Do you hate it? Love it? Thrive on it? Avoid it? Whatever your feelings on the subject of work, it must be done.
That is by design, we are told in the Bible. God worked, and in creating us in His image he created us to work. Genesis 2:15 (NIV) says, “The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.”
As we strive to help others improve their lot and stabilize their lives, we cannot neglect this aspect of human nature. ICM has long stressed the importance of maintaining a work ethic and good work habits to those working their way out of homelessness. With recent expansions to the ministry, we are doing more to teach and strengthen those basic skills.
A New Opportunity
Inner City Mission recently established a resident work program. This program will be expanded upon the opening of our new ministry center in Lincoln, Illinois. Clients of ReNew Ministries who need to learn basic work skills and earn job recommendations will have that opportunity while also receiving other forms of support.
ICM residents already enrolled in the work program are helping us to prepare ReNew Consignment & Thrift for opening day, October 1. We asked them to relate what they’re getting from the experience.
Brandi understands that drug addiction led to her homelessness. “My husband and I lost our four kids because of it. The two of us moved into ICM together two years ago as of October, hoping to get our lives straightened out and get the kids back.
“I made it for one year clean and sober, but I was having a hard time with it, thinking about drugs, having cravings…I didn’t know how to talk about it. I left ICM and returned to that lifestyle.”
Brandi made the choice to leave ICM. Her husband made the pivotal decision to stay. Soon after, the courts released two of their children to live with their father at ICM. Brandi watched this from afar.
“Life quickly got harder for me. I wanted my family back. I missed my friends, all the support…. I love my husband, and I saw how he was doing without me…he had matured drastically, taken on a lot of responsibility I never thought he could.
The courts allowed the two remaining children to leave foster care and come to ICM. “Finally, I saw it like a flash in front of my eyes, that my life wasn’t going to get better as it was. Myrna, my friend at the mission, was in my corner, telling me not to give up, to talk to God.… I knew God wanted me to go to treatment.”
Brandi’s return to ICM was contingent on her completing an in-treatment drug program beforehand. She stepped up and completed that. Meanwhile, her two remaining children joined their father at ICM.
Now, the entire family is at the shelter, doing the hard work to become stabile.
Taking part in the work program under the guidance of ICM staff is helping her regain her confidence. Two days a week, she joins in the effort to get ReNew Consignment & Thrift up and running.
Here’s what our store manager, Bobbi Reddix, says about Brandi’s contribution:
“She’s doing all the clothes. She sorts, labels, hangs, and tags them. She’s learned how to use the consignment system, saving me tons of time. She also has an eye and feel for the layout and workings of this sort of store.”
Brandi is flattered and encouraged. “When I first came here, the clothing was in bags, there were no racks or tables, nothing had been painted…. In two months, I’ve seen the store turn into something. I enjoy doing this and hope to stay with it as long as I can.
“I don’t think a lot about the future because I have to take it one day at a time, but I hope to have a nice home with my family and live a drug-free, Christian lifestyle. Coming to ICM has been a blessing.”
Sharon lost a child to a drunk driver long ago. It’s that devastating event she credits with turning her into a problem drinker herself. She eventually got sober, but only after falling into an abusive relationship so bad that when she got out of it a year-and-a-half ago and came to ICM, she suffered PTSD.
It took Sharon a while to feel safe and open up. She started working on her issues through Christian counseling, and by taking Stability for Life courses that teach proper relationships. She now has a part-time job and is saving for her future. In the meantime, she enjoys spending two days a week at the ReNew store.
Bobbi says, “Sharon keeps everything clean and orderly. She makes sure items are in the right place and the back room stays neat. I can put a display out on the floor and stock it with donations that haven’t been cleaned yet. She follows after and cleans everything in place.”
Sharon says, “I feel honored and privileged doing this, because ICM did so much for me. They taught me boundaries, and who are safe people.
“As of July 10, I am ten years sober. A year ago in June I came to the mission. I feel like a different person, closer to God. I want to keep on the road I’m on. I really love coming to the store, it’s a way of giving back.”
It is our prayer that God will imbue ReNew Consignment & Thrift and the ReNew Ministry Center with His spirit, and that stories of restoration and recovery such as those taking place at ICM will flow out of Logan County as well. The store opens Tuesday, October 1. The Ministry Center is scheduled to open January of 2016. We would love your prayer support and hope to see you there!
How We Handle Your Donated Items
Some donations of clothing, furniture, and household items made to Inner City Mission will be sold at ReNew Consignment & Thrift.
As always, it is our policy to use donations to support our residents and the shelter at Springfield first and foremost. In the past, donations that can’t be used at the shelter have been passed on to other agencies such as Goodwill, in the hope they will be put to good use. The only change in our policy is that now, excess items may be taken to ReNew Consignment & Thrift. Clothing, household items, and furniture donations will also be accepted at that store during operating hours, beginning in October.
All proceeds from sales at ReNew Consignment & Thrift will be used to alleviate poverty in Logan County.
- Kristi is fully employed, and she and her girls have moved into their own place. We praise God and thank Him for the opportunity to know this family. We pray they continue to apply the lessons they learned with us, and that God continue to bless them.
- We ask prayer for Tim, who is preparing to move into a place of his own soon.
- Women in Motion were with us this week. We want to thank them for their interest and support and thank God for the work they do.
- Please join us in prayer for all children returning to school, that they be free of sickness, safe in transit, and successful at their studies.
Here are some donations we know will come in handy:
- 39 gallon trash bags
- Dish Soap
- Meat for entree’s
ICM gratefully accepts donated items any time at our North 7th Street shelter.