Feb 27

Dream Center Reflections: Skid Row

***Over the next few days, I will be writing about the LA Dream Center and it’s founder, Pastor Matthew Barnett. Pastor Matthew will be a guest on our Wednesday conference call. Even if you are not participating in the conference call series, please read these posts. They are important. We’ve been really focusing on ourselves over the past few weeks, and in our final weeks I want us to begin to also look outward.

Leave a comment on my blog in the comment section, a prayer for the people on Skid Row, the Dream Center, Pastor Matthew, or someone you know who is lost or hurting, and you will be entered to win Pastor Matthew’s AMAZING/LIFE-CHANGING book, The Cause Within You: Finding The One Great Thing You Were Created To Do In This World.

The winners of An Utroubled Heart are: Lori, who posted on Stephanie Clayton’s blog Feb 23 at 6:44 pm. Darla who posted on Feb 23 at 7:31 pm. Glenda who posted on Feb 24 at 3:42 am. Congrats. If this is you, email me at Melissa@MelissaTaylor.org.

Skid Row

Our plane landed in Los Angeles Thursday morning and by Thursday afternoon we were in the middle of one of the most notorious drug infested places in the United States. Skid Row.

Notorious for drugs, prostitution, rape, murder, homelessness, brokeness, hopelessness, addiction, abandonment, hungry and lost people.

Some would also say the people on Skid Row are worthless, a menace to society, losers, invaluable, throw away people, unlovable, worth abandoning, pathetic, outcasts, unaccepted, and dirty.

I came to LA on a mission trip with Proverbs 31 Ministries. We came to be a part of the LA Dream Center, serve with them, catch their vision, and reach out to the people who have been abandoned by the world….the hopeless, the unloved, the lost. (More on the Dream Center later…now back to Skid Row.)

We rode in a van from the Dream Center to Skid Row. I got out of the van with my team: Lysa, Holly, Hope, Teri, Samantha, Barb, Sheila, Vickie, Amanda, Kay, Darla, Amy, Kim, and Lynn.  We had just this very day come from our comfortable homes and now here we were in what was world’s apart from our normal.  Skid Row.

Immediately after arriving, I was pulled apart from my team to find a woman named Marie. She had been raped the night before and Lysa TerKeurst had informed our team leader that I had experience and a heart for those who had been sexually abused and were drug addicted. I didn’t want to go alone, so I asked my great friend and security blanket in that moment, Samantha, to come with me. She did.  To get to Marie we had to walk through the streets, appropriately nicknamed, Heroin Alley. It was here I witnessed the most devastation of human life I have ever seen.  People, who I knew were created by God…People, who I knew one day long ago were born babies with their whole life ahead of them…People who I’m sure at one time had hopes and dreams.  Parents. Children. Friends. Sisters…walking around like zombies, making no sense, moaning, wailing, needles-shooting themselves up-shooting each other up-one woman shooting heroin in her toenails, glazed eyes, checked out of life, drug deals happening right before my eyes…my heart was breaking right there on Skid Row.

Men, women, teens, white, black, hispanic, young and old…no discrimination on Skid Row. Some people appeared clean and polished and others looked like they hadn’t showered in a year.

I looked into every set of eyes that I could and what I saw surprised me.

Although the person looking back at me probably had no idea what they were looking at and didn’t care, I looked into their eyes and got a glimpse of their heart. Broken heart, lost heart, hopeless heart, abandoned heart…and it broke my heart.  I knew too that it broke the heart of God. He allowed me to see through His eyes on Skid Row. I saw beautiful people, created by God for a purpose. I saw people in need of acceptance, love, and hope. And in that moment my mission changed from hoping I could help someone to just being there to love. And that’s what I did.

I was surprised at how open to love most of the people were. I had many opportunities to hold someone’s hand, hug them, and look into their eyes and say, “I love you and I believe in you, so does God. I promise He has not forgotten you. And if you need help I can show you where to get it. But no matter what, you are loved and there is hope for you.”

In most cases, in return I got a smile, a story, an openess, and for a few, some tears. But no one desiring help. They all had excuses. And that was ok, because I was there to love.

