Kind Words Bring Life

“Kind words bring life…” – Proverbs 15:4

Do you remember the last time you were in desperate need of a haircut? I recently witnessed the profound power of a simple haircut at a River of Life Mission Hub Spot. It is such a game changer for someone living on the streets, with no access to basic hygiene items that you and I are blessed to have every day. Haircuts remind us that we are all equal in our humanity, deserving of dignity and care.

A guest named Keith just got a fresh cut at a River of Life Mission Hub Spot, and it completely transformed his whole demeanor. Everyone was complimenting him, and he suddenly started to gain his confidence back. What a dignifying experience!

Not only that, but for our guests experiencing homelessness and often struggling to maintain relationships, a haircut is more than just a trim – it’s a beautiful space of connection and interaction with a caring individual. 

As the scissors trim away the external layers, conversation are unlocked. Stories are shared. In the midst of the buzz and snip, genuine connections are formed, leading to heartfelt prayers. Barriers f circumstance begin to dissolve, perspectives are shared, and empathy can flourish.

For Keith, it birthed a desire to volunteer at that very same church where he received support! The Sunday after receiving his haircut, Keith volunteered to set up and tear down at the church – he arrived the earliest and stayed the latest of all the volunteers! Our church partner hosting that Hub Spot is in the process of helping him transition off the streets.

Connections just like this are happening thanks to over 2,400 volunteers in 66 Hub Spots across 39 locations. Haircuts and hot meals are giving way to personalized support addressing our guests’ health and wellness, housing, food security, substance abuse treatment, behavioral health, education, job training, wireless phone access, assistance with SNAP/Med-QUEST and spiritual needs.

So far this year, River of Life Mission has served 91,369 delicious meals and transitioned 85 people off the streets and out of homelessness! Our Hub Spot teams helped 15 people get access to safe shelter, 15 guests now have jobs, 40 guests are working on sobriety and 60 have earned their GED! And we’re just getting started.

Your consistent support is at work right now, stirring in Keith’s heart and encouraging him that he is worth it. Encouraging him that there’s a caring community of people on Oahu who believe in better things for him. Encouraging him that there is still hope.

Mahalo nui loa for your faithfulness in coming alongside us as we come alongside the local church to transform the lives of our guests who are created in God’s image!


Paul Gates