STREETFIRE MINISTRIES, INC.
Some of the women we serve stay at the shelter or sleep outdoors. They need a place to go during the day away from the darkness and danger that is so prevalent in their neighborhoods. A place where they can grow, gain confidence and become empowered to live productive lives. A place to learn that God has promised them a “Crown of Beauty For Ashes.” We offer just such a place!
The purpose of this program is to teach Biblical principles for achieving the victory promised to all believers.
First, we give women a place away from the harmful environments they most often find themselves in. We pick them up from ‘hang-outs’ in the North End of Middletown, or in some cases, from the tiny apartments they hide from the world in, and bring them to our facility – a lovely 1890’s house in the South End of Middletown. The top two floors of the house have been converted to accommodate the needs of our guests, including a complete kitchen, a full bathroom, meeting-study room, counseling office and a prayer-meditation room. We also have a large outdoor area with an outdoor fireplace, patio and an area for vegetable gardening.
We make sure our guests are clean, fed and clothed since no one feels valuable when they are dirty, hungry and poorly dressed. They can shower on site. We have a free clothing boutique they can select clothes from. We have a fully stocked kitchen so no one goes hungry.
We teach Biblical principles for living empowered lives. We teach practical skills so they can go to school, seek employment and serve the community.
He makes winds his messengers, flames of fire
his servants. Psalms 104:4
Our pantry is stocked by very generous churches and individuals in the greater Middletown area. We also hold occasional food-drives at the local Big Lots store, where we not only collect food donations, but help raise awareness in our community of the need for this kind of operation.
Previously, we were limited to the collection of non-perishable items only. However, we now have two refrigerators and two freezers so we can accept both fresh and frozen foods.
We anticipate having a vegetable garden this year that will be created and tended to by our Beauty For Ashes program attendees and several volunteers. Won't it be wonderful for our folks to be able to grow their own food!
Please send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in donating food for our pantry.
Food Drive at our Local Big Lots Store.
The people we serve can come to our pantry to choose the food they like, or, in some cases, we deliver food boxes to them. Those who attend our bi-weekly Bible studies often fill up on spiritual food first, then visit the pantry afterwards for physical food.
We also use this van to bring donated furniture to newly housed individuals!
...He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.
Isaiah 61:1-3 (emp. added)
Many of the people we serve are uncomfortable attending a traditional, 'indoor' church. Some fear being rejected because of their appearance or condition, others simply aren't ready 'to walk through those doors.'
We bring church to them - in the streets! They don't have to walk through a door, be greeted by a stranger and then find a seat among strangers. At our church, all they need do is walk from the sidewalk to the coffee table, grab a cup of coffee and a snack and then either have a seat in one of the chairs we set up or make themselves comfortable nearby, among their friends.
Each person who visits is treated as an honored guest. It is imperative that we help people understand, despite what society may try to tell them, they ARE VALUABLE!
We attend to their physical needs by serving beverages and appetizers during a pre-service time of fellowship. We then offer a full outdoor church service with music, testimonies, sermon and call to Jesus with prayer for special needs.
On Mondays and Fridays, most of the ladies from Beauty For Ashes stay for our Bible Study that starts at 3 p.m. Pastor James hits the streets and picks up anyone else who wants to come.
Most of the Bible Studies focus on Biblical recovery. However, as Holy Spirit leads, we often find joy in unplanned Biblical application studies for various challenges our attendees are experiencing. We are humbled by the way God is using all of the services He equips us to provide in order to touch and transform lives. However, it is most often at the Bible studies, with their small-group safe environment, that we witness these transformations in progress.
Unfortunately, we've done more memorial services then weddings. Our congregation is generally high-risk and physically fragile.
We have had the soul-satisfying experience of knowing that more than one who passed had recently accepted Jesus' gift of salvation before they went on. Pastor James prayed the prayer of salvation with Paula just a couple of weeks before she passed. Ed was faithfully attending our services before his untimely death. Darlene loved Jesus and was striving mightily towards a transformed life.
We are always willing to perform memorial services for our homeless congregation. Far too often, their friends are not welcome at the 'official' memorial services because family members are not comfortable with them. However, they need to memorialize their lost friends just like the rest of us. We have been moved by the reverence with which our congregation has addressed these memorials. They are a close-knit group and rally together to support one another whenever we lose someone from our street family.
We offer all of this through:
This is followed by additional fellowship and attention to their physical needs. We serve a hot meal and dessert and then open up our Street Clothing Boutique!
We do our best to learn the names and situations of as many people as we can. We develop relationships with them and exhibit our love for them so we can introduce them to the love of Jesus. It is an absolute thrill every time someone makes a decision to turn their lives over to Jesus! What a joy it is to mentor them and watch their lives be transformed by the power of Jesus.
At our Saturday afternoon street services, we serve spiritual food in the form of a full church service and then offer physical food and fellowship to our honored guests, who sometimes need to be reminded they are valuable. Our biggest joy is when they make a decision to accept the gift of salvation from Jesus. It is then that we begin to see their lives change for the better!
Clothing is always needed. We have an indoor "boutique" where people can shop for free and we bring clothes to the streets.
We also fill special requests for particular items, such as very large clothing, work boots, etc.
For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
Not only do we bring our weekly church services to the streets, but Pastor Woods provides 'office hours' there too!
He makes daily foray's to the North End in his mobile office, a blue van that our congregants have come to recognize as a place they can slip into and speak to him privately. His greatest joy is when someone, during the course of their conversation, decides to accept Jesus' gift of salvation.
He also meets people there who need transportation to appointments, interviews, etc.
He can sometimes be found in the soup kitchen, enjoying a meal with our congregants and offering them counsel.