Learning from the poor

God has taught me many things working with the poor and needy through the years. As I listen to their stories about childhood, traveling, their daily struggle, and heartbreak one thing always come to mind; Honesty. So many of our guests are willing to share their story of how they ended up in the place they did. One guest shared this week of growing up in a loving Christian home but he refused to believe and submit that God’s in control. He traveled the United States, struggled with drugs and alcohol and finally realized that God is real and Christ died on the cross for our Sin.

He has started to make amends with parents, his brother, and the people he hurt with his actions. He realized we live for one purpose, to be loved by God and love him, to serve him with our whole heart, and ask for the forgiveness he has graciously given us. This guest has been so thankful that Morning Glory has provided him with food and warmth, conversation, and a place to feel safe in. The last few days he has been helping cleanup after the meals, and wants to give back in any way he can. He has no money, no home, but a simple desire to serve those and help those who have given up their time to help him.

Every morning I greet our guests at their tables, find out how their breakfast was, and simply talk about life. They have hopes and dreams and passions just like the rest of us. As I asked one table how they were a guest responded “Still Homeless” and we had a laugh. He answered the question honestly and with a smile. Laughter is a great gift that God gave us that can be understood in any culture and any language.

In 1st Thessalonians Chapter 5 14-18 Paul writes ”And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

I encourage you this week to pray for guests. Pray that God continues to move in their lives and work in their hearts. Take a moment and thank God for the blessings in your life and pray for opportunities to bless those around you. Pray for more patience, more understanding, and be thankful for the things you have.

“Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.”
  – Mother Teresa

 

March Madness

I love college basketball. Since I was 7 years old I’ve been a diehard Duke fan. When I lived on Skid Row in Los Angeles I even played in their 3 on 3 basketball league that a lot of the homeless residents of Skid Row play in. Every March I get excited for March Madness. I’ve watched hours of games, rooted for the underdogs, and enjoyed the rivalries. I used to take off work so I wouldn’t miss the action. Many people become obsessed with the tournament; they live and breathe it. They join pools, throw parties, and commit many hours to enjoying college basketball. I’m guilty as charged. As I’ve gotten older my priorities have changed. The passion is still there but it doesn’t consume me like it once did.

As believers in Jesus Christ we are all called to serve. God wants us to read his word, study it, pray, and fellowship with other believers. His desire is for us to live a life that reflects his commandments. What if we had the same desire to seek and serve him like we so many of us do for March Madness? What if we were excited to study the word of God and pray for others with the same commitment and passion?

I met so many guests who seek the Lord every day. They are thankful for another day of life. They appreciate the volunteers who serve at Morning Glory. They love the Lord and I couldn’t tell you how many times they tell me they couldn’t get through another day without his love and grace.

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.”        –   2nd Timothy 4:7-8

When we accept that Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins and believe he is savior we begin the race. We put ourselves in the ultimate game. We choose to follow and believe in his love and grace. We are on the winning team and our victory crown awaits for us in Heaven.

This week I ask that you spend some time in pray asking God to fill your life with the passion and desire to seek and serve him every day. Listen for his calling that he has prepared for you. It’s not easy to listen or even always comfortable but it can be if you make it a daily part of your life. Pray for a desire to read the scriptures. Ask the Lord to instill a desire upon on your heart to live the life he calls us to live.

“It is better to share, because we bring to Heaven only that which we have shared with others.”
– Pope Francis

Morning Glory Needs
Volunteers to help with breakfast on Wednesdays and Fridays
Men’s Jeans
Men’s Tennis Shoes
Backpacks
Canned Fruit
Canned Meat

My heart breaks

As I greeted our guests this past week my heart was broken for one individual. As I asked him how he was doing he told his wife passed this week. She had been battling various ailments and had been in the hospital for a few weeks. They had been married 13 years, volunteered together, and went through the ups and downs of life together.This individual is homeless but fortunate enough to get to be bedside when his wife passed.

He feels lost, alone, and is barely making it through the days. As he begins a new journey and the stages of grief he knows the Lord is right by his side. He was confident the Lord would carry him and take care of him even through he’s full of anger and sorrow. He told me his guidance was this old poem you may heard before but forgotten.

 

 

One night I dreamed a dream.
As I was walking along the beach with my Lord.
Across the dark sky flashed scenes from my life.
For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand,
One belonging to me and one to my Lord.

After the last scene of my life flashed before me,
I looked back at the footprints in the sand.
I noticed that at many times along the path of my life,
especially at the very lowest and saddest times,
there was only one set of footprints.

