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    Much to be Thankful for!


    This year is one more year of watching and seeing what can happen in the lives of people who are  given trust and a home to live in, getting to know them and understand the cause of their pain that brought them to our door  needing a hand up to recovery in gaining the strength to go back into a world where they can be self sufficient.
    When our guest see a neighbor that reach out to touch their lives, it is easy to see that even  ones with bad attitudes  and a hard heart  starts to softens in the hope of recovery.
    As Mark Twain said so well “Always do the right thing”. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest.” Thank you for being one of those people that has astonished many broken people thru your kindness to them.
    Bob and I know with very grateful hearts that A Ray of Hope would not be a place of refuge and hope if it was not for all the donations that make it possible to keep A Ray of Hope Door open to people who have burned all other bridges in their lives and to the ones who have fallen thru the cracks of any help thru no fault of their own. 
    We are so thankful to each one of you that has given a Hand up to a hurting neighbor!!  
    Bob and Peggy

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    God's Care for Special People

    From the desk of board member Dave Mclean
     
    God is the Father of fathers.  The perfect father: a perfect mix of truth and love, of strength and compassion, The father we should all emulate.  He has a special place in His heart for those in need: the widow, women and children, the orphan, the infirmed, the poor, the prisoner, the legally unrepresented, the foreigner, the elderly and the sick.  No doubt I have omitted some from this list, but I hope you see my point.  There are many people in our society who are at a disadvantage for one reason or another, and God has special interest in them.
     
    It is too easy to take advantage of those who are weaker, younger or less able to stand up,  care for or defend themselves.  Sadly, our society, with the omission of God from our public life, has turned from a praying to a preying society.  This is an age old problem, as the Scriptures confirm, but  it's still sad to see it rising in our nation.  It is becoming more of a norm to use and abuse people than to care for them and  is even becoming socially acceptable.  We must remember the Lord is not blindsided by this;  He knows the dark side of man.  He has ordained His children in Christ to be His care for this special group of people.  The government has programs and entitlements to provide for them physically, but without the wisdom of God's word and way, they cannot meet their foremost needs:   God's wisdom and salvation.  Since the government waged war on poverty in the early 1960's, it has only grown.  What is missing?  Quite honestly, the transforming and reforming power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Give a man a fish and you'll feed him for a day, lead a man to Christ and you'll feed him for eternity.  Very often a person just needs help to make ends meet, and I have found in practice and in the Scriptures that relieving their housing burden helps them recover from a major setback.  What an awesome way to share of the love of Christ.  In addition to providing this housing help, people need vision and discipline in living within God's provision.  Without making changes in the way they live, you end up with the equivalent of a government entitlement program.
     
    Even with our spending as it is, government programs aren't even meeting all of their physical needs. Here are some statistics:  Homeless families comprise roughly 34% of the total U.S. homeless population.  Approximately 1.6 million children will experience homelessness over the course of a year. On any given day, researchers estimate that more than 200,000 children have no place to live. Among all homeless women, 60% have children under age 18, but only 65% of them live with at least one of their children.  The impact of homelessness on mothers is profound. Many experience anger, self blame, sadness, fear, and hopelessness. Mothers experiencing homelessness have significant histories of interpersonal violence. For them, the experience of becoming homeless is just  another major stressor amidst already complicated traumatic experiences.  Over 92% of homeless mothers have experienced severe physical and/or sexual abuse during their lifetime.  By age 12, 83% of homeless children had been exposed to at least one serious violent event.  Inadequate housing and shelter options, evictions, discrimination, poverty, and other factors contribute to the crisis of homelessness caused by family violence. Furthermore, many women remain in an abusive relationship because of these barriers.
     
    The Lord says that where iniquity abounds, the love of many will grow cold.  We are seeing this happen before our very eyes.  We know our love is cold when we prey upon the weak and needy rather than helping them.  We have a great problem in this nation, but as believers, we have a great opportunity:   to show the love of Christ to a needy nation and people and to show them God's ways work.
    Isaiah 58:7-10 says;  "Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry, And bring the homeless poor into the house; When you see the naked, to cover him; And not to hide yourself from your own flesh?   "Then your light will break out like the dawn, And your recovery will speedily spring forth; And your righteousness will go before you; The glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.  Then shalt thou call, and the LORD shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity;
           And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday:{bold  emphasis added}
     
    Lord, give us a heart like your heart, give us a care like your care- not only for those in need, but also for
    your glory.  Give us concern for those in need, let the light of our love shine through the darkness
    covering our land.  Let those in need and those watching see His love shine in us and through us. 
     
