The Ecumenical Chaplaincy for the Homeless Forced to Close its Checkbook for 2 days!

Now someone may argue, ‘Some people have faith; others have good deeds.’ But I say, ‘How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.’
~ James 2:18

I received a phone call today, Saturday August 28, 2010, from Chaplain Dave. It began as follows ‘We’re out of money for the month and while we will be open on Monday and Tuesday (August 30 and 31) there will be no list and we will write no checks.’ and ended with the induction of this post.

The Ecumenical Chaplaincy for the Homeless has always been only as financially liquid as its donors. Many think the ECH receives government money’s and when we need additional funds we just request more. The ECH has never been funded by anyone other than people just like you. It is apparent that our donors have been hit as hard financially as the rest of us. Recently, the monthly direct assistance budget was reduced by $1000 a month to help offset the lower donations. Now, please understand, on any given day the need will always far outweigh the supply but this is the first time in over 8 years that the ‘supply’ dried up before the end of the month.

Faith, Hope and God
~ A message from God taken from the blog, News from the Streets.
‘From One Side of the Desk to the Other’
...Thumbing through and reading passages (from the Bible) Deborah asked God to give her a sign, ‘If you’re real, SHOW ME!’ Almost a defiant dare I’d say. She tells how the inmates would attend jail church just to break up the monotonous routine of their days. In telling the story, she remembers jauntily entering the room where worship was held. Looking around for a seat a woman startles her by swiftly approaching and telling her “God told me to tell you He’s real”. The chills I got at this point of Deborah’s story are nothing compared to the very tangible chills Deborah experienced in the jail church that day.

The God Box
Not too long ago Chaplain Dave told me a story about his God Box. It sits on the back of his desk to remain unopened. A God Box is a special place where one can, in a physical manner ‘Let go and let God’. During another difficult financial crisis the God Box arrived as a gift. The woman who gave it to Chaplain Dave owns a gift shop and could not sell it due to discoloration in the wood that occurred during shipping. The Chaplain accepted the gift and wrote ‘Finances’ on a little slip of paper and put it in the God Box and sat it on the back of his desk. (As an aside and a testament to miracles, the discoloration has completely disappeared.)

Handing our difficult situations over to God is nothing new of course, human nature just entails that we take the difficulties back once in a while and mull over them, handle them, worry over them, attempt to do a better job than God for a bit. Finally, after frustrating ourselves, something happens and we acquiesce and hand the problem back to God. Faith is in not taking the problem back from God in the first place.
I have held many things in my hands and I have lost them all. But whatever I have placed in God’s hands, that I still possess. ~Martin Luther

As I now struggle with how best to convey my love for the ECH and what it accomplishes and help you understand it; I remember the many miracles I have witnessed firsthand as a result of the very presence of the Ecumenical Chaplaincy for the Homeless. Deborah’s amazing story, Mr. Rubi and the Iraqi, Tracy’s story, Gloria’s, Ken’s, Tom’s, Luis’s, Judy’s, Fernando’s… so many lives changed because of the ECH, so many stories still left to be written. I have sat here most of this Saturday afternoon typing and deleting, brainstorming and figuring; trying to put words to paper in a way for you to really see, feel, hear the miracles happening in the homeless community in downtown Phoenix.

You know what your money will do for the ECH, it will buy a state ID, it will purchase a birth certificate, it will help offer hope to someone, but do you know what giving it will do for you?

Give and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full ....Pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back. ~ Luke 6:38

~From a post on the blog News from the Streets.
Do we look for grandiose miracles today? Burning bushes? People raised from the dead? Does this search for grandiose miracles blind us to the miracles which surround us and occur every day? A conversation I had with Deborah during the outreach event for the homeless went something like this as we discussed what it must have been like when Jesus walked amongst the people, when he feed thousands with 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish...

Deborah: You know people back then were stupid, there Jesus was RIGHT IN FRONT OF THEM performing miracles and SOME STILL DIDN'T BELIEVE... feeding thousands with a 5 loaves of bread and a couple fish. Didn't they wonder where it came from?? Why didn't they see it??
Me: You know.. earlier we were talking about how the sweater and blanket piles never seem to go down and yet hundreds of people are walking out of here with big bags of clothes and coats and sweaters and blankets... you said this warehouse behind us must be filled with clothes and stuff.... Maybe Jesus is in there.. with His bread and His fish...
Deborah: Dang... you're right.
Opened my eyes for sure to the miracles we may dismiss... man I dig God... :)

The feeling you receive when you know you have made a difference, when you realize you assisted in changing a life is immeasurable and priceless. Maybe you can’t be there firsthand but I will record the miracles and let you know. Read the blog, read the ECH facebook page and know that you helped make miracles happen. God will know.

Faith, Hope and Another Miracle!
As evening approaches I receive another phone call from Chaplain Dave ‘Someone has offered to cover the last 2 days of the month.’ We will be able to help others on Monday and Tuesday after all!! Another miracle for the ECH!! Is the crisis averted? This month perhaps but it’s not over. We will silently and prayerfully slide that little slip of paper marked ‘Finances’ back into the God Box and humbly ask you to join hands with the ECH and never let the ‘supply’ dry up, not ever. Thank you and May God bless you.
~ Tracy L Geivett