Dreams. We all have them. Or should I say, most of us do? The truth is, many have given up on dreaming of anything better because surviving has become their way of life. A person can’t dream when he is busy surviving.
This describes many of the stories we hear at Wichita Falls Faith Mission. At our two shelters, Faith Refuge for Women and Children and Faith Mission for Men and Families, men, women and even children have given up on their dreams. All the things we take for granted like driving a car, living in our own home, getting a job, going to school, getting presents on our birthday, going to the doctor, restored relationships – these are all seemingly out of reach.
Giving people a second chance to dream and even accomplish their dreams is a role we cherish at Wichita Falls Faith Mission. We believe it all starts with the knowledge of who they are in Christ and a relationship with Him based on faith. We can all be forgiven of our past and made new. We can, as the Apostle Paul stated, “press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14,NASB).
We also believe that God’s dreams for us are far greater than we could ever imagine. Every story matters to Him. “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’” (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV).
Without a doubt, it takes hard work to help people. Getting to the place where one can dream again and turning those dreams into reality involve facing very real consequences, addressing painful pasts, taking responsibility, and doing whatever it takes to change. We see this kind of dedication and perseverance going on every day at our shelters. What Wichita Falls Faith Mission does is take away some of the day-to-day pressure to survive by providing meals, clothing, shelter, and direction so they can focus on dreaming again.
Let me be clear: the staff at our homeless shelters don’t equate dreaming with positive thinking. We don’t promote the pie-in-the-sky worldview that says, “If you can imagine it, you can accomplish it.” What we do believe is that God can give us a transformed life through a renewed mind (Romans 12:2). We see Him do it almost daily at our shelters.
I can’t imagine what it’s like to wonder where my next meal will come from, sleep in a car, or choose between medicine or clothes for my children. But the fact is, these nightmarish realities are happening every day in our community. Surviving has replaced dreaming. You can help those who have lost hope to once again dream. You can help those who have given up to believe again or maybe believe for the first time.
One survivor-turned-dreamer put it this way, “Faith Mission didn’t have anything to do with me destroying my life, but they had everything to do with helping me put my life back together again.”