Light of Life

I am going to try to include more personal blog posts on the blog from now on, so I thought I’d start by sharing a little bit about where I work. This post is devoted to my experience at Light of Life Rescue Mission. There are four videos throughout the post, if you want to get a feel for what Light of Life is all about and the lives that are being changed there, watch them!

I have been on staff at Light of Life for two and a half years. It’s been an incredible journey. The interesting thing is that I never planned or wanted to be on staff at a non-profit. Prior to getting hired, the youth ministry I was on staff with served at Light of Life twice. We threw two huge Christmas parties for the women and children in the program. In 2011, I was looking for a job in sales or marketing, when I received a phone call from a woman who attended our church. She said a position had opened up at Light of Life and she thought I would be perfect for it. I got the job, thinking that I would work there for a year or two, until I could come on board full-time at the church plant I was a part of. God had other plans. A year into my job, I really felt like God was calling me to stay at Light of Life. For various reasons throughout my second year, God confirmed that several times. At this point, I have no idea how long I will be there! My pastor always says, “Never put a period where God puts a comma.” I have definitely found that to be true. I am open to whatever God has for me! Right now, it’s Light of Life. Until He deals with my heart to go somewhere else, I’ll be here!

The Mission: “As a ministry of Jesus Christ, Light of Life will provide a home for the homeless and food for the hungry, and will build disciples for the Kingdom of God among the poor, addicted, abused and needy.” At the end of the day, this is what we’re all about. I’ve learned so much about poverty, homelessness, mental health, and addiction in the past two and a half years. Working at Light of Life has helped me develop a heart for the poor, addicted, abused, and needy that I would not have had if I had never gotten involved.

What have I learned? Probably the most valuable lesson is that the men and women we serve are just like you and me! The reality is, we are all one or two decisions away from being in the exact same position these men and women are in. They are someone’s daughter, someone’s son, brother, sister, husband, wife, etc. If you embrace that, your life will be changed and so will the way you interact with the homeless.

The organization – I love working at Light of Life. I would not work there if I did not believe in what we were doing and where we are headed. We are not a perfect organization,but we are committed to becoming the best we can be! We are taking the steps necessary to get to where God wants us to be as an organization. More than anything, I am learning that as a young leader, you may see the changes that need made, but you don’t necessarily understand the process and time that it takes to implement change. I am learning a ton about organizational change!

Success: People always ask me, “How do you define a win at Light of Life?” The reality is that my answer now is totally different than it was when I first started working there. I have found that success is different for every individual we serve. For some, the fact that we are providing them meals everyday is a HUGE success. To some, the fact that we provide shelter for them is a success. To others, the fact that they have been clean for a month is a huge win. For some, the fact that they have a place to work through their recovery in a community is a huge success. To some, getting a GED and a job is a win. To others, it’s a college education. Obviously, becoming totally independent after leaving our program is a huge success as well. So how do I define a win? A win for me is that we exist for the men, women, and children we serve.

Fundraising – If you would have told me that I would be a fundraiser one day, I would have laughed out loud! To be honest, I am really enjoying fundraising. I’m not a master at it yet, but I have learned a lot in the year and a half I’ve been doing this.

I’ve learned that people give to people and to purpose, so both building relationships with donors and having specific things to ask for are extremely important! I’ve also learned that you’re going to feel fear when asking for money, so feel the fear and ask anyway. It also helps when you believe in what you’re asking money for! God has blessed a lot of people to be able to make a significant difference with their money. A lot of times the reason they are not giving to your organization, or not giving more to your organization is they haven’t been asked! Ask!

Outreach – Part of our vision is to do everything we can to reach the North Side of Pittsburgh for Christ. In order to do this, we are partnering with other North Side organizations to find out the needs of the community and then providing the resources to meet those needs by partnering with local churches. An example is our Thanksgiving Dinner Basket outreach. This year we will be providing over 270 Thanksgiving dinner baskets to families on the North Side who would not have a Thanksgiving dinner without them! We are serving families that are a part of several other North Side organizations, including our own. We are partnering with several churches in Pittsburgh to provide all of the food and the baskets for this. The potential for our Outreach program is HUGE! I’m excited to see how God uses this!

God is Moving in Pittsburgh – One of my favorite parts of my job is the ability to see what God is doing all over the city of Pittsburgh. Through this job, I have been able to connect with leaders in the non-profit world, the church world, the business world, education, and government from all over the city. I have discovered that God is moving all over the place in all kind of different ways through all kinds of different people. I love the body of Christ!

Being on Staff: A lot of people are curious about my experience being on staff. As I said before, we are not a perfect organization, but overall, I love being on staff here. I have grown exponentially in the past two and a half years. There is definitely a culture of growth there. If you want to grow, you will have endless opportunities to do just that! I am grateful for a culture that embraces personal growth!

Overall, I have loved my experience here. Regardless of how long I end up staying, I will always look back on this season of life as one where I grew and develop in ways I never knew I could! I am honored and grateful to be on staff at such an incredible organization.

Ways You Can Get Involved: Click here to start getting involved!

  • Volunteer/Get Your Organization Involved – I can’t encourage you enough to volunteer! Our job is to find out what you’re good at and what you’re passionate about and put it to work at Light of Life! There are a ton of opportunities to get involved.
  • Run in the Pittsburgh Marathon for us! – We pay for your registration as long as you raise money for us! E-mail me or go here to register.
  • Become a Donor – It’s cliché, but we could not do what we do without people giving! It costs $2.34 to provide one meal. Pretty much anyone can do that! Donate here.

 If this post helped you and you believe it could help others, please recommend it on Facebook, Twitter, Stumble Upon, and the other social media sites listed below. Also, I would love to hear your thoughts on this post. Leave a comment below! Thank you!

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