To whom it may concern
If you are receiving this letter it is because; you know me and have possibly experience the ministry God has placed inside of me in some way shape or fashion.
I want to share my story with you first and how I got to this moment.
I was born in 1992 and raised in Pomona California, to Marvin and Ramona Rice. I had a great childhood with my brother and two sisters. While living in Pomona it was evident that there was a homelessness problem with in the City. I noticed as a child, when walking into stores and riding down the street seeing people sleeping at bus stops, in parks and sitting against buildings. I didn’t know how to respond as a child, it was just what I saw. However, God knew how to respond.
One day in 2003 the Lord told my mom “Feed my sheep”, she thought for a moment maybe He meant to preach. Then He made it clear: feed them food. The way she tells it is that she went and saw she had a chicken in the freezer, she said this was is all she had. So, she made a big pot of chicken noodle soup and some corn bread. Her and my Father took the soup out in soup cups and fed the Lord’s sheep. Eventually she took me and my siblings out with her and my father. We did this for a good while and before we knew it we were getting bread, shoes, blankets, milk and other items to take out to the homeless. I believe this is where the seed was planted.
I went on through school, played football and received a scholarship for it. I studied Business Administration and made plans to pursue any field where I could make the most money. My motive for this was so that my dad could retire and rest. Senior year of College everything changed. I finally submitted my life to God and I stopped playing Football and began teaching Bible Study in my dorm and through this obedience and submission God finally downloaded a dream in me. He showed me a place where homeless men, women and families could come to be restored. They would have opportunity to get job training, help with resumes and life skills and have opportunity to cultivate a relationship with Jesus.
I took this dream and ran with it. Once the time came for me to choose a senior year internship I began to think about hotel management to get the skills in running that type of residence. However, my motive was also to get a paid internship. I went to my advisor and we contacted local hotels and there was no luck. I went back to my advisor and he gave me a few more hotels to call but then he asked me “what do you want to do?” I hesitated for fear of him thinking I was crazy saying “God gave me a dream”. I then told him, and he said maybe you should call the homeless shelter. I took the number that he gave me and the other hotels. I first called the hotels to no luck, then I called the number for the shelter.
The number I dialed either got mixed up or he gave me the wrong number. I called Penny Dugan who originally started the homeless shelter. However, she had turned the homeless shelter over 6 years prior to start a new project. She asked me what I was looking for. I kind of spilt my guts I told her about the dream and all. She told me I should come and meet her. I did, it was truly God that guided me here. I did my internship here and then she asked me to come on as staff and be a live-in staff member once we opened the residence starting with men. I accepted
I came on in August of 2014 once I returned for my last semester of College. I quickly fell in love with the ministry and serving the men that came to stay with us, and while Penny was in Africa that October I gave her a 2 year commitment. However, once I graduated that December it became hard to keep that commitment after my mother thought that it was too dangerous. That afternoon my father called me and asked if I thought that this place God wanted me, and I said yes, then my Father said “Do yo thang homie”. Those were the last words my Father spoke to me, two days later he passed away, and I’ve been here at the Mission ever since.
We now are still in the basement of this huge building. We house 15 men at a time and we serve lunch and dinner to about 40 individuals including families and individuals in the community. Some are homeless, some just run out of food stamps and all sorts of other situations. The men we house pay a small amount for rent when they can, which is $300 a month. This amount helps with covering utilities and some food expenses.
In my time here, I have heard some stories that would blow your minds and make your heart cry. I have learned so much in the last four years and I have grown so much from the men women and children we serve. A lot of times we are asked about success stories and we have quite a few. However, with working with homeless men and especially those trying to overcome addictions success takes time. However, we see growth in all the men that come through this residence. One individual that has relapsed over and over and right now is back in his addiction said to us “why do you still care; you people are crazy”. We have become a family to people who have no families or have burned all their bridges. We are truly becoming a community center here in Newton to those who feel they don’t belong in the usual places.
We operate with a small staff of 6. No staff members are paid, we all serve here because we believe in the work and love to do it. Four of the staff members are retired and receive those benefits, and me and one other staff member work full time jobs in addition to serving at the Mission to provide for ourselves. Our hope is to complete this building so that we can begin serving Women, Families, and the medically under-served. Once up and running at full capacity we could house 93 residents which would include men, women and families, housing for staff members and a large community center. This building can be the center for this community; truly a place of common ground.
So, where can you come in and be a part of this great work? The work of reaching and restoring the rejected?
The need here in Newton is growing! What God is wanting to do, to fill that void is even greater. God has placed some things in my heart to enhance what we do and to better serve the people we serve. With that increase need and increased response from the Lord, I now feel it is time for me to step out on faith and begin raising monthly missionary support. Missionary support will free me up from the full time job I am currently working to support myself financially, from this I will be able to take that 8 hours every day and pour it into my work at the Mission.
You are partnering with me by supporting me would make it able for me to teach daily Bible studies, and daily prayer times with the men here. It would also make it possible for me to teach classes on goal setting and strategic planning, resume development. I would be able to facilitate groups with the men here at the Mission. I would also be able to cook and serve meals here at the Mission.
Your support would do so much to enhance this service to those who have been rejected by their family, friends and community. They have fallen through the cracks of society but with your support and God’s grace we could reach them and embrace them and let them know that God has not rejected them.
I would love the opportunity to either sit with you or call you to further discuss what we do here and also how I can support you in prayer!
My number is 316-217-4157
My email is firstname.lastname@example.org
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2/20/2023 10:16:25 am
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I am Marvin. The more you read these Blog posts the more you will learn about me. The more I write the more I will discover about myself.