Written by JoAnna House.
I heard of Nathaniel Mission over a decade ago. It was that triangle roofed church that did wonderful things like clinics and meals for those who needed it. It sounded fantastic but was more of an idea than a place for me to be. Since then, the mission has moved. It’s kept some of the same wonderful people and wonderful services, but it’s also grown into something different with new people and ministries. Surprising to me, I’m one of those new things: I work here now. God works like that.
In March, the mission served 725 meals, gave groceries to 166 families, and provided emergency assistance to at least 13 people. We helped one person acquire work boots so he can work and 2 people got into housing. We DO a lot; yet I discover everyday that more than food and clothes, our friends need someone to listen and to be loved.
Working here I often think of Jesus and how he spent time with folks. He DID a lot: healing, teaching, feeding, fishing, but much of scripture is about sitting down to eat with people: people who society did not like. I think the mission lives that work and love better than any place I’ve served before. I love that, and being here is changing me.
Each day I have to stop work and listen to someone’s story. To listen to the ins and outs of living in poverty. I’m forced to slow down and be present.
Most days, I rediscover how I sometimes think I know what choices others should make. Or I judge where they are and why they are there. Then, I have to examine how love doesn’t look like judgment or knowing better. I’m learning the kind of love that has humility and looks through behaviors and smells and differences to see the image of God in each of us. I’m learning how to love at least a little bit how Jesus did.
I invite you to join us, because I believe being here and loving here can change you too.
On Saturday, April 29th, we’re having our Mission Encounter Day. It is a time to volunteer at the mission, get to know some of our people, and help us prepare for this next year of service. The day will include work on upkeep and beautification projects, organization and administration, and throwing a 10 cent sale to help us clean out our storage and give people with limited incomes an opportunity to purchase goods to meet their needs.
Please consider joining us. If this day doesn’t work for you, please consider volunteering in a different way. The why is obvious: Christ told us to feed the hungry and provide for those who are without. Sometimes, I wonder though, if it’s because of what loving does to us as much as what it does for others. Nathaniel Mission is a place to learn to love like Jesus.
Mission Encounter is an all day event from 10am-4pm. We will be serving lunch, so let us know if you will be joining us. If you can't make the whole day, we would still love for you to join when you can. For more information on volunteering or donation opportunities, please fill out the form below or contact us at 859-255-0062 or email@example.com.
JoAnna House, Administrative & Volunteer Coordinator
Masters of Social Work, Portland State University
Wide breadth of experience in corporate and non-profit work
A hiker, singer, writer, pianist, reader, and policy shaper