Give or Receive Help through a Holiday Giving Project

How you can help people in Bellingham who don’t have shelter as it gets colder

Interested in helping our neighbors without a place to live as we come to the hardest part of the year for living outdoors? We called up the City of Bellingham and asked what their greatest needs were that we could pass along to our contacts in churches.

Here are two specific things they mentioned: 

  1. Volunteer: More volunteers are urgently needed in order to open overflow shelters this winter. Without volunteers, the extra shelter space cannot be opened. CTK is partnering with the Lighthouse Mission to administrate space at the old drop-in center. Sign up by December by using this link: https://ctkserves.org/volunteer
  2. Donate: Special donations can be made to Lydia Place or the Opportunity Council to help pay for motel stays for families and seniors. https://lydiaplace.org/donate/ or https://www.oppco.org/donation-information/
Of course, you can also give through Whatcom Love INC. We work to connect people in need directly with churches and people who are eager to love their neighbors who are experiencing need, providing coaching along the way to help ensure that the connection gives a positive outcome for both the one who gives and the one who receives. Let us know if you are interested! 
 
We would also invite you to join us in praying for people without adequate shelter during this season. If it is helpful to you, incorporate this prayer into your petitions: 
O God, almighty and merciful, you heal the broken-hearted, and turn the sadness of the sorrowful to joy. Let your fatherly goodness be upon all whom you have made. Remember in pity all those who are this day destitute, homeless, or forgotten. Bless the multitude of your poor. Lift up those who are cast down. Befriend mightily those who are suffering innocently, and sanctify to them the endurance of their wrongs. Cheer with hope all who are discouraged and downcast, and by your heavenly grace preserve from falling those whose poverty tempts them to sin. Though they be troubled on every side, suffer them not to be distressed; though they are perplexed, save them from despair. And teach your people, Lord, to remember their need, and constrain us to improve their lot. Grant this, O Lord, for the love of him who for our sakes became poor, your Son our Savior Jesus Christ.  Amen.
 

First Round of Families for our Holiday Giving Project goes live!

We’re excited to share that we’ve put up the first families participating in our first-ever Holiday Giving Project! Even with just a few sentences of their backstories, they have shared some inspiring and moving details about their challenging situations. How exciting it is that we have the opportunity to find Jesus in loving and serving them!

What are you waiting for? Go check it out now!

October in the Call Center – What we Learned

October in the Call Center remained steady in terms of volume of needs, as we look towards a busy holiday season.

As you’ll note in this 12 minute discussion of impact, we’re trying to give more attention to how we can build relationships through the Call Center that can potentially be sites of the Holy Spirit’s transformative power.

Pray for us and this work in the midst of this challenging season!

It is only by your grace, O God, Almighty and most merciful, that your faithful people are able to offer you true and laudable service. We pray that you would send your Holy Spirit to uphold us, and help us to run without stumbling to do that good work that you have for us, and in the end, attain to your heavenly promises. We pray especially for Whatcom Love INC, for its Staff, and Board, and Volunteers, that you would empower it, as an organ of your Body in Whatcom County, would be empowered live into its calling to support our local Church in local mission, and that through that mission, many would be blessed in your name, and come to know your grace and your love through the relationships that you create through that work. All this we pray in the mighty name of Jesus.

Whatcom Love INC Board endorses restatement of Core Values, reiterates Jesus-focus

JESUS-FOCUS, COMPASSION, TRANSFORMATION, AND COLLABORATION HERALDED AS ORGANIZATIONAL FOCUS

It is a blessing to know that, in a world where so much is changing, some things can change and yet — at the same time — remain the same. 

At the annual Board Retreat this past weekend, the governing board of Love in the Name of Christ of Bellingham and Whatcom County recentered on it’s fundamental identity, mission, and vision by an extended meditation on core values of the individual board members, organizational values, and shared sense of a common calling and work as an organization. 

The conclusion organized ten values from Love INC National, dozens of shared personal values, and ideas about Whatcom Love INC’s future into four clear boxes: JESUS-FOCUS, COMPASSION, TRANSFORMATION, and COLLABORATION.

“When you’re working with people who are experiencing a lot of need like we are, there’s a temptation to get sucked in to just trying to meet needs,” said the Executive Director, Nathaniel Kidd. “It was a joy to discover, in this process, that we all want to put Jesus first as the ultimate savior and sustainer.”