Eventually, we found who we were looking for-Marie. A 41 year old woman who looked like she was at least 10 years older than that. She reaked of stale alcohol and clung tightly to her last cigarette.  She walked with a cane and a limp. Her smile revealed teeth that were discolored and some missing. She was dirty. And might I add…she was beautiful.

Marie came with our team and over the course of the next hour went from hysterical to having a seizure to collapsing due to exhaustion. She came back to the Dream Center and was given the care and evaluation necessary to get her help if she agreed. She had an open door for unconditional love, acceptance, help without judgment, a place to belong, food, shelter,and  all her needs met, but she had to agree to 1 year. You see that’s what the Dream Center requires…and it’s for a good reason.

Sadly, Marie is back on Skid Row today. That’s what she knows. That’s what she keeps going back to. Only 23% of the people brought back to the Dream Center stay. But those who do stay have amazing success.

I have so many stories to tell and one day I hope I can get them all on paper.

Before I close today, I have a favor to ask.  Will you join me in praying for the the beautiful people on Skid Row?  Today I want to have as many people as possible praying for these people created by God.  You know there is probably a Skid Row in your town too. It might look a little different or go by a different name, but I bet there’s one not too far from your home. You might even know someone who’s been there.  I know a few.

Pray. They need our prayers. They need love. They someone to believe in them. And maybe just maybe one day they will believe in themselves.

I’ve learned that most often people need to feel they belong before they can believe. Don’t get the two backwards. So many churches today get this backwards!  We don’t need to have the perfect words or the perfect plan. God just wants us to be who we are and love others. That alone makes more of a difference that you might think.

I couldn’t fix Marie, but I loved her. And that’s all I could give on Skid Row. And it was enough.

 

Next Post:  Matthew Barnett and The Dream Center.

Melissa

Comments

  1. Sarah Humes says:

    What a beatiful recollection. I will be praying. As I was reading this, my dad keeps coming to mind. My dad is a struggling alcholic. For a long time, I’ve been working on “fixing” his alcoholism. After reading this, I feel convicted that I just need to love on him. Unconditionally. So, I will.
    “Lord, please help us love on people in a way that helps them see you. Whether its our famly, friend and neighbors, or if it is people hurting on Skid Row. Let us be light in this world.”

    • Sarah…thank you for your post. I have been struggling with my anger towards both my parents who are alcoholics. I am a Christian and as far as I know, they are not. I am ashamed to admit that I am not showing them the love of Christ. I am struggling loving them. My dad is in a nursing facility with a dementia that is directly related to his alcoholism. It is so rare that most Dr’s don’t understand it…they think he has Alzheimers!. My mom is in an apartment in town. I have a hard time loving her like she needs and meeting her needs. I will be praying for you and loving unconditionally….pray for me too?

    • To both of you. I can only imagine how difficult it must be to watch your parents suffer in this way and feel helpless. I pray that God will use both of you as his light and his love here on Earth. I also pray that God will give you strength as well as provide you with the ability to discern how much is too much for you. I pray that with all condition stripped away, your parents will begin to see a light illuminating a new path-a path of freedom from a personal hell on earth.

  2. A wonderful testimony! It is so true that we need to love , love , love .. one time the Lord showed me that His children can never err on the side of too much love. Thank you so much for sharing!

    Please pray for my friend Tom he knows the Lord but has fallen backward into alcoholism. I would love for him to come back to the Lord.

    • Tracey I will be praying for your friend Tom. Recently, an old friend has reached out to me. He currently cannot drive because he has had two DUIs. A year ago I would not have been able to give him the comfort that he required and he would not have been open to my words. However, I believe that God has called him to me during this season. God gave me words of encouragement and love and I feel so blessed that he is now beginning to talk to me about Jesus Christ. As Melissa so awesomely stated in the blog above, it is important to love others. Through our love, they may be able to see Jesus. I pray that your example and encouragement will touch his heart and that God will be able to shine a light into his situation. Hugs Tracey!

  3. Also, I will be praying for all!!

  4. Love the Dream Center and we have one in Tulsa Oklahoma also…

    • I will be praying. Our rural area has a huge issue with meth…and many who suffer the consequences of choosing that path. Often, we see it in the innocent children in those families. Yes, many who need to be loved on!

  5. Leann Brady says:

    I will be praying for everyone on Skid Row and everyone that is experiencing homelessness.

