Dear Friends,

I wanted to start this month’s letter with a very powerful scripture, and you will see why in the paragraphs to follow: “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.  You have anointed and refreshed my head with oil; My cup overflows.” – Psalm 23:5

Marvin came to The Mission in need of food.  He had been living on the streets for years and the gang activity and hardship was just getting to him.  He felt the attack of the enemy from the gangs, he felt the despair from the harsh of life on the streets – but what he needed first was a meal.  Our staff and volunteers welcomed him in, called him by name, and gave him that hot, handmade meal that he so desperately needed.  It brought a hope to his stomach, which then began to build hope in many of other ways.

After receiving food from The Mission, he soon found himself as part of a Bible study.  Psalm 23:5 became so close to home for him as it talked about a God who prepares a table for you, even in the presence of enemies.  Marvin started to feel that there was something more for him.  What he understood is that there were enemies all around him, and they were crushing his life.  But then, through the love of Jesus extended through the people at The Mission, and a simple meal – he felt that God was still there and actually preparing a path of hope for him.

Marvin committed his life to Jesus and started working toward something different. And wow, if it is not different!  And we were overjoyed when he stopped back by The Mission to tell us about all God had done.  We are rejoicing with him and Marvin is now a foreman for a major construction company.  He goes to work every day and works hard to make a difference and make a living.  He lives in a home with a bunch of other amazing men.  He helps lead Bible studies for the group of men in his home.  And he serves faithfully at his church.

How good is our God?  And praise God for Marvin’s story!

When I spoke to Marvin about his journey, he just kept talking about this powerful Bible verse in Psalm 23:5, that just kept resonating in his life.  It is a verse we have heard many times.  The first part of the verse talks about God’s incredible provision to overcome the attack of our enemies.  No matter what comes your way, God will give you exactly what you need to overcome.  Just trust Him for it, and He will provide.  And secondly, God is constantly pouring over us, a refreshment of His power to keep on going and overcoming.

We love Marvin’s story, because it is that story of hope restored, and hope advancing.  We are in a great season of hope advancing at The Mission.  Our food program is continuing to grow.  We are partnering more than ever before to see food going out to other locations around the island, to serve even more people in need.  We are remodeling our transition homes right now and have an amazing staff member focused on an all new one-year transition program to get families back into housing, jobs, and Bible study.  We are close to planting farmland to become more self-sustainable and provide job training.  And our chocolate, www.chocolateonamission.com, is getting a refresh and out into new stores, so look for it soon at a store near you or check it out online.

And thank you again for all you are doing to support River of Life Mission.  We love what we do, and we love doing it alongside you.  And our plans are for even greater impact.  Your support, even now, will help us grow.  And help us go to even greater heights.  Building hope!  And our reminder from Marvin and his favorite passage in Psalm 23:5 is that God will provide and is constantly pouring over you a refreshment of His hope.  In this great promise, we are confident that your cup will overflow today.

Blessings,

Paul R. Gates

Executive Director