Why are we NOT a homeless shelter?

Today we have a guest-post from my wife. She is sharing her insights about what we do.

Johnson County Christian Lodge has never considered themselves as a homeless shelter for displaced persons but from the very beginning have referred to ourselves as a Homelessness Recovery Center. It is a place where persons, individuals and families, can enter and reestablish themselves in their local community. It is not a “bed and breakfast”, but is an intensive, dedicated program of recovery from the addiction of homelessness. Yes, I did say “addiction”. What is the difference between choosing to live on drugs, alcohol or the emotions of others? What is the difference between choosing to let substances control your life and letting situations control your life. If all boils down to “decision.” Jesus asked the lame man if he wanted to be healed. We ask our residents the same question. Do you want to go on living off of others and letting them determine your future or do you want to be healed and let God guide you, heal you and determine your future? It is for many people a very hard question but it is in effect the same question every human being must deal with “What will you do with this man Jesus?”

Many people go home at night and pat themselves on their backs and tell anyone who will listen that they “helped a homeless person today” How? They gave him a happy meal at McDonalds, they gave him a bottle of water, they gave him $5.00, or they gave him some clothes that they would never wear themselves. Some groups go so far as to say we opened our doors and gave them a free meal. But what they really gave him was an excuse to stay right where he is.
At Johnson County Christian Lodge we believe that the only way to overcome homelessness is to offer them a hand up and NOT a handout. We believe that unless they hear the message of Christ Jesus they will remain in the clutches of Satan. We believe that God did not create mistakes, or as the poster reads “God don’t make no junk”. We believe everyone who comes to us has a purpose and it is a purpose that leads to life. As a child they NEVER told their teacher they wanted to grow up and live on the street or in their car and have to beg for their next meal. They too had dreams of owning their own business, of being a doctor, a teacher, a policeman or a good mother or father. Some point in their path poor choices by themselves or by family members brought them to where they now are. And yes, some really are completely innocent. Some of our residents are the children of people who got lost along the way. In fact, between 25% and 30% of all the people who have lived at the lodge for any period of time have been under the age of 16.

Why should you care? We’ve actually had people ask us that. It’s their fault not mine; I’ve my own problems why should I worry about someone else who “obviously” doesn’t care enough to change, or they would. From a worldly view I guess there is no reason to care. But from a Godly point of view you have no choice but to care. Jesus denied no one who came to him truly asking for help, whether they were lame, blind, poor, a tax-collector or even a leper. He said He came to earth so that “whosoever”, that means anyone, who calls on him will be saved. He also said he didn’t come just to save our souls but to save and change our lives.
Johnson County Christian Lodge is here to help the community of believers to reach out to the community of outcasts. $50.00 given to a motel owner by an individual, an agency or even a church will put up one or two people for one night. No food, no encouragement, no clothes, no growth, just reaffirmation that they are only worth what someone will give them. That same $50.00 will provide an individual 4 nights of safe and comfortable housing, 3 meals a day, snacks, ID acquisition, counseling, Bible study, life-skills classes, medical and vision assistance and an opportunity to enroll in ESL, GED or even certification programs at local colleges.

Do you want to feel good about yourself for one night or do you want to truly change a life?

Click HERE if you’d like to help change a person’s life.

Eileen Wissore

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