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 is 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 the 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.