  6. Julie Braga says:

    Lord, I do lift up these precious people. Let them know that they do matter. Lord, forgive me for living such an insulated life that I don’t really think about the struggle these people deal with constantly.

  7. Praying for those on skid row. I pray not just footer them but for their friends and family as well.these people gabber more than likely been very hurt by they’re loved one or friend who is lost and suffering. They need to realize that God had called them to love this lost person regardless. We had to deal with toss in our family but never quit living until the day sin won his life heart on earth. I miss him everyday and would love just one more day to show him
    again.

  8. I have a friend who has a lot of issues. I think they all stem from alcohol. This friend has never really grown up and doesn’t realize that there are consequences when making the wrong choices. I will pray for him and all who are lost and hurting. The book looks amazing. thanks for this opportunity.

  9. Praying for the people who are homeless and hurting, continued wisdom for Pastor Barnett and for the people that are involved in this amazing ministry, that in our busy lives as we pass by and dont notice or dont help, Please give us the courage to do what God has called us to be.May we all be compassionate to be the hand that helps, to take a moment and spend time with the hurting ( the people on skid row )

  10. Father God,
    I praise you and I thank you for the hearts of those involved with the Dream Center. I praise you and I thank you for Melissa’s heart and how you have called Melissa out to share her story of Marie and Skid Row. God, as tears flow, I pray that you would move others to join the Jesus movement to love others as You love us. Cause us to step outside of our own little comfort zones and to reach out and love on those that you place in our lives that may not be so loveable on the outside, but through Your Word, we know differently. Unsettle us in such a way that we will share the resources that You have given us. Cause us to remember that they are your resources anyway. You gave them and you can take them away in a heart beat. Cause us to remember that if it wasn’t for your amazing gift of grace, we would all be one decision away from Skid Row ourselves. Cause us to see others as you see them – amazing Children of Yours – Children of the Light! Cause us to serve others and You serve us. Give us servant’s hearts that respond in love and not react in disbelief. Move us to take action for others just as Jesus reached and touched the leper. Remind us that He could have very easily taken the easy way and just say “Be Healed”, but instead He actually took the risk and touched the leper. Cause us to take the risk. Fill us with your boldness so that we will take the risk. Cause us to look beyond ourselves and to the needs of others. Fill us with your boldness, your courage and with reckless abandonment to share Your love with those that may not know you. Move us to serve up close and personal, not only with our money, but with our time and our gifts that you so generously give us. Give us a sensitivity to know the needs of others and then react to those needs. Give us your discernment so tht we will make the right decisions as in how to best minister to those in needs. Cause us to live out our lives in such a way that others will know us by our love for you. Move us to be people of action and not words. Let us be known as Christ Followers by our actions towards other. Cause us to look to the needs of others instead of our own wants. Give us hearts that seek to serve others and not ourselves. Put our agendas aside and replace them with yours.

    I thank you for Matthew Barnett and the Dream Center. Do not let them grow weary in their well doing. Encourage them. Energize them. Love them. Fill them with your presence. Honor and glorify yourself in and through them. Bring more Marie’s to them. Remove those addictions of those on Skid Row. Take those desires away. Transform hearts from the inside out. Open their eyes so that those on Skid Row recognize the love of Jesus in those doing the serving. Make them receptive to your love and to your words. Protect those serving others. Guard them. Keep them safe but make them bold. Protect their hearts. Guard their minds. Direct their steps. Use them to honor and glorify yourself.

    Matthew 25:40 tells us 40 …. whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Cause us to do for the least of these. Give us the attitude of Christ and cause us to live out our lives as He did for us … even to the point where He gave His life for us so that we might have eternal life.

    Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21 The Message).

  11. Lynn Burgess says:

    As I read this, I can’t help but feel that God showed me this today for a reason. I do have a heart for the people of my town who are in this same situation and I know that God is tugging on my heartstrings to do something about it. I have a plan and a way, but in my humanness, I am afraid to take the next step.

    Father, today I pray for the people of Skid Row in LA and for the people right here in my hometown who need me to love them and reach out to them the only way I know how with a warm meal and a dry place to hang out for a while. As I take the next step on my journey, I pray for guidance to take the right steps. And, as the people of the Dream Center continue to reach out to those on Skid Row, may we always remember that first and foremost those who are lost need love and acceptance. Help us Father to provide that today and every day as Jesus so eloquently taught us.

