Providing shelter, hope

Monday, May 3, 2010

The Shelter of Hope at 320 S. Sprigg St. in Cape Girardeau is struggling to open. Many questions have been asked as to The Shelter of Hope's mission. We feel it is very simple and strive to open our doors to the homeless. We need the community's support and call on the residents of Cape Girardeau to accept the challenge. Our mailing address: The Shelter of Hope, P.O. Box 676, Cape Girardeau, MO 63703. Chaplain Terry Wildman and many volunteers need your help.

What is The Shelter of Hope? "Shelter" is defined simply as something that covers or affords protection, an establishment providing food and shelter, a position or the state of being covered and protected, to constitute or provide a shelter for, protect, to place under shelter or protection and to protect. "Hope" is defined as to cherish a desire with anticipation, to desire with expectation of obtainment, to expect with confidence: trust. It is a desire accompanied by expectation of or belief in fulfillment, expectation of fulfillment or success, someone or something on which hopes are centered and something hoped for.

The Shelter of Hope is a sheltering protection which provides food and shelter for those who feel hopeless, alone and abandoned. The Shelter of Hope gives a cherished desire to those who have no anticipation of success, who have no confidence or expectation of fulfillment and who hope for something they cannot attain.

The Shelter of Hope follows 1 Corinthians 13: "We believe Faith without works is dead, that we should offer hope to the hopeless, faith to those who have lost faith and charity [love] to those who feel unloved." Every person deserves to feel needed, loved and cherished. Matthew 25 tells of a king who is separating the sheep from the goats. The king says to the sheep: "For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink; I was a stranger, and ye took me in; Naked, and ye clothed me; I was sick, and ye visited me; I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed [thee]? Or thirsty, and gave [thee] drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took [thee] in? Or naked, and clothed [thee]? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, 'Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done [it] unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done [it] unto me.'"

To those on the left he said: "Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels; for these had done nothing to help the helpless." The Shelter of Hope's core belief is "I am my brother's keeper." We, through our Christian faith, owe our brother faith, hope and charity. We cannot overlook this. We cannot say I owe them nothing, they made their bed, now they can lie in it. For we owe a debt we cannot pay, and Christ paid a debt he did not owe. We will offer faith, hope and charity to everyone regardless of age, sex, race or religion. We believe in showing God's love, not just professing God's Love.

1 Corinthians ends with this: "For the greatest of these is charity [love]." God is love, and we are instructed to be Christ-like. Philippians 2:5: "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus." We are The Shelter of Hope.

The Rev. David McNeely is a member of The Shelter of Hope board of directors.

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