“The greatest among you must be a servant.” – Matthew 23:11
Pivots are monumental changes in course, when you make a sharp turn and go in a completely different direction. The people and the vision stay the same, but there is a collective gasp as everyone holds their breath for a moment to see if the change can work. I will be the first to admit that when we decided to make a major pivot and go mobile at River of Life Mission, I was praying and gasping! Praying that God would go before us, and gasping because it was such a significant change with many moving pieces. Would it all work? Would everyone agree that it was working? Would our legendary staff, churches, and volunteers stick around for an adventurous change? Would God honor it, and move again – in and through the Mission?
I am pleased to share; the answer is a resounding “YES”! We now currently have 66 Hub Spot Events around Oahu every week, where we see meals and ministry (our M&M plan) paired up with servant-hearted people, to truly love and transition people away from the streets. Through our Hub Spots we are seeing 232 ministry and service “touchpoints” extending wrap-around services each week to people on the streets around Oahu. These ministry and service touchpoints include a Jesus message, prayer, clothing distribution, showers, laundry service, haircuts, tax support, medical help, judicial support to eliminate fines and get an ID, referrals for detox, discipleship programs, job placement, and housing. We are serving over 3,000 people on the streets each week. Pause and reflect on these numbers. This is what God has done in just one short year!
And how is it all happening? God’s people are stepping up, and the Lord is daily adding new blessings and new ministry partners to our model. To keep up with all God is doing, we need you now, more than ever before. Our staff is working so hard to handle the wave of momentum God has sent our way, but we need to add more staff to our team to keep training churches, organizations, companies, and families on how to care for the homeless in their own communities. We want to take our model and raise up Hub Spots on the other Hawaiian Islands and beyond. We are beginning the process of training other missions world-wide on our mobile model, which will have far reaching impact for Jesus.
This is a history making season at River of Life Mission, and we are so thankful to all of you who have continued to support us through this major pivot. And now that we are on other side, and God is blessing it beyond our prayers, we want to keep this momentum moving. We know that some of you might be able to increase your gift just a bit each month, and that would make a significant difference as we all step up a bit more to see what God could do even greater than we have already seen. Some of you have the capacity to seed this move of the Holy Spirit at a significant level. Please be assured that we will take any significant gift and share with you, directly, the local and global impact that your gift will start producing immediately. I personally will let you know how your gift made an impact! Just to give you a small example, we have calculated that every Hub Spot takes about $5,000 to launch. Each Hub Spot could be years of ministry going forward to people on the streets, reaching potentially 2,600 people per year. Can you imagine a simple $5,000 gift impacting thousands of people on the streets for years to come? And even larger gifts will allow us to continue to ride this incredible wave of momentum, by helping us lay a better foundation as an organization for the future. Bringing important things to our amazing team, likes increases in salary so we can become more competitive to attract the best personnel possible, and even take care of our current staff in ways that they can make River of Life Mission a career role in helping our friends on the streets. And thank you in advance for however the Lord leads you to give!
Last year I shared a story with you about Dante. Dante woke up one day and said “I am either going to take my life today, or I have to make a change – but first I am hungry.” He got connected to River of Life through a hot, handmade meal and the rest is history. As you have read, Dante now runs his own ministry in Ohio, that helps get men off the street and following Jesus. Today, I am writing to let you know of another radical praise story from Ethan, one of Dante’s old friends on the streets.
Ethan was a friend of Dante on the streets. But just a few days ago Ethan also passed a huge milestone. After River of Life Mission walked with Dante through life transformation, Ethan graduated from a one-year discipleship program. He met one of our Hub Spot leaders and through conversation and a few meals, Ethan was transitioned from the streets into a live-in discipleship home. Last week Ethan graduated from the disciple home, as a taught and trained disciple of Jesus. With a new job at Hardware Hawaii, and now in permanent housing, Ethan is equipped with all he needs to thrive. To top it all off, when Ethan graduated, the discipleship program gave him a significant gift to get his own housing – but God had already provided housing for Ethan. So, Ethan decided to donate the gift back to where it all started – River of Life Mission. This is one of the most special donations we have ever received. It brings tears to my eyes!
Your gift, no matter how big or how small, will help people transition off the streets. It will restore dignity, share the hope of Jesus, and bring radical encouragement to our unhoused neighbors experiencing hopelessness. Our new mobile model is changing and helping more lives than ever before, by leaps and bounds, but we can’t change lives without you!
Will you consider joining us with a generous gift today?
Aloha and Blessings,
Pastor Paul Gates