided to just leave it be for now and planned to revisit the issue later in the day when I had the time.   And this is where God showed up!

No more than 15 minutes later, I caught sight of an older woman making her way back toward my office.  She was using a walker and moving very slowly.  As she approached I could see that she was struggling to breathe.  And then, she asked me a question that I will never forget.  She asked, “Do you have any hospital beds?”  At first, I thought, this surely has to be a set-up.   I reasoned there was no way this could have just happened.  Someone must have told her about the bed I thought.  But then I realized there was no way she could have known about the bed.  She was not in the store when I took it up the elevator and she could not have seen the bed on the second floor since there was no way she could have gone up the steps. It was then that I realized that God had orchestrated this whole thing.  My Father was at work!

She proceeded to tell me that she had congestive heart failure and needed a hospital bed to sleep on.  Her landlord had recently removed the hospital bed from the apartment she was renting and she was now forced to sleep on a recliner.   She desperately wanted the bed and asked me for a price.  Of course, I had just tried to delay the issue and now I was being forced to make a decision.  Hoping to avoid answering her question, I suggested we go upstairs so she could see the bed and decide if it would meet her needs.  If it would not, I was off the hook I thought.   But of course, God had other plans.  After seeing the bed, she declared that it would be perfect for her and again asked me for a price.  Now what do I do?  I knew the bed was selling for $900-$1200 online, but surely she could not afford that I thought.  Wanting to help her, I decided to set the price at $550 and explained that price was approximately one half of the current resale value online.  She became very dejected as that amount represented about 60% of her monthly social security check which was her sole source of income.

With that she began to head back toward the elevator resigned to the fact that she would not be able to get the bed.  That is when God really started to work on me.  I started to see that if I let her walk out of the store without that bed, I would be interfering with His plan.  He had orchestrated this whole thing.  Who was I to get in His way?   I would have to be completely oblivious to how He was working in this situation if I allowed her to walk out of that store empty handed.

So I asked her to wait for a few minutes while I went to my office and prayed.  I knew what God’s answer would be before I even closed the door.  He reminded me that we recently changed our name to LifePath Christian Ministries.  And that we exist to help people experience life transformation in all areas of life- emotionally, physically, and spiritually.  He had given me the power to help transform this woman’s life and I was determined that I was not going to let her leave the store without that bed.

I called her into my office and told her that Lifepath was going to donate the bed and that we would also deliver it to her home at no charge.  To say she went into a state of shock would be to put it mildly.  She never dreamed that we would donate a like new hospital bed that we could have easily sold for several hundred dollars.  We exchanged hugs and a few tears.  She thanked me from the bottom of her heart and told me how much this was going to improve her life.  And while I appreciated her gratitude, I reminded her that God had orchestrated all of this.  And that I was only an instrument in His hands who was carrying out His will that she should have this bed.

I don’t think I shall ever forget that day.  It was a reminder to me that my Father is always at work.  The question is do we see where God is working and will we join Him in that work?  Or are we too consumed with our own agenda and purposes that we miss the opportunity He gives us every day to share in His Kingdom work.  Thankfully this time at least, I did not miss the blessing that God had for me on this day.

Author:  Dave Cook – Director of Development and Community Outreach for LifePath Christian Ministries and Manager of the York Economy Store