The Homeless Serving the Homeless

On May 19th & 20th, our team of eleven men left the Idaho Falls Rescue Mission for a weekend of ministry outreach in Montana.  Seven men in our group of City of Refuge residents who are enrolled in our Works Program, were eagerly anticipating the new experiences of sharing and helping the homeless.  We were all praying that God would use us as conduits in spreading seeds of His gospel love to men and women living in the streets and on the river banks.

We left Idaho Falls early on Saturday, drove north through beautiful parts of Idaho and Montana and stopped for lunch at Naps Grill in Hamilton, Montana.  We soon arrived at the Union Gospel Mission of Missoula where the executive director and director of outreach from the Mission warmly greeted us and explained their homeless situation there in the city.

With a loaded van of supplies, we drove to the swollen banks of the Clarke’s Fork river.  At first, we thought we needed to wade through the water, but thankfully the water had receded enough where we could cross on a dry trail containing only one make-shift rock bridge through water.  Utilizing a shopping cart from the homeless encampment, we loaded it up with hygiene kits, protein food bars, and water bottles.  As we carried these goods through the camp we were able to introduce ourselves, listen to those living there and share with them.

God opened up some unique conversations for our team members.  We distributed gifts to two different areas along the river before handing out the remaining supplies at the Poverello Center.  We quickly discovered that there are terrific opportunities for the networking of God’s people in the work of gospel transformation in the lives of those struggling with addictions, poverty, and homelessness in Missoula, Montana.  The UGM Thrift Store in Missoula contained a prayer room and a whole prayer wall packed with written prayer requests.  The need is great.  Thank God for prayer, a crucial component of ministry work.

In the evening, we drove just a little bit south to Stevensville Bible Chapel, where we experienced a restful nigh sleep  cozy in our sleeping bags.  The church graciously bought us pizza for dinner that night and filled our stomachs with fresh coffee cake for breakfast the next  morning.  First thing Sunday morning we enjoyed worshiping the Lord with the

Plymouth Brethren.  At 9:00 am, we listened to prayer requests and prayed.  At 10:00 am, we gathered for communion and at 11:00 am the main teaching time began.  One our Works Program men, Chris Anderson, had the opportunity to give a short testimony and synopsis of our weekend ministry before the featured speaker taught.  He did a superb job in bringing glory to God’s transformative power.

Again, the church family blessed our team by inviting us to a delicious potluck after the service.  It was very nice to meet and enjoy fellowship with this small, vibrant church family.   This church is the Works Program Director’s wife home church where she had the joy of growing up in.  Over 80% of the church’s financial budget is given to missions and the spread of the gospel!  Around 2:00 pm, we said our goodbyes and headed back home to the Idaho Falls Rescue Mission in Idaho Falls.  We give our thanks to Lynn Waters who drove and for the use of the CrossPoint Community Church van.  We give thanks to our good and loving God for allowing us to be His ambassadors for this weekend in Montana.  God loves the homeless in Montana and in Idaho.  He is accomplishing His magnificent work in the lives of the people there and here!