Mission Failed & Jesus Wept

The holidays have passed and we are all well on our way to our New Year’s resolutions. Personally, I’m not big into new years resolutions. The failure rate of New Years resolutions is 88 percent, according to Wikipedia. Although I’m not big about making resolutions at the beginning of the year, I do take time to reflect on the year and give time to wonder the next year might go. I guess the lesson to learn is that we’re all going to fail and not let the knowledge of our failure rate to keep us from trying.

During the holidays there is a push for giving to those in need, as there should be. After the holidays are over and our guilt has waned to a dim, so does the giving tend to fade as well. The people in need continue to be in need and many are helped though live-in organizations like The Mission also known as The City Rescue Mission in Oklahoma City.

As with most of these organizations, they are all being helped in the name of Jesus. Much of the work they do is certainly have qualities we can attribute to Jesus; they provide shelter to the homeless, they provide food to those who are hungry, and have bible related classes among other. Their mission statement says, “Our mission is to lead our community by serving the homeless and near homeless with help, hope and healing in the spirit of excellence, under the call of Christ.”

In light of all the wonderful things I’ve said about The City Rescue Mission headed up by Rev. Tom Jones, President/CEO, I am about to also share with you how it is a “Mission Failed”.

I had a friend the lived on the street for a longtime and eventually we took her to the City Rescue Mission. She was there before and through the holidays. We even told our family that were weren’t giving gifts to the family and that we were adopting a couple of families at the mission and were going to spend the little we have for gifts for them. Which amounted to a couple of gifts for two female adults and mostly for the child of one of those adults. We made sure that the little girl had a bag full of things to keep her busy and feel special. They weren’t expensive gifts – a doll, flash cards, lots of coloring books, a bible and such. Our family understood, everyone said we have plenty and this was the right thing to do – so we did just that.

Because of our continued contact with our friend at the mission, we learned some things that didn’t settle right with us – things that were unjust and down right not Christlike of Christian organization to be doing.

A morning within the last couple of weeks, Robert and I both woke early with a burden on our heart. I knew when I got up something was wrong and I couldn’t place my finger on it – I just knew the Lord wanted me up and it was about 5:30 in the morning. I walked into the computer room where Robert was sitting. I immediately knew that something was stirring within him too. It all centered on how the City Rescue Mission was treating people and how Jesus would do what we’ve been hearing about them from someone who lived on the inside. Although they tout with pride their service of compassion, that at the very core of the way they work with people they fail at compassion, they fail miserably at representing Jesus.

We’ll call this person we know “Emma”, which is really the name of one of my dogs. I’m using the name of my dog to personify the other side of the mission – because sometimes when helping people we treat them like dogs and not people.

As Robert was telling me some of the things that was happening to Emma at the mission we decided that we would caller her and get some details of he experiences there.  Emma has some serious medical conditions. Conditions that need regular attention, that affect being able to stand, work, fatigue. Here problems include having diabetic neuropathy, which in part effects the feet, legs and hands and the feeling in them – not to mention other problems from being diabetic – nausea, vomiting, timely medication and the list really goes on and on. Matter of fact, her daughter picked her up tonight to take her to the emergency room because some issues came up.

The City Rescue Mission does not know how to treat people with medical issues with compassion. To live there you have what seems like an endless set of rules – rules that give no consideration to the sick people they are helping and I’m sure the healthy people too.

As we had Emma on the phone, we asked her question and I began to take notes about her daily life there. I’ll do my best to make my notes make sense: Only free time is from 11-2, part of which is lunch, lunch is 30 mins, breakfast is at 6am, usually doesn’t go because of being too early, has to work during dinner and is given 15 mins break to get food and that includes walking time from across the street at the warehouse, extra 5 mins for taking insulin, so that’s 20 mins to eat dinner walk over and take insulin for all that. 10 mins for walking time and taking insulin for extra times from across the street.  Needs time to lay down due medical conditions but rarely gets the chance to rest maybe once or twice a week for 2 hours. Isolate person to room for being sick and give 30 mins out of room for meal time when sick and isolated as punishment and we are not talking contagious sick, the isolation is punishment style. No snakes made available for those who are diabetic, with not income, vending machines are not an option. General required activities / classes: exercise, study books of bible, addiction class, 2 hours of classes 6 days a week, 30 mins of music each day. People with mental memory issues get punished for not memorizing verses, jobs class for people going on disability seems pointless. (Sorry for my messy notes about our phone interview with her)

For people who have health issues at the mission and shouldn’t be dealing with stress, they are doing a good job at making sick people sicker…. in the name of Jesus, I might add. This is the kind of stuff that gets under my skin. So, lets say you are a person with a mental health issues and have issues with memorizing verses of the bible – well screw you…. that gets you 10 hours of manual labor, if you had labor that was easy, they put you in an area that is more difficult and harder labor, as well as not being able to leave the building – you know like leaving the building to uses your food stamps for you diabetic snacks since you don’t have money for a vending machine and it is not provided for you – as it should be. Personally, I think a lawsuit is in order. This is just the short version of the story and it is detestable.

City Rescue Mission – You Fail – You fail in treating people with dignity, fail at assessing individual peoples needs and have systems in place to react responsibly to those individual needs, you fail in forcing a diabetic with leg problems to sleep in a top bunk and she falls and has to go the the emergency room – you fail with the others as well because the frequency of the ambulance showing up in regular, which means you have full knowledge of health issues in your facility. I call that negligent, chances are gross negligence. Because what is negligent is for organizations to support you without having this personal story echoed – and all the other stories echoed that haven’t been told to all the financial providers and donation providers. Because then the force of your real god the dollar would make you bow and while your head hung low you might just see the face of Jesus and start acting like Him. You’ll probably never see this post, but if you ever do – review yourself. Because the last time I got treated poorly from a hospital that I still get treated at that gets government grants to pay for their work – I followed the money trail up to the top and my doctor got a call from Washington, DC from the government office that pays her.

What can you do when you see “Justice Waiting”? You make justice stop waiting. So, what Robert and I did was to tell Emma at the end of the call to be packed and ready for us to picker her up. That if it was okay with her, we were offering to take her into our home. That Jesus would not treat her like they have treated her and neither would we. She took us up on the offer. No more punishments for being at the ER during time to recite bible verses, which blows my mind happened.

What in the world are we doing – attaching the name of Jesus to such things? Who are we when it is easier to write a check than to know someones name? If you write a check, someone can be an evil Jesus on your behalf. They can demoralize the people you desire to help — all because we’ve make Jesus into a ‘brand’ that you can sell and package up instead of being personally invested in someone.

And all the church wrote a check and said…. “Amen”… and Jesus wept.

~ Ryan


Posted on January 17, 2012, in Empathy, Human Needs, Relationship and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I know what you say is true I worked at City Rescue Mission for 5 years before the Lord got me out of there. They are more concerned with looking good in the public eye. Rev. Tom Jones makes $100,000 a year to “minister to the homeless”, I find this outrageous. But “good Christian” people want to do “good deeds”. As Jesus said the only reward they will receive is this side of heaven. At one time City Rescue Mission really cared, I pray God will take the mission back.

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