Even during a pandemic, the Lord is true to His promises. In Psalm 46:1, the Bible promises that “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” Daily we are still witnessing lives being transformed through the power and the love of Jesus Christ. Throughout these trying times, God has shown us His miraculous power, and has surprised us in many ways as we have seen Him working through the employees, volunteers, and supporters of the Modesto Gospel Mission.
We have all had to embrace fluidity and flexibility on some level during this pandemic. During this season, God has shown the Mission new ways to mobilize and reach those that are broken in our community. We have been able to innovate and become more creative in our attempts to provide a Refuge for Recovery and Restoration to those that are isolated, lonely, ignored, abandoned, addicted, or homeless. There are several examples of this development. Senior meals kits are still being delivered to our elderly neighbors throughout the city and surrounding towns who are sheltering in place, a Mission ministry that did not exist before COVID-19. Next, the Mission staff and volunteers delivered over 1,400 new pairs of shoes directly to impoverished kids in their homes instead of holding our annual Back to School event here on campus. Finally, as elementary schools reopened the school year with distance learning, the Mission converted its Youth Center (closed due to the shelter in place orders) into a home school location where the children that stay with their parents at the Mission can do their school online with assistance from their parent(s) and Youth Center staff as needed. The Mission is working with city and county school districts to accommodate these kids, and they are able to do school in a quiet and focused setting each weekday.
We are the Vargas Family. My husband and I and our girls were fortunate to find stability and refuge at the Modesto Gospel Mission. Due to sudden circumstances, we were displaced from our home. It was especially difficult for our daughters, ages 8 & 11, because we could not provide stability while searching for permanent housing.
Thankfully, the Modesto Gospel Mission has a Youth Center School Program that our girls quickly found provides a safe, nurturing, and fun educational environment for the kids who shelter at the Mission. Since the school year has begun and due to covid-19, our girls are fortunate to be able to utilize the youth center to do their online schooling. The staff are incredibly helpful in offering support, resources, and tools, not just for our kids but other parents and children residing on the Mission campus. The Youth Center School Program also offers a structured schedule very much like in-class school that includes recess, arts and crafts, lunch/snack times and PE that will help our children transition back into the classroom much easier. As parents we couldn’t be more grateful for the support of the Mission and the youth center. It is clearly evident the love of the Lord is present here and my girls love it.
Please continue to pray for the Mission, and for wisdom for the staff as we continue to focus on service and safety for our guests, observant of all medical and government guidelines. We are seizing this moment to share the love of Jesus Christ in a time when there are so many uncertainties around those that are most vulnerable and lost in this community.
As we head into the winter months, we are once again committed to serve this community for Thanksgiving and Christmas, even if circumstances dictate that we must change how that is done this year. The time leading up to these holidays seems to always have an increase in homelessness and hardship, and your generosity allows the Mission to steadfastly meet the needs of these people that God loves. Robust holiday meals, warm winter clothes, and Christmas presents will still be provided – that will not change. We just might have to get creative on how it is offered, so stay tuned on our social media for upcoming volunteer opportunities over the end-of-year months.
Please send us your prayer requests so that the Mission family can also pray for you and your families. Until next month, be blessed and remember the Lord is still on His throne and ever-present during this time.
Jason Conway, Executive Director
New Life Program Graduate 2008