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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.

A Note From Our Director

Jim Holmlund Executive Director, Love INC Heartland

A Note From Our Executive Director

Wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight; stop doing wrong. Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow. Isaiah 1:16-17 NIV

Every day, I receive a daily Bible verse emailed to me from BibleGateway. This verse was sent to me the morning I was preparing to write to all of you, our supporters of Love In the Name of Christ Heartland.

These are the words Isaiah wrote as he received a vision concerning Judah and Jerusalem during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah. The vision is a call from our Lord for his people to change their ways. Since the fall of Adam and Eve, our nature as people has been to look inward and not upward.

Verse 16 spoke to me about our work at Love INC Heartland.

Every day, I talk to the oppressed, the fatherless, the widowed, the divorced, the homeless, the confused, the hurting, and, most part, the material poor of the world. We often talk about the abandonment the people we work with feel in their lives. They feel abandoned by family, friends, and God. The people I speak to live in our communities. They are people who live amongst us. In most cases, you might never know who they are, but they are people you come across daily as you move about your community. In 2023, Love INC Heartland has grown in our capacity to serve those very same people.

As I read these two verses, looking through the lens of how we serve our neighbors in need, I am encouraged.

Redemptive Compassion® is the philosophy we use as we serve people who are struggling. This philosophy touches on two types of compassion necessary when serving the material poor. The first is charity compassion; the other is development compassion. In simple terms, charity compassion is a handout, and developmental compassion is a hand-up. Please don’t get me wrong–there is a place and a need for charity. However, charity compassion often becomes more about what we do than helping those receiving the charity. Sometimes, charity compassion to the material poor becomes a crutch that is more self-serving than it is a help for those who receive the charity. Charity compassion never really changes the status quo for the fatherless, the widowed, the divorced, etc., for anyone stuck in a cycle of generational poverty.

We often struggle to balance charity and developmental compassion at Love INC Heartland. We do our best to focus on developmental compassion. We use charity compassion to open the door to developing a relationship with our neighbors in need. We focus on working with people who have a desire to grow. They want to use the charity they receive to get to a place where they no longer need to rely on handouts. Most of that development comes through our neighbors in need attending our Fresh Start Program. In 2023, we saw our Fresh Start Program take a step forward. Here are some stats from Fresh Start this past year.

In closing, Isaiah is not just addressing Judah and the rest of Israel. He is speaking to all of God’s people. We, God’s people, are Israel.

In our broken nature, we fall into the same traps people have succumbed to since the fall of man into sin. We focus on us. It is our nature. I call on you to reflect upon ways you can be a part of developmental compassion in someone’s life. I know developmental compassion is difficult. It can get messy and consume one of our most precious resources: time. It takes a relationship with that person. Charity compassion is appealing to us because, in most cases, it requires very little on our behalf. Ask God to help you see where you can meet them where they are and help them become who God has called them to be. Yes, this speaks to more than just the material needs of people. It is about the whole person. We will continue to be about the entire person at Love INC Heartland.

In the coming weeks, we will send out our Annual Report. Our Annual Meeting is scheduled for February 20, 2024, at Delano United Methodist Church at 6:30pm. Thank you to one of our Abundant Church Partners for hosting this meeting, please mark your calendars to attend.

Thank you for being so supportive, whether financially, in volunteering, or through prayer; it has blessed us in 2023. May God continue to bless you as you answer the call to serve God’s people in 2024.

In Christ,

Jim Holmlund
Executive Director
Love INC Heartland

Get Involved Today
You can make hope and transformation possible for our neighbors in need by becoming involved through financial giving, volunteering at Fresh Start, volunteering in our Connection Center, praying, and more.

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More Than A Thrift Store

Jim Holmlund Executive Director, Love INC Heartland

More Than A Thrift Store

Written By Jim Holmlund

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16 NIV

I have been at Love In the Name of Christ for over two years. When I first arrived here, I sensed we had a big, bright light to share with the rest of the world. We had a story to tell, and people wanted to hear it. A story that if people heard, they would rally to our mission. However, circumstances of life and a pandemic put a cover over that light. The work still went on, but the message began to fade.

The passage above comes from Jesus’ famous Sermon on the Mount. I bet that was a happy time for Him. His ministry was blossoming, and He had all these people there who wanted to be fed some solid spiritual food. The old system of sacrifices and penance to earn forgiveness did not change people’s hearts. The acts of self-justification were filled with selfishness and arrogance and were empty of truth and relationship.

Love INC Heartland - More Than A Thrift Store

Then Jesus tells his people, “You are the light of the world.” He tells them to stand up and be seen. Let the world see your light and take off the lampshade so the world can see your deeds and glorify our Father in heaven. I like to think that we are a reflection of Jesus’ light, and at Love INC Heartland we share that light.

