Thank you so much for your generous support over the past months.  I don’t mind telling you it has been a very difficult time for us financially, and your sowing into our need has meant so much.  Despite our financial challenges, your giving has blessed us to play an intimate part in the lives of the poorest of the poor.  As God ministers to them, through us, it’s your hand that we see planting the seeds that bring life to His vision before our very eyes.  It’s seeds you have planted that enable us to work for a harvest in the bodies, souls, and spirits of the neediest among our neighbors.

Your support always leads us closer to achieving God’s vision for Jerusalem House.  Until recently, we interviewed our community center members in the main hall with no privacy, as this was also our reception area, waiting room, and activity hall.  Intakes, updates, counseling and prayer took place right in the center of people coming and going, children playing and babies crying.  On busy days, we worked in an atmosphere of turmoil and we kept hand written records of each of our visitor’s demographics, needs, visits, and results stored on paper.  We have now converted the smaller room in the rear of the second floor to several, semi-private, interview cubicles.  We have introduced computers and a web-based, computer program through which we record each of our neighbor’s information.  The new set-up, the technology, and the process, gives our members a greater privacy and allows us to serve them more efficiently and effectively.  We also have more precise records to aid our process and to provide information required for grants and other support. In addition, we can now introduce structured activities to the social center such as faith based peer support groups, bible studies, prayer, recreational activities, audio/video entertainment and training, volunteer training, etc. while our members wait to meet with one of our ministers to address their personal needs.  It is your support that is enabling us to be better stewards of our floor space.  Thank you so much!

We were also recently made aware that the city required us to make changes to our food bank.  After submitting a floor plan and paying $200.00 for an inspection and an annual license fee we found that by city standards our two refrigerators and possibly our two freezers no longer qualify.  Refrigerators must be “commercial grade” and our freezers must be “NSF certified or of equivalent operational ability”.  All “floors, walls, and ceilings must be made of smooth, durable and cleanable material” including our shelves that are made of wood.  So, somehow, we must find a way to resurface our wooden shelves, replace our drop ceiling, pull up our carpet, replace all surfaces with a durable laminate coating, and replace our refrigerators and freezers.  Lacking support, such as yours, we can’t even consider these changes.  In consequence, hundreds of poor and hungry families, our neighbors, will no longer receive our food to defray the cost of their daily survival.

None of these added expenses will be easy on our own already beleaguered budget.  Walking by faith and not by sight is our daily financial reality.  Based on our bank account and a seasonal slowdown in giving, we still need $6000.00 to meet July’s day to day expenses.  We can depend upon some of you to help meet that with your monthly pledge, but for the rest, we must pray that one or more of you who have not pledged find it in your heart to donate the necessary funds, or that God sends some new supporters.

One of the things we do to alleviate the pressure for our neighbors and ourselves is the community cook-out.  On the last Saturday of each summer month, we offer a community cook-out.  They are well attended with great fun, food, fellowship, music, worship and giveaways for all.  We’ve had the “Memorial Day” cook-out and “Michal’s Fun Day” so far and we’re scheduled to have our neighbors, family members, volunteers, friends and supporters for a “Friends, Family & Supporters Day” on the last Saturday in July.  Please bring a friend or family member, between noon and three, to join in the festivities and to see what we’re doing with the resources of which you’ve made us stewards.  The final cook-out in August will be our “Back to School Bash”, where we hope to give out not only food, but also school uniforms, book-bags, tablets, notebooks, folders, pens, pencils, crayons, colored pencils, glue, pencil holders, sharpeners, rulers, book covers, etc.  We’re asking for your donation ASAP so we have some idea of the number of children we can serve.  Our vision, to see the poorest children receive resources for an education that can change their lives, is costly, but consider the cost to our neighborhoods and society if we don’t help them.

To keep up with our vision, please occasionally visit our new website, now located at jerusalemhouseministries.org.  You’ll find more about our ongoing work there as well as non-traditional ways you can help support us like shopping at “AmazonSmile” or “goodshop” and searching the web on a web browser called “Goodsearch”.  Doing any one of these will generate a donation for us.  If you’d like to see more of our activities and outcomes check our Facebook page.  There you’ll see us pursuing our vision to help our neighbors help themselves, or their family, or their neighbors.  You’ll see pictures of us helping them envision life beyond their poverty, addictions, mental illness, physical handicaps, abusive situations, broken homes, chronic illness, depression, etc.  You might even see yourself working alongside of us to achieve our vision.   You can now make an immediate website donation through our fully secure, online donation company.

We believe in the law of reaping what is sown and we are working with the seeds we receive so we can harvest God’s vision in the lives of the poor.  We live each day in the dynamic tension between God’s vision, which He reveals, and His command to walk by faith and not by sight.  We have found this to be holy ground, where we are not the people we use to be and we receive power to impact the lives of the most needy, through your support.  Our vision embraces you as a partner and a planter of seeds empowering us in our work with the poor.  We believe that as you sow into our vision and we work it, others will also sow into it, in increasingly like measure.  The only way we can fail to produce a harvest is if we fail to receive your seeds and we fail to pursue God’s vision.  We need you!  Our very poor neighbors need you.  Please, plant a seed in God’s vision for the poor today.  Your check in the mail or your credit/debit card through our website will help us get through this very difficult time.  God bless you and keep you and your family as you sow seeds of love in our community.  According to God, one day it will return, and you’ll reap the fruit thereof.