The Bible says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he” (Prov. 29:18 KJV). Twenty-six-plus years after founding Joy Junction, I want you to know that my vision remains the same. It is to provide food, shelter, recovery tools, and the love and encouragement of Jesus Christ to homeless, hungry, and distraught families. But my vision is so much bigger than it was at the beginning, as over the last two and a half decades, the need for this ministry has grown exponentially as we have gotten busier than I could have ever imagined.
What are we thinking for the months and years ahead? I’m glad you asked. Some of you may know we are currently in the midst of a capital campaign to renovate and expand our aging facilities. We plan to build a dormitory to ensure that everyone who comes to stay with us has his or her own bed and doesn’t have to sleep on a mat on the floor.
We also want to construct a new chapel where we can hold all our church services, Bible studies, and classes for our life recovery program. Currently we hold all of these in our overused multipurpose building, which also doubles as a dormitory at night and as a dining hall area in the day. What a blessing it will be to have a custom-made building set aside for worship and teaching! The chapel will also serve as a community church, open to the public.
In addition to a dormitory and a chapel, we have had an architect design a vocational training center, where participants in our life recovery program will be able to learn computer basics and other skills that can be transferred to the job market, such how to repair cars or do manicures and pedicures. Then, once they graduate from our nine-month program, in addition to gaining a measure of stability, participants will also have a skill to take with them when they leave Joy Junction. That will make it so much easier to get reintegrated into mainstream community life and become stable.
Last but not least, we are planning on building a center exclusively for women and for their children, if they’re mothers. Sometimes women have been subjected to such a level of abuse that for a time they are just not able to be in close proximity to men. In fact, the very sight of a man gets their adrenalin rushing. This women’s center will be such a helpful tool in their recovery!
All these improvements will be built on our fifty-two acre campus in the South Valley. While we initially hoped to build the entire project at once, it looks like we will have to build in stages, starting first with the dormitory and then the chapel. Not taking into account donated materials and some volunteer labor, we’re estimating we will initially need about five million dollars for those two facilities. Of course, that’s a lot of money, but we believe that the same God who birthed Joy Junction and has kept us afloat since our inception will also help us gather these funds. We have a website dedicated specifically to this project: www.togetherwecan.joyjunction.org. I hope you will take a look and consider a generous gift.
In addition to the new construction, we’re also mindful of the need for an additional mobile food truck to serve as a second Lifeline of Hope. As well as the ten thousand or so meals we serve monthly at Joy Junction, we also provide about six thousand more meals each month (as well as beverages, blankets, sleeping bags, and more) to needy and homeless folks across the city through the Lifeline.
Since we first began this venture about three years ago, the need has escalated so much that we frequently run out of food midway through a route. We just can’t get any more food on our current truck. When the Lifeline leaves Joy Junction, it does so fully loaded. We are, quite literally, filled to the brim with food and other supplies every time we go out. Would you pray about buying and funding the operation of another Lifeline of Hope?
Our long-range thinking includes potential expansion out of town—and even in other states. We’ve had a vision for some time to take the Joy Junction model to other cities and set up shelters for homeless families there. While there are more shelters than there used to be for homeless families, they are definitely in the minority. Sadly, it is still much more common for families in need of shelter to be split up. The issue of the lack of homeless shelters for entire families was the focus of an NBC news program that aired in late 2012. Those interviewed all agreed America needs more family shelters.
This is just a peek at what we have in mind. I hope we can count on your prayerful and financial support.
My benediction for you is that you have complete faith in God as you seek to serve the homeless in his name. God has a special blessing for you: “Praise the Lord. Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who finds great delight in his commands … He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor, his righteousness endures forever; his horn will be lifted high in honor” (Ps. 112:1, 9).