Each Sunday, the 3,000 members of Glory Church of Jesus Christ would gather in their large worship space near downtown Los Angeles, an area noteworthy for its massive encampments of people experiencing homelessness. This was no less true of nearby streets by the church, where hundreds had set up camp on the ironically named Hope Street.
Glory Church of Jesus Christ offers services in Korean. They didn’t have a particular outreach program for the unhoused people around the church, who generally come from different cultural and language backgrounds as the church members. That is, until the senior pastor heard Jesus speak to him in prayer, saying, “Your church is like the rich man who ignores Lazarus begging on his doorstep.” This was a wake-up call, and after telling his congregation about this message, assistant Pastor Timothy Park volunteered to lead a new ministry for their neighbors experiencing homelessness.
Today, IATIA Cherish Mission has been providing food, connecting people to services and leading worship and bible study for 80-100 people per week.
Your support meant that we could send a shipment of CWS Blankets and Hygiene Kits that Pastor Timothy and his team could distribute to their neighbors facing homelessness. Even in sunny southern California, these blankets provide warmth during chilly nights or padding for someone sleeping on a sidewalk. Hygiene supplies are critically important in helping people protect their health and dignity. We also know that these supplies are a physical manifestation of a larger message: You are not alone. You are loved. Even though they may never get to meet you or even know your name, there’s a whole group of people out there who are on your side. And that’s a reason to have hope.
As Pastor Timothy told us, “The blankets aren’t just going out to people. We are using them to make connections with people. They are a way to connect with people one on one.”
For Pastor Timothy and the other volunteers at IATIA Cherish Mission, there’s also another type of hope that they are sharing with neighbors who are interested: “Hope is not everything on earth, so we try to provide hope in heaven, in Christ. The idea is that they have a heavenly home. We try to give them assurance.”
Thanks to your generous contribution to CWS Blankets and Kits, Hope Street is a little bit more of a hopeful place.