Conroe Ministry Team Gets Creative
A lost or stolen wallet can be a giant hassle. With a computer, a credit card and a great deal of patience, however, those can usually be replaced – eventually. But what if you are homeless? Have you ever considered how complicated this would be for homeless people who do not have a safe place to keep their critical documents?
Thankfully, the mission minded volunteers at FUMC, Conroe have realized this need and set up a system to lend a helping hand, some wisdom – and computer access. “Typically, you need some form of ID to replace a lost ID,” says Nancy Heintz, director of missions for FUMC, Conroe, “which can present a Catch-22 situation if you literally have nothing.” Since 9-11 incidents, some governmental entities require three sources of ID to get another type of ID, which can feel insurmountable to the homeless. The church provides volunteers on Tuesdays and Thursdays at the ID Office in the Homeless Coalition facility to help about a dozen people through this complicated maze on a weekly basis.
“It is tragic to see what life can do to people by reducing them back to zero when they have no identification whatsoever,” adds Nancy. “We are seeing a lot more women these days, who left in an emergency rush and need to start over with documentation for all of their family members – so we know we are truly meeting a real need.”
Heartwarming Success Story
“Once we help these folks, we rarely see them again, but we always hope their ID has helped them find employment,” adds Nancy. “Occasionally, a client will return to share their gratitude and story.”
Here is one such story: “My name is Jeff and I was homeless. I found myself laid off from my job. That year my wife also decided she wanted a divorce, so I lost my wife, home, truck, job, and most of the time I once spent with my toddler son. In July 2011, I found myself on the streets of Conroe in a position I would never have imagined. To add injury to insult, I lost my wallet that contained the last $400 that I had, along with my driver’s license, social security card and all identification. I was a middle class American who never really understood who or HOW working people could become homeless – and I definitely did not have a heart for them until I was one!
The Salvation Army would not even accept me because I had no ID. Finding myself on the street, I met another homeless person who told me where to get clothes, food and help. I went to the Montgomery County Homeless Coalition and met with the help form people who sincerely care. Right away, they wrote a letter for me, stating that they were helping me obtain an ID. I was able to get a bed at the Salvation Army that very night. Over the next two weeks, these volunteers sat down with me and helped me get my license and social security card replaced. They expressed Christ’s love to me by being patient and helping me.”
Nancy says, “We also learned that Jeff now has a personal relationship with Christ and he has been promoted to Executive Director of Healing Hands Ranch where he helps other homeless folks. He feels called to share the gospel at the Conroe House of Prayer and at his church.”
Nancy welcomes all church mission leaders interested in starting a ministry to the homeless to contact her for insight and assistance. Anyone seeking information can contact her at Heintz@fumc-conroe.org.