Transforming Lives

The Love INC Board is committed to ministries that truly transform lives, but sometimes it can seem like a daunting task. Like any journey, however, you need to take the first step. Plans are being formulated now to begin classes that transform lives in the name of Christ.

Whether the class focuses on setting boundaries, affirming potential, or budgeting money these skills can truly transform how our clients live their lives in Christ Jesus. We are working toward a goal of demonstrating “Redemptive Compassion”. If you haven’t read this book by Lois M. Tupyi I would strongly encourage you to order a copy. Clearly, how we have delivered services to God’s blessed poor as a country has not worked. We have largely met an immediate need and ignored how we might change lives so as to eliminate the need. We are good at giving a handout but poor at giving a hand up.

 Transformational Ministry seeks to teach people to change their lives and do for themselves instead of relying on others to do for them. We should never provide something to someone that they can provide for themselves. This robs people of their dignity. If we continue to meet their immediate need without providing training to eliminate the need we perpetuate a broken system.

 Recently, four of us from Love INC witnessed testimonies of people transformed in Christ. Without exception their lives had been completely changed in a year’s time. They graduated from the transformational ministry program with renewed hope and the light of Christ in their eyes and in their hearts. Join Love in the Name of Christ as we transform our ministry to walk with our brothers and sisters in Christ through their dark times and in to God’s radiant light. 

Grace and Compassion

Today one of our board members shares a heartfelt blog. We may not know why we face adversity, but it changes us and allows us to empathize with others in a deeper way. We can all find our way; sometimes with the help of friends, family, our faith community, or Love INC.

Sometimes as we go through life we don’t know why there are so many challenges.  When I was a young girl I remember looking at my parents thinking they had it so easy.  They just went to work during the day, came home and relaxed in the evening.  Now as an adult I can really grasp the challenges they were probably faced with.  It is such a different perspective later in life. 

As a board member of Love INC I have always had a desire to help others.  It really is my number one aspiration in life.  I work as a clerk at a large hospital and even though it will never be a lucrative career I know it feeds my soul and my passion to help others in need.   

I am not currently a client of Love INC but can relate to many who are.  In the last several years I have experienced a cancer diagnosis with extensive treatment, losing both of my parents and a wonderful mother-in-law after long illnesses, a crisis in my marriage that was repaired and healed by God, and the most challenging of all was losing my husband of 21 years last year after his short 8 week battle with cancer.  I am left to raise my sons and bring them into adulthood without the male figure at my side and it creates new challenges every day.  No one ever said life was going to be easy.

Sometimes I wonder why I have endured so much at still a fairly young age.  I am convinced that the Lord will humble me and continue to use me to come along side others in times of trouble.  There is no other way to continue through life without Him, and helping others is just a way to let the grace and compassion of our Lord shine through me. 

By Becky Cwiek, Love INC Board Member

 

Honored

It’s an honor to be part of Love INC—Love In the Name of Christ. As Christians, we carry His name; for we are His bride, the church. Not this denomination or that denomination, but the holy catholic church—catholic with a lower case “c”. In other words, Christians of every stripe and flavor, unified by the Holy Spirit into one body.

As name-carriers, we work for the advancement and glory of our Lord Jesus. We proclaim His name, loving others as ourselves, putting others before our selves. We care for the widows, orphans, and prisoners—the downcast and those in need of help.

We have all heard about the income level of Livingston County, the standard of living here. Yet when we look closely, if we care to look, there are individuals and families on the outside looking in struggling to meet daily needs, to pay their bills, to have food for tomorrow, or sometimes even for today. They are trying to make a fresh start or recover from a devastating event.

Pastors of churches know the faces and hear the stories. Other organizations doing worthy work hear them too. The need is real and runs deeper and wider than many would guess. We sometimes hear about it and wish we could do something to help, but we aren’t sure how or where to start.

Love INC puts good intentions into action working behind the scenes, verifying real needs, organizing and helping local churches distribute goods and services, and sometimes providing financial assistance to the truly needy in the name of Christ. Sometimes they say “no” to those not truly in need, also because they love them in the name of Christ.  Those asking for help are image bearers of God. However, they are knocked down, sometimes broken, needing the good news of the gospel. They thirst for the knowledge that they may be forgiven through Christ, that they may become new creations, infused with the Spirit of the same living God who raised Jesus from the dead, and who is the source of true hope and joy in this lifetime and into eternity.

To be part of an organization that does that, helping churches touch lives and transform them in the name of Christ for the glory of God, is an honor indeed.    

Bill Landis, Board Member

#livingstonloveinc #honored #transformation

Hands and Feet

Hello, my name is Dirk DeWinkle. I am a local pastor in Howell. And I've been on the board at Love INC in Livingston County since January 2014. I've recently been preaching a series through the book of James, and James has an intense interest in showing mercy. In fact, one of the most famous passages from the book is found in James chapter 1 verse 27 where James is talking about pure and undefiled religion...

"Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world."

This is precisely the mission of Love In the Name of Christ. You see, churches need to work together in order to effectively carry out the mission of the Gospel. Jesus came to save the lost, the hurt, the sick, and the dying. He came to save those who don't have hope. He does this spiritually, with the message of the Gospel. But the message of the Gospel necessarily has hands and feet on the ground.

And churches, institutionally, don't have the resources necessary to effectively do this on their own. But, the body of Christ, the church (broadly speaking), working together with its various parts, from various denominations, can make great strides in this work. In a nutshell, that is what we do, that is what Love INC is all about... enabling the church to bring people to Christ, and bring Christ to His people.

#handsandfeeet #LoveINC #James127

What Can I Do?

What can I do?  How can I make a difference? And will my contribution be significant enough to make a difference? In other words, why bother?

These are all questions that you may have asked yourself when faced with a request to support, donate or volunteer.  

I began volunteering in 2006, once a month, on Saturday mornings for Love INC’s furniture ministry.  I recruited a good friend, and he and I would spend 4-5 hours picking up used furniture from people downsizing, moving out, or simply moving on. We picked up sofas, beds, dressers, kitchen tables and chairs, hauling them back to the Love INC warehouse for distribution to people in need. At the warehouse clients that had been interviewed by the Love INC Clearinghouse would shop for items that they needed. They would select their items, and a crew would deliver them to their home or apartment.

At first I was unsure how this small operation could make a difference. Where’s the need? I had lived in Livingston County since 1986 and didn’t know any people that lived in poverty, I didn’t even know what poverty in my town looked like.  

What’s unique about Livingston County is that we have the lowest poverty level in Michigan (7%) yet poverty is so close to all of us. You drive by it daily.  As we hit the freeway traveling to the Detroit suburbs, Flint, Lansing, or Ann Arbor for work each day we pass by the homeless and the impoverished.  In Brighton and Howell poverty melds itself into the landscape, almost undetectable.  

The reality is in a county of 186,000 people and 74,000 households, 7% poverty means that almost 13,000 people, or nearly 5,200 households, don’t have the means to provide for basic needs such as food, clothing, and shelter. They are most likely unemployed and struggling to survive in the most affluent county in Michigan.

In 2006 as I volunteered my eyes were opened to the face of poverty. Not only did we pick-up furniture donations, we delivered furniture to those without. Countless times we would be dispatched to a trailer park or an apartment complex to deliver beds, a kitchen table, or a sofa to a single mother; left homeless by a husband that fled Michigan for work elsewhere, leaving her with small children, no income, and no home. To see these faces, to bring a ray of hope to their lives, to provide comfort and a place to sleep besides the floor was one of the most impactful experiences of my life….all within a few miles of my home.

Love INC makes a difference. As we mobilize churches to serve the community we bring hope for a better tomorrow, we bring love that changes hearts and we do this because we are all called to serve others in His name.  Today, Love INC serves 5,800 residents and 2,400 households here in Livingston County, less than half of the 7% struggling to make life bearable. We could do so much more with your help.

You may think that you don’t have time or resources to help your neighbor, but you do. You may consider your contribution to be too small to make a difference, but even a little helps.  Volunteer-- even 4-5 hours a month WILL make a difference in somebody’s life, I guarantee it.  

Everyone was put on this earth to make a difference to the world in our own unique way. You may not be able to feed 50 people, but you can feed one (donate to our food banks). The amount of your contribution isn’t important, it’s that you do something and have a heart to serve. You can help change the world by helping, one person at a time, in the name of Christ.

If you would like to talk about how you can help contact the Love INC Clearinghouse at (517) 552-3620.

Ron Craddock, Board Chair

#LivingstonCountyHomelessness #LoveINC #Serve

 

What is Love INC?

I’ve just begun my 2nd year on Love INC’s Board of Directors and am amazed how God gives one the time and energy for His work.  As a single mom with both of my 2 kids (one in college, one in High School), I find great joy in the life God has laid before me.  By day, I’m a sales and marketing manager, rubbing elbows with many people in a 4 county area weekly. By night, I teach marketing courses online for two universities.  And in my free time (what free time you may ask), I enjoy singing with the 2|42 Community Church worship team and my position as a Youth Leader with the church’s High School group.

My journey to Love INC began nearly two years ago when at a leadership meeting for my church I was given a large sum of money to go out and bless those in need in our community.  I was excited for the opportunity until it hit me…..I don’t really know anyone in need, personally.  I’m very middle class and have been entrenched in work and in my two children’s lives as a single mom for nearly 9 years. So, I reached out to my friend, Lois, who told me about Love INC.  I researched their website and learned about their ministry in the community.  While on the site, I learned that they were looking for board members, particularly those who had marketing experience. So, here I am today.

