Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you.” Declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
It’s important in life to hear when God sends you a message and to trust that, if you trust in Him, He will provide a path for you and supply you with what you need to achieve His plan. Though it is natural to want to look ahead in life, we run the risk of missing the people or things God needs us to see at certain times. In 1980, the paths of two families intersected and because they had both followed their callings and listened when God spoke to them—they were able to be in the right place at the right time to join forces and create something amazing. Grand plans can unfold but you have to have faith as to how, when or where it will all come together.
Ecclesiastes 3:1 There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens.
The Robert E. Miller Family: As a young man living in Abilene, Texas, times were tough trying to get started in the oil business, and the Miller family was barely getting by. They were invited to attend an Ashram where they met E. Stanley Jones. He said, "We are all alike here and no one has a title. I am Brother Stanley and you are Brother Bob." The Millers were impressed by that. For five days, they sat and listened to what E. Stanley Jones was saying night after night. There was nothing theoretical about what Brother Stanley was preaching and teaching—it was life transforming. This would not be the Millers’ last Ashram and a few years after that first Ashram, Mr. Miller decided to go into business for himself. In 1955, this was by no means an easy business and it was absolutely not an easy time to be doing it. In the roughest of times in the business, the Miller Family called out to God many times to keep them on the right path and guide them through. Mr. Miller experienced three different, distinctive miracles over the years in his company that can only be described as divine intervention. They were each a clear sign that God was in fact listening and that He had in fact answered their prayers. Because of these answered prayers, at the age of 50, Mr. Miller was able to retire, well blessed, with time and the ability to further follow God’s calling. It was during this time that on one specific cold winter night during a winter blizzard, Mr. Miller was lying in bed reflecting on his own good fortune and began to think about others out there that weren’t as fortunate. His family had a warm place to stay, in a warm bed, but there were those that did not. He and his wife began working with and volunteering at a homeless shelter that was helping single men in the Fort Smith area. Mr. Miller served as a board member and he and his family helped serve wherever and in whatever capacity they could. The grand plan was about to unfold but they didn’t know how, when or where it was all about to come together.
Psalm 32:8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.
The Grimm Family: Jon Grimm and his wife Sam met while working at St Edward Mercy Hospital. In 1970, an opportunity presented itself for them to purchase Twin City Ambulance Service which served as the only ambulance service for all of Sebastian and Crawford counties and extended into parts of Washington and Leflore counties. Jon and a handful of employees ran the calls in the 7 ambulance fleet, while Sam was the only dispatcher working 7 days a week, sometimes 24 hours straight, manning a wall unit of 12 different rotary phones and directing the ambulances using a crisscross city directory. While operating the ambulance service, the Grimms saw firsthand the desperation faced by many people living in the area. After 9 years of long days and many sleepless nights, the Grimms sold Twin City Ambulance to Sparks Hospital. Shortly after this sale they received a call from the Immaculate Conception Church Outreach program about a family living under a picnic table in Creekmore Park. When they arrived at the park, they found not one, but two families. While trying to find a better living solution, the Grimms housed the two families in the then unused Twin City Ambulance hub in Van Buren for the 3 months it took for them to get back on their feet. During those 3 months of searching for someplace better for the families to stay until they could get back on their feet, they discovered that no such better place existed. What they did find was a shelter in the area for single men that needed help where Mr. Grimm began serving as a board member. The director of this shelter was closing it down and, after the two families had moved on, the Grimms worked to re-opened it. Together they worked at this shelter for 18 months trying to learn how it functioned and to find a solution to help families/women with children. Sam cooked and worked with area church groups and Jon counseled the men and helped them try to find work. The Grimms toured other shelters in the tristate area to learn what they were doing to serve their area and to get a blueprint of what worked and didn’t work when working with families/women with children. Fort Smith desperately needed a solution for families/women with children. The grand plan was about to unfold but they didn’t know how, when or where it was all about to come together.
Romans 8:28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.
The Community Rescue Mission: Fort Smith needed a place for families/women with children to stay if they had nowhere else to go. There were various options for single men, but nothing for families/women with children. When the Miller and Grimm families lives intersected in 1979, working together at the mens shelter, things just seemed to fall into place. Together in 1980, these two families co-founded the Community Rescue Mission. The grand plan was about to unfold and these two forces now knew that with God was how, that the time was now and that the location was through acquiring the building that once housed the old Westside Baptist Church property. The renovations took only 9 months to transform the old church building into a facility that could serve men, women and children. The Community Rescue Mission opened its doors in April of 1981. Since 1981, things have continued to just fall into place. When the mission has had a need, God and the community have provided. Hard work, determination and faith have made good things happen. The Mission provides hot meals three times a day, seven days a week to homeless, disenfranchised men, women and families and provides temporary shelter while families work to get back on their feet.
Proverbs 27:17 Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.