Pastor’s Page

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Pastor John LaMantia, Executive Director

(October)

What do the letters PFD mean to us? Should we call it by another name if it isn’t the same? I am sure it was on my mind because I was looking forward to my Permanent Fund Dividend deposit. Aren’t we all?

The Mission is always grateful to so many of you who have contributed to our ministry via PICK, CLICK, GIVE. Thank you and thank you to all who mail and drop off donations.

Night has returned to Alaska. The damp is here. The cold is coming. Our beds are filling, so are our tables. Some people need a few meals and a few nights while others need more. Some people still have options while others are just flattened. Homelessness is many things but it is always one thing- HARD.

We do hard here. We try to make hard less final. You have always helped us with that. I am grateful.

God has been encouraging our hearts and we have seen Him work miracles in some hard lives. Food is what calls people to us but it is hope that sets that table. It is grace that blesses the meal. Jesus inspires what comes next.

We need your help now. The meals we serve, that door of hope, is made possible by those who care. It is time to restock for the season ahead of us and it is looking to be a hungry one.

We always have an increase in October just in time for those demanding winter months that are resource intensive. Please prayerfully remember us when you receive your PFD after you have first blessed your home church.

I said I was thinking of a new name for the PFD because the news and Facebook are full of the controversy surrounding its reduction. As I was praying for resources we need and offering thanks for resources that always show up just in time, I told God that no matter what the politicians do about it, what they take or reformulate, it is God’s people who make the Rescue Mission, and so many other worthy charities, places of “enough” for those who have nothing.

You are People Funding Do-overs! That is a worthy title for such wonderful partners. People Funding Do-overs will make those loaves and fishes miracles that feed needy neighbors, help launch people back into the workforce, find educational opportunities and housing

for those stepping away from addictions and bring the reality of the new birth to those who need to hear Christ whisper, “Follow me.”

God is so generous and His people are His image. The PFD isn’t just something we receive. It is something we do.

People Funding Do-overs!

Kind of sticks with you doesn’t it?

May it all be glory because glory is always enough.

Pastor John 

NOTE:  If you can bless us with canned vegetables, canned tuna and chicken, rice, pasta, coffee, cereal, chicken, ground beef and anything else you might think of, it would be a treasure to us. We serve 8,000 meals a month.

Maybe you work for an establishment that has food waste and need a way not to waste it. Maybe your group or church could sponsor a food drive for us in October and/or November. Maybe you or your church would consider remembering us with a monthly financial gift.

We would do good work with it. We would do God work with it. That is a promise.

Please consider. Bless you. Thank you.


(September)

“…when Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, ‘Zacchaeus, come down immediatelyI must stay at your house today.’  So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.”  ~ Luke 19:5-6

Grace Before and After Meals

Some of the most extraordinary people I have known are the ones who really do build bridges instead of walls. Several of those unforgettable examples are people gifted to work with children. What you see is what you get, straight forward, straight shooters who posses the gift of foresight; who do not lie to children even when the truth is hard and who always keep their promises even when it would be easy to pull rank or feign a cancellation due to necessity. Some are professionals but some are people who just bring their love to church every Sunday.

Many years ago, a young boy who was a bus rider, picked up by my church in Dallas, brought his Sunday School teacher a chicken dinner in a paper sack. The teacher had sent a card to every parent mentioning something special she had observed about each child or something interesting they had shared. The boy’s father was a cook who never came to church because he worked Sundays. He was so impressed with the card that he cooked a special chicken, wrapped it carefully, placed it in a bag and sent it on the bus with his son as a thank you.

The Cowboys are a real item in Dallas and every boy wants to be one when he grows up. That morning several potential candidates used the chicken in place of a football while waiting for the bus, on the bus and then in the church parking lot. That hen was unwrapped, passed and fumbled many times before she landed in the kind hands of an equally kindhearted woman. The bag was dirty, crumpled and had spreading grease stains. The bird inside was wingless, legless and about as unappetizing as you could imagine. “My father made this special for your Sunday dinner,” the quarterback offered beaming. “Promise you’ll eat it?” “Absolutely! I will say a really special blessing over it before I do,” was her assurance.