People often ask me what Love INC does, but mission statements can be a little elusive, whether from a corporation or a non-profit. Take the Love INC mission statement; “to mobilize local Churches to transform lives and communities in the name of Christ”. This really is about the “C”hurch working together to provide basic needs to those struggling in Livingston County. That’s the large-C Church, the one that includes all of us, no matter what Christian denomination we profess.

The greatest thing about this is that we are following Jesus’ command to love others, care for the poor, widows and those imprisoned.  Jesus mobilized his followers, the Church, to care for those who needed help.  He didn’t call on Rome/Caesar to take care of those in need, he called on people…..Christ followers, to care for people.  How awesome would it be for the Church to be the conduit to help those in need AND to help those same people learn skills to get them on the path where they can help people!  That’s what Love INC does.  They help with immediate needs of the community who come to the Church for help and get those individuals connected to ministries within Livingston County churches that have the specific resources needed as well as provide tools that can help them help themselves, all in the name of Christ.


How can you help us in this adventure?  Pray for Love INC and partner churches as well as give of your time and resources to help in fundraising events to keep this ministry healthy and effective to our brothers and sisters in this community who are in need.  Don’t think you have time to help?  Re-read paragraph one…..God will provide whatever it is we lack. That’s His specialty!

Lisa Rozmarniewicz, Board Member

 



 

 

Invest Early, Invest Often

When people ask me about Love INC and my role as a member of the board, I usually joke and say, "it is because I am good at using the Internet!" But I always follow it up with, "it is because I care about this community".

I care about investment. I look around our community and see young people, families and the elderly. I know that my demographic is the one that needs to invest in building community that will last into the future. If my generation doesn’t engage in community building then who will? As what people refer to a “millennial” that puts me into a category that represents some of the most resourced people this world has ever seen. We have the ability to commit to a community to help them with physical needs and spiritual needs. Long gone are the days where we leave volunteering to the retirees and people with “free time.” We are in a time where investment comes early, without investment into the community where we live; we will not have the community we desperately want to see in the future. A community that cares, helps, and comes alongside each other in times of plenty as well as times of tragedy. Time and relationships are our best commodity. 

We as a generation have a responsibility to serve our communities, whether it is through an organization like Love INC, the church, or any of the other great non-profits in our community, we as a generation need to step up and be invested in our communities.

My role at Love INC is important to me because I believe in Love INC, I believe in the process of coming alongside someone in needs and resourcing them not just in a singular manner, but rather approaching them as a person and caring for their needs, whether they are spiritual or physical.

What is close to your heart?

 Aaron Smith, Board Member

Livingston County the Wealthiest….. Whaaaat??!!

Maybe you saw the article in the Livingston Daily on February 19th, 2015 about Livingston County being the wealthiest county in Michigan. To many it was not surprising, but to many people they were like --- “really, where is that wealth??!” It was interesting to read the research from 24/7 Wall Street, a website that publishes financial news and opinion content. They looked at the estimated median annual household income over five years, and Livingston County was found to be the wealthiest in Michigan. We have a median household income of $72,359. We also have 4.8% of households over $200,000 in income.

Comments on the article were amusing. Some were very proud of the label “Wealthiest County in Michigan”. Some were a little upset that Livingston County was found to be the wealthiest county in Michigan, they even started refuting the data and discussing whether it was per capita since their county has a much greater population.

Here’s the problem with all of this. As soon as you label Livingston County as the Wealthiest County in Michigan many people turn their head off as it relates to giving. Does the wealthiest county really have people that need help? Someone must already be taking care of them, right?

Pastor Brian Tweedie, of Cornerstone EPC, sees “lots of hidden poverty based on the number of people Cornerstone helps, and those that come for help.” And Pastor Don Weatherup, of Arise Church, routinely sees “that there are plenty of circumstances that can quickly turn the tide of an individual’s financial security. Some examples include divorce, job loss, prolonged illness, (and) death of a wage earner, just to name a few.”

Lots of people need help for a variety of reasons, and Love in the Name of Christ of the Greater Livingston Area (Love INC) helps in a special way. We work with more than 60 partner churches to provide basic needs. Our dedicated volunteers help people struggling in Livingston County by verifying needs, building relationships, and determining how resources are distributed, as well as offering prayer. In fact in 2014 Love INC, through our partner churches, met 3,122 needs utilizing 6,790 volunteers who donated 16,851 hours.

If you find yourself wanting to help you can do that in a number of ways. Money always helps, so you can donate via our website. You can also volunteer; on the phones with those who need help, in the office assisting with administrative work, or as a dedicated prayer person. Contact us and we can give you an orientation tour to see if this is a good fit for you. We provide all the training.

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress…” James 1:27

Blessings,

Katherine B. Janego

Executive Director

Love in the Name of Christ of

the Greater Livingston Area