Nacogdoches/Livingston – May 2017

So Many to Thank, So Much to Be Thankful For

        Our hearts are full of praise and thanksgiving. God is so-o-o very good … all the time. We are blessed at each of our mission locations by individuals, churches, Sunday school classes, various civic groups, public-school classes, and businesses who take the time to provide and serve meals; bring canned goods, staple foods, needed towels, sheets, clothing, household items, etc. In addition, we greatly appreciate our faithful supporters who send monthly financial contributions to help meet our operating expenses. There are times when the expenses are greater than usual and God impresses a regular donor to give more than their “normal” amount, or an intermittent donor to send just what we need to end the month in the black. Praise His Name!

In Nacogdoches, we have a variety of campus groups from Stephen F. Austin University which volunteer in various ways. Recently, the Impact group had a rally at a park to learn more about the homeless and express their youthful, enthusiastic support for GODTEL. Mike Lahr, one of our Board members, and Kathleen Smith-Parram, my office assistant, were guests at the rally to speak to the group about GODTEL and the work we do with the homeless. It was an encouraging and enjoyable afternoon and we are thankful for the food, clothing, and money they collected. We pray that God will guide and bless these young people throughout their lives.

We are very grateful to Kroger Co. for their yearly Souper Bowl of Caring event during which people can purchase pre-bagged food items and/or make a monetary contribution. This year the proceeds totaled almost $15,000 which went into the building fund for the women’s dorm.

There are just too many people who help us get this job done to try and list the names of everyone, but God knows who you are and we pray He will bless you. Thank you.

The photo, below left, is of a morning Bible study led by Brother June at the Nacogdoches mission. (The large banner is a quote of Acts 17:26, “He hath made of one blood all nations of men.”) The photo on the right is the same scene but taken through the serving window from inside the kitchen and shows four trays of delicious donuts and other pastries (donated by Dunkin’ Donuts and Starbucks) waiting to be served with breakfast. The picture on the back side of this page is a view from my Nacogdoches office, looking toward the main building and staff house which is serving as our women’s dorm and Christian Help Center.

Finally, just FYI, Bro. June is working on a two-disc Gospel music album which includes 28 songs written by a variety of composers. We are busily obtaining the required licenses prior to duplication.

Nancy Gentry

Lufkin – May 2017

Have mercy on me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from thine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.”   Psalm 51: 1-2

     If April showers bring May flowers-what do April hail stones bring? Flattened gardens and dented cars.

So You’ll Know:

April 2017

1st-31 people

30th-25 people

Total helped-61 people

Praise the Lord!

EMPLOYMENT REPORT:

New jobs-0

Part time jobs-3

Still working-7

Praise the Lord!

“Create in me a clean heart, O God: and renew a right spirit within me.”

Psalm 51:10

     Richard had been here several times. He was gone during the day, which he was suppose to do. He serviced and repaired his bike, which carried him all over town However, he didn’t save money or try to improve his life. Once again, Richard asked to check in. He wanted to change his life. His plan was to go to drug rehab. Martin told him we needed verification of a bed at a treatment center. It took him a day or two to get serious about his plan. The call finally came from ADAC (Alcohol and Drug Abuse Council). Richard was accepted and he was in line for a bed.

When we have folks waiting to go to rehab we tell them they cannot leave the property. We do this to help them stay on course and not fall into temptation. While waiting, we ask them to help around the place. Most of these folks comply. Richard did too. He did try to talk his way off the property, but he listened to wise council and stayed put. He was accepted to a rehabilitation center and left just before the end of the month. Our prayers go with Richard for a victory over his addiction.

Tamra and Billie Jo came at the end of the month. They are participants at Drug Court. Drug Court takes drug offenders who just need help in making better life decisions. They attend meetings throughout the week. One of those meetings is in the court with the Judge. They are highly supervised. Hopefully, this opportunity keeps them out of jail or prison. But, of course, that is up to them. Hang in there, girls, hang in there with Jesus.

The men’s dorm had a small outbreak of bed bugs. Three or four days were spent heat treating rooms and then following up with a powder treatment.

The laundry room screamed for attention this past month. To calm her down two washers and one dryer moved in kicking the old ones out. Now there is peace and quiet while the new appliances hum their way washing and drying clothes, towels and linens.

Meet Alice (not her real name). She is handling the laundry duties these days. She came in early March. She asked for extra time and volunteered for the laundry job. You should see how spic and span that hot room is. Alice has a sad story but you would not know it by her smile and helpful attitude. We are glad Alice is here no matter how long she stays.

