Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Spring Ministry Report

Greetings from the streets of Burlington,

Warmer weather means more time on the streets, but during the cold winter months, I have been active using the laundromats.  I got a lot of chances to minister and give out McDonald gift cards to quite a few folks.

A good time was had today at the laundromat, there were 16 homeless folks there.  I got to give out several $5 McDonald gift cards as well as talking to different ones about there faith or lack of.  Interesting conversations.

Please pray for Paula, Amber, Dennis, Dylan and George all whom showed interest in the things of God.

Thank you all for your prayers and financial support over this long winter.  pray for us as we look to summer.

Your Missionary To the Streets,

Dave

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

The Gospel of The Streets

Street ministers like myself soon realize that the street has it’s own culture, it’s  own community,  that often is very much different from the “mainstream culture” including the Christian Evangelical Culture.  What we find is that for those who have been on the streets  a long time, are part of that culture.  It is very deeply rooted in who they are.

Some who come to Christ can and will get off the street and into mainstream culture again, but the reality is many will not.  They just don’t fit in with the mainstream anymore.,  But that does not mean that real conversions don’t take place, or that real spirituality does not take place on the street.  It just means it looks different.  The street folk to whom we minister too, those who claim to be followers of Jesus know who they are.  They know they are sinners, losers, addicts, and that they do not measure up nor will they ever measure up to society’s standards.  But they are the ones who will quickly say “God have mercy on me a sinner.”

I remember when a group of the homeless asked me to do a Good Friday devotion in an alley in our city.  Over 50 came out to worship.  One of the long- time homeless,  who was also an alcoholic had tears in his eyes and shared with us what would be the sermon for the day:  perhaps  the best sermon I have ever heard!  He said “all of us here are losers, we are sinners, we are not good people.  But this Jesus, the Son of the Living God, He was perfect, and He loves us so much.  And he knew we are not able to clean ourselves up but that is exactly why he came for people like us.  I am not worthy to be here, but he calls us anyway.  And I love Him, and I will be ever grateful for what He did for me, and I await the day I can jump into his arms and never have to worry about another thing.”

After the service was over, I thought to myself that this man, this long time street person, this man who has been into treatment over 50 times in his 66 years.  This man who fought for our country in Vietnam,  who came back from the war forever damaged, he understood the above scripture.  He understood the finished work of Jesus on Calvary’s cross.  He had a spirituality and a faith that is strong and living, and helps him in his very difficult life on the street.  And there are many like this man who live out their faith on the street.

But I can hear some say, ”If this man were truly saved he would be clean and sober, off the street and have a job, be in a real church and pay his tithe.”  All I can say is perhaps, but after forty  years on the street ministering to all kinds of people, I have seen and experienced real genuine faith and real love among the homeless even in the midst of all kind of  addiction and the ugliness that the streets dish out.  That Good Friday Service so many years ago was the most powerful worship experience I have ever had in any Church.  The streets have become my Church, my Parish, and for the people who call the streets home, I am honored to be their pastor.

If you want to help the homeless, be their friend.  Look at them, don’t ignore.  A smile, a friendly hello, perhaps take one of these precious people to lunch.  Get to know them as a person, find out their story.  Listen to them.  Never ever give them money.  Their addictions will win over, that money you gave them will not go for food but for drugs or alcohol.  We use McDonald’s gift cards with $5.00 on each card.  We give these out freely to all who need them, they can only redeem them for food at McDonald’s.  I carry them with me at all times.

In Luke 18:9-14 states that Jesus told this parable to someone who trusted in their own righteousness and regarded others with contempt.
He said, two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.  The Pharisee standing by himself said ”God, I thank you that I am not like other people; thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like this this tax collector.  I fast twice a week, I give a tenth of all my income.”  

But the tax collector,  standing far off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, “God be merciful to me a sinner.”

Jesus said, “I tell you this man went down to his home justified rather than the other, for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted.”

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Report From the Streets

A Homeless Man Prays
This has been an interesting year.  As the homeless have been pushed out of Downtown, they have spread across the area.  We have determined there are about 200+ living in the woods around the area.

We had some awesome times sharing our faith with so many over the summer.  One of the best times in years.  We gave out over 900 McDonald's $5 gift cards, and people were very thankful for these.  The result of the elections were a very difficult time for those who call the streets home, lot of fear, but we are helping them to get beyond the fear, and concentrate on getting their life together and grow in their faith.

