Homelessness in America

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Have you ever imagined yourself walking through a period of homelessness? Everything you own packed into your car or in the backpack you’re wearing. No where to wash your face, no table or couch to eat your dinner, no way to bathe your kids. How do you tell your kids that you have to move around every day because we can’t afford a place to live? Maybe some of you have been or are homeless.

The book of Acts talks about the early church and how they brought food, goods, and supplies together to help each other out. No one ‘went without’ it says. I believe Christ established the church to take care of the homeless and broken and to give a hand up out of love… not to pass judgement, not to critique ‘The why’ of someone being homeless, nor to stand by in silence. Compassion is what Christ modeled for us.

I wondered what the data might say regarding homelessness in America, so I did some searching and here’s a bit of what I found from www.endhomelessness.org.

January 2017 Homelessness

  • A majority of the homeless lived in some form of shelter or transitional housing
  • 34% lived in a place not meant for human habitation
  • 7% of all people experiencing homelessness were single individuals
  • 3% were people in families (adults and children)
  • 2% of people counted were veterans
  • 4% were unaccompanied children and young adults

The good thing is that since 2007, homelessness has decreased overall and across every sub-population nationally by 14.4%. However, between 2016 and 2017 the number of people experiencing homelessness has increased nationally by 7% percent. The largest increases in that time period (2016-2017) were among unaccompanied children and young adults (14.3%), individuals experiencing chronic homelessness (12.2%), and people experiencing unsheltered homelessness (9.4%).

This month we are supporting a super cool idea called ‘Connections Shelter that’s being coordinated by multiple churches. Since finding permanent building space can be tricky, these churches came together and established a system where by each facility rotates weeks of caring for the homeless population in their city. I had the privilege to volunteer this week at one of these churches and I was so impressed with their organization and flow of the evening. From volunteer scheduling, to food preparation, to their hospitality towards their guests; it was an honor to watch and do my small part with them.

Check out their site: www.connectionsmankato.org

Here’s the thing – these churches are from different denominations, their theology beliefs are different, they have different opinions about stuff but they found a way to brush that aside and focus on the needs of people. They provide beds, food, games, friendship, and safety to those who need it most. I can’t say enough about the amazing coordination and love they have exhibited together over the past few years. Hats off to you guys and Thank You for following the Lord’s direction to serve others!

 DONATE TODAY… BE BLESSED ALL YEAR LONG!

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Every month, Be a Blessing looks for opportunities to bring opportunities! We strive to be a part of what God is doing across the globe through established faith-based non-profits and to participate in His vision to transform hearts, so that they may know Him! Each gift brings hope and love to hurting people and encourages organizations as they serve others.

Serving Seniors

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They give more generously, donate the most volunteer time, have lived through some of the hardest economic times in the US, served their country unwaveringly, and contain enormous amounts of life wisdom. Our seniors are the heroes of our time and have paved the way for many of us to be where we are.

However, aging is not an easy road to walk and many times our seniors can eventually become the ‘forgotten ones’. Even in the best facilities, loneliness, anxiety and feelings of neglect are a primary cause of poor health among our older adults. No longer being able to choose what they want to eat, where they want to go, and many times what they want to do. This loss of freedom and independence can cause them to lose self-esteem, dignity, joy and love.

Jerry & Dorphia David

This months’ blessing devotes their time and energy giving back to our beloved seniors. Sharing the love and gospel of Christ to a segment of society who is nearing their time of departure. Matthew 20 illustrates that it’s never too late to know Christ and His plan of salvation, comfort and love.

Gentle Shepherd Ministries visits senior care facilities on a weekly basis where they provide one-on-one visits, church services, Bible studies, and grief support to those who struggle with despair, uselessness, or spiritual emptiness. They create a Christ-centered community and provide support, relationship and joy to many of them. The team of GSM reach 70 senior living communities, approximately 700 people a month, and has 70 volunteers ministering to the residents’ spiritual, emotional, and societal needs.

During the middle of last year, God had placed ‘seniors’ on my heart. I’m so pleased to bless this organization and be a part of what God is doing for our beloved elders.

Remember that one day; you will be a senior too 🙂 Lets’ show extra love and care!

