I just met a man named Danny. Danny’s face was very weathered, he was wheeling around in his wheel chair, as he was missing a leg. As a staff, we have been committed to always asking three questions: “What is your name? How can we help you? Tell me about your family?” And because of that focus, I now have a new friend named Danny. Then I asked him how we could help him, and he simply said, “I need a bigger tent”.
We chatted a bit more, and then he wheeled away and said, “have a good day”. Well, I did have a good day! Who couldn’t have a great day when you get to meet a new friend?
But I just kept thinking about the bigger tent! You see Danny didn’t ask for a bigger tent because he wants to go camping. Danny needs a bigger tent to survive. And it compelled me! I need a bigger tent in my heart to see and help people in need. I want to lead my family to have a bigger tent, to be more serving. And I want to see us have a bigger tent at the mission, to grow how we can help and bring hope.
In the book of Isaiah, God uses an amazing challenge to encourage His people to get ready for growth. And He uses the illustration of a bigger tent. At River of Life Mission, we are sensing an undeniable wave of growth that is so significant; it can only be something God is doing!
God tells His people in Isaiah 54:2-3 “Clear lots of ground for your tents! Make your tents large. Spread out! Think big! Use plenty of rope, drive the tent pegs deep. You’re going to need lots of elbow room for your growing family.”
We strongly sense that God is doing two significant things at The Mission: God is growing us, and God is growing our family. God has grown our food distribution by 30%. God is growing our staff, and reactivating volunteerism so we can do even more. God is growing our ability to walk with people in a one-year transition program with new and improved housing options. God is providing farms to become more self-sustainable, so plants will be literally growing. And God is growing networks of influential leaders around the island to have a shared and strategic impact toward those in need.
At River of Life Mission, we are so excited about the bigger tent. And we are so excited about a bigger family. And we want you to be a part of all God is doing! The Mission has always been an amazing place of great hope, for many people in need and volunteers alike. Would you be a part of growing the tent, helping us do even more? And to be a part of our growing family that deeply desires to build family and reconnect people on the streets, back with their family? It is hard, hard work – and it only happens one person at a time. But God is in it, God is doing it – and we couldn’t be more grateful and excited.
One thing we never take for granted, is the amazing giving of our broad and generous donor base. So please hear our loud “thank you” right now. And know that your giving, even right now – is going to claim new ground, build bigger tents to help those in need, and drive stakes into the ground to have a lasting legacy and impact, in the name of Jesus.
Paul R. Gates