December Bowen!

We wrapped up Tornado furniture moving with a mega move on December 14th.

Fifty-three families received new couches, tables and chairs, dressers and house goods.

$20,000 was gifted from a few churches to fund the move. We empowered people to help. Our Kelly, EJ and the workers at St. Vincent’s did a great job organizing and loving the people who came to serve. St. Vincent’s people are amazing! They work hard to help people in need. Living City Project was the relief valve for moving furniture from June through December. We helped move four hundred displaced families, most of whom lost everything.

Here’s an article published in the Dayton Daily News.

Dec 17, 2019
By Sarah Franks, Staff Writer

When the last piece of furniture was moved on Saturday, Living City Project had helped over 400 families displaced by the Memorial Day tornadoes into their new homes.

LCP has activated over 12,000 volunteers since the tornadoes tore through the Miami Valley on May 27. The organization serves on the Miami Valley Long Term Recovery Board and, like other Dayton-based and national organizations, has been instrumental in organizing cleanups, helping distribute furniture to hundreds of families and simply making sure tornado victims are not forgotten as 2019 comes to a close.

“What really spoke out to me is they haven’t stopped living,” said Joel Burton, LCP team leader. “They’re going to continue to live, continue to try and pursue normalcy and joy as much as then can. To see them getting ready to decorate that tree tonight is good. That’s more hope than we expect to see. There are neighborhoods right now that aren’t putting up Christmas lights.”

“If today meant anything, it’s a reminder that the community still remembers those that have been impacted,” said Caleb Ingram, LCP executive director. “There was an inventory backup, and we thought we might not get this out till January or February. But we reached out to a number of churches primarily. Some churches donated $20,000 collectively so that we could get this delivery out before Christmas. I think it’s just a reminder to every individual that we’ve gone to over the last six months, that we know that they’re there. We remember that they’re there, and we love them.”

St. Vincent de Paul Dayton has acted as a home base for many of the tornado recovery operations. 

“St. Vincent de Paul has also put in funds of their own to make this happen,” Ingram said. “Even the churches that donated, the donations went to St. Vincent so they could bulk order these couches. So the amount of money is a fraction of what it would cost if we went to the store and bought a couch. So funds came in and they would order 100 couches at a time.”

As people impacted by the tornadoes navigate the holiday season under difficult circumstances, Ingram asks them to know that organizations like LCP are not going to quit.

“There’s still more to do, still more to give,” Burton said. “We’re nowhere near done. Every moment like this carries us into the next.”

Hope Church partnered with Gateway Cathedral in Trotwood and gave away thirty $600 gift cards.

Gateway Cathedral sits in the Westbrook Village neighborhood, was in the direct path of the Memorial Day Tornadoes. The Gate served as the distribution hub for the community in the weeks following the storm.

Living City Project had a small yet essential connection. We performed a serving role with Christmas With A Cause. Thrivent, in Tipp City, raised hundreds of presents from the Tipp City School System to provide for the kids of thirty families who attended the evening. The guests knew there was a meal but did not know every child would receive a bag of presents. They also did not know that they would receive a gift card for $600 provided by the Hope Church.

When the meal was over, the Director for the event asked the families if they had a white envelope. Then she asked for others who did not have one to raise their hands. After the envelopes were distributed, she asked the families to open the gift together after a count down. 3… 2… 1… Open!

A sound of wonder began to erupt until the venue was filled with people shouting, crying, jumping up and down, waving their hands, and laughing. I had never been in such an atmosphere filled with so much love and gratitude.

As people walked down the hallway to leave, they received their presents for their children. They overflowed with thanks, and many told us their stories of what they thought was a lost Christmas, now turned into comfort and joy.

Mexico Kids Receive Shoes.

Around one hundred kids gathered to receive new shoes. Upper Room families gave to help the kids in a poor area of Piedras Negras. They need a roof and heaters. Hopefully this summer we will take a team to help build.

I spoke at the Upper Room this past Sunday.
The wonder of Christmas how to keep faith, love and hope alive.
You can watch here.
Phillips Temple is raising Twin Bed Sets for the ladies at the YWCA.
We will be delivering the Twin Sets on December 24. We are excited we have a donation of 100 throw blankets already donated.
We are Re-fired not retired.

Back story.
Three years ago, we were looking at moving to Pensacola. We were 95% ready to move. We didn’t have peace, so we talked and prayed. Pattie wanted to finish her time at Prass Elementary School and retire at 65. It has been a good plan.

We stayed in the Dayton Area. We did not know we would connect with some amazing people or be working with great churches Phillips Temple and Upper Room. Nor did I know I would have a part to play with Living City Project. Looking back, we can see Jesus is always faithful and true to lead us into the plans and spaces He had for us. We are so grateful!

Your prayers and support are more than appreciated!
We’d value any year-end giving you’d give.

Steve and Pattie

Thanksgiving Bowen News!

Wow! Thanksgiving Outreach! We touched over 200 families this year! 

Phillips Temple pulled out the stops and gathered more dinners this year than the last two years! The teams sorted and packed and delivered. We partnered with Wingate Apartments and with Westbrooke Elementary School. The apartment management supplied apartment addresses and notified people we were showing up. The teams headed out served, loved and prayed for the residents.

Upper Room also gathered together and headed out touching many families in low-income housing. They knocked on doors offering a surprise gift… a full Thanksgiving dinner! They prayed for several families. The feedback has been amazing!

We are wrapping up Tornado moving with a mega move on December 14th.

It’s been a long season of moving and praying for the people displaced. We’ve moved over 300 families! I’ve been in over one hundred homes, prayed for a lot of families, and lifted tons of furniture. The good news…
The families were encouraged and I lost weight!

 It will take many years before everyone returns to normal living. There are scars are left on the land and upon the people affected.
We are recovering.

