Water Shed Refuge
People encountering homeless situations in the Lapeer area are again, this year, being serviced by The Refuge in collaboration with numerous churches and benevolent organizations.
The Refuge program is a necessary and great response targeted at the needs and capabilities of the area. This by no means insures that all of the problems of homelessness are being addressed. Not all situations of homeless can be serviced by The Refuge.
This winter we each need to be prepared to cautiously welcome individuals into our homes to offer shelter, friendship and hope.
The homeless are never helpless, though they are often hopeless. Helpless and hopeless are two terms to which we moderns, in our self-serving vernacular, have applied a distorted and reversed meaning. We think of the helpless as those incapable of receiving help, when actually it is we who are incapable of or unwilling to provide help. Anyone and everyone is capable of receiving help, even if they reject it. In a similar but reversed way we think of the hopeless situation from a self centered perspective as if anything we do will be of no avail, when actually we do little, offering no hope. The hopelessness is actually an emotion held by the person experiencing homelessness. People need to have hope more than shelter or food. Without hope there is no purpose. Hope is something we can always offer, though it is sometimes difficult to receive.
How do we solve the homeless situations? First we have to know the people on a personal level. We have to erase all stereotypes and preconceived notions. We have to listen. We have to have compassion, not pity. We have to acknowledge that we don’t know answers. We have to earn the right to speak into a person’s life. We have to enter into fellowship and demonstrate trust.
For the week of December 14 to 21 New Hope Missionary Church will be hosting The Refuge at the Event Centre. Meals, sleeping quarters and fellowship are provided by numerous volunteers from area churches. During fellowship time each evening the primary focus is to establish an emotional atmosphere of campfire camaraderie, to encourage equal participation among guests and volunteer chaperones. During the course of the week it is desired to build a community and a bond, to impart a sense of worth and value to guests while accepting pains and sufferings, thus greater understanding. This is a method by which homelessness may be addressed.