“In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you” John 14:2 (KJV).
Cold weather in Oregon begins in October. This is when Oregonians declare that fall has officially begun. The month begins with mostly sunny days and comfortable temperatures. But gradually the daytime temperatures drop from the 70 to 60 degrees. Nights cool down into the 50s. The leaves of Portland’s trees change from green to bright red, orange and yellow. But along with the beautiful colors, the temperatures keep dropping. This calls for a good book, hot tea and a cozy blanket by the fire. When venturing out, a knitted hat and warm coat are in order. Unfortunately, for some people these things are luxuries and home is a homeless shelter. This program features ways to help them be more comfortable.
Use knitting needles, yard goods and patterns as the table centerpieces.
Program Idea – Hats
Ask the women to make knitted or crocheted hats that can be distributed in homeless shelters. Invite someone from the women’s ministries group to demonstrate these skills. If no one is available, tutorial videos are on the Internet giving step–by–step instructions. Hats can also be made using knitting looms. One tutorial site is: YouTube.
Loomahat.com also has videos and resources. Check the Internet for the looms, hooks and patterns as prices vary. Thrift stores sometimes have a variety of supplies for working on this project.
Home Away from Home
“In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you” John 14:2 (KJV). When Jesus spoke these words, He was at the end of His earthly ministry. He was on His way back home to heaven. He was going to His home to prepare a place, not just for His disciples, but also for you and me. Jesus came to earth to heal the lame and broken-hearted. He came to break chains and set captives free and to make the blind to see. Jesus came to comfort those who suffer and calm those who are grieving and confused. Jesus came to be our Savior, our foundation, and our home.
In my current appointment here in rainy Portland, Oregon there are more rainy days than sunny ones. I find myself missing the place I called home, the always sunny, Los Angeles, California. There the weather is usually a cool 75 degrees, and umbrellas are used to shield you from the sun while you are at the beach humming along to the Albert Hammond’s song, “It Never Rains in Southern California!” As an officer at the Moore Street Corps I have the unique and God–ordained opportunity to minister, not just at my corps, but also to women at The Salvation Army Female Emergency Shelter (SAFES) where I offer rides to women’s ministries programs and Sunday morning services. Many of the women I encounter at SAFES are longing for their own home. I’m brokenhearted when I hear some of their stories of never having a home and not knowing what it is to be loved and cared for. They don’t know what it feels like to come home to a warm place where there is food on the table, a place to lay your head at night, or what it is like to take a warm bath after a long day. Many of them come to church looking for that love and family they don’t have elsewhere. Having never experienced homelessness, I can only sympathize, point them to Jesus and give reassurance that He loves them. I can give them the same reassurance Jesus gave the disciples: “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you” (John 14:2). Jesus was leaving His disciples and was going “home” to prepare a place for them and for us. Just as the disciples trusted in the words Jesus spoke, we have to do the same. When the time is right, and our home is ready, Christ promises to return and take us to our heavenly home. “Behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind” (Isaiah 65:17).
When we accept Jesus as our Savior, we have that assurance that He has prepared a place for us and that one day we will be with Him. The buildings that we call our homes aren’t permanent; they are our temporary home away from home. Singer Chris Tomlin sings a song called “Home.” It includes these words: “This world is not what it was meant to be, all this pain, all this suffering. There’s a better place waiting for me in Heaven.” Another song puts it this way: “This world is not my home; I’m just a-passing through … The angels beckon me from heaven’s open door. And I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.”
We have the assurance that Christ has prepared a home for us and is waiting for us to join Him there. One of the greatest blessings for us is not just getting to heaven, but more importantly being with the Lord for all eternity.
The Salvation Army Songbook song #415 “Do Not Go Home Without Jesus”