A single mother loads her car with clothing. It's late, and she wants to get an early start in the morning. It's the kids clothes. She washes them once a week at the laundromat, and tomorrow is wash day. But when she gets up in the morning the car is gone.
Upset, she calls the police to report the car stolen, but finds instead that her car wasn’t stolen at all. It was towed. Although her street is not marked, she was ticketed for parking in front of her house, and the unpaid ticket resulted in her car being towed. The price to get the car back is $300, plus $12.50 per day “storage” at the lot, plus at least $50 toward the parking ticket. She can't afford any of it.
So, the city takes possession of her car and dispose of it as they wish, as an auction car or as scrap. The proceeds pay for the tow, storage, ticket, and perhaps a little more for the city coffers. She is not allowed to retrieve the kid's clothing, or anything else in the car. It's all gone.
This story happens all over Milwaukee every night. It's quite profitable for the city, especially among the poor. Oftentimes tickets are forgotten about, or mothers are unable to pay them. Once the car is lost, so is the job, travel to daycare. It's a major hit to a family to lose their transportation.
Certainly parking laws should be obeyed, and fines should be paid, but it is often in Milwaukee that this kind of towing happens, mainly in poor neighborhoods. One might say that the poor are targeted, as they have no resources to fight back.
It's an opportunity for the church, though, who can show the love of Christ to a young single mom. This is the dream of Lawrence Winters, Lenders 2 Yahweh and Friends of Sinners Church, and a great opportunity to restore the reputation of the church among the poor Jesus came to save.
Please pray for us as we attempt to understand this problem, and figure out how to prevent the tow in the first place, or replace cars confiscated from the poor by our government. If you would like to be involved, contract Lenders 2 Yahweh or Friends of Sinners Church. 414-502-9899.
“So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” Galatians 6:10
In March, I had the awesome privilege of traveling with my pastor to the 12th European Prayer Conference in Nice, France. It was a powerful and anointed time of prayer and worship. There were people from 36 countries there; it was such a blessing to connect with believers from around the world!
It was a life-changing experience for me because I was totally immersed in the presence of God for five straight days. He reaffirmed what He has called me to do and has given me a fresh perspective regarding my purpose in the earth. I would have missed this awesome opportunity if I had not pushed past my inhibitions and fears to travel outside of the U.S. and left my husband and children home to seek more of God.
God knows exactly how to enlighten us to what He has for us, as France was the only country I ever said I would travel to. I studied French from the first grade through freshman year of college and could speak it fluently at that time. For many years, despite my fear of traveling outside the U.S., I longed to travel to France and God granted me that desire. To spend a week in prayer with people from all around the world was the best reason to go there. I was praying alongside my pastor, mentor and friend for the lives of those in Europe, the U.S. and the city of Milwaukee. As an added bonus, Nice, France sits on the French Riviera, and the great food and the multicultural people further enhanced my experience while I was there.
I am no longer fearful to travel outside of the United States and am awaiting the next opportunity God has for me on foreign soil. I know I am called to reach the nations whether it’s on my knees or face to face, and I am forever grateful for the impact Nice, France made on my life both culturally and spiritually.
“All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations shall worship before you.” Psalm 22:27
On May 15th, BASICS was privileged to sponsor a cookout for all three shifts of the Milwaukee Police District 2 officers with the help of His Banquet Ministries and their “One Way Out of the Pit BBQ”. Besides the delicious food, personalized thank you cards were given to each officer.
The event was well received by the officers. It was unique because we were able to serve all the shifts over a 24 hour period. This allowed them an opportunity to be served while on duty in a safe and friendly environment and to enjoy some fellowship with their fellow officers, something they rarely enjoy due to the nature of the job. This is especially important in light of the increasingly serious threats to their safety as they perform their duties.
Each officer was also presented with an envelope containing several thank you cards hand made by various youth and adult organizations. The officers were extremely thankful and appreciative because this came from the public. The Police Supervisors stated that this was a huge morale booster for the men and women who are under increasing scrutiny by the media and public.
John Stephan of His Banquet Ministries was there and was very blessed by the event. Many of the officers asked him about the name "One Way Out of the Pit" and why he does what he does with his ministry which allowed him to share about the importance of being a light in a dark world.
It was such a blessing to have the opportunity to encourage these faithful men and women who serve so sacrificially!
“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”
1 Thessalonians 5:11
Some of the handmade cards given to the officers
At a conference a pastor saw my ministry business card and wanted to know what I do for Pastoral Care. I had to think about his question as my mind raced over all those acts of serving over the past 12 years that varied greatly. For me Pastoral Care is serving pastors or ministry leaders in whatever they require as God places them before me. God has given me a burden to serve this group of servants as part of ministry. As I walked into the office of the late Jack Brown at the Milwaukee Outreach, he turned away from his daily task on the computer, focused on what was on my mind and said, “Roger whatever you do, learn to serve.” Jack lived out ministry and serving. His physical act of putting me first above his ministry duties and giving me his undivided time, burns in my spirit as an example. With that always in the back of my mind I asked, “Lord, who and how do I serve?”
God just opens doors to those whom he wants me to serve. Giving of self over time schedules and commitment is key. Amazingly God carves out time when I am surrounded by ministry schedules and commitments. He just rearranges my calendar.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."
Pastoral Care is really showing the love of Christ. The love reflects in meeting a specific or general needs. It is always different. The key is listening to the Holy Spirit and just responding with no concern of the time, schedules or monetary cost. That willingness to respond has opened the door to profound experiences and friendships. The needs go from the very simple to a deep commitment. It may be 20 minutes to months or a year. From the act of listening to the physical service. Whatever the act of pastoral care looks like, it is always good knowing Christ gets the credit.
