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

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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

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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.

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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

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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

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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.
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Homeless No More

Often times in life I’ve felt God has called me to do things I didn’t want to do or hadn’t planned on doing. He makes it so clear, that in the end there is no other path for me to take. I want to tell you a story of hope and encouragement today. It’s the story of Bruce, the first homeless person I ever took in off the streets.

In 2003 I was living in Southern California. Every Thursday night a team of us would carry an 8 foot wooden cross down Hollywood Blvd. When people asked what we were doing we responded “We’re reminding people of the love of Jesus Christ and praying for the city.” Often after carrying the cross we would take a few homeless to dinner with us. It gave them a chance to get a warm meal, spend team off the streets and enjoy some conversation. It one was of these nights I first met Bruce. Bruce grew up in an abusive and drug ridden home. He was robbed of his childhood and ended up on the streets at a very young age. One Thursday night Bruce really wanted to get off the streets and get into a mission. All the missions were closed for the night so we decided to let Bruce come and stay with me for the night and we’d take him to the mission the next day.

When we woke up we took him to the mission to get help. It was later the next day Bruce called us and told us the mission wasn’t safe and the drugs were rampant inside just like the streets. So I called my roommate told him the situation and we decided to have Bruce come and stay with us until we could come up with a plan. Bruce was coming off of drug addiction and hadn’t been in a stable environment for years. He lived with us that entire summer. I was working as a Jr High Youth Leader and Bruce became involved at the church. He finally had a chance to connect with normal people and get back some of the childhood he never had. The church even hired him on to do some maintenance and janitorial work.

After that summer Bruce went to live with my friend Scott for a number of years, where he helped him get on disability, get a job, and get his life back together. Eventually he moved into a group home and lived a normal life for years. Then Bruce found out he had cancer. He was moved into assisted living and they didn’t give him long to live.

But with the Grace of God Bruce beat his cancer. While still living in assisted living Bruce’s cancer came back and he went through another round of Chemo. After he recovered again the state of California would no longer pay for his assisted living. My friend Scott took him in again. Earlier this year Scott and I started talking about what to do with Bruce. I had an extra room in my house and Bruce was sleeping in Scott’s living room. Last Month, Bruce flew back from California with me and has moved into my house. For the first time in years he has his own room. A few times a week he comes down to help out at Morning Glory and he feels like he has purpose. Although, Bruce has lived a crazy life of hurt, pain, and trials he is one of the happiest and nicest people you will ever met.

I share this story because Bruce is an example of person who has been through a lot but was able to go from being an addict and homeless to someone that has gotten to live a full life. I’m not encouraging anyone to take a homeless person home in to live with them but I want to you to know that by feeling compassion and love toward the homeless you can make a difference in their lives. They are people. Have a conversation with them and get to know them. They have hopes and dreams and besides the struggles they face they are often no different than you or me. If you’re afraid to talk with them, then pray for them.  I’m nobody special. I followed God’s will in the direction he sent me faithfully even though it seemed so crazy back in 2003. My experience with Bruce changed my life forever. It was those very nights when I first started working with the homeless in Hollywood that God put in me a passion for them that has continued to this very day.

written by Nate Smith

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We Depend on our Volunteers

At the heart of every ministry, volunteers are often the core. At Morning Glory Ministries we depend on our volunteers. Without them we wouldn’t be able to provide the services we do each day. They pick up donations for us, serve our meals, help in Emergency Assistance, and keep our ship afloat. I wanted to take the chance to thank our volunteers for the time money and heart they put into Morning Glory.

I want to encourage each one of you to come and visit or at least be part of serving a meal one time at Morning Glory. My desire is for you to have the opportunity to be blessed by the guests that walk through our doors every day. I want you to be the “hands and feet of Christ” to our guests. But, maybe you don’t have time, or you live too far away. Maybe you volunteer your time with other ministries or your ministry is your family. I just want to encourage you to be involved in giving back to others and the community around you.

We’re all called to serve the Lord and give back. He has given us so much love, grace, and mercy and the least we can do is find that simple way to honor the Lord with our time, our money, and our love.

 

And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.– Joshua 24:15

One who serves cannot hoard his free time, he said, he has to give up the idea of being master of his day” because he knows that his time “is not his own, but a gift from God which is then offered back to him. Only in this way will it bear fruit.– Pope Francis

written by Nate Smith

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