The principal of the school where the F4 touched down said, “Our kids are stressed out. We are seeing their emotions surface. We are coping.

Some of the kids act out, others withdraw, and all have a reminder of their night of terror every time they drive through the neighborhood. The emotional trauma will take time to overcome. Please pray for all the kids and their families.

The 2019 Christmas With a Cause outreach theme will be Neighbor 2 Neighbor: Giving Hope for Christmas. 

Hope Church will partner with Gateway Cathedral in Trotwood.
Gateway Cathedral sits in the Westbrook Village neighborhood, which was in the direct path of the Memorial Day Tornadoes. The Gate served as the distribution hub for the community in the weeks following the storm.

The goal this year is to raise resources, which will be distributed among 40 families devastated by the Memorial Day Tornadoes to help them celebrate Christmas with their families.

Hope, along with the City of Trotwood, Trotwood School District and St. Vincent de Paul have identified 40 families from the Trotwood community impacted by the tornadoes. They will be helped by this CWAC campaign.

Living City Project is partnering in a small way with Hope Church, Thrivent, and The Gate to provide Trotwood families resources they can use for the Christmas season and beyond. Thrivent is partnering with Tipp City Schools to collect toys and gifts for the kids affected by the Tornados. Living City Project will then collect, help sort and deliver the gifts to the families at the celebration at The Gate.

Check out the promo.

Amazing, yet mixed emotional time with Pattie’s family.

We celebrated Pattie’s mom Elsie’s life at our family reunion in Mobile AL. We planted a tree in her honor and memory. It was very moving to have five generations gathered. I’ve never experienced such a gathering. We told stories, laughed, cried, talked, hugged and had a meal together. The tree is planted on the land where Elsie lived for many years. Having everyone there was a precious moment for all of us. 

Thanks for standing with us and praying for us.

If you’d like to give for year end giving we’d appreciate it very much.

Steve and Pattie.

Christmas Kindness Planning!

Yes, I know it’s Thanksgiving season! Christmas planning needs to be happening now before launching on December 1st.

Every year many churches plan who they will be serving.

Some churches throw huge parties, other create warm shopping experiences for families, some adopt a family, others give to missions and create spaces for those in need in a specific community.

Every year we create a Kindness Calendar.

Simple, yet impactul! Especially for the individuals and families who participate.

A variant of the Calendar is to develop an Advent Calendar for the twelve days of Christmas. Children can learn to be otherly by practicing one fun act of kindness over the 12 days. Don’t forget to use chocolate as an award!

Here is a sample of this years calendar.

News…Wow! God Connection.

I am continuing to help others.

We are winding down the outreach to the people who have been moved to their new locations. We’ve helped over 300 families.

The stats are staggering! Over 700 Trotwood family apartment units and homes have been damaged deemed uninhabitable.

Last week I went to one apartment complex to see the damage. Many of the 350 units are beyond repair. I’ve heard they will be selling; counting their losses and leaving.

This is just an example from Trotwood. Other areas also lost much of their low-income housing.

We keep asking the question, “Where are the people?”

We are working with the long-term recovery crew.
This weekend there is a push to locate the homes who need roof repair before winter sets in. Teams will head out and hang information cards on the doors. Next week teams will begin to tarp homes still needing tarps to make sure the homes are secure.

Single mom, two kids.
We’ve been helping a single mom. Her husband left three days before the tornado. Her home is now buttoned up in most areas. We repaired the ceiling and outside siding. We thought her roof was intact until the rains hit a few weeks ago. Her roof needs replacing. She is on the list for the tarping next week. Hopefully, she will receive a new roof in the spring.

You are the blue bag guys…

Five teenagers from C. J. High School helped us deliver furniture this week. Two sisters and a toddler had been living in a hotel for over 150 days.

Can you imagine living in such insecurity? Searching for housing, not sure of any future, being relocated away from all you’ve known, away from the relationships you’ve built, and being away from the area of your employment?

When we prayed, they openly wept tears of relief. They hugged every team member and said, thank you many times. They were so grateful.

Their Trotwood apartment had the roof ripped off. Everyone had three days to pack up and leave. Thankfully the apartments are being rebuilt. It will be a few months until they reopen for new tenants.

I mentioned I was working with Phillips Temple. They said, “O you are the blue bag people! We received your IKEA bag and a turkey dinner last year. We were so surprised and grateful!

Thanksgiving Outreach.

We are ramping up for our Thanksgiving Outreach. I love this family-friendly outreach! It’s more than food! We go to low-income areas and partner with local schools to make sure we are serving people genuinely in need.

People pick up a list. Fill up the IKEA bag. Then bring the filled bag to the outreach on the Saturday before Thanksgiving. So easy! So much fun! We pray for every family we serve.

There are so many God connection stories!I can’t tell you all of the stories about God’s faithfulness to the people of our community.  If i did it would take a long time!

Here’s an amazing Jesus story from last week.
 I met a condo manager who just happened to have a brother who has a ministry providing furniture for people in need. She had just gotten off the phone talking to him about the need in Dayton and how they did not have the connection they needed to help people. Then I walked in the door.

I later contacted to Stephen. He told me his sister cried as she told him the story of God’s surprising faithfulness.

Stephen’s ministry has access to mostly new or returned couches living room chairs, tables, etc. from a major furniture maker.

Tomorrow we are heading up to pick up 30 couches!Free!

Heading South Thanksgiving.

We will be heading south at Thanksgiving to have a Memorial family time for Pattie’s mom. We’ve been really busy and need a break. We are so grateful for how Jesus has connected our hearts to so many great people, churches and ministries. It’s hard to believe we’ve been finding His way for the last four years since Re-Firing.

Your prayers and support are more than appreciated!

Steve and Pattie