Friday, April 11, 2014

lost causes

When I was 18 years old, I moved in with some friends into a ghetto apartment in a not-so-good corner of El Cajon. We became housemates to share the Christian life together and serve the poor and the homeless around us. We often had strangers sleeping on our couches and using our showers. We held regular Bible studies and hosted block parties and BBQs. We saw live's changed for the good and others slip away further into darkness. It was challenging, but it was also a great a great experience. To this day their is fruit that is harvested because of the seeds we planted and watered years ago.

Fast-forward: tonight I watched a man graduate from the San Diego Rescue Mission (where I serve on staff).
I had met this man while living in the apartment on Shady Lane, with my friends. He was homeless along with his wife. They were long-term alcoholics and had many other issues that made it easy to right them off as "lost causes".  We had often been peacemakers in their conflicts and voices of reason in their chaos.
After moving out of that apartment and serving the homeless in downtown San Diego, I ran into his wife a couple times. But, she always seemed to be the same drunk, homeless lady, who most had little faith would ever change...

Several years later this man came into the Rescue Mission's year long men's program. I re-met him there, he met Christ there, tonight I congratulated him as he finished our program I cheer him on as he makes plans to live a sober, God-glorifying, life with his wife.

.the poor with you.

“For you always have the poor with you; but you do not always have Me.”
-Matthew 26:11

Was Jesus stating that we would never end poverty? Or, perhaps was He hinting that as Christians we should take great efforts to always include the poor? Obviously the more important matter was and is, to put Jesus first in all things!
In our ministry we have made an intentional effort to always have the poor around. There seems to be a steadily growing population of homeless in San Diego, as well as a growing number of families and working class individuals who are struck with poverty. The need never seems to diminish. Along with the growing need is a growing amount of people coming through our doors to receive clothing.
Despite the increasing numbers of individuals we serve, our shelves seem to stay stocked (or mostly). We see a lot of men, probably close to 80% of those we serve are men. And our men’s pants are in high demand.

We are currently (and always) in great need of men’s pants, especially jeans.

In addition, we are collecting socks, which will be distributed during “The Great Sock Giveaway!” You can help by donating new socks (or cash to purchase socks), water bottles, or join us Saturday, April 19 at 3pm at 1470 Island Avenue for the Great Sock Giveaway!

            As I mentioned, the main focus should always be Jesus. As we give away clothing and provide for physical needs, we pray for open doors to touch people in a spiritual way- through the gospel of Jesus Christ. We are often able to pray for, encourage, and share the Scriptures with those we serve. Discipleship is at the heart of what we do.

            Currently there are a couple of individuals who we began serving once a week by giving clothing to that are now volunteering with us. These men come in almost daily to give back and encourage others through Jesus! What started as a simple hand out became a relationship and grew into a form of discipleship. Now they are giving back because of the love of Christ that touched them. The majority of our help at The Pantry actually comes from the very people we are serving. Not every one who comes to The Pantry for clothing wants to come and volunteer. Not every one of them is interested in participating in our Bible study. Not everyone will get off the streets. But, some will. The poor we will have with us always… let’s point them toward Jesus.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Ministry Needs

Ongoing ministry needs:
Financial contributions (monthly commitments are ideal- if we raised enough funds Gabe wouldn't have to work a part time job and could focus on the ministry full-time)
Clothing (especially men's pants)
Bottled Water
Bibles (large print)
Non-perishable foods (snacks, pop-top canned goods, prepackaged items, etc.)
Toiletries (deodorant, toothbrushes, toothpaste, etc.)

Other ministry needs:
20 clear plastic storage bins

Volunteer Needs:
Worship Leader (Wednesday 3:30-4:30)
Pantry volunteers (Weekday afternoons)

Larger ministry needs:
Housing (we have vision to have transitional housing for both men and women)
Commercial Real Estate in downtown area. We seem to be outgrowing our little warehouse.

Monday, February 10, 2014

friend to the friendless

I am sure we can all agree that having a supportive network of family and friends around is priceless. In our ministry we often build solid friendships with those we serve. Sometimes becoming the only friends, “family”, or support system the homeless have.
There is a man (we will call him “Miguel”) that comes into The Pantry nearly every day, not to receive but to give back. Miguel is homeless, and has been living on the streets of San Diego for a number of years. Although he has plenty of worries throughout his day, he really enjoys coming to volunteer. He sweeps, mops, hangs clothing, and often just sits and asks questions about the Bible. Miguel had a stroke years ago and has a twitch that doesn’t go away. He has many other health concerns that prevent him from holding steady employment, so volunteering with us helps him feel productive.
For the past month-or-so Miguel has been complaining about his health. When he finally shared details of some of his concerns, we decided to take him to the ER. We loaded him and his bags in my car and took him up the road to the Emergency Room. He was admitted right away and stayed in the hospital for almost two weeks. He was diagnosed with a bacterial infection in his digestive system that was basically destroying the lining of his stomach and intestines.
When I visited him in the hospital, he was so thankful to have a familiar face there. He needed someone to ease his anxiety and pray for his health. He needed a friend.
 Again, when one of our volunteers visited him, he explained that we were the only ones who visited him, let alone the only ones who knew he was admitted into the hospital. We are the only ones that know his name and the only ones that took the time to listen. I can’t tell you how often this story repeats itself with different individuals we serve. The homeless often have no one who cares about them, no one to visit them in the hospital, and sometimes no one who can even call 911 for them.
A couple years ago I took another homeless friend to the hospital because of severe pain. When the doctors found out what was wrong, they explained that if my friend had waited one more day it would have been too late. He would have been dead.

