Good Things

“He has filled the hungry with good things” – Mary in Luke 1:53

Mary must have been a pretty amazing young woman.  First an angel appears to her and greets her and she is a bit startled, as I am sure we all would be.   The angel tells her that she would give birth to Jesus, the Son of God – and she barely misses a beat. Being startled at an angel appearing is understandable, but then being told that she will give birth to the Savior of the world?  Mary responds with “I am the Lord’s servant, may your word to me be fulfilled.”  Mary simply saw herself as being called by God into service, and she responds with an automatic willingness to just be used by God and to serve Him in any and every way. Wow, what an incredible example.

Mary then goes on in Luke 1 to express what is known as ‘Mary’s Song’ and she sings a beautiful message of thanksgiving and hope.  In the middle of it she expresses something that has just been resonating in my mind as we put a bow on an incredibly powerful and praiseworthy year.  She sings out in celebration to Jesus, that “He has filled the hungry with good things.”  This is so powerful and is I believe the most encouraging message to all of us, to our incredible guests at the mission, to our hard-working team, and to you our faithful partners and friends.

Jesus has filled the hungry with good things.  Have you ever felt this in your life? Wow, I sure have, and I feel it every day.  Jesus fills me every day with good things. And I am sure when Mary was singing this out, she wasn’t just referring to people that are physically hungry, but those who are hungry for healing, those who are hungry for relationship, those who are hungry for hope – He (Jesus) hasfilled the hungry with good things.

At year-end, we are radically celebrating this in every way.  Every day, Jesus has filled us all with good things.  Even through the ups and downs of life, and life can be brutally hard sometimes, remember that Jesus has filled you with good things.  And because He has filled us all with good things, praise God we have a massive group of people committed to helping do the same for others through River of Life Mission.

This truly has been a year filled with good things!

Good things like being able to feed over 700 guests a day at the mission, with a run of 3 weeks where we even swelled to feed almost 1,300 guests per day.

Good things like seeing people come to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

Good things like people being transitioned from the streets into a life of purpose.

Good things like a former guest being reunited with his family and starting to write and sing music again.

Good things like a former guest who shared meals with us for 10 years, now going on to get his PhD and work in a career helping others.

Good things like a guest from the streets just days ago being helped into a drug detox by one of our amazing staff.

Good things happened at the mission this year because of you.  It is absolutely impossible to share everything that has happened this year in this letter, but it truly has been one of our best years yet.  And it would not have happened without your constant and generous giving.  As you give at year-end, your continued, above and beyond generosity  – will help us do everything you have come to know and love about River of Life Mission, and will help us do even more.   We have big plans to feed even more, to move forward with mobile feeding locations, and to help transition people with new and creative measures.  Your giving truly makes a difference in the lives of our incredible guests, who are desperately in need of hope right now.

In all of this I am reminded of our theme verse at River of Life Mission, “We love, because He first loved us.” (I John 4:19) You have lived this verse out and loved on the poor, out of gratitude for what Jesus has done. And for this, we are so incredibly thankful to you, and want to wish you…

Merry Christmas, Mele Kalikimaka, and Happy New Year.

Pastor Paul Gates

Executive Director