"John" is a work associate of mine that I have known for some 12 years. Over the years, we have had several discussions regarding the existence of God. John always said he was an atheist and thought God was a man-made excuse for people to get out of jail for sins they commit.
As we dug deeper into our discussions, it became apparent to me that what John was most against was the hypocritical attitude of some of his friends claiming to be Christians. He was also very dissatisfied with "structured" religion and man-made rules.
I would share the Good News in pieces with John during our talks, never trying to hit him over the head with the Bible but telling him I understood his disappointments. I also told him how God had saved me from a bad situation in life through His Son Jesus. Sometimes he would tell me he kind of "got it", but always reverted back to his anger.
One day recently I received a call from John. He sounded very upset and not himself at all. He asked to see me as soon as possible. I dropped what I was doing and saw him a few hours later. John was in tears as he informed me that he had been diagnosed with cancer that day.
John asked me to explain the message of eternal life through Jesus Christ once again. He said he needed to know this was indeed real and that the only way he could get through this disease was having his faith in a greater being. He also wanted a reassurance of life after death because he never had to think about it before. That day, John accepted Jesus as his Savior!
John is now fighting his battle with the strength of Jesus and is at peace regardless of the outcome because he knows where he will spend eternity.
Over 75 items were donated including mattresses, furniture, kitchen supplies and children’s items. Mike and Susie are thankful to those who provided so many items and will continue to help the Salvation Army with similar assistance to other families. This situation was a beautiful example of God’s people coming together in Milwaukee to meet needs and is a perfect representation of the Haydens’ vision for their ministry: to directly and personally connect those in need to those who have enough to share.
"And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased." Hebrews 13:16
Pastor Alvin Hull was recently on his way back from Detroit and was on the Illinois Toll Road. He was out of money and still had to get through a $5.00 toll. He prayed and felt like God was leading him to pull over at a truck stop. He went in, saw a place where they were selling Christian books.
He noticed a Gospel tract sitting there that someone had left: there was a piece of paper sticking out of it. He opened it and saw that the piece of paper was hiding a $5 bill!! God answered Alvin’s prayer quickly and in a miraculous way!
“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”
Several years ago, before I answered God’s call to ministry, I prayed the prayer of Jabez. This is found in I Chronicles 4:10 and reads:
"And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying,
Recently, as I was traveling to one of the prisons to make pastoral visits, it struck me how He has answered that prayer. Instead of having influence for the Lord only at home, Bible study and in the church, I now have a “territory” that covers most of the state of Wisconsin! In addition to the high school Bible studies conducted in Milwaukee, I preach in and/or make pastoral visits to DOC institutions from Racine in the southeast to Green Bay in the northeast, to Stanley in the northwest and to Prairie du Chien in the southwest, with many points in between. I counted 24 facilities to date and growing!
Have there been results? With volunteering in High school ministry in the early 1980s, it took about twenty years to receive that kind of feedback from the students now matured, raising their own families and serving their churches. Thus, it’s probably a bit early in that realm to know.
However, in the prison ministry arena there have been some truly encouraging signs! Two convicts were led to a saving faith in Jesus Christ. A third inmate who was an avowed agnostic when we met is now reading through the entire Bible, believing in God as the Creator and worker of miracles in the life of the nation of Israel. Also, he is clearly being changed by the Holy Word in a way that makes me believe that he WILL accept Jesus in the months to come, as he gets into New Testament study! Finally, many others are using new tools to dive deeper in the Word, meditate on it and apply it to their lives. To God be the glory!
Minister to Milwaukee George Papachristou, who also serves as the chaplain for the District 2 Milwaukee Police Department, held an event to honor those who serve with free food for police officers.
"We honor the fallen but we also thought it was very important to take this time to honor those who do serve for us day in and day out," said Milwaukee Police District 2 Chaplain, George Papachristou.
Read more here.
Since I have been given the position of Chaplain at the Milwaukee County Jail, my areas of responsibility have increased. One of these responsibilities is the distribution (upon the request from inmates) of published materials that are donated to the jail by various religious organizations. Since the jail is a government facility, I am required to distribute the materials we have without prejudice. If we have it on the shelves in the chaplain's office and it's requested, it must be delivered.
This situation had resulted in an interesting dilemma for me when I was asked to fill the requests for the Muslim community in the jail, i.e. Qurans, prayer towels and other Islamic reading materials. However, God showed me that I could still be a light. As a matter of fact, delivering Islamic materials upon request could actually be a strategic position to be in.
Here's how it happened. Since according to my schedule, I am only required to be at the jail once a week on Thursdays, if someone puts in a request on a Friday, I do not get it for almost a week. If there is a mix up in the mail system and I don't get the request by the next Thursday, two weeks go by. This happened to two Muslims in one of the pods, they both requested Qurans and prayer towels. Because I can't use their names, I'll call them “A” and “B” in this story.
I walked into the pod for another reason two weeks after they had sent in their requests. They both came up to me and “A” was angry! Very loudly so virtually everyone in the pod could hear, he complained that since I was a Christian chaplain I was ignoring their requests. I just smiled and told him that I had not received anything, but I would bring the materials the next time I came, on Thursday. All he said was, “You better!” and “B” said nothing.
Instead of waiting until Thursday of the following week, I decided to make a special trip to the jail on Monday specifically to give the men their materials. When I gave the materials to them, “A” said, “It's about time”, grabbed the stuff and walked away. “B” said, “Hey, man, you made a special trip to deliver this to us, thanks! By the way, you lead a Bible study in this pod every Thursday. Can anyone come? Can I come?” “B” saw something that he didn't find in his religion: love.
So now whenever I get a request for materials that are false and filled with deception, I ask the Holy Spirit to give me the words to say and the actions that might open a heart and mind to His truth.
"In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven."
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.