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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Ups and Downs

The job of running a Community Center has many ups and downs. I have been ministering to at-risk youth and needy people in the Saginaw area since 1983. In that time I’ve had the privilege of meeting so many families and helping mentor more young people than I can even remember if pressed for actual numbers. Just this week has had the classic challenges—from confronting the financial stress of the ministry bills to the many personal needs people come to me with, I will confess ... my mind does wander off to that Smoothie Stand on a Hawaiian beach I'd love to be running ….

But my work, my calling, is here. And the needs here are enormous, and challenging. Here is a sample of some of the things I have heard this week either in person or via private messages:

From an adult attending our worship service for the first time - “Pastor, we have no food in the house and we are waiting for the food stamps to kick in, can I take an extra plate home from the meal today?”

Received via Facebook - “Is there a spot on your website for one time donations? All I could find was a monthly supporter option. I have run into and met people whose lives have been changed through Shiloh’s Lighthouse in the community.”

From a teen I am mentoring – “Pastor, I haven’t had anything to eat today (it was 9 @ night), can you get me some food?”

An email from a concerned mother about her son – “Please call (XXXX) ... he's having a tough day ... wants me to keep in touch with him.Would you please call him right away? Talked about coming to see you ... said this is a real hard day for him ...”

Another message, from someone I mentored years ago, via Facebook in response to my personal blog about being a dad, said in part – “I do want you to know that the care and mentoring you did with me has had a huge impact on me and my life. You were there for me whenever I needed a friend and more importantly a father figure.”

Ups & Downs—all part of this great Community of Faith & Love we call Shiloh’s Lighthouse. This week at Shiloh’s Lighthouse at-risk youth are being mentored. Music lessons are taking place. Young people are being trained in the sweet science known as boxing. Fun & fellowship was had during a softball game in the local Y Church League. The community garden is looking like a masterpiece of healthy nutrition soon to be harvested. Two different local bands have used the multi-purpose room for rehearsals. The weather forecast is looking great on Friday for a time of fellowship around the Fire Pit. My personal days begin around 6 AM and don’t end until around 10 PM each day of the week—so constant is the activity and need here.

As the economy has faltered, the need for ongoing financial support of this ministry has steadily increased. I know many people read these blogs and other messages that we send out about SLM. I need to let you know that currently we have a very significant need to raise additional support. We do not receive any kind of government funding or grants. We exist solely on financial support from people just like you who know even a small amount can make a big difference. Would you prayerfully consider a donation? If you would like to become a regular part of the support team, all I ask is a pledge of $20 per month, just $.66 per day, less than the cost of a small soda or cup of coffee. One-time donations are always welcomed, of course, and very much appreciated! A financial gift of any amount will really help us out right now. Pledges and donations can be made online safely and securely through our PayPal account by visiting our web site HERE. If you are mailing in a check, please address it to our main address – 1215 S River Rd., Saginaw, MI 48609.  

Thank you in advance for helping SLM continue to provide whole-person community services to people of all ages in the Saginaw area. Together we can get through all the 'downs' this depressed, crime-infested valley has suffered (and still struggles mightily with), and be proud to know we did our part to turn those downs upside down!

Keep the faith ….

Pastor Dana Wilson

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