What 14 men had to say recently about their homelessness in Idaho Falls

  1. “I felt hopeless and worthless.  It was like being in a hole I couldn’t get out of.  No one would give me a chance to get back up.”
  2. “I felt out of control.  Very humbled.”
  3. “Homelessness was the worst experience I’ve ever had to go through.  Always tired, hungry, sense of hopelessness.  I’d never wish homelessness on my worst enemy.”
  4. “I felt lost, hopeless, and inconvenient to people . . .”
  5. “I would just like to say that the Lord will provide shelter and rest as long as we are faithful.”
  6. “Being homeless was a very humbling experience.  It made more grateful for the things I had afterward.  It made me appreciate and rethink my life and the things I was doing.”
  7. “I had it all on April 20.  By the 21st I had lost it all, due to my landlord.  I will bounce back due to God’s power.”
  8. “The people in this community are genuinely good, caring people.  But we often don’t want to recognize the homelessness struggle that is in this area.  Drugs, alcohol, and other substances can play a role, but there are also low wages, difficult steps for assistance, and discrimination in housing.  We as a community can make a difference.  We just need to recognize it and act.”
  9. “I had fallen into a huge pit.  I was lost with no hope, but He is helping me to find the light on my darkest of nights.
  10. “My feelings of homelessness:  Scared, not knowing what is next, hopelessness, and wanting something better.”
  11. “Me and my girlfriend slept and lived in a van for a summer.  Being homeless is real in Idaho Falls.”
  12. “I felt hopeless, lost, worthless, and scared.  No one wants or likes me.  I felt like it didn’t matter if I was alive or dead.  Always looking for better but never finding anything better.”
  13. “Indeed, there is an issue with the homeless people.  There are a lot of underlying issues that we as a community should come together and help deal with.”
  14. “I felt empty, alone like no one wanted to lend a hand because of my past.  A hole that’s too deep to climb out of.  I felt if I fell I wouldn’t be able to get back up!  Lost in a world of darkness . . .”

October 10, 2018, is World Homelessness Day.

 

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Mercy in the Margins (October – 2018)

During the month of September, I have been learning to trust that the Lord is my good Shepherd and that I shall not want. I can acknowledge the writings by David in Psalm 23, but how much am I experiencing the reality of this in my own life and for those to whom I minister to on the streets?  I am desiring to trust the Savior more fully.  I deeply need Him.

Here are some of the highlights from September: 
  • September 1:  I oversaw the renewal of