This really troubled me, so I asked the Lord about it.
“Lord, you said once I decided to follow you,
You’d walk with me all the way.
But I noticed that during the saddest and most troublesome times of my life,
there was only one set of footprints.
I don’t understand why, when I needed You the most, You would leave me.”

He whispered, “My precious child, I love you and will never leave you

Never, ever, during your trials and testings.
When you saw only one set of footprints,
It was then that I carried you.”

That poem hung in my bathroom at my parent’s house growing up. I read it all the time and often thought about it. Life is short. We live to Love and Serve our Master, the one true God above. No matter how hard we try and run or how angry we are God still listens and loves unconditionally.

Please pray for this individual. He has no way to contact his relatives with whom he’s lost contact with. With your prayers he won’t be walking alone. Pray that he is comforted, has patience, and that he feel’s love from God, the only one who can help to heal and fill the void of a loss of a loved one.

“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” -Romans 8:38-39

From homeless to house

My Mom grew up on a farm in Southwestern Missouri. When she was a kid they had an outhouse, took baths outside, had chickens, and lived a simple lifestyle. There wasn’t the internet, they didn’t shop at the mall, and she was the first one in her family to go to college. As a kid I often had the chance to spend my spring breaks with my cousins on the farm. I learned about growing crops, tractors, cattle, and spending time in what is often referred to as “God’s Country.”

Over the last few months I’ve had a chance to really get to know one of guests. He grew up on a small farm in rural Missouri. He dropped out of school in the 5th grade to take care of his siblings, doesn’t know how to read, and the doctors told him he has the education level of a 7th grader. He struggles through his life daily and has tried to learn to read many times. I can’t even comprehend or imagine what that would be like. He is one of the nicest, kindest, gentleman I’ve ever met. He ended up homeless because of his lack of education and when the farmhouse became his he was taken advantage of.

The one thing that truly amazes me is that is his faith in God is one of the strongest I’ve ever seen. He fully puts his trust in God every day. He prays daily and truly lives out his life as Christ calls us. He can’t even read the word of God but it doesn’t stop him from seeking the Lord’s will in his life daily.
A few weeks ago he approached me with the biggest smile on his face as he told me that after many years of facing the struggle of homelessness he would be moving into an apartment. He finally would have another place to call home and lay his head. We often take for granted so many things in our lives. We forget to give God thanks for the things we have. God calls us to a place of humility and thankfulness.

I want you to take a few minutes and make a list of the things you are thankful for. Then I want you to take a few minutes to pray and thank God for these things. Life is short and full of struggles and challenges but each day God reveals his blessings to us whether big or small.

“It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to your name, O Most High; to declare your steadfast love in the morning,  and your faithfulness by night..”
– Psalm 92:1-2

“If families can say these three things, they will be fine. ‘Sorry,’ ‘excuse me,’ ‘thank you.’ How often do we say ‘thank you’ in our families? How often do we say ‘thank you’ to those who help us, those close to us, those at our side throughout life? All too often we take everything for granted!” – Pope Francis

Sleeping on the Streets

Picture a snow storm. The biggest one you can remember. Think of the snow, the harshness of the winter air, and the feeling of your nose and ears when you have forgotten your hat. Remember how cold your hands felt when you left your gloves at home or in the car. Think of the ice, and the way you slide around when you’re trying to walk.

Snow and winter storms can be a beautiful bestowing from God. Yet, at the end of these winter days we’re able to retreat to the comfort of our homes, maybe sit by a fire, or warm ourselves in our favorite chair with a cozy blanket.

What if you couldn’t get warm? What if you had no place to go or no winter clothing? What if the flame of a single candle was your only heat source?

Many of guest’s experience the harshness of winter every day. We have guests that camp under bridges, sleep on the cold pavement, and even live in the woods. Many of them haven’t known the comforts of their own home in years. A warm winter coat, a hat, and gloves are like gold to them. They need them to survive. They struggle day after day and night after night.

At Morning Glory we serve all different kinds of people who are all at different walks of life. Our volunteers come from different backgrounds, different places, and work different jobs. What unites us together is we are all God’s Children who feel the desire to be loved. A love that can only truly be fulfilled from the one true God above.

“Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.”
– 1st Peter 3:8

Ask God to fill your heart with love this week. To show compassion and love to the co-worker you may not get along with, the homeless person on the street, or the family member one may not get along with. Pray for our guests whose only thoughts are making it through another night on the street. We are all called to love one another with humility and compassion even when it’s hard.Please pray this week that the poor and needy in Kansas City will feel loved.

the simplicity of giving

One of our guests approached me with excitement the other day. They said “Hey Nate I have something I’d like to give to Morning Glory.” This guest had received a bag of hand warmers, socks, gloves, and a few other various items from a church group over the weekend. He told me that he already had plenty at his campsite and wanted to donate it to us.

This man has no home, lives in a tent in the woods, has no money, and endures the harshness of this cold winter season every day. Even though he has nothing by “worldly standards” what little extra he did have, he wanted to donate. He felt the desire to help and give the little he did have. God calls us to serve the poor and needy. He calls us to give with pure intentions even if we don’t feel like we have a lot to offer.

And he sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums. And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny.And he called his disciples to him and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”          – Mark 12:41-44

The widow in this story gave all she had. It wasn’t much but she gave with obedience and faith knowing that God would take care of her every need. Our guest gave what he had. He was living out the scriptures as we’re all called to do.

It’s not how about how much you give but the simple fact of giving. God wants our love and affection, he wants us to serve, and he wants us to love the people around us. It’s not just about money but committing our lives and believing that he will take care of us.

I encourage you this week to specifically pray where God would like you to serve in your life. Ask, “Lord where I can give back, where can I show your love, and where can the talents you blessed me with be used.”

“Remember that when you leave this earth, you can take with you nothing that you have received – only what you have given: a full heart, enriched by honest service, love, sacrifice and courage.”
  – Saint Francis of Assisi

The art of conversation

We live in a society where social media and our phones control our lives. Just take a look around and everywhere you go you’ll see people on their phones. We’ve become almost lost in the idea that we might miss something going on but often we are missing the things that are happening right before our eyes. My favorite part of the week is when I have the opportunity to eat a meal with our guests. Most of them don’t have cell phones, they’re not distracted with technology, but we share the one social ability that’s always existed, the art of conversation. It sounds silly but any given day at Morning Glory one can sit down at any table and join in the conversation. Someone recently asked me about my job and I told them imagine if every morning before you started work you got to have breakfast with your friends.

When you volunteer at Morning Glory you’re not just here to serve food and feel good. You’re here to live life with these guests. We are their family. They expect us to be open regardless of the weather or holiday. Many of our guests volunteer to help clean up, do dishes, or help in any way they can. For some of our guests the volunteers and staff are the only family they have.

I want to encourage every one of you this spring or summer to come and volunteer at Morning Glory. I promise that if you get to know our guests it will change your life. They will encourage you, teach you, and become your friend. They will challenge you. I know for some the idea of serving or being around the homeless can be scary. Maybe you’ve never talked with one, or spent time around them. They are no different from you or me. Christ died on the cross for all our Sins. We are loved by God all the same regardless of who we are and what we’ve done. His desire is for us to serve him, love him, and live our lives for him.

“We must restore hope to young people, help the old, be open to the future, spread love. Be poor among the poor. We need to include the excluded and preach peace.” – Pope Francis

Circle of Hope Award Winner 2017

Nate Smith, Director of Morning Glory Ministries, with the CEO of Harvesters accepting the 2017 Circle of Hope Award for Onsite Network Partnership

 

This year the number of meals we are serving has increased. We are on pace to serve 85,000 meals. None of these meals would be possible if it weren’t for Harvesters. Harvesters supplies 80-85 percent of the food we serve our guests.

This year we are pleased to announce we were the winner of Harvesters “Circle of Hope Award” for Onsite Network Partnership. It is truly an honor that Harvesters recognized Morning Glory Ministries. We are thankful for all the volunteers and people that take part in what we do at Morning Glory. Without your time and support we couldn’t meet the needs of so many people in Kansas City.

We are currently in need of dedicated Volunteers the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of every month during breakfast. If you have never spent time with the homeless or looking for a way to give back this would be a great chance for you. We love to partner with local businesses and parishes. If you are interested please email or call. We would love to have you join Morning Glory Ministries in bring hope, love and dignity to the guests we serve.

Thanks for your all prayers and support. We couldn’t do this without you!

Photos taken by Adri Guyer Photography

 

 

Nate Smith, Director of Morning Glory Ministries accepting the 2017 Circle of Hope Award from Harvesters for Onsite Network Partnership
The 2017 Circle of Hope Award Winners from Harvesters.

Ensure Education for All Children

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Ensure Home for All Homeless People

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