God Bless your January, Sandy

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Every month, Be a Blessing looks for opportunities to bring opportunities! We become a part of what God is doing across the globe through established faith-based non-profits. We participate in His vision to transform hearts and bring them His love! Each gift brings hope to hurting people and encourages organizations as they serve others. We are blessed by blessing them!

The Blessing Tree

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“EVERY DAY OF YOUR LIFE IS AN OPPORTUNITY TO BE A BLESSING TO SOMEONE.” This sign was sitting on my friends’ shelf and I thought it very fitting during the month of December. It’s a great reminder that it’s not only Christmas that should give us the desire to show kindness and generosity. The birth of Christ was the greatest gift to humanity. It’s out of gratefulness to our Savior that we extend love to others all year long.

I tend to write messages on my mirror as reminders to how I want to think and things I want to learn. One message awhile back said “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle.” We all have battles, we all struggle, we all get frustrated, especially when God doesn’t move our mountains in our time frames and we can find ourselves in unexpected situations.

Christmas is a great time to remind us that everyone is going through something. It’s a time where we can extend additional thoughtfulness and patience to people around us or to those we don’t even know.

We have had an amazing year blessing people in so many ways and you are all to thank for that! This month we want to spread the birth and love of Christ tangibly and with our hearts to single moms and their kids. So we teamed up with ‘The Blessing Tree’ to adopt 10 people by purchasing gifts to brighten their day. We plan to also enclose cards with encouraging message that share about our great and very personal God.

There’s still a few weeks left in 2018… lets’ find ways every day to bring a smile to someone’s life! You may be the only Christ they will ever see.

God’s favor and blessings to you… See you in the New Year!!

Sandy

 

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Every month, Be a Blessing looks for opportunities to bring opportunities! We strive to be a part of what God is doing across the globe through established faith-based non-profits and to participate in His vision to transform hearts, so that they may know Him! Each gift brings hope and love to hurting people and encourages organizations as they serve others.

JOIN US TODAY!

Abuse & Trauma Recovery

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God reminded me earlier this month that He is looking more for our heart, than our sacrifices. A grateful heart in every circumstance trusting in Him for guidance, provision, acceptance and every good thing. It would be fairly easy for me to journal one grateful thing each day and I probably should… but that might not be so easy for someone else.

You see, I’ve been blessed with a great family, a protected childhood… an abuse free life to be honest. Oh, I have my issues but a ton of people can’t say they’ve had an abuse free life. They go through life very differently than I do and many times they hide what they have been through. They don’t know how to work through it nor do they have anyone standing with them. This morning as I was thinking about being thankful, my heart went out to all those who are struggling to see the goodness of God.

This heartbreaking reality is our focus for September. Recommended by one of you, I want to introduce you to Door of Hope. Diane founded this organization 4 years ago after surviving 25 years filled with every form of abuse. That experience gave her a unique understanding of the needs of abused women and children. Door of Hope equips people to live free from abuse and trauma through safe housing, education, support groups, trauma recovery, parenting classes and prayer ministry. It’s a safe place for women, men, teens and children to find God’s healing to overcome the trauma they have experienced.

A neat thing about Door of Hope is that not only do they care for people on an individual basis, but they also hold conferences and workshops to educate and train pastors and ministry leaders to know how to help. It’s difficult to know what to do or say, or how to really help, so including that in their vision makes perfect sense and helps tackle a wide spread concern.

Testimony – “How hard life is after being attacked and abused from age 5…dirty, unloved, not accepted, alone and asking myself, “Why me?” This conference showed me that I am worthy, innocent, valuable, clean, and most of all, loved.”

I can’t even imagine what that person went through but I know that God saw it all and it broke His heart. I love when people take their pain and turn it into a rescue for someone else. So I encourage you click the link below and take a look at this ministry. If you know anyone who may benefit from their services, share it with them. Life is too short to live broken and hurting when God has so much freedom available for you. Find the right people to help and these guys are a great place to start!

I appreciate you guys listening to my heart every month. Most of all… I love that we get to bless people and be a part of what God is doing…. just because we can. See you next month.

Please check out their ministry!