I have it on good authority that promise was kept owing to the regard the teacher had for a skinny, underprivileged bus kid who was just beginning to discover Jesus. That must have been one heck of a grace before meals. That teacher and her family passed up an invitation to dinner elsewhere, where the food had not been used to run plays, so they could plant a seed of trust in a young life.

In the story of Zacchaeus, we see Jesus, who doubtless had other invitations to be in better company (Jericho was a priest city and many great men resided there) calling to the most despised person in town, “Whatever is cooking at your house today, I’m eating it with you!” Jesus was at the end of His time but He still had time to give for a man who ate alone every night.

So many souls pass through our doors at the Mission each and every day. They would eat alone, if the they ate at all, if it were not for the kindness of strangers. Tom, our Kitchen Manager, and the staff prepare with a devotion and skill you would find in any restaurant where you would be expected to pay. When I sit down to eat with our homeless or hungry neighbors, I am reminded of Proverbs 22:29 about serving kings. There are no ordinary people. We do not yet know what Christ’s claim on that life will awaken. In the mean time we will keep our promises. We will be His surety to those who need those promises even more than potatoes.

As the days count down to Eternity our quarterback has passed us the ball be it poultry or pigskin. Let us be true to our playbook. Let us run and not be weary. Let us play with new energy. Let us make room for those He has called to Him as we watch His love qualify them.

The boy in my long-ago story may have passed the chicken but it was the teacher whose loving regard made the touchdown.

Lord, give us eyes to see boys on buses and thieves in trees and all of those You would call to Thee!

Pastor John 


(August)

I have revealed you to them, and I will continue to do so. Then your love for me will be in them, and I will be in them. -John 17:26 (NLT)

Let’s Make Some Noise!

What a racket I heard coming from our lobby! On occasion, sometimes owing to the difficulties our clients experience, there can be some noisy disruptions as services are sought. This was different. One of our smallest clients was noisily protesting because she did not want to leave the Mission. Her parents who brought the family to share a supper meal with us had to “bribe” her with a book from our children’s library which she proudly carried home with her- along with a full tummy. I think I was as happy as she in that moment. It was finally quiet and she got a great book to read.

This has been a busy few months for us as we move ahead with plans to better serve the ministry. It has also been a time of uncertainty among the non-profits that are essential to helping the city meet the needs of our homeless neighbors. The proposed loss of revenue to agencies that depend on State funds or supplement their budget with State money will almost surly see a rationing of essential services. This is a challenging time for the State and for each and every one of us.

I know what the numbers for the State look like and it is not good. I can add and subtract. That is my human, practical side. But there is another side to me and another side to this mission ministry, the side that has had Father-God love revealed to us. And, as the scripture above points out in Christ’s own words, the revelation is continuing to be revealed. How could I not trust such a unity that binds us all to God in the love of His Son and keeps on binding us through wind and waves?

We are praying that God will make this hard season a season of redemptive opportunity to reach more and to help more through His creative inspiration and by godly resource management. While the Mission takes no State funds, we will still face the possibility of declining revenue due to lower PFDs, higher property taxes and job losses in the area. We are much in prayer over provision for ministry and provision for our partners. God who has bound us to Him will make the way known to us and will show us all that He is capable of both personally and corporately.

Like our small client with the loud cry who refused to give up until something wonderful was put in her hand, may we knock confidently on Heaven’s door and then rejoice when the seed is released into our waiting hands. As He provisions your life please remember the Mission is here feeding tummies and souls both small and great and celebrating daily Christ’s precious victories.

Let’s make some noise!

May the blessing of the Almighty rest upon all the days ahead. May every field drink rain and every barn be filled.

In hope,

Pastor John