    The development of the new A Ray of Hope women's shelter is an awesome opportunity to glorify God's love of His children.  It will be serving many of those for whom God holds a special place in His heart.  Those involved in helping the abused will tell you that those who have been abused are most likely to abuse others.  I have also seen that those who have been shown kindness most likely show this kindness to others and give back what they have received.  Both are perpetuated.  Will you join us in perpetuating God's goodness of love?

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    From the desk of Chris Trussell

    I recently had the most wonderful opportunity to see God working through others. A group of young men and women with Campus Ministries came from all over Idaho and Montana to spend a day volunteering their leadership and labor at A Ray of Hope. Lead and labor they did! There is ALWAYS something that needs doing around the property. Working around the shelter and thrift store, they managed to get some things done in a day that may have taken us a week.
    Close to lunch time I asked Tyler, the group’s leader, what we could do for lunch? He advised me they had brought their own. They had also brought their own tools. As they were loading into cars at the end of the day (I believe wanting no fanfare) I asked if they could indulge me a group picture. As I took the photo, my heart moved to the point of a few tears realizing that the whole point of these trips were simply to be a blessing.
    I hollered out “you forgot your things”, noticing they had left all their tools behind as they began pulling away from the shelter. “Those are for you all”, someone said as they drove off……..

     
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    WELCOME TO A RAY OF HOPE

    A Ray of Hope is dedicated to helping those in our community who need help. No one is ever turned away from our doors in normal circumstances. A Ray of Hope operates under Biblical principles, We seek to minister the love of God in very practical ways to those who need it most. We desire to heal the hurting and provide help for the hopeless. To reflect God's goodness and express His love, is our desire.

    A Ray of Hope is a non-profit trust administered by an independent board of trustees made up of concerned citizens in our community.

    You can contribute to A Ray of Hope through this website, or mailing your tax deductible  gifts to secured Box 5407 Kalispell, Montana 59903

    May God bless you as you help us give the needful a hand up...not a hand out.

     

    What Does A Ray of Hope Do?

    A Ray of Hope started  in 1999 in a second hand store on Hwy 2 east in Kalispell MT and in no time people began showing up off the streets asking for help and a safe place to sleep. Mattresses were put on the floor, warm food cooked and clothes provided.
    Our ministry has grown into one shelter and a Thrift store.  Our goal is to share God’s love in giving a hand up not a hand out. We work to help our neighbors to break the cycle of Homelessness in the following ways:  We provide shelter; We help keep families with children in their homes, Provide education in computer and retail skills. In our hand up not a hand out motto; they give back hours a day and receive on the job training while self documenting hours worked to acquire job skills and good work ethics. We provide bus tickets to get those who have lost their home safely home to family members who can get them back on their feet. We take in pregnant  women off the streets until they can be provided a safe home. We have a Mountain Retreat offered at no cost to those coming off drugs and alcohol to spend time in an intense 12 step program.
     A Thrift store to provide needed clothing and house hold items for people who have lost everything sometimes due to their own poor choice or to fire and other issues they had not control over such as a husband and father waking up one morning and putting his family on the streets while he leaves with anything of value. Taking mental health people and giving them a place to live as they stabilize.

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    Where does the money come from?

    It comes from churches, business and people in the community, like you, who want to invest in the future of others less fortunate. If you have a Paypal account and would like to donate, please enter the amount and click the "Donate" button.

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    Who is A Ray of Hope?

    A Ray of Hope is made up of your friends and neighbors, and we hope you will join us too. A Ray of Hope is operated by 100% volunteer service! A Ray of Hope has zero payroll! Every penny goes where it's needed, not in somebody's pocket or a corporate overhead. All benefits go to this community, all funds stay right here in Flathead County.

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    What about other groups that do the same thing?

    The need is far greater than the resources, just look around you. The need is readily apparent. To even make a dent in the needs around us it will take a cooperative effort, composed of government and private agencies, law enforcement and churches.

    Society has shifted the burden of these needs back to local communities and churches. A Ray of Hope exists totally to serve these needs. As more and more people come our way our need of funds, friends, and other resources grows.

    A Ray of Hope operates simply and without fanfare and it needs your help to continue providing these vital services to our community.

    Please call or stop by so you can become part of giving a hand up instead of giving a hand out.