The Hope Newsletter - Fall 2020
We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Thessalonians 1:3
As we all continue to adjust to life within the realities of Covid-19, we are incredibly grateful for God’s protection, provision, and presence at Peoria Rescue Ministries. We have yet to have a staff member or resident test positive. However, we continue to prepare for that possibility. We are vigilant in our efforts to prevent the spread within our facilities. Thank you for your prayers and support during these unconventional days.
Speaking of unconventional, we are preparing for an unconventional Hoperising this fall. Instead of our traditional, in-person, fall fundraising banquet, we have planned a digital event that will premier on November 8th. You can check out the details on the back page, but I’d like you to consider this.
God is not surprised nor frustrated by the unconventional. He specializes in working through the unconventional. Like when Sarah, the barren wife of Abraham, gave birth to a son at 90 years old. Or when God used the treachery of Joseph’s brothers so Joseph could be in a position to save his family from starvation and place them in Egypt where they could grow into the nation God had promised. And of course, in the most unconventional way, God sent His one and only Son to be the savior of the world, yet He was born of a poor virgin in a smelly stable. God loves the unconventional, and he uses it for His glory and our good. We can be sure He is at work amid Covid-19 and the “unconventional” it has brought. So, I would like to ask something unconventional of you. Sign up for our Digital Hoperising and invite a small group of your family and friends to watch it with you.
Why would that be unconventional? At best, our annual banquet can host about 1000 people. But through the opportunity of a digital event AND your hosting, we could reach thousands upon thousands with the message. We can show others what God is up to in our community through Peoria Rescue Ministries. At PRM, we take a somewhat unconventional approach to Poverty Alleviation, and on the night of November 8th, we want to share more about that approach with you and with thousands of others. All so that God will be glorified, lives will be changed, and our community will be impacted for good and forever. Join us in the unconventional – on Sunday night, November 8th.
With the exterior painting done, and much of the landscaping taken care of, 1212 Community House is moving along.
Life renewal is something that happens on the inside, and it's easy to have reminders of that continued renewal experience when your transformational journey to flourishing is surrounded by a well-maintained property.
A front door like this says, "Good job on all your hard work so far! Now let's put those life skills into practice in a great transitional atmosphere!"
1212 Community House is a place where our program graduates can put all they've learned into practice before they go out on their own. It's a place where they can get crucial peer support as they complete the journey back into the community.
One of the best things about 1212 is that it's not just about lives renewed, it's about a beautiful building being renewed, and a restored purpose.
Tips for Giving during the
• Gifts up to $300 are 100% deductible, even for those using the standard deduction. This means donors can deduct up to $300 per year whether they itemize deductions or not. Contributions by cash, credit card or check are eligible; gifts of stock are not.
• The maximum charitable deduction is raised to 100%. Previously individuals could deduct up to 60% of their adjusted gross income (AGI) for charitable deductions of cash (not gifts of stock). The stimulus package allows individuals to deduct up to 100% of their AGI in 2020. This is helpful for donors making major cash gifts, reducing their overall federal tax burden. In addition, donations in excess of AGI may be carried over to future tax filings for up to 5 additional years.
• Corporations have greater incentive to make charitable gifts. Previously, charitable giving for a corporation was limited to 10% of taxable income. The limit has been increased to 25% of taxable income, providing larger charitable gifts a greater tax and philanthropic incentive for business donors.
Hit the Pavement!
Our 2020 HopeWalk is a virtual Walk this year and is still going on; our walk helps to support life-renewing efforts at the Empower Life Center, Esther House, Barnabas Center, Downtown Rescue Mission, and Victory Acres. You can still sign up to support a Walker or even donate to the event directly.
Your direct support of a walker or direct HopeWalk donation will reshape the lives of all who come through our doors. Your support will provide more than just food, clothing, and shelter. It will also furnish life skills training, biblical counseling, parenting classes, and much more. All of this leads to lives changed for the glory of God.
You can learn more or sign up online at peoriarescue.org and click on the HopeWalk logo on the home page.
With all the changes necessary due to the pandemic, Hoperising is among them. Our annual in-person fall fundraising banquet will now be a virtual event. But we do not see it as a compromise. Instead, we see it as an opportunity. Scheduled for Sunday, November 8th, at 7 pm, it will be approximately 1 hour long. November 8th is our premier online showing of the program, with public showings occurring much later.
We are excited to share that Dr. Brian Fikkert will rejoin us for an interview session revolving around poverty topics. We’ll explore what that means to PRM and how you can partner with us to create Pathways out of Poverty through Jesus.
Some of you may remember from last year that Dr. Fikkert was our guest speaker. For those unfamiliar with Dr.Fikkert, he is best known as the co-author of the book When Helping Hurts and his newest book Becoming Whole.
You can sign up online at peoriarescue.org to watch our event this year at no charge. You can also be of great help to us by signing up to become a Premiere Host of our event this year.
As a Premiere Host, you would encourage 8 of your friends to sign up for the event. In return for your help with event promotion, we would love to send you either of Dr.Fikkert’s books, When Helping Hurts or Becoming Whole, to enjoy. If you already own either of these, they would make an excellent gift for someone interested in poverty alleviation.
We look forward to seeing you virtually on Sunday, November 8 at 7 pm.
Explaining how our missional statement of “creating pathways out of poverty through Jesus” works is not nearly as easy as showing you.
It begins with the idea that we are all the same. None of us are better, and none of us are without the need of God’s grace. This makes us very much our sibling’s keeper, because in keeping them, we are actually paying forward the care and grace God extends to us through Jesus. No matter what life has brought to us in opportunity, our guests are our family. When a member of the family needs help, the family should arrive in number, and in a hurry.