Not only is it the poor, sick, homeless, or imprisoned we serve… it is Jesus.
"The King will answer and say to them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.'

Matthew 25:40

Monday, January 6, 2014

happy new year: 2014

We hope you all had a great holiday season!
Last year was wonderful! God allowed a lot of ministry to happen and lives were touched by Christ’s love.

Our vision is to simply show Christ’s love and mercy by serving the less fortunate and also to make Disciples of Christ by sharing the gospel.

Highlights from 2013:
-In just six months, The Pantry has served close to 2,300 people. With the help of our partners we have given away over 7,000 articles of clothing (and much more)!
-Christmas Outreach: we wrapped up and distributed 125 gifts full of winter gear and goodies for the homeless of downtown San Diego.
-Weekly Bible Studies: We have a strong desire to provide for more than just physical needs, but also touch the deep spiritual needs around us. We started a weekly Bible Study for those we serve, with a desire to make disciples.
- Ministry Partners: We have begun to partner with a group of ministries and churches who serve the poor and homeless and are looking to become a central location for clothing distribution for over 40 different churches and ministries.

Hopes for 2014:
-Location: Such As I Have Ministries is praying for a larger building in the downtown area that would be more functional and useful for the growing ministry.
-Develop: We would like to extend our services to include time for one-on-one assistance to those trying to get off the streets. This time would be for giving referrals to shelters and agencies and advocating for our clients in helpful ways. We would also like to extend our regular hours of operation to reach more individuals and have a stronger presence in the neighborhood.
-Discipleship: We will be focusing on growing our Bible Study, inviting people to join and providing a safe place and platform for discipleship.
-Volunteers: We would love to welcome, train and support more volunteers. Additional volunteers would enable us to extend our services and reach the above goals.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Merry Christmas!

It was a rainy day-after-Thanksgiving... It wasn't a heavy rain, and it wasn't very cold, but it was a reminder of winter's approach. As we walked the streets handing out snacks, and winter gear, there was also a looming reminder that many will have to sleep in cold winter conditions. I was reminded of the old saying, "Count your blessings" as our friends out on the streets shared with us about what they are thankful for. It is always moving to hear those who have little share that they are so thankful especially in comparison to the annual chaos that ensues during Black Friday shopping. 
Some of our homeless friends mentioned they were thankful to be alive, others were thankful for friends and family, and many mentioned they were thankful for our ministry and the many other Church’s and organizations that serve them.
Since we opened our doors in July, we have served close to 2,300 people. With the help of our partners we have given away over 2,000 outfits (which works out to be over 7,000 articles of clothing)!
As the year wraps up, we are beginning to gather donations for Such as I Have’s annual Christmas shoebox outreach on Sunday, December 22nd. We will be putting together shoeboxes filled with hygiene items, winter apparel and tasty treats. We will wrap the shoeboxes up and take them to our neighbors that live on the sidewalks and under bridges in downtown San Diego. Please pray about getting involved! We need donations of items (personal size hygiene items, sock, beanies, gloves, hoodies, treats, etc) or cash to purchase needed items. We also always welcome volunteers!
Thank you for being a part of our team! We love and appreciate you all so much. We hope you have a very merry Christmas! Thank you for supporting us as missionaries in the city.

-Gabe, Joanna and Judah Shippam

Monday, November 18, 2013

.volunteer opportunities.

We have some volunteer opportunities that we would love YOU to join in! If you have an interest in serving the less fortunate, here are some options. If you have wanted to give to the needy but have not known how, here are some options. Or, if you have a desire to serve but are unsure where to get involved, here are some easy ways to serve. 
We will provide training and can also sign off on community service.

Here are some options:
  • Tuesdays 12:30-3:30pm: Help at "The Pantry". (Sorting clothing, assisting "shoppers", praying for and talking with those who come in and just being available.)
  • Wednesdays 12:30-1:30pm: Bible study. (We host a small group Bible study and would love  a worship leader to join us. If you aren't a worship leader you can join us too!)
  • Thursdays 12:30-3:30pm: Help at "The Pantry". (Sorting clothing, assisting "shoppers", praying for and talking with those who come in and just being available.)
  • Sundays 5:30pm-7:30pm: Street Outreach. (Join Ron Newkirk and the team as they walk the streets, hand out supplies and share Jesus with the homeless.)
  • 2nd Friday of each month 5:45-7pm: Feed the Homeless at God's Extended Hand. (Join Ron Newkirk and the team as they lead worship, share a brief message of Truth and feed the homeless at a local soup kitchen.)

Other options:
  • Regularly pick up donations with your vehicle and deliver the to The Pantry. (local thrift store twice a week and elementary school cafeteria once a week.)
  • Sort clothing, clean and organize at The Pantry on Monday or Friday afternoons.
  • Donate. (Socks, Underwear, men's clothing, blankets, water bottles, etc.)
  • Donate Money. (it's tax- deductible and goes a long way)
  • Host an event. (Host a food or clothing drive at your church, school or place of business)
  • Pray! (Commit to pray at specific times, a great time to pray would be Wednesday mornings as we are prepare for our weekly Bible Study.)
Special Events:
  • Christmas Outreach Sunday, December 22nd. (We will be collecting winter gear, hygiene items and goodies for the homeless. We will then package and wrap them up and hand deliver them to the homeless the night of the 22nd. This is a good event for the whole family to get involved in. You can donate items, come package items, come deliver items or participate in all three!)
Most of these events will take place at 1470 Island Ave, San Diego, CA 92101
You can contact Gabe directly for more info.