It’s not that we don’t care about meeting needs, Board members were quick to identify: compassion remains as the second value for this reason. It’s that the center of our mission is helping to unlock and harness an abundance latent within the Church, so that even more needs can be met, and they can be met through transformative relationships. “We help churches help each other help people,” Development Director Oskar Norlander summarizes.

“We want to see Christians become better at following Jesus,” said Kurt Ingram, pastor of Roosevelt Community Church, who was recently elected to the Board. “We do this by helping congregations see and engage with needs in their neighbors and neighborhoods.” 

“Now that we’ve got the WHY,” opined board member Marlin Hendricks, “the HOW should come easy.” 

A full picture of our core values can now be accessed from our about us page, or directly at https://www.whatcomloveinc.org/core-values

 The Board extends its gratitude to David Ristow, who facilitated the retreat.

September Learning in the Call Center

September saw things starting to pick up again in the Call Center, with a 75% increase in call volume and needs expressed.

As you’ll note in the video, we’re excited about how God has been at work through the Call Center ministry since the start of COVID, but recognize we’ve still got lots of work to do!

While it is not reflected in the graph or video, we have been working with several women facing domestic violence trauma over the last few weeks.  Domestic violence is up substantially as a result of pandemic and lockdown stress. As you are moved, please join us in praying especially for them:

Almighty God, your Son took the afflictions of your people upon himself. We pray that you would regard with your tender compassion all those who are suffering in domestic violence situations, and enduring the trauma and the challenges associated with being a survivor.  Bear their sorrows and their cares, supply all their needs, help them to put their trust and confidence in you, and restore them to strength of mind and confidence of spirit. Empower your Church to love and care for them wisely and well. Give them grace and favor in the eyes of all to whom they are turning for help, show your mercies and your kindness to them through our collective efforts of care, and let your name be glorified in bringing them to a place of healing, wholeness, and safety, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

What we learned in the WLI Call Center in August

Here we go into Fall! Late summer things continued to be a little slow, and the trend of a lot of furniture needs continued.

As you’ll note in the video, as furniture needs have increased, Heidi’s been doing a lot of work behind the scenes connecting people in need of furniture directly with people who are in need.

Let us join in prayer for families as we look towards another challenging,  uncertain, and unusual school year!

Go before us, O Lord, in all our doings, with your most gracious favor, and further us with your continual help, that in all our work, our efforts, and our studies, as they are begun, continued, and completed in you, we may glorify your holy Name, and finally through your mercy, obtain everlasting life, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Reviewing Call Center Data for July

It’s a new month, time for a new retrospective!

Call volume dipped a bit in July, but this is typical year over year, as it seems to be the time of year that everybody is vacation — helpers and people in need alike!!

As you’ll note in the chart below, big focus on furniture this month, with a full quarter of our call volume dealing with people looking to donate furniture, or looking for a way to furnish an empty place.

There were also a lot of “unusual requests,” although that doesn’t appear as easily in the data.  Below you can hear us interpret what’s going on, and also look towards ways the Church might plug in to help serve our neighbors in need.

Let us join in prayer for those facing uncertainty in their families because they have lost work, or do not have enough work to make ends meet in these difficult times:

Heavenly Father, we remember before you those who suffer want and anxiety from lack of work. Guide us here in Whatcom County and throughout this land so to use our public and private wealth that all may find suitable and fulfilling employment, and receive a just reward for their labor; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

From the Call Center: On Screening and Sustainable Compassion

We saw a huge flood of good will at the beginning of the coronavirus crisis, but now that flush is petering out. While we have so far been spared a “worst case scenario” of need in our community, underlying problems have not gone away, and in many cases, have been exacerbated by this challenging time. And, we’re still waiting to see the full impact on our community!

What can we do, in view of these limitations and unknowns? In this video, Nathaniel and Heidi discuss how our Call Center helps with the screening process, helping to ensure that that all people we are helping through our churches are making full use of the resources available to them in the community. Effective screening and good boundaries help to make compassion ministries sustainable, especially needed in times like this when we’re looking at a future in which those serving people experiencing need will be asked to do more with less.