Our helper Roger moved out this past month. Warren has moved into his spot of supervising chores and men’s bed check. He recently experienced the Walk to Emmaus. It has been a blessing to see the peace, calm and joy in his walk with the Lord. Warren did laundry before Alice signed up to do it. He, too, kept the laundry room organized and swept. Thank you, Warren, for your obedient heart.

Pedro checked in early March. He worked odd jobs but kept busy every day. It appeared that he was doing what he was suppose to do. One evening he did not come in. No one knew where he was. The next day his sister called and then came by to pick up his belongings. She said he was in the hospital for an overdose of cocaine. And he had almost died. It totally took us by surprise. Apparently he has had this addiction for quite a few years. We do not know what his status is today. My heart aches to hear these stories.

Our guest cooks came in with their best chef hats on. We ate sloppy joes, pork roast, chicken enchiladas, hamburgers, fried chicken, ham and pizza times two. We appreciate the culinary talents of all our guest cooks. Gracias. Merci. Thank you.

Resurrection Day. We were blessed from our heads to our toes. St. Cyprian’s Episcopal Church provided our dinner meal that day. We had ham, potato casserole, green beans, rolls, and tea, sweet and unsweet. A bunny cake and brownies and cookies topped off our meal.

We had help setting up and serving this delicious meal. Not only did the church provide our meal but several of their church family came. We welcomed Deanna, Judy, Ronny and their daughter, who was in from Dallas. The fellowship was great.

Jesus is the reason for the season rings true for Resurrection Day just as it does for Christmas. Without His victory over the sting of death we have no hope. He is our new life. We owe Him so much for the blood He shed for us to pay for our sins.

What about our hailstorms?! The spring showers of April included a serious hail storm as the month came to an end. From our perch, at the top of Moody Street, we watched as the pea sized ice crystals got bigger and bigger to the size of golf balls. We are thankful that our garden survived and no crippling dents were found on our vehicles.

     Congratulations to all you graduates: from kindergarten to 8th grade to high school, college and beyond!

     Happy Mother’s Day! Be sure and hug a mom that day, especially your own, if you can.

     Thank you, dear folks, for your faithful support. Have a merry month.

“Serve the Lord with gladness: come before His presence with singing.”   Psalm 100:2

Because of Him we serve,

Martin and Mary Baker

 

 

 

Lufkin – April 2017

“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”   Romans 8: 38&39

     March Madness begins and continues…

So You’ll Know:

March 2017

1st-18 people

31st-32 people

Total helped-45 people

Praise the Lord!

EMPLOYMENT REPORT:

New jobs-5

Still working-8

Praise the Lord!

“If you love me, keep my commandments.”     John 14:15

     March Madness-the rest of the story. In last month’s newsletter I included the great kitchen flood of 2017 when the hot water heater ended its term of service. This actually happened in the first week of March and not in February. Apparently one water heater down was not enough. The tally is 3 water heaters went out in 2 weeks.

The women’s dorm was the next victim. This water heater is outside in its own little house. We are thankful that there was no flooding waters or damage to the tile floor. The women did have to do without hot water until the next day. And so it was, by the end of the next day, the women were enjoying their hot showers again.

The office building had the last word. The water heater closet is in our office. And so on a Monday morning Martin unlocked the door and saw the built in water pool. He grabbed a few guys and they started sweeping out the water and drying things out. This tank lasted 14 years, a long life and many years of service. To this we say thank you.

Spring break…There was a break from school but not from work for the youth group from Central Church of Christ. They came Wednesday morning with work clothes and boots and shovels in hand. The girls of the group washed windows and screens. (now we can really see the pollen which is covering everything in yellow).

The boys, or should I say strong, young men, picked up shovels and dug dirt out from the front of the fence in the garden area. They carried the dirt to several low places and spread it out. Then they placed a top row of railroad ties in front of the fence and made sure that dirt was smooth and up close to the fence.

I was gone the first part of the morning. I returned just in time for a tour and talk about GODTEL. That is my favorite part-sharing what God is doing at GODTEL. I think the guys liked the big shop (man cave) the best. The group brought their own lunches and only sat down to eat after they served the residents their plates. I don’t know about the young folks but we were blessed by their willing hands and service at GODTEL.

Just because there was a break in the middle of the month doesn’t mean that our guest cooks took a break. We were treated to meals of tuna fish sandwiches, sloppy joes, a double helping of pizza, a delicious serving of ham and sides, chili dogs, chicken and pork chops. Nobody went to bed hungry around here. Praise the Lord!

Kitchen catch-up. With gift money we were able to purchase a matching commercial freezer to accompany our commercial refrigerator. A few more physical changes are planned and then a fresh coat of paint. Who knows-it may even be a different color. Come by and put in your color preference.