    Amen

  12. Praying for those on Skid Row and a lady I saw this weekend while traveling with my college friends. She was all dressed up, perfect hair, “plastic” faced, clinging to the arm of a man…it appeared that she had been “hired” for the night…her face sad and eyes empty and God laid it on my heart to just pray for her. I am praying for her and for all who turn to the world as their calling and never realize that they were created for so much more!

  13. jeanne storm says:

    I pray for all the homeless people and animals also.

  14. Awesome testimony. May God richly bless you.

  15. Absolutely beautiful sister…I often take the position I am in right now for granted. Strolling right past the walking wounded who stand outside my office every day. How many opportunities do I miss I wonder beause I choose to be in a hurry to get in and get my paperwork done…I’ll be honest here…it is much harder for me to love people in person than to love them online. With the screen as a barrier it is easy to say you love someone and not have to look into the pain in thier eyes…I know the look you speak of…it is piercing. And so I avoid it…but today God has challenged me not only in my quiet time but again with your post today to love in person like I love online…to be let my passion for Him be as evident face to face as it is behind a screen…thank you for allowing God to use you to convict me…now comes the hard part…actually following through…

    • I know you can do it Stephanie. You are in ministry whereever you go. God has gifted you with a tender heart to those who are broken. I pray that God will give you strength to provide all of the individuals who cross your path with His unconditional love. I also pray that God will give you the words that He knows each individual needs to hear-words of encouragment, love and freedom from the shackles which bind each of them.

  16. Patti Bliss says:

    Oh what a convicting and loving recollection. I have a brother that lives in his skid row. He lives in a rooming house and is at the end of his rope. My husband and I were spared this due to getting on tract and living for The Lord. Praise Him!!! I will pray for skid row and The Dream Center. Please join me in praying for my brother that he will get into rehab before its to late. Thanks for the reminder that I need to be there for Jerry even though it will be the umteenth time for me and or my family. Thank You for sharing. God Bless!

  17. Thank you, Melissa, for sharing this. What a great reminder about the power of love. Praying.

  18. Amy Wheeler says:

    Dear Lord, Please be with these wonderful people on skid row that you love so much. Even though they are lost and doing so many addictions I pray that you use these people going into Skid Row and that they see Jesus in them and that they can go and get help and find you. In Jesus Name, Amen

  19. Thank you for reminding us it is all about love.

  20. Thanks for posting this. Reading about this is very eye opening. I am used to my little world where the things of Skid Row are not even thought about. It hurts my heart to think of the pain and suffering going on. I would love to one day go there and help those suffering. Until then they will be in my prayers!

  21. Melissa,
    Very amazing testimony of how you let the Love of God shine through you to minister to the people on the streets of LA.

  22. Melissa, thank you so much for sharing your heart. I want the things that are on God’s heart to be on mine also. Thank you for your encouragement.

  23. As I read this blog I couldn’t help but feel an overwhelming hurt. My heart aches that I take for granted my blessings, that I take for granted the ability and opportunities that are given to me everyday. I pray for the people on Skid Row-for their emptiness and for the people I cross in my day to day life. Skid Row has many differently faces in many different parts of our country.

  24. Barbara Caward says:

    Sometimes you just look at people who seem to be beyond hope and are if they don’t have Jesus, I just look and pray “Lord Jesus be victorious in that life, you are in mine be in theirs.” Show me what I can do.

    Thank you for the encouragement today, the Lord has impressed on my heart to love some teen age girls in our church in deep need of our Fathers love I’m blessed:-)

    Thank you again

  25. Thank you!

  26. Dear god, Please be with all those who are suffering and need a human expression of your love to ease their suffering. Help me to always be that human expression! In Jesus’ name, AMEN

  27. I will be praying for all those on Skid Row (in all towns!) But in particular, I am praying for my cousin. She is a beautiful girl that can’t seem to stay away from some nasty drugs. I love her with all my heart and her family does, too. It breaks my heart to see her siblings hurt by her actions and her parents struggling to help her. She wants to be free, but can’t afford treatments, and is not having success by just stopping. I am praying that God will continue to watch over her and that she will open her heart to Him! He will has given her the strength she needs if only she can learn to trust in Him! Prayers for all!