 

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Every month, Be a Blessing looks for opportunities to bring opportunities! We strive to be a part of what God is doing across the globe through established faith-based non-profits. To participate in His vision to transform hearts, so that they may know Him! Each gift brings hope and love to hurting people and encourages organizations as they serve others. Join us today!

Go Beyond the Norm, Community Outreach

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Nothing we have and nothing we pursue will ever be as valuable as what we do. How we treat others, the love we give and the generosity we sow into someone’s life will always fill our hearts with joy and bring honor to the Lord. We never want to forget that human interaction is far more impactful to a human heart than electronic processes, however wonderful they may be. We need to make ourselves available to have conversations with people, to show through our actions and our interest… the love of God.

August is a month where we want to be out there… involved in our communities and being the salt and light to everyone we can. To be extra kind, to do good things for others and to make someone’s day! This Saturday, August 4th, Be a Blessing will be partnering with Love In Mankato by donating diapers to be given away during this community event, as well as donating our time to volunteer! Open to anyone, this event focuses on giving to others from what God has given to us. Each year this event draws my heart in because of how important it is to reach out beyond our normal schedules, our comfortable friendships, and our natural tendencies. Putting ourselves into a position for God to use us, however He sees fit and then watch what He does in someone else’s life.

I would like to encourage you all to look around in your community this month to find ways in which you can serve someone else. Someplace you can volunteer or help another person or organization. Give someone a ride, surprise a stranger with a compliment, help the lady with 3 kids and a cart of groceries, sow into the life of a child… there are so many ways in which we can give of ourselves without spending a dime!

So this Saturday we’re going to try coming to you live from the event here in Mankato at Sibley Park as we’ll also have a table out there giving out information about who we are. If you’re in the area, please stop by and say hello… I would love to meet you!

Hope you have a super productive month… get out there and go bless someone!

Community Outreach – – Love In Mankato

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Every month, Be a Blessing looks for opportunities to bring opportunities! We strive to be a part of what God is doing across the globe through established faith-based non-profits and to participate in His vision to transform hearts, so that they may know Him! Each gift brings hope and love to hurting people and encourages organizations as they serve others. Join us today!

Action 169 – End Exploitation

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I had the privilege to attend the Justice Awakening Conference in Minneapolis with Action 169 the weekend before the Superbowl. It was an eye-opening night with great worship, prayer and teaching from those in the trenches giving their heart and soul to bringing an end to sexual exploitation. We sponsored a few survivors with the opportunity to attend this life-changing and healing weekend. Futures are reborn and destinies are changed when people feel God’s love for them; see what they can be, and know how they can help those from where they have been. These kind of blessings are more than just financial… they are pathways to hope and restoration. Your giving changed these ladies lives over the course of this weekend. It’s more than dollars that you are investing!

ACTION169 IS A SURVIVOR LED ORGANIZATION BUILT ON AN APOSTOLIC PROPHETIC FOUNDATION OF PRAYER TO END COMMERCIAL SEXUAL EXPLOITATION AND SUBSTANCE USE THROUGH CHRIST-CENTERED PREVENTION, INTERVENTION AND HOLISTIC RESTORATION CARE SERVICES.

Learn more about Action 169.

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Be a Blessing is a fun and fulfilling way to touch lives all across the globe! This movement provides the opportunity to impact various people and causes every month. Each gift is used to bring hope and love to hurting people, and to encourage organizations as they serve others. It takes 2 minutes to Be the Difference.

It only takes $5 a month to be the difference – JOIN US TODAY!

 

 

Jacks Basket – Down Syndrome

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The rise of prenatal screening tests has significantly decreased the number of babies born with Down syndrome since the 2000’s. About 90% of babies testing positive for Down syndrome are being terminated in utero. According to the most recent data available, the United States has an estimated termination rate for Down syndrome of 67-90% (1995-2011); Europe as a whole is about 92% (2015). Iceland is leading the world in “eradicating Down syndrome births”, as they report only 1 or 2 births per year. I do understand the struggle and fear of the unexpected and even the disappointment at first, but it’s breaking God’s heart.