It saddens me to tell you this. Remember Laura and her two girls who moved out in February? We have been told that they were in a serious auto accident. The whole family was in the car and in the Houston area when the accident occurred. We were informed that the youngest daughter had a broken pelvis and was at Texas Children’s Hospital. We have not had any update. I ask for your prayers for this family.

The Wednesday morning Bible Study I attend is in the book of Malachi. It is a study by Lisa Harper. Who would have thought that four chapters could take eight weeks to go through. This small book is the last written word we have from our God for 400 years-before the coming of the promised Messiah. Already it has convicted me, challenged me and reminded me that God’s love never fails. Look it up. Read it. Find out for yourself.

The highlight of the month was the visit of our children and grandchildren. From great grandma to 8 month babies we had a houseful of people, all ages and heights. Yes, we ate tacos. How did you guess? I spied 14 year old Kristen and 3 year old Emily reading. Thirteen year old Blaine was eye level to Lauren who was trying to crawl and not quite making it. Recent reports from reliable sources say that Lauren is now crawling and exploring the world that was once beyond her reach.

We stuffed ourselves with tacos and then ice cream. Some of us were moaning about how much we ate while others were napping. Martin got his guitar out and called Blaine to the back porch. Soon Kristen followed them. You could hear the sound of music coming through the screen door. Emily did not want to be left out. Granddad came to the rescue. He had a “b’tar” just Emily’s size. She started strumming and singing. What a performance she put on.

It wasn’t long before Emily was directing our imaginations. Colored pencils were cookies. When we were full the pencils became animals. And we each had to take care of one. I think some where in between a picture was actually colored.

The visit ended too soon. The memories will warm our hearts. Thank you. Lord, for this precious gift of family.

We are enjoying the spring days in between the wind and rain. A peek into April-we have planted the garden. Okra, tomatoes, cucumbers and squash are planted-one in each-of the four raised bed gardens. We are waiting for zipper pea seeds for the last garden.

We praise God that we don’t have to imagine HIS love for us. It is real and it is true. HIS love is unending. And we don’t have to imagine your support of God’s ministry at the top of the hill on Moody Street. Thank you.

RESURRECTION DAY

April 16, 2017

Because of Him we serve,

Martin and Mary Baker

   “And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.”  

Matthew 28:5-7

 

 

 

 

Nacogdoches/Livingston – April 2017

One Woman’s Story

      Almost every person who comes to GODTEL for help is broken in some way. Many have become addicted to different types of drugs or alcohol and they have lost families, jobs, possessions and have nowhere to turn. In desperation, they finally decide to give GODTEL or some other homeless shelter a try. Some come and go and come again as they struggle to get a grip on life. Some believe “bad luck” has brought them to this point in their lives but all need the strength, the peace, the power, the love, and the forgiveness found only in Jesus.

Here, in her own words, is the story of a young woman who recently stayed at our Nacogdoches mission

“I was widowed from my first marriage raising a 2-year old daughter, which I sadly failed at. My mother and father mostly raised her. It was two failed marriages after, I also had a son.

“I fell into the Satanist life style at the age of 20. I never got into the large group. Think just from time to time small groups involved in witchcraft and the spirit board. I became a non-active member of the Church of Satan founded by Anton Lavay. All I knew growing up was how to cause suffering in one form or another. I spent years turning up the bottle trying to fill the emptiness I felt inside. Drinking did not solve the problem, it just caused more. I hated everyone. The drinking got to the point where I could not hold down food or water. I dropped to 64 pounds. I just wanted to die at this point. I was hospitalized for over a month fading in and out, with my blood sugar dropping often to the low 40’s. My muscles were even failing. Something was holding me in this world, I knew it was not Lucifer but I wanted no part it.

“After about 2 months out of the hospital, I turned back to the bottle. It was not long I was arrested for simple drunk. I spent 31 days locked up for something that should have been just a few days. Seven of those days were in lock-down in a small cell with 182 bricks and no window.

“After getting out of jail it got to the point of just anger at everything and my mom had to put me out of the house. Becoming homeless around the end of January is not an enjoyable thing. It broke me enough to speak with someone about my thoughts. It was the wrong someone and caused me to have to stay 7 days in a mental ward. This is where I was first forced to sit through Bible studies. I had no choice but to hear the word of God daily. I left there and spent 14 days at the Monroe Salvation Army. I still felt out of place so I started making phone calls. I found a Christian based shelter, the highway 80 Rescue Mission in Longview Texas, so I got on a bus searching for something I did not know much about.

