Crystal Chessher from KZSW-TV 27 in Temecula
2007 Tent City Ontario ca
Inland Empire Religion & Politics Examiner Articles July 21 2010
Churches are called to bring social justice not the govt; Local ministry responds! Camp Hope Update!
Mission4Him.org represents a local ministry doing what the church was called to do.
This is Part 2 of this series. Click Here for Part 1 “The Government is not God! American’s Dependence on the U.S. Govt. is Killing Religion in this country.”
All churches are called to bring social justice. In Deuteronomy 24:17-21, God lays down specific instructions for his people on the responsibilities to care for the poor, widows, orphans and foreigners (aliens). The message outlined here is to reap enough of what you need for yourself and leave the rest of your harvest (income) for the poor. Do we need a concert-like experience at church? Do we need magnificent cathedrals? No, neither sustain the lives of God’s people. Churches and their members (that means us) need to do more to help bridge the gap through responsible local outreach to the poor and homeless.
We shouldn’t be leaving so much of the burden to our government.
Churches need to go beyond providing for its members and provide for residents of the community who may be non-believers or believers of other faiths (what better way to bring people to your faith than through fiscal community outreach?). The growing dependency of the poor on the government and growing numbers of non-believers in this country has separated our citizens from God. When the government provides for the needs of the people, the perceived need for God is no longer there.
As this nation heads toward a crippling financial meltdown churches have an opportunity to repair the road between them and the people. Locally, in Ontario, CA, “Camp Hope” (a modern-day version of a Hooverville compound) was organized by the City of Ontario and has been supported by local church groups and charities. Without the assistance of the local churches, those living there would be without necessities of life including food, clothing, shelter and medicine.
Gabriel Provencio from Mission4Him.org reports that at its height “Camp Hope” had 500 people living there. Today, the camp has only around 40 people left who he considers chronic homeless. Provencio cited that between the support of the City of Ontario and private charities (that included Mercy House, House of Ruth, and Provencio’s ministry, Mission4Him.org) those numbers were reduced in just under three years. “Those numbers came down because the people in that camp received the help they needed,” Provencio states. “Some went to rehab, some were relocated to where they had family, others got homes, veterans received medical attention and housing, and all of it was organized through Mercy House.” Mercy House is a non-profit charitable origination started by Father Jerome (a Catholic Priest) from Orange County.
Even with the numbers of homeless at “Camp Hope” in decline, Provencio still holds bible studies and feeds at the camp. Although his ministry also now focuses on the homeless in Pomona. Every other Friday, he hosts “Laundry of Love” on Holt Ave. in Pomona, offering food and two loads of laundry to the local homeless and poor. “Basically for anyone who needs it,” he says. His is an excellent example of “Parachurch” reaching out into the community with support from multiple denominations. Mission4Him.org is currently supported by Calvary Chapel Chino Valley along with five other churches.
There is an incredible opportunity out there for churches and ministries to do as Psalms 82:3-4 states: “Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. Rescue the weak and needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”
Don’t leave works of the church to our government. Do today what God has asked us to do. Get involved, give monetarily ,or start a local outreach. Question the leaders in your church on budgetary giving in your community with the goal of reducing dependence on the government. The act of charity (freely giving) over taxation (forced giving) needs to be our focus.
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