I pray this correspondence finds you and yours safe and well during these pandemic days of COVID-19. I am sure you are experiencing many of the same challenges as we are – economic and employment uncertainty, health and safety measures, adjustments to new ways of being a community, and many others.
Although the past five months have found us consumed with altering many aspects of our lives, Neighbors of Hope continues to practice the radical hospitality of Jesus to our homeless, hungry, and hurting neighbors. Both of our transitional housing facilities are experiencing the impacts of this COVID culture as we are seeing an increase in homelessness and addiction activity. We anticipate similar increases with our feeding ministry, Fishes & Loaves Food Pantry, especially as changes are made regarding unemployment benefits as well as employment opportunities.
As challenging as these effects are, I encourage you to sustain hope. I know for us it is precisely hope that empowers us to continue to practice the compassion of Christ in these days of chaos, confusion, and conflict. We all should be striving to hold our hearts in alignment with the treasures of hope so that we, like Christ, can be a beacon of light in a darkening world seeking to envelop us. Without hope, we will find ourselves drowning in despair. Our neighbors need this hope to be enlivened in us so that they may be encouraged, strengthened, and even healed.
So let us rest in the assured peace of Christ, remembering and embodying the scripture, “God did not give us a spirit of fear and dreadfulness, but rather a spirit of power and of a preference for love and of balanced inner perspective.” 2 Timothy 1:7. May the days that lie ahead of us be filled with the power of love and peace and shared as the hope that helps transforms the lives of our neighbors in need.