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Connecting Families to Christ

About a year ago, a Spanish-speaking family was in one of our Love In the Name of Christ Heartland offices. They needed help for themselves and their little ones–specifically diapers. The mother didn’t know English, but the father did. Through shared language, we were able to begin forming a relationship with them. When we welcome neighbors to Love INC Heartland, there can be uncertainty about where the relationship will go once completing the intake process. But our heavenly Father knows, and we need to remain faithful.

We took the time to make referrals and get the family assistance. One of the places we connected the family to was a local church partner who leads a gap ministry to provide diapers and other baby items for families. Quickly, the family became involved in our Fresh Start Program. Again, we faced the barrier of speaking different languages. We rewrote the curriculum in Spanish using the tools available to us. The mother even used Google Translate to listen to the videos.

The family continued to need diapers. So, again, we connected them with more diapers. The family visited the church partner, and the church continued to build a relationship with them. Were our words about faith in Jesus sinking in? Did they understand that they are loved and valued by God? Again, we remained faithful to God that He would speak.

Recently, our Executive Director, Jim Holmlund, visited the same church partner to support the congregation and continue to build a stronger partnership with them. The people of the church also had been gathering food, which he was picking up to share with our neighbors involved in the Fresh Start Program. Little did he know how blessed he would be on that morning. During their worship service, there was an announcement that there would be a baptism. The pastor shared that the family sitting on the right side of the congregation would be bringing their youngest son forward for baptism. Jim was moved to see that the family baptizing their son was the same Spanish-speaking family that Love INC Heartland had been building a relationship with.

At first, they were a family needing diapers for their little ones. They were a family who needed someone to walk through the language barrier. They needed someone to take time and be with them. Love INC Heartland did that, and the church engaged them with the same attitude. Now, months later, their child was getting baptized into Christ Jesus and had a church to call home. The story of this family is one example of how God uses His people to make connections. It is also a model of what church partnership with Love In the Name of Christ is meant to be and is a real example of the Redemptive Compassion philosophy in action.

We believe that churches are called to see the image of God in others. Called to care about their neighbors. Called to share resources. Called to walk with those who are hurting. Called in invest in relationships. Called to transform lives and communities. We need your support to continue this ministry. We need people who will love them where they are and remind them how God sees them, regardless of the barriers. We invite you, your church, and even other groups you’re involved in to be part of this ministry!

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Director’s Note – April 2024

“And all these things are from God who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and who has given us the ministry of reconciliation. In other words, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting people’s trespasses against them, and he has given us the message of reconciliation. Therefore we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making his plea through us. We plead with you on Christ’s behalf, ‘Be reconciled to God!'” (2 Corinthians 5:18-20 NET)

Our mission at Love INC is to mobilize local churches to transform lives and communities In the Name of Christ. Our goal, the reason why we have that mission, is poverty alleviation. Our work is rooted in helping people grow out of a cycle of poverty to a place where they see their self-worth and understand that they have gifts, talents, and the ability to succeed in life. We know all people have worth because our Creator, God the Father, has given each person a unique purpose for their life. We find minimal comfort in providing temporary relief for someone stuck in a cycle of poverty. Giving someone a handout only offers temporary relief and keeps them stuck in their cycle of need, which is why we help people through the lens of the Redemptive Compassion® philosophy.

The philosophy of Redemptive Compassion® is based on many principles from a book called When Helping HurtsIn the book, the authors express, “Poverty alleviation is the ministry of reconciliation: moving people closer to God by living in a right relationship with God, with self, with others and with the rest of creation. (When Helping Hurts p74)”

Our ministry walks alongside our neighbors in need and helps them understand their value and know they have salvation through Jesus Christ. The authors continue to say, “Rather, the goal is to restore people to a full expression of humanness, to being what God created us all to be, people who glorify God by living in, right relationship with God, with self, with others and with the rest of creation. One of the many manifestations of these relationships being reconciled is material poverty alleviation. (When Helping Hurts p74)”

To truly understand the ministry of reconciliation that Paul refers to in his letter to the Corinthians, we must understand what reconciliation means. Merriam-Webster defines the action of reconciling as “to restore to friendship or harmony. To settle, to resolve.” (Wednesday, April 17, 2024, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/reconcile )

This means reconciliation is the act of putting things back together, to bring balance. For something to be reconciled, something must be out of balance. As Christians, we know that our relationship with God became broken. We also know that Jesus’ death and resurrection restored this broken relationship. We are all broken and need the grace of Jesus.  

Most people either don’t admit it or dislike speaking about how they may play a part in their broken relationships. It is difficult to recognize when we hurt people with our actions. This principle is also true for people stuck in generational poverty. One of the harsh realities of people stuck in this cycle of poverty is they do not have strong relationships with their family, friends, spouse, children, education systems, faith, jobs, or any other type of relationship.