    • Praying for your cousin Nicole. I pray that God will provide her with the resources to be able to break free from her prison. I pray for each of her family members who are affected by this disease-that He will give them the strength to continue to love her although it may seem impossible at times. I also pray that God will provide them with discernment when it isn’t helpful but enabling. Through God, all things are possible and I thank him in advance for creating an opportunity for your cousin to find a peace that passes all understanding. I pray that God will use her story to help others.

  28. For some reason I’ve always been afraid of reaching out to the homeless. I guess it’s because their need is so great and I don’t know what to do for them. I pray God will change my fear into a love for them because it seems that love is their greatest need. Thank you for sharing!

  29. Dawn from Michigan says:

    I thank you for your post, Melissa. I had never really been in contact with people who were drug users (although I grew up with an alcoholic father), until I recently began attending Celebrate Recovery meetings to start reaching out for help for my own issues (praise God!). There are ladies in the group who have either been delivered from drug addiction already, or are still working on being delivered from it. I am so thankful to be given this opportunity to be in a group like this where we can support one another as we let God work on our issues. It is very humbling and encouraging.

    • Awesome Dawn. I can relate. God has asked us to encourage others and stay in community (Hebrews 10:23-25). So proud of you for taking the steps to overcome your demons. God bless!

  30. Annette Davidson says:

    I would love to read this book. My son could have so easily ended up skid row. But by the Grace of God he was saved 5 years ago. I will be praying for those who have not yet made it.
    Blessings,

    • Praise God Annette! I join you in prayer for all of those who have not yet been able to see a light in the darkness. I will pray that God will use your son as he grows in Christ to be able to reach those who may be in the same situation that he faced. God bless!

  31. Heavenly Father,
    I lift up each and every single person that has, is, and will be on Skid Row. You know them by name, their stories and their heart. Each one of these people are so precious. I ask that You show Yourself to each one, touch their lives in a way that only You can do it. Please let their hearts open up to You and Your Word, and let them know that victory is possible and that there is hope. Thank you for each person that has ever walked through those doors.

  32. Jennifer S says:

    Thank you for sharing your recollections. They are so powerful. My cousin suffered greatly and was one of those on a skid row. She went from being a vibrant, beautiful, young girl full of life with everything in front of her, to a shell of the woman she was meant to be. I am 4 years younger than her and when her troubles began I remember praying for her to “come back”.. to our family, to our love, to the open arms that awaited her. She could not hear us, and did not hear His call either. Many years and many struggles later she cleaned up and went home to stay with her mother. Life was not easy, but she was trying. On Christmas Eve 9 years ago, she left this world at 28 years old. She is missed, as I am sure many of those you saw are today. Alive physically, but not living.

    Father,
    I pray for those who are lost, afraid and lonely. Those on Skid Row, Main St., the Boardwalk and everywhere else that are trying to fill the emptiness inside with something other than You and Your love. I pray that they see, and hear, and feel the love that is being sent their way and that they reach for Your grace and mercy instead of another drink or fix.
    I pray for those without homes, that they may feel the warmth of Your arms and love, and our love. May they find the help they need, and a family among believers.
    Finally, I thank You! For all of the blessings in my life, the daily needs that are provided, the love of my family, friends, and church, and the comfort and peace I find in You, my Lord. I pray that You make me Your servant to reach out to lost sheep and bring them into the safety of Your flock. And for those that are not ready, may they feel the love, peace and comfort they deserve. Amen.

    • Praying in accordance with you Jennifer. I’m sorry for your loss. I pray that God will use her memory to empower you to reach those who are broken as she was.

  33. Fifteen years ago I met my husband while we were both volunteering to feed the needy. Many of the people we met while handing out soup and sandwiches have now passed away from the effects of one type of substance abuse or another. Unfortunately we have also attended many funerals where the deceased could be found in a church pew every Sunday, holding down a job every weekday, raising a family with all the current comforts while partaking in one type of substance abuse or another. While each is individual; the hurt in their eyes is exactly the same.
    Thank you Melissa for sharing with us your visit with Marie and the Dream Center. While there may not be a Dream Center locally; every town and city has a ‘skid row’ and a ‘Marie’. Prayer costs nothing; but pays huge dividends.