Will you help us continue to share the Light of Jesus? Donate any amount today.

At Love In the Name of Christ we are telling our story. I often hear… “Oh, you are the Thrift Store People”… That is when I smile and say, “Oh, we are much more than a thrift store!”

At Love In the Name of Christ, we change lives.

People come to us in a financial crisis and leave us with the truth of Jesus. We connect our neighbors in need with the gifts of God’s church. Sometimes, that is in the form of meeting material needs, such as diapers for their baby, bedding, clothing, car repair, or personal care items. We provide material goods to soften the crisis until we can build relationships with them and join them in their struggle.

We can only speak the truth of Jesus to people if we are willing to build relationships with them.

Love INC Heartland - More Than A Thrift Store

We need your help growing this ministry to build relationships with the neighbors we help. Consider giving any amount of $25, $50, $175, $550, or more today.

You see, this ministry is about relationships with people. Relationships take time to build. When you support Love INC with your time, talents, and financial resources, you create more opportunities for us to connect and build relationships with people in difficult financial situations.

Jesus stood on the side of that mountain, giving the world something they had never encountered before. He laid the foundation for His grace, love, and desire to be close to his people. He shared radical ideas like loving your enemy, turning the other cheek, stopping worrying, and judging others. He invites us to ask, seek, and knock, and the Father will provide all we need.

At Love In the Name of Christ, we help alleviate poverty in a way at which the current social climate would scoff. We not only share material goods with the financially marginalized…We invest in them as people. We are bold enough to ask them the radical question….” What do you have?”

The God of the universe doesn’t make junk, and all people have gifts and talents to offer. We are brave enough to tell those in financial need, “We want to help you see and use your gifts and talents!!!”

Will you support us while we let Jesus work His transformational change in people? Donate any amount today.

Love INC Heartland - More Than A Thrift Store

It is hard for people to see change in their lives when they do not fully understand their value. That is Jesus’ message to us:  I love you enough to tell you forgiving yourself and forgiving others is key in your life. I love you enough to die on the cross and take your sins on my shoulders. I love you enough to say, “I forgive you.” I love you enough to tell you that you have value. This was Jesus’ message to us in that sermon, His ministry, and His Resurrection. I love the resurrection power!!

Our mission is really that simple. We tell people they are loved and that they have value. We remind them Jesus knows their value. We walk beside them until that relationship can be restored. We help people move from darkness to the light. 

These are the good deeds we strive for at Love In the Name of Christ. These are the things I want to put on the lampstand and let our light shine to the world. These are the things that show who Jesus is to the world.

We need your financial support! Give any amount of $25, $50, $175, $550, or more today.

Love In the Name of Christ Heartland needs $30,000 to balance our budget in 2023. When you support Love In the Name of Christ, you support the mission field in your community. We are often the only Jesus with whom people come into contact. People in need are willing to ask, and we are eager to share.

I encourage you to help the ministry of Love INC Heartland to stay financially strong. Our work is vital to helping people make transformational change in our communities. Help us help people make the type of change only the Resurrected Lord of the Universe can make.

In Christ,

Jim Holmlund
Executive Director – Love INC Heartland
763-972-6547 | info@loveincheartland.org

P.S. Year-end is an important time for our ministry. There are so many people we can serve with your help. Please consider a generous donation of $25, $50, $100, $250, or more by December 31, 2023. Donations can be made online at www.LoveINCHeartland.org/donate or by mailing a check to:

Love INC Heartland
PO Box 143
Delano, MN 55328

Empowering Futures With Fresh Start

When Pam* came to Love In the Name of Christ Heartland, she was on a path of destruction.

She was in the challenging situation of being a single mother and felt stuck on her own. When she lost everything, a family member referred her to Love INC Heartland. Pam knew there had to be something better for her life. She immediately entered the Fresh Start Program and learned to prioritize her life so she wouldn’t be overwhelmed by her situation. Fresh Start provided a positive support system that encouraged her through the tough times.

A story like Pam’s is not uncommon at Love INC Heartland. Often, people call us because of their situations, and they genuinely feel lost, alone, and stuck. They need help transforming their lives, and we have tools to help.

She began to dive deeper into her relationship with God and desired to do His Will, not her own. The volunteers genuinely cared and guided her as the hands and feet of Jesus as she navigated decisions in her life. She had the opportunity for plenty of growth, and volunteers gently held her accountable. She is now on a successful path of higher education toward getting a better job to become financially stable for her family. Her relationship with God is transforming her life, and she now desires to love and help others.

*Names have been changed to maintain confidentiality.

Fresh Start Program
At Love INC Heartland, we aim to promote positive, lasting life transformation. Our Fresh Start Program 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. We also rely on donations to sponsor families in the Fresh Start Program. Will you support this transformational ministry? Let us know today!

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