Dear Friends:

In the 21 years I have been at River of Life Mission, I have never been as blessed as I have been these past few months. You all have been such an encouragement and a blessing to us as we have continued to labor during the pandemic.  During these months, we have not only been serving the homeless and the poor, but we also have been under criticism from within the community.  No one seems to have an answer to the increasing homeless situation.

We are sympathetic to the problems that have resulted as homelessness has increased on Oahu. However, our mandate requires us to minister to those individuals who need help. As I was contemplating this problem I was drawn to Matthew 25:35-40 “ I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you visited me. Then the righteous will answer him, Lord when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothed you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you? Then the King will reply truly I tell you whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did it for me.”

Sometimes I wonder are we really helping people or are we just enabling people to continue their lifestyle. It just so happened that I received two letters from previous guests.

“Greetings from Fort Sill Oklahoma. By the time you receive this letter, I will have graduated from the United States Army Basic Combat Training. After being here for nearly 9 weeks, learning tactical maneuvers and rifle marksmanship; I will be on my way to becoming a Horizontal Construction Engineer. This letter is simply a testimony of thank you.

River of Life Mission, you have been strategic in my transition to self-sufficiency. Since 2016, I’ve experienced bouts of chronic homelessness, and sometimes felt as though I was less than human. You fed me, gave me access to warm showers, haircuts and you gave me clothes and many times encouraged and lifted my spirits. I am sure you are continuing to help people, and even during this COVID-19 pandemic. While at this time I am unable to contribute in a monetary fashion, I pray that you will allow the ROLM to be a gateway of hope to people on their way to bigger and better things. “Aloha, JMC

The second letter came from a young man who had moved to New York and donated on our website and posted the following note.

“I used to go to River of Life a long time ago when people would drive by me and spit at me and laugh at me, and people would judge me as lazy, worthless and deserving of life. I always told myself that if I ever did better in my life and had the ability to one day help, I would thank the River of Life in any way I could. I’m far from Hawaii clothed, bathed and currently employed so the least I can do is this $100 donation. This will hopefully give somebody just like me and being treated like trash hope. I hope this $100 will nourished as many people as possible. Maybe one day I’ll be able to give more.”

What a blessing and encouragement these two letters were to me and the staff. Like the verses quoted above; we have done it unto the least of these we have done it unto the Lord. And in the final analysis that’s what is most important. You have been so generous these past months.  We may never know how many lives have been impacted, but He KNOWs.

In His Service,

Bob Marchant