    • Wow. Abby. Thank you so much for that distinction. There are so many individuals who are living two different lives. As you said, there may be an individual sitting in the pew next to us who may be one mistake away from skid row. Your post gave me even more perspective about unconditional love and the realization that we must stay in prayer-that God will lead us to those who are dying inside but smiling on the outside. I pray that God will allow us to reach into all sectors of the community and that we can be His arms and feet as well as His heart here on Earth. God bless!

  34. Kim Beasley says:

    I work in a city in North Carolina. We have a lot of homeless people in this area. Many times I when I’m standing outside taking a break I will pray them. I pray for them collectively, but my heart is sometimes drawn to a particular person. Sometimes I dont’ even know if the person is homeless….I just feel a need to pray for them. My heart breaks for these people who have given up. Your post brought tears to my eyes…and, also gave me some perspective on what I can and can not do. Loving them is the one thing we can all do…and PRAY. Thank you so much for this post.

  35. Donise Knabe says:

    This post really touches my heart. I live out in the country and even
    Though I know these types of things happen Round me, I don’t see it.
    This just makes things more aware for me. Just happens, today has been
    a really trying day for me and reading this really makes me thankful
    For all I have.

  36. Melissa I am glad to hear that you are feeling better. As for skid row I used to be one of them people and somedays I feel i still am I might not have the drug in my body but my mind can think Like I used to..God has put amazing people in my path and now that I sit back and think about my life as far back as I can remmeber he was already planting the seed into my mind..I know it took a long time for me to come around ..Thank you God for not giving up on me even when everyone else did.. Thank you God that I am able to share my life to another person to give them hope that there not alone I have been there and I am here now A child of God …The devil likes to get me sometimes the more I learn from all of you ladys and other godly people the less satan effects me anymore. Thank Melissa for all that you do God I do hope one person sees this and says yes to god..

    • Thank you for sharing Sharon. Praise God for you. I pray that God will allow your story to be an example and a light in the wilderness for the individual who needs to feel “as if they belong” so that they might be able to believe. God bless!

  37. I want to read this book!! It is for me, I KNOW God has a plan for me. Thank you for posting this

  38. Dear Lord, please wrap your arms around these people who need you so desperately. I pray that they will feel your presence and know they are not alone and are loved deeply. Help me to look past my own experiences and judgments to see them as you see them – children of God. Amen.

  39. Your reflection is my confirmation!

    After helping out at our local soup kitchen for about five years, I felt that I needed a break and that I would be more helpful somewhere else. Sadly, I have to admit that I never did go somewhere else and before I knew it, my time became consumed…not only by me, but by life.

    I have felt in my heart over the last few weeks that God has been telling me that is it time for me to go back to helping out at our local soup kitchen. Therefore, that is why I say that your reflection is my confirmation. I am thankful that I am reminded that wanting to go on a mission trip doesn’t just mean going to a foreign country. My mission trip can be right in my “back yard.”

    Thank you for this beautiful post.

  40. About 2 months ago God nudged me to contact a lady who at one time was in our Celebrate Recovery program at church but had relapsed and wasn’t doing well. The only contact I had was Facebook, but it was enough. I reached out to her to show her I cared – We met before church for breakfast one day and then, YEP, she went to church with me. She came back to our Celebrate Recovery meetings, has a job, and is doing fantastic. It took one person to unconditionally LOVE her, remind her she is worthy, and just be there for her. I’m thankful I listened to the nudge from God and acted on it – I’m sure the story won’t be the same for every person; however, as long as I’m obedient and LOVE as God teachers – I know He will handle the rest.

    • Amen Kelley! It’s important to be reminded that each of us can make a difference. We never know when one smile or kind word might be a life or death decision. Thank you for listening to God’s whispers. I pray that God will continue to provide you with moments such as this so that people far from God might be raised to life with Christ. Love you sister :)

    • Dawn from Michigan says:

      Kelley, That is so encouraging to hear! I’m thankful you listened to God’s nudging as well. You have instilled confidence in me to do the same.

  41. This was such an interesting devo. I really agree with the statement that people need to belong before they believe. We seem to be unaccepting of those who don’t believe and accept those who only have our beliefs. It’s one of our biggest offences and one reason we are often ineffective christians. I will be
    Praying for all our skid row family.