Chris and Carissa received the diagnosis at birth that their new born son, Jack, had Down syndrome. Thoughts and questions overshadowed their minds regarding what the future will look like. Will they be able to do this? How will this change their lives? Many of those early memories were positive but they also couldn’t forget the negative ones.  From the way the diagnosis was delivered, to the awkward pregnant nurse that was assigned to her room. They received an outdated binder filled with general information on Down syndrome including delays her child will experience cognitively and physically, and a bunch of blurry medical information that scared them deeply. Unfortunately, this is a fairly common and traumatic way of how this diagnosis is given. Instead of celebrating a new precious life, many families are often times treated like the plague and leave the hospital without even a congratulations.

It was out of this life experience where God spoke to Carissa’s heart. What if a family would be congratulated and presented with a gift?  What if it set the tone of that day, a chance to celebrate a beautiful baby?

Jack’s Basket was created out of a prayer and dream that all children beautifully created with an extra special chromosome in the Twin Cities (and beyond) could receive a loving welcome. Their mission is to ensure that every new and expectant parent is provided resources and avenues of support within the community and aims to educate medical providers on how to discuss the diagnosis in an unbiased way. Each basket contains a personalized letter and picture of their family and two others that are raising children with Down’s, Jack’s favorite rattle, a couple of toys, an adorable onesie and helpful resources. “The family might not be ready to accept this gift at first, but to hear the news, ‘CONGRATULATIONS’ would be something they would reflect and be thankful for when their child steals their heart” – Carissa.

October is Down syndrome awareness month and Be a Blessing will be purchasing baskets this month to give to these precious families. We desire to honor their big day and spread smiles on their faces in recognition of this new gift of God in their lives. The Word of God clearly states that all life is given by the Father and all life is precious to Him.

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.” Psalm 139:13-15

Read their full story at Jacksbasket.org and learn how they are impacting families across the state and nation!

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Be a Blessing is a fun and fulfilling way to touch lives all across the globe! This movement provides the opportunity to impact various people and causes every month. Each gift increases effectiveness and is used to bring hope and love to hurting people, and encourage organizations as they serve others. It takes 2 minutes to Be the Difference. Join the movement today!!

Tangible Blessings

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Do you ever get tired of thinking about yourself? Many days I catch myself mulling over my own issues, relationships, concerns, purpose, job, family, needs, why things are the way they are, and the list goes on. Then I found the solution to all my self-pity and it’s the only thing that changes my heart, uplifts my soul and makes me feel good all over. The key is… serving and helping others!! Yep, that’s it. It’s just that simple… really. It’s actually the best remedy for sadness, heartache, hurt or confusion. Sharing your smile with someone else and watching them in their joy will never bring gloom to your heart. In fact, it most always will remove it and even refocus your thoughts in general to things that really matter.

Tangible Blessing is the theme of this month. On August 26th, we will be joining the efforts of another organization in Mankato, MN whose vision is to demonstrate love to the community. We are going to put our hands to the plow so to speak and love on people in tangible ways. We will share our love, our smiles, our hands at work and watch God move through us in order to encounter them. This event includes free clothing, free school supplies, games, bounce houses, live performances, face painting, free BBQ, and giveaways.

Be a Blessing is rooted in people and relationships. Our foundational three ‘Whys’ are the guiding reasons that we exist. (1) Because some things last forever, and some things do not… Matthew 6:20-21 (2) Because Christ desires for us to strengthen and uphold each other… Matthew 25:35-40 (3) Because as we bless others, we too are blessed… Proverbs 11:25

August 26th … WE NEED YOU!! Your presence, your laughter, your efforts, and your love is needed on this day to make it all come together. Be a Blessing will be supporting the event financially but we also need volunteers to come spend the day helping with clothes, school supplies, food, and events among other things. To volunteer your time for all or part of the day please click here to sign-up and let them know that YOU’RE ALL IN!

Take a minute to check out the event: www.loveinmankato.com and come have some fun with us!!

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Be a Blessing is a fun and fulfilling way to touch lives all across the globe! This movement provides the opportunity to impact various people and causes every month. Each gift increases effectiveness and is used to bring hope and love to hurting people, and encourage organizations as they serve others. It takes 2 minutes to Be the Difference. Join the movement today!!