Often, a pathway out of poverty begins with a serious downturn in one’s life. It doesn’t matter if you’re the best representative in your company or if you were born into material poverty. Pressures and stress can adversely impact all of our lives, and many of our guests came to us with PhD's in a variety of sciences, classical music educations, masters degrees and more. Education and opportunity do not exclude you from being impoverished, either in spirit, or physically.
It’s not surprising to discover that we all need to heal something. A broken relationship with God, self, others and creation has to be healed before we can flourish, and no one is immune from this.
Men and women come to us needing transformation but first they simply need rescue. Food, clothing and shelter is where it all begins at PRM. From there, we do our best to help our guests receive whatever they need. We advocate for them legally, financially, assist them in overcoming any substance abuse, mental and spiritual health issues. Through the care of well-trained staff, they finally get an opportunity to overcome through Jesus Christ, and transition back into the community.
Fallacy vs. Fact - Poverty hits everyone
Brokenness can impact anyone, even the high-functioning, driven types. All of us are only a bit of bad news away from sinking. We're all much more alike than we think. "The rich and the poor meet together; the Lord is the maker of them all." Proverbs 22:2
When bad news hits
Depression, disability, substance abuse, loss of income can all lead a person from “the good life” to a life on the outside. These events don’t cause the brokenness as much as they expose it.
Not for a lack of trying
You can be the best salesman in your company one day, and be without job prospects the next. In homelessness studies, as many as 80% of the study group have stated they wanted to pursue either higher education or training in a trade.
The Start of their Pathway
Barriers to much needed income assistance and education/training often include homelessness and a lack of advocacy. Once you’re homeless, it’s a very difficult place to get out of without a path. And through Jesus Christ, that is where PRM comes in.
A January 2019 Snapshot
According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, "There were 96,141 homeless individuals with chronic patterns of homelessness. That is 24 percent of the total population of homeless individuals."
An Ongoing Reality
65 percent of chronically homeless individuals were living on the street, in a car, park, or other location not meant for human habitation.
The Pathway through Jesus works
Since 2007, the number of individuals with patterns of chronic homelessness has declined 20 percent. Renewal programs like ours contribute greatly to people finding a pathway out of poverty through Jesus.
It's about resetting one's life
Our guests who enroll in our renewal programs don’t just receive some counseling, they get a life reset that begins with a Bible-based, saving relationship with Jesus Christ.
That relationship is the foundation of all the other healing that goes on, making them whole in their relationship with God, self, others and creation. We help them with continued financial, legal, physical, spiritual and mental wellness advocacy to address all the areas of brokenness in their lives.
Finding their way back ... better
As our guests transition back into the community, Jesus has done a lot of work on them and with them. They look themselves in the mirror everyday with a renewed sense of worth, victory and determination as they go forward in their lives connected to a church, with a good job and a fighting chance at flourishing through their newfound wholeness.
Peoria Rescue Ministries has made some significant adjustments over the past few years. We have a renewed vision with new focal points and specific goals we want to embrace. Our website has changed, and you will see a clear emphasis on helping all people find pathways out of poverty. One way for us to guide others to God’s pathways is to find new and improved ways of sharing our stories.
I recently heard a message reminding me that all day long, we write our life’s story. No one writes it but us. Each hour we write a paragraph, each day we write a page, each month we write a chapter, and one day, when God brings us home, our “storybook” will be complete.
When people look at and read your “story in progress,” what do they read? We do not control the events that happen in our lives. But, we do control our reactions or responses to each one of those events. All the most painful events are God’s most outstanding teaching moments. When I read my story, I can see that God taught me the most necessary lessons during the most painful moments. I needed those lessons to do the influential ministry He called me to. I would not have compassion, excitement to see God sightings, or the passion I have for my Jesus had He not proved Himself repeatedly. Do painful events hurt? Of course, they do! Do I like them or welcome them? Well, in a strange way, I do. I know that I will come out on the other side more committed and determined to follow my Jesus even more than I do now.
In James 1:2-4, we read, “Consider it pure joy my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” God gives us experiences to learn what we need to know, to become the godly men and women He has created us to be. As we go through them, we should ask God for His wisdom to help us learn. From this, we draw the ability to compose the story God wants us to write for His glory and praise. We cannot do this without His help. I believe that is what we were put on this earth to do: to write the story that God put us here to write and reach those He knows we can touch.
So here we are writing our book—the storybook of our lives. We do not know our specific ending. We can look back, though, and see how God has moved our lives around for His purposes. He has taught us what we need to know and has given us the wisdom and discernment we need to write and share our story for His glory. That is what He has put us here to do.
How is your “story book” coming? Are you learning, writing, living, and sharing what God has done and is doing in your life? Or are you rewriting the same page over and over each day, never learning what God is trying to teach you?
God has given you a divine purpose, and I pray you find it, live it, and write it down, so you can share your story with others to God’s glory!
Rev. Lee Burnham
Men’s Ministry Director
May-July By The Numbers
83,245 Pounds of Food Distributed to the Community
7,496 Nights of Lodging Provided
8,295 Clothing Items Provided
115 New Client Visitors at the Empower Life Center and Barnabas Center
1,839 Hours of Counseling
7 Commitments of
Faith & Following
For the continued work to clear hurdles for 1212 Community House
That housing and work would be provided as needed for clients
For an atmosphere of peace and an attitude of community among the men & women in our renewal programs
For clients’ salvation and spiritual growth
Wisdom and strength for staff as we counsel clients in difficult situations
That staff will be able to meet people’s needs with mercy, grace, and love