  42. The information about the Dream Center has really touched me. Our church is planning on building something we are going to call the Hope Center. Same thing just on a smaller basis; we live in a community of about 26,000. I presently volunteer at a Christian restoration home for women recovering from addictions. I see women who are so broken. In their eyes is a darkness that is changed to the light of hope by the love of Jesus Christ. I am praying for Dream Center and that the people on Skid Row will know that love.

    • Pam. I pray for the Hope Center. I know that the Devil does not want a building such as this-one that can help bring many to Christ. I pray that God will cover the area and everyone involved with this building project with His blessing. A forcefield against the attacks of the Devil is needed and we know that God is faithful. I thank you Lord in advance for your protection and for the individuals who are involved who be touch lives for Your glory. Amen

  43. Thank-you for reminding us that God loves all of us-even those on skid row.

  44. Thank you for your post and reminder that Jesus came for all! He came to seek and save the lost. If someone is living and breathing there is hope!

  45. Melissa. Thank you for posting this message today. It is so true that many of us (ME!) sometimes forget to look outward when we are in the middle of a “Jesus conversation.” Your post reminded me of Jesus’s example. He walked through areas which would be similar to our Skid Row back then. He always had time for the broken and for those who others might avoid.

    I pray for all of those individuals in Skid Row as well as areas such as these all over the country and the world. I pray that God will continue to protect the individuals who work at the Dream Center as well as the center itself-that those within its’ walls will be able to find a peace that passes all of our earthly understanding. I also pray in accordance with Donna’s prayer above

    I have been dealing with a situation recently in which a friend of mine has been dealing with his own addiction. He cannot drive due to two DUIs. In the past month, he took a giant step and left his girlfriend who was his “taxi”. Oddly enough, I had dreamed about him a few days before he called me. We hadn’t talked in a year. I’m so grateful for God’s timing. A year ago I would not have been able to give him the comfort that he required and he would not have been open to my words. God has given me words of encouragement and love and I feel so blessed that he is now beginning to talk to me about Jesus Christ.

    Through love and community, God can touch lives. Such an AHA moment. My goal in life has always been to “help” others and often I am distraught when I cannot do so. God is the author and director of our lives. It isn’t about us but about Him. God is love and it’s freeing to think that if we continue to love and pray for those that He places on our hearts, we can trust that God will do the rest. Although it may be frustrating when our prayers seem to be for naught, I trust that God can use that moment or story to help another. I pray for myself and for every lady in this bible study-that we will pray that God will use us in our situation and that each of us will listen to His whispers so that they might be His light for those who are suffering and broken.

  46. Thanks for bringing to my attention the fact that I am to love the outcast and unlovely. It’s so easy to look away and shudder at the thought of people who are broken beyond belief. We ask ourselves; “How could they live like that?” If only we’d think that without Gods loving intervention our own lives we too could have been a victim of our poor choices and could have led us into an addiction and self-distruction. During my youth I got mixed up with the wrong crowd and made some poor choices of my own. Praise God, by his grace, he reached down into that pit and rescued me. Thank you for reminding me to love and pray for these hurting and broken people.

  47. Praying today for my teenage son who likes to self medicate with marijuana and who is unsure if he believes in God. Praying the Lord will wrap His arms around Him and show my son the way home. Praying for all those who struggle with addiction, their self worth, or any affliction. Big Love & Prayers.

  48. Melissa, thank you so very much for this story, It is so good to see people get out of the building and taking it to the streets. So many lost and lonely souls that just want to be heard and loved. I commend you for you ministry and pray that God will continue to send others out into the mission field to present the Love of Jesus with a smile and a hug. God Bless

  49. I definitely will pray and continue to pray for your ministry with the dream team, as well as for Marie, and hope that she will reach for the love of God, and she in turn will share His love with others on skid row.

  50. So glad that you’ve recovered from the flu. I’m looking forward to the next 2 conference calls and the next Bible Study. I see a lot of homeless people in my town. My own son is not homeless at the moment but he could be because he is addicted to alcohol. I pray for him and his friends. There are others in my family who are addicted to drugs and alcohol that have been in and out of jail. I’m so thankful for ministries like the Dream Center that offer hope to those who don’t think there is any. What seems impossible to us is possible with God so we must never give up on them!