"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us" (John 1:14 ESV).
You've got mail!
Strong Life is excited to say that our mail center is open! The Freeland Mail Center has been years in the making. In the past, clients at our old location often asked if they could receive mail there, and they always received the same response: “When we move to a more secure location, we hope to offer mail services.”
That day has finally come! We have developed a secure and efficient way for our clients to receive State ID’s, Birth Certificates, Social Security and Medicaid Cards, and other important documents that come in the mail.
This process is a vital part of helping those in the homeless community get the basic information they need to get back on their feet. It is an important first step in obtaining work, housing, and other services needed for their particular situation. Also, since people don’t have to travel across town to check on their mail, this cuts down on the time required for our case management services at Strong Life, allowing us to more quickly give referrals and make appointments.
Here when it counts
July 5th was celebrated as an extra holiday for most. We celebrated a different way here at Strong Life, recognizing the greatest gift we could give to those in the homeless community was to just be present. We started the day by picking up two van loads of folks from the Salvation Army so they could come enjoy a cookout with us. We enjoyed hamburgers on the grill, backyard games, and just being together.
The experience served as a great reminder that most often in life the greatest gift we can give is just to be present for others. One of the greatest things Jesus promised in Hebrews 13:5 was that He would never leave nor forsake those that followed after Him. We feel that one of the most powerful ways that we can show a picture of Christ and His love to our clients at Strong Life is to simply be there for them in community.
Would you please help us continue to make this happen? We need the friends of this ministry to get the word out to others who might be interested in volunteering with Strong Life so that we can expand our availability to the homeless community. Would you please take the time to forward this newsletter to those who might help?
For more information about volunteering, please contact John Hays at 828-994-4321 or email us at email@example.com.
"Tell my people to go forward." (Exodus 14:15)
Tony finds work, reconnects with family
Tony Therasse has seen some dark times in the past year. Living on the streets, staying at the Salvation Army, and couch-surfing marked a challenging time in his life.
More recently, Tony has been seeing some positive movement. He landed a steady job driving for Yellow Cab twelve hours a day, five days a week. He also became a part of Strong Life’s Men’s Program, living in the on-campus transitional house since it opened in April. These are bright spots shining in Tony’s life currently.
He has continued to face challenges, however. Because he relied on public transportation to travel to and from work, his twelve-hour shifts made it difficult at times to get enough sleep. Further, it limited the time he could spend with his three sons, ages 9, 12, and 13.
Pastor John Hays, Strong Life’s Executive Director, wanted to help. “Tony has been a model resident, closely following all the rules and guidelines,” Pastor John said. “We wanted to assist him with the next step toward independence. The thing that he really needed was a car.”
As it happened, one of Strong Life’s ministry supporters had a functioning used car that they no longer needed and was willing to sell it for a discounted price. So last week, Tony found his life taking another positive move when he became the owner of a new-to-him 2002 Chevy Malibu.
“I’m so grateful,” Tony said. “Not only for the car, but for everything the ministry has done. Without Strong Life, I would still be out there on the streets. But now, my life is going in a whole different direction. Best of all, I’m getting to spend some quality time with my kids.”
Tony is just one of the lives being dramatically impacted by what God is doing through Strong Life Ministries. Your prayers and support are powerfully advancing the Lord’s Kingdom in Catawba County.
Opportunities to Serve
If you are looking for an opportunity to fulfill Christ’s call to serve Him through ministering to the “least of these” (Matthew 25:40), please consider the opportunities currently available at Strong Life Ministries:
Thank you so much for your prayers and continued support. You are the means that the Holy Spirit uses to fuel the work that Strong Life is doing within Catawba County's homeless community!
Pastor John Hays
For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building.
1 Corinthians 3:9
Renovation, repair, and new life are all themes of the work that takes place here at Strong Life Ministries. Our goal is to serve as a place those who have been deeply damaged by the turmoil of this world can rebuild and begin anew. One of the ways we do that is to make laptop computers available for those who are seeking to apply for employment, fill out necessary forms, or further their education.
