Urban Ministry

What If? – ¿Y Si?

Two years ago I stood at my desk in the hot and humid upstairs of our first building. Wedged in around boxes of bras, I stood in front of the fan by the window staring directly across the street at a large building. A “For Sale” sign had just been hung up. What if we could somehow get that space?  A year later and we were there. We were in the building, renting it, stretching each month but it was happening. There was room to breathe, to work, to receive clients, to host a small church on the weekends. Then there was the chance to buy it, to make a plan to pay it off, to make it ours. But what if there was more?  Jump ahead six months and my head […]

All The Pieces – Todas Las Piezas

Her head was bent against the woman’s next to her as they quickly pieced together a child’s puzzle on the floor. A look of annoyance flickered across her face when she realized that a piece was missing. The picture was incomplete, the image coming into focus, but still distorted. In that moment, Jon pulled the missing pieces out from behind his back and handed them to each group. Quickly, she pressed the last piece into place and looked up with a smile. There it was, the image in view. Solving a child’s puzzle wasn’t just a moment of amusement, but rather a metaphor to talk to her and our other clients about new things, transitions, opportunities for growth. A few weeks ago we made a big change. We consolidated all […]

Ending the Poverty of Community – Terminando con la Pobreza de la Comunidad

“Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat.”  The words above were said by Mother Teresa who spent her life with and for the poor. She lived with those who experienced extreme physical poverty, but she learned that there is a greater poverty still…the poverty of community. We meet so many people who have come to the end of the line, who have come up short after churning through their physical resources. They may come for food or clothing, but they stay because they are searching for a place to belong. A place to feel loved, a place to be cared for and remembered…a community. Perhaps overcoming the poverty of […]

One Year Closer – Un Año Más Cerca

On the blog today, a few words from our Executive Director, Jon Snyder… One of my favorite things is when our clients volunteer in our programs. The reality is that they do a way better job than I ever could at reaching someone right where they are…because they’ve been there. Yes, they have been in a place of addiction and struggle, but today they aren’t. No, today they are part of a team serving and loving everyone who comes in our doors. Adan is young man who is currently one of our volunteers. We met him 2 ½ years ago when we were just beginning the process of opening New Dawn as a drop-in center. When we first met him he was heavily addicted to marijuana, cocaine, and crack. He […]

Today I Saw Jesus – Hoy He Visto Jesús

Today I saw Jesus in one of my co-workers. This particular man recently suffered some significant health challenges. He had every right to call out sick and not show up in the office today. But he did anyway. You see, he directs a micro-enterprise where our clients get a fresh start making cards. He is their biggest fan…encouraging them, cheering them on, helping them to reach for healing and new life. They were here to work and so he was here too. This simple act of selflessness, of love for others, reminded me of who Jesus is and why we do any of this. I aspire to have this kind of dedication, this compassion, this deep love that says “others before me.” Instead I so often focus on my own […]

Saliendo a la Superficie – Breaking through the Ground

Por Alexia Rodríguez  Sembrar y cuidar plantas es quizás uno de mis pasatiempos favoritos. En El Salvador tenemos una planta a la que comúnmente se le llama: Ginger. Es una especie de mata que puede crecer y crecer, con hojas verdes largas y una flor muy particular y muy linda. Hay Gingers rojos y Gingers rosados. Me encanta ponerlos en floreros de vidrio…¡Se ven espectaculares! Y pueden durar en buen estado entre 10 y 15 días. Siempre los admiraba en la casa de mi tía –y los cortaba para hacer arreglos…!-, hasta que un día ella me regaló algunos para sembrarlos en mi jardín, y así lo hice. ¡Me emocionó la idea de por fin tener mis propios Ginger en casa! El “pequeño” detalle que no sabía es que sembrarlos […]

Mother, We See You – Madre, Te Veo

Mother, we see you.  We know you have overcome so much. The poverty, the personal trauma, the trauma your children have faced. We know you want to heal.  Today, you are honored, and celebrated, and loved. You have dignity and you have purpose. Maybe no one has ever thanked you for the sacrifices you have made. Today we notice them, and we know how hard it has been.  Perhaps no one has said how much He loves you, how you were made in His image. Perhaps you don’t even know that as a mother you show so much of Him, His heart, to the world.  Mother, you are so loved. We see you today.  —————————————————————– Last week we had our annual Mother’s Day celebration with all of the beautiful mothers that […]

Something to Celebrate – Una Razón para Celebrar

Once a month we have a birthday party at the Lighthouse Project. We celebrate everyone who is having a birthday that month. We started doing this when we realized that our clients didn’t get birthday parties. They didn’t get to be the center of attention once a year, they didn’t have anyone honoring them. Knowing our clients as our friends gives us something to celebrate because they are worthy of celebrating. They have dignity in the sight of God, they are amazing men and women making courageous decisions each and every day to keep moving forward in spite of the lies and hate that swirl around them. Such heavy burdens are being carried by our friends. They bear the weight of years of addiction, of extreme and grinding poverty. They suffer […]

Seeing Through New Eyes – Viendo la Vida con Nuevos Ojos

There are so many days that our clients see themselves through eyes of self-doubt, or frustration. They may even see themselves through the eyes of an abuser, or through the lens of a traumatic circumstance. Our prayer is that over time that would begin to change. Our goal is to help them to see that they are loved, and that God truly loves them. Our dream is for them to see themselves as valuable, cared for, and worthy. We hope that when they arrive at our building, they see people that care for them. We hope that they see a future that can be theirs, and we hope that they see healing. Our goal is to provide an environment where they can see all of those things, and where they […]

Being a Woman in El Salvador, Part 3 – Ser una Mujer en El Salvador, Parte 3

“Violence is an obstacle that prevents women from developing their own initiatives, and economic activities.”                       -Ana Elena Badilla, UN Women representative In El Salvador, violence is a significant risk factor for women and a very real obstacle to their personal and economic development. The gangs which control so much of the country, plus the deeply entrenched machismo, create an environment where women are not safe in their own neighborhoods. Gang control is so pervasive in neighborhoods around El Salvador, that many girls are forced into sexual slavery as girlfriends of local gang leaders. The girls have no choice in the matter…they must join the gang or be killed. The problem has become so grave that young girls are fleeing El Salvador, and […]