This reality is why we partner with our local church partners to offer our Fresh Start Program. Through this program, one of our goals is to help people learn how to have better relationships. We firmly believe that to restore our relationships with others, we must have a relationship with Jesus. Jesus is a part of all of our classes. It is difficult for us to have strong relationships with others if we don’t think Jesus wants a relationship with us. Being a Christian, or becoming a Christian, is not a requirement to participate in Fresh Start, but Jesus is there. His Word is present in the curriculum. He is among the people who greet, serve meals, lead/co-lead classes, and mentor one-on-one. Reconciling relationships with Jesus is what we are about. We desire to model Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 5:20, “Therefore we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making his plea through us. We plead with you on Christ’s behalf, ‘Be reconciled to God!'” (2 Corinthians 5:20 NET)

Have you experienced this reconciliation with God in your life? Are you passionate about your church community? Does the Love INC ministry excite you? Then, please consider becoming involved and using the God-given skills, talents, and gifts that are unique to you.

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We understand that the philosophy of Redemptive Compassion® may be new to you. We welcome you to learn more by attending our six-week group study I will lead during our Fresh Start Program starting May 6. We will watch a video in each session, followed by a group discussion. A small fee of $10 is required to cover the cost of the book.

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I conclude by asking everyone who reads this to pray for this ministry. Specific things you can pray for are for people to come to know Jesus through our work, the staff/volunteers who walk closely with our clients, and the wisdom of the board, myself, and the staff who lead this ministry.

We’re Hiring! Thrift Store Manager

We Are Love INC Heartland
That’s not incorporated but rather In the Name of Christ. We are a Christian, non-denominational ministry on a mission to mobilize local churches to transform lives and communities In the Name of Christ. Simply put, we help churches help people. Love INC Heartland has grown to partner with over 25 churches to serve 15 communities like Delano, Maple Plain, Winsted, and Howard Lake, to name a few. We operate two Love INC Heartland Thrift Stores, a helpline called the Connection Center, and offer free life skills classes through our Fresh Start Program.

Love INC Heartland Thrift Stores
Our thrift stores located in Delano and Howard Lake, Minnesota, are one aspect of what we do. Sales support our mission and allow us to provide services, programs, and resources (like clothing or furniture) to those in need within our service area.

About This Position
Are you a spiritual leader and prayerful always? Do you get excited seeing vintage or secondhand items? Do you have experience working in a thrift store? Do you show others Love, Joy, Kindness, Gentleness, Self-control? Then we invite you to be part of a great team with an inspiring mission. As the Thrift Store Manager for our Howard Lake location, you will oversee all aspects of the store such as managing donations received, visual merchandising, sales, supervision of one part-time employee and volunteers, ordering supplies, store cleanliness, general upkeep of the store, and handling all day-to-day tasks that may arise.

Requirements:

  • High School Diploma
  • One year of thrift store experience
  • The ability to merchandising
  • Experience cashiering and familiarity with Square point of sale system
  • Be able to lift and move items clothing, housewares, furniture, and more
  • Experience managing volunteers
  • Loving heart that enjoys helping people

Read job description here: bit.ly/3Uj7yk0
Apply via LinkedIn or send your resume to info@loveincheartland.org

Read Job Description Apply via LinkedIn

Love INC Heartland Receives United Way Grant

In August 2023, Love INC Heartland received a $4,500 grant from Delano Loretto Area United Way. This grant will fund our Fresh Start Program which encourages independence by helping people gain valuable life skills and see their self-worth. Volunteers from our partnership of churches provide community meals, lead classes, and mentor participants. Through this educational program, our neighbors in need are empowered to see their self-worth and take a Fresh Start towards self-sufficiency through a safe and loving environment. Thank you Delano Loretto Area United Way for supporting our ministry and mission to transform lives and communities In the Name of Christ (INC)!

Sponsor A Family Volunteer Today!

 

Love INC Heartland Receives Grant

In November 2023, Love INC Heartland received $10,000 through Wright-Hennepin Cooperative Electric Association Operation Round Up (ORU).

The funds will support Love INC Heartland’s transformational ministry, Fresh Start Program.

A heartfelt thank you to all the WH members who participate in ORU, which rounds their monthly bills to the nearest dollar to provide funding to local charities and organizations like us at Love In the Name of Christ Heartland.

A Divine Connection

*Kendra had been with her children’s father since she was a teen, struggling with depression and post-traumatic stress disorder along the way. When he became abusive, she left with her children and filed a restraining order against him. Although Kendra left to improve her life, there was nowhere to go. She got in touch with her birth mother, whom she had barely known, and moved in, discovering that her mother was sick and needed a caretaker.

Kendra cared for her mother for a year, and when her mother passed, she found herself homeless. They moved in with a friend until she could find a job and a place to live. Working three jobs, trying to attend school, having no extended family to help, and not receiving child support—the bills kept piling up, and buying Christmas gifts for her children was impossible.

Then, a friend mentioned Love In the Name of Christ Heartland and how we could help. When Kendra called us, she was overwhelmed with gratitude. She appreciated the compassion of our Church Partner and their Gap Ministry of the Christmas Store. We shared our Fresh Start Program with her, and she wept over the idea that anyone would want to help her because she had felt abandoned by people all her life. Through attending church, she has realized that God never abandoned her and was led to Love INC Heartland for a reason. It was a divine connection. Kendra is overjoyed to begin classes at Fresh Start, further her relationship with God, and meet others to build a positive support system in her life.

Your story could be similar to Kendra’s. Your story could be different, too! We are here to listen and learn how to help you live the life God has planned for you. Caring staff and volunteers are available. Call the Love INC Heartland Connection Center at 763-999-7082 or visit loveincheartland.org/help

*Names have been changed to maintain confidentiality.