Recently, one of our clients used a Strong Life laptop to enroll in an online degree program. Beginning this summer, Lisa will start the journey toward a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration! Another of our clients, Andre, used a laptop to find a job opening at Wingstop, complete the online application, and schedule an interview. Now, he’s a full time employee! Way to go Lisa and Andre! (Editor’s note: names have been changed to protect privacy.)
Building Our Campus
At the same time that Strong Life is helping rebuild people, we are rebuilding parts of our campus. The building that houses our Rescue Mission was designed as a single-family structure. It is now being used to provide restrooms, laundry, and showers for as many as 30 people a day. Not surprisingly, the existing septic system is insufficient to support these services. We are now having to run over 350 feet of new underground line in order to connect to the City of Hickory sewer system. This is one of many reconstruction projects that Strong Life has faced in its ongoing efforts to build and rebuild structures and lives that will make a difference for all eternity.
Support Strong Life This Month
As many of you know, whether it is a new building or renovations, construction is expensive! Would you prayerfully consider partnering financially with Strong Life as we work to build the Kingdom of God among the homeless in Catawba County?
Most people in America take for granted their access to toilets, showers, and laundry. This is not the case for the people we serve. By making these basic necessities available, this is one of the tangible ways we demonstrate Christ’s love. The plumbing project is essential if we are to continue to do this. But at this point, it is not fully paid for. We need your help to complete the work.
Also, the laptops we allow our clients to use have seen better days. At times they move very slow, and sometimes they freeze and have to be restarted. If you have a laptop in good working order that you are not using or are ready to replace, would you consider donating it to our ministry? You can be certain that it will continue to be put to good use helping people rebuild broken lives.
To assist with these projects, or to make a donation toward our ministry’s general fund:
Public Invited to Open House on April 11
The homeless community has a variety of needs on a number of levels. There are physical needs such as food, shelter, and clothing. There are life needs such as assistance with replacing ID’s and finding jobs. There are spiritual needs such as having an opportunity to hear the Word of God and receive Christian counseling.
For nearly ten years, Strong Life Rescue Mission has been working to meet all of these needs and more. Through the Life House facility located next to the Salvation Army Center on Lenoir-Rhyne Blvd., Hickory’s homeless have seen the love of Jesus consistently put on display.
Now, with the acquisition of the new property on Fairgrove Church Road, Strong Life is positioned to dramatically expand its existing services. Beginning this month, a much-needed additional ministry will be offered: Strong Life Men’s Transitional Program.
One of the greatest challenges faced by those who wish to come out of homelessness is finding a supportive environment that not only offers the resources they need to go on that journey, but removes them from the various harmful influences and temptations that they face regularly on the street. The new Transitional Program does just that.
A separate home on the new property has been renovated to provide supervised, structured living for ten men. These men will be carefully screened, gainfully employed, and dedicated to making the right choice it takes to succeed in their shift toward productive citizenship.
Come join us on Sunday, April 11 at the Strong Life Men’s Program Open House and see for yourself this exciting next stage in the ministry’s development. You can tour the facility, meet some of the first residents, and learn first-hand how your support of Strong Life is making a lasting difference in the lives of Hickory’s homeless.
Drop-in hours for the Open House are 2:00 – 5:00 pm at 1211 Fairgrove Church Rd. SE, Conover, NC 28613.
Support Strong Life This Month
One of the subjects in our morning devotions this past month has been the life of Abraham. God called Abraham to step out and trust Him on a long, challenging, and sometimes perilous journey into faith. In the same way, these men are heading out of homelessness, trusting that God will accompany them and make a way through their wilderness.
It is only through your prayers and support that Strong Life is able to partner with these men as they move out of darkness into light. Would you prayerfully consider being a part of that work this month?