I am so glad to meet you! My name is Pastor Paul Gates and I feel so blessed to be the newest addition to the River of Life team. And can I start by saying, what an amazing team we have here at the Mission. I began my journey with River of Life only several weeks ago, but every day I am filled with awe at the way the staff goes above and beyond to show every person the love of Jesus. My motto has always been “happy people, help others” and this has never rung more true for me than what I get to see and be a part of here at River of Life Mission.
As an introduction, I would love to tell you just a little of my story. I always tell people, “I was born into the adventure of serving.” My mom and dad were Wycliffe Bible Translators to the amazing island of Papua New Guinea. While serving there, I was born and raised in a family dedicated to serving others. I still believe my life is being led and blessed by the serving hearts of my parents.
Recently our family was watching the original Disney movie “The Jungle Book” and I said to my wife, “that is literally how I grew up, just like Mowgli.” My wife gave a little chuckle as if to say “Ya, right.” But it was true! I never wore shoes, I ran around in the jungle, I got chased by snakes and wild boar, and I had the time of my life. What a way to grow up. But even early in ministry, I found that even as great as it was to run around in the jungle, nothing brought more joy, than helping someone in need. And my ministry took a trajectory of walking with Jesus, to serve others.
God always has a special way of bringing things full circle, when you decide to love Him and live for Him. Doesn’t mean it is always easy, but this joy in your soul is exactly what everyone is truly seeking. The Bible says it so well when it said “Jesus came not to be served, but to serve.” (Matthew 20:28) True joy is found in being on mission as Jesus, in the regular flow of our everyday life, serving those around us. Jesus sole mission was to serve, and now I get to be a part of a mission – where our sole purpose is to serve others. Wow, God is so good!
Where and when have you found the greatest joy and blessing in your life? Stop right now and see if you can remember a couple of exact instances. I bet if you dig deep, you will see that your memories of great joy, and blessing, came when you were helping someone else. Maybe helping someone move and how amazing the pizza tasted when you were done. Possibly a camping trip where you have to work together and help each other navigate all the dirt, but the memories are golden. Or maybe helping someone who literally had lost all hope, and putting your head on your pillow that night and realizing it was possibly the best day ever. What a joy we have in Jesus! And what daily joy can be found, in living like Him, serving someone else.
I am so grateful to meet you all and look forward to the amazing things God has ahead for us all, and the Mission.
In the pandemic, our meal distribution was up a staggering 30%. Great job team!
We have an amazing opportunity going into 2021 to significantly grow our food program even more. Your constant prayer and generous giving, even now, will have a bigger impact than ever before!
We can’t wait to tell you more in the upcoming months…
In His Service,
Paul R. Gates
Also if you happen to shop through Amazon shopper, you can utilize their special charitable giving program where a small fraction of your purchase will benefit us here at the mission. Go to https://smile.amazon.com and designate River of Life Mission as your choice to support.