Please pray for us as we enter the Christmas season and the coldest time of the year,  Pray for protection for the 200 or so living out in the woods, pray that many come to faith in Christ.  Pray that we can have access to them, and continue to show them the Love God has for them.

We could use donations of McDonalds gift cards with $5.00 loaded on them.  These are such a blessing and it allows them some time to get out of the cold and have a meal.

Thank you all who have prayed and supported us for this past year, we look for what God will do in 2017.

Your Missionary to The Streets,

David Russell

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Winter Ministry 2016

This has been a difficult winter for ministry even though the weather has been very mild.  Because the homeless have been scattered and pretty much banned from Church Street, we have to find them in other locations around the area.

Over the winter, we gave out 891 $5.00 McDonald's gift cards and had some very good and deep conversations with some regarding their faith and the things of God.  Most of the folk we ministered to last summer left for the winter.  Now that spring is here, perhaps we will see some of them back soon.

Now we prepare for warmer weather, each year, how we minister to the streets changes as our city changes.  Keep us in prayer.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Summer Ministry To the Street

This has been a very difficult year, probably the most we have ever seen.  The homeless population is increasing by quite a bit, but the homeless have been scattered all over the area.  They are not welcome downtown.  So to minister to them, we have to go to several areas of the city and the towns in the Burlington area.

Since Christmas, we have handed out over $8000.00 worth of McDonald's, Brueggers and Dunkin Donuts gift cards.  So many of the folks we met this year are new, most came from other areas of the country and all very young, the average age about 18-25.  Quite a few have been open to the gospel, but so many more have been hurt by organized religion they just don't trust us or our motives.  This will take time.

It is sad to see so many young people who do not believe there is any hope for them.  They see all of the problems not only with our own country but what is happening in the rest of the world, they just have no hope for a better future. So many have just given up.

I want to thank all of you who have supported us this year with financial support and gift cards.  Without these gift cards, it would be much harder to reach out to this population.  Please keep us in prayer, we need God's grace and wisdom to minister in these times.

Winter is coming, and will be here faster than we would like.  We are in that transition even now, quite a few we ministered to have already left the state for warmer climate.  We pray the seeds of the Gospel we sowed will take root and grow.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Hard Winter For the Homeless

This has been one of the worst and coldest winters ever here in Vermont.  It has hit the homeless very hard, confining many to their camps, causing others to flee south.  We have given out over $8,000.00 worth of McDonald's and Duncan Donuts gift cards of $10 each which has allowed the homeless to get warm and have a meal.

Thank you so much to The Crestview Baptist Church in Canton, North Carolina and The Jericho Congregational Church in Jericho Vermont, and The Baptist Fellowship in Randolph, Vermont for helping us get through this horrible weather.  Your support helped many.

We are praying that Spring is coming early and we look forward to what God will do in 2015!

Your Missionary To The Streets,

David Russell

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Winter On the Street

Don a believer but also homeless living on the street for many years.
This is the time of the year that we are the most concerned.  This year, about 500 of the homeless will stay over and sleep outside this winter.  Many of them are good at surviving, have a lot of skills at camping even in the cold, but there are those who don't and have never done so.

This time of the year, we also come into contact with many low income families who struggle to put food on the table when the price of heat rises, many suffer depression as the Holidays approach because they know their children will not understand why they won't have much if anything for Christmas.

Every year, Burlington Street Ministries with the help of many local churches and Crestview Baptist Church in Canton NC help us with $10.00 McDonald's gift cards that are so much a blessing for the folks who receive them.  A homeless person can go into McDonald's, sit down and have a meal that he chooses and orders from the menu.  Can you imagine what that is like for someone who is homeless?  For a low income family, it can mean that they can buy a breakfast on their way to work.  A mother can take her children out for a treat, and many times we have been told that that was the only meal they had for the day.

We are asking for your help again this year, If you can donate either funds or McDonald's gift cards, $10 denomination, this will be a blessing for so many.  You can either click the donation button on the right, or send them to:

Burlington Street Ministries
112 Northgate Road
Burlington, VT 05408

Thank you all for your support over the past year, You are making a difference.  Faith is strong and growing among the homeless.

Your missionary to the streets,

David Russell