Light Has Dawned!
by Scott Dunwoody, Executive Director
I think C.S. Lewis had it right in his beloved The Chronicles of Narnia when he observed how truly depressing it would be to live in a world where it was “always winter, but never Christmas.” Winter can be bleak, cold, and dark, but Christmas breaks in to provide joy, warmth, and light.
How similar this is within our own hearts! “The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death Light has dawned.” (Matthew 4:16) What a gift God has given us in His son, the Light of the world!
Furthermore, Bethesda’s guests have endured the darkest of nights – both within their souls and throughout their experiences:
- A man drinks through his loneliness after losing his family to alcoholism and finding himself homeless
- A woman’s drug addiction has robbed her of the only thing that mattered anymore – her kids
- A teenager watches her older brother get caught up in the “street” life, terrified that she will end up abandoned by yet another family member
And yet, Christ’s light breaks through, granting us the distinct privilege of witnessing and participating in these moments of redemption:
- Humbly walking up the shelter steps, the man looks up to see the glow of the bright green “Bethesda” cross and the loving arms of the Good Shepherd welcoming him
- The warmth of a reading light on the woman’s new nightstand at the Mission, reassures her that this is a place of safety, comfort, healing, and peace
- Shielding her eyes from the glare of the sun, the teenager laughs without fear of the future amongst her dependable community center family who embody the love of God
Success stories abound from real men, women, and children. To hear their stories, I encourage you to visit our website: BethesdaMission.org/stories-of-hope. Or better yet, come for a tour to experience it first-hand.
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).
Here are some challenges and opportunities for your decision this season as you consider how to invest in the lives God has entrusted to our care:
- On average, 100-110 men receive shelter at Bethesda every single night
- Life coaches have been increasingly effective at helping men set and keep goals while at the shelter, guiding toward self-sufficiency (employment, housing, counseling, etc.)
- Construction is underway at the Community Center, expanding our reach to 150-200 kids and families; fundraising still in process to complete phase 2 of the project
- Planning and fundraising has begun to replace the Women’s Mission with a larger, safer, and more welcoming facility
- Thanks to volunteer dentists and physicians, more guests have received complimentary medical and dental care than ever before
- Mobile Mission has been run completely by volunteers this year, continuing our commitment to serving those on the streets
- Almost 124,000 meals were served last year
- 30-50 calls are received every month from women seeking shelter
This Christmas, please consider renewing your partnership with Bethesda Mission to give hurting men, women, and children the opportunity for a changed life.
Thank you for your partnership in the past – we couldn’t have made it 104 years without you. May God richly bless you and your family and friends as you celebrate together, and have a very happy New Year!
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