“In March of 2014, I met a Pastor that was meant to get through to me. I was saved March 22, 2014, baptized March 30, 2014 in Lake Dearwood. God made a huge change in my life. The hatred and emptiness was no longer there. I spent 9 months at the House of Hope helping in anyway I could. In December 2014, I moved in with the Pastor and his wife in Harleton, Texas to help her with the house work while she was fighting cancer. After she passed, I moved to Carthage, Texas to take care of another lady with cancer. I stayed after she passed but that was not where God wanted me because things started to go down hill. I started picking up the bottle again. It got to the point I wanted to die again. After I tried to take my own life in a failed effort, we started calling shelters. Out of 4 or 5 shelters, only GODTEL answered their phone on Sunday.

I walked through the doors of that old historical building in Nacogdoches, Texas not knowing what to expect, but by the time of the evening Bible study I felt peace. After being there for a while and helping out wherever they needed me, I knew this is where God wanted me. I will be at GODTEL until God says move on. I am tired of running.”

I wish I could tell you she is still here helping out, or that God had moved her on to another ministry, but from outward appearances, she has once again responded to the “call of the wild”—that wicked heart we all must contend with until Jesus returns.

Please pray for our residents and our staff members. God has all the answers we seek but we must be willing to hear, trust, and obey Him. Romans 3:23 says all have sinned but John 3:16 says whosoever will believe in Jesus will have a wonderful, new, and eternal life.

Nancy Gentry

 

Lufkin – March 2017

Come now, and let us reason together,” says the Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”   Isaiah 1:18

So You’ll Know:

February 2017

1st-22 people

28th-18 people

Total helped-57 people

Praise the Lord!

EMPLOYMENT REPORT:

New jobs-0

Part time-2

Still working-4

Praise the Lord!

New adventures. Old adventures. This short month was packed with plenty of folks and stories to fill 31 days.

     Laura and her daughters checked in “way back” in September of last year. The girls attended school and Laura worked. With saved money and her tax refund she and the girls moved out to a house in the Hudson area. Laura’s face was one big smile as she moved her belongings from the dorm to her car. It is exciting to see the success of someone reaching their goal. We praise God for this accomplishment and ask for continued prayers for this family.

It was Sunday morning. It was 6:30 am Sunday morning. Martin’s phone rang. Joseph was on the line with news of an overflowing water heater. We do not know when the leak occurred but we do know that there was water everywhere. It was not the easy flow of a river or the quiet lapping of a lake. It was the stomach-turning news of extra work and water damage ahead for the director that day.

The water was turned off at the heater. Martin did the Sunday morning Bible study and breakfast. Then he went to church and taught Sunday school. We came home and he was able to assess the situation. We decided on paper plate meals for the day’s meals.

Early Monday morning Martin headed to the plumbing store and purchased a new heater. The old heater came out and the new one was installed and in use by noon that day. Another crisis resolved. Thank you, Lord.

February saw the beginning of several “make over” projects. The big one is the makeover of our kitchen. Let me tell you…the original kitchen is 20 years old this year. With the opening of the shiny new mission in Nacogdoches we got the fixit bug. Martin went on-line and searched the world wide web for new kitchen “stuff”. We started at the big kitchen sink. The wood cabinets that were on either side came down-top and bottom. Shiny new stainless tables with shelves were put in their place.

The island cabinets, both sides, were taken out and rolling cabinets with drawers and cabinets and a wood top were put in their place. Two new free standing sinks have pushed the old out of their spots. A tall cabinet unit is standing on the right side of the stove. Floor tiles have been put down where the built in cabinets were removed. More carts with wheels have been seen all around the kitchen not quite knowing where they want to park.

The most exciting replacement is the big, new commercial refrigerator. God is so good. GODTEL has been blessed to receive an abundance gift from a local church. The refrigerator was purchased by the church and delivered by the company and set up ready to use in an hour. We waited until the next day to actually empty the other refrigerators. You know-we had to arrange and rearrange for optimum efficiency. And we still had room!

There is more to get done in the kitchen. And we will-one day at a time.

Rooms 5 and 6 in the women’s dorm are waiting their turn to get spruced up. There was a half bathroom between these two rooms. We have had the door locked and blocked so it would not be used. We have not used or needed it for years. It was time to make the decision of opening it or getting rid of it. The decision was to get rid of the bathroom. The tearing down of walls was next. This has made the rooms bigger. Since it is used mostly for mothers and children this was a good plan. The sink and toilet were carefully removed. Pipes were removed or capped off. New sheetrock was put up to separate the rooms once again.

Now the walls wait for taping and floating with fresh coats of paint to follow. The rooms are usable and have had a few residents even without the new paint. So come by and see what’s new and happening at the top of the hill on Moody Street.

The short month did not short us on the guest cooks. Meals served included pizza, spaghetti, hamburgers, and a delicious Mexican casserole.

Because of Him we serve,

Mary and Martin Baker