Although we may not be 100% aligned on theological issues...the work going on over at The Dream Center is beyond inspiring and humbling.
This morning, the girls and I had the privilege of touring the facility with TWIMW. We started on the Women's Floor where we heard the testimony of a post abortive ex crystal meth/ heroin addict with a changed life. On the Families Floor we met the mother of five who left her abusive/sex offender husband and is now pursuing a degree in Nutrition while heading up the Center's organic garden. A third generation gang member...sober now... gave his testimony as well as a recent skid row resident who although raised in the church...turned away from the Lord when drugs came calling. A young lady from Alabama told us a cautionary tale of leaving a loving family for the wrong man...and winding up an addicted & abused prostitute...fluctuating between captivity & homelessness. A darling 13 year old girl shared her story of being raped by a family member at the age of 4...abusing drugs & alcohol...self mutilation...bouts with eating disorders and experimenting with her sexuality.
Got to see the kitchen. Oh my word...the amount of hot meals served daily is beyond comprehension. They are expanding their ability to house residents...so that means they will be serving more meals. Any and all financial donations and or construction material donations/restaurant item sort of stuff donations are welcome.
The in house recording studio...where musicians find hope through music and professional skills are taught.
The school. The gym. The clothing store (no $ accepted.) The mobile Doctor's Office. The mobile Dentist Office.
It was an eye opening morning.
When I was on the way to The Dream Center, I had no clue what to expect and what would come of it all. I came to know and further understand that it is an organization to help the poor, the homeless, people of prostitution, alcoholics, drug addicts, people who come out of imprisonment, gangs, the abused, the abandoned, those in sex trafficking, and runaways. Spending time at The Dream Center was definitely a culture shock for me. This place is uplifting, but in a way it is depressing, sad, and painful too. You hear such tragic testimonies and only a few were able to share. You could see in others their urgency in wanting to share as well. You could just see the cry of their hearts and their love for God. The Dream Center offers free help, free food, free rooms, free clothing, free education, free council, free medics, free dental, anything you can think of. Everything is donated to The Dream Center, so they give freely to others. This place is big and has tons of floors. There are multiple buildings all over the area, buses, and mobile units that take help to the streets. We entered a room greeted by men and women surrounding us with applause because they were just so thrilled that we came to learn about them. Personally, as I walked down the aisle with loud applause, I felt somewhat of an unsafe presence with these men in the room because in this situation..with men who had troubled pasts...anything could have happened. My fear was eased a bit when I noticed the men looking at the floor out of respect for us women, for they could have been tempted to be inappropriate. I think it is truly bittersweet to know of an organization like this exists. I wish there wasn't a need. I see the convictions and love of those who want to help those who are in trouble and I see the convictions in the people who were bitter and are now searching for help and trying to change. After this experience, I am ever so more grateful for what I have.