Giving Hope This Christmas
The Christmas season is upon us! Let’s rejoice because our Savior is born.
“So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.” Luke 2:4-7
Jesus did not receive a warm or hospitable welcome into the world. He humbled himself into human form, the form of an infant to come and be with us, and he was met with a place in a dirty stable with animals surrounding him.
God entered our story instead of simply demanding that we enter God’s story. Perhaps that is what best defines radical hospitality: when we practice it we say “I want to become a part of your story more than I hope you will become a part of mine.”
As a disruption to cycles of brokenness, radical hospitality requires a fundamental shift from a simple practice of offering welcome to an outward movement to stand with others—particularly those in our society struggling with life. At Bethesda Mission, we offer radical hospitality to those on the fringes of society—the man who was first laid off from his job and then lost his home, forcing him to sleep on the street; the single mom who is addicted to heroin and relapsed yet again; the teenager from a neighborhood where kids roam the streets without father figures to guide them into adulthood.
Around the Mission this holiday season, the physical world is clamoring for our attention, as hurting and desperate men, women, and children in increasing numbers enter our doors seeking basic physical needs – food, clothing, a bed to lie on, a soft pillow, warm blankets, social services, educational training and opportunity, jobs, medical and dental care, freedom from addictions, abuse, and family crisis, and the list goes on.
Physical stuff, vitally important, occurs every day at our facilities:
- Bed bugs eradication and new mattresses
- Doctor exams, prescriptions, nurses nursing guests
- Teeth cleaning, fillings, extractions, dentures
- Building renovations and maintenance
- 400+ meals served each day
- 1,500 bags of food each month to rural churches and soup kitchens
- Volunteers serving meals and doing cleanup projects
- Mobile Mission van going into the streets every weekend meeting basic physical needs
Bethesda Mission receives about a third of its operating budget during the last quarter of the year (note: 87% of gifts go for programs, only 13% for admin/fundraising).
Your faithful partnership in God’s amazing work at Bethesda (house of mercy), has enabled the provision of all this physical stuff, including some recent significant physical facility improvements, all designed to more effectively serve the growing numbers of hurting people:
- Security improvements at Men’s Shelter to prevent “active shooter” event; donated trailer renovated at our Men’s Shelter to feed everyone in one sitting and provide for wonderfully organized space for our Donation Center
- Phase I, cost of $1.6M, completed at Community Center renovating former
- printing company into gym, teen center, computer lab, outdoor play area; Phase II, when additional funds raised, will demolish fire house and build a new structure serving elementary age children and adults
- Women’s Shelter silent phase campaign has raised $3.3M toward $4M project to build 18,000 sf refuge with 51 beds, up from the existing 25 beds; public phase upcoming in 2020
As you consider how to invest in the lives God has entrusted to our care, we ask you to renew your partnership with Bethesda Mission to offer radical hospitality to hurting men, women, and children.
In addition to Christmas, we are celebrating Bethesda Mission’s 105th birthday this December! We couldn’t have made it 105 years without you—thank you for all of the ways you’ve supported us thus far. Wishing you and your family and friends a merry Christmas and a happy New Year!
“For unto us a child is born; unto us a son is given; and the government shall be
upon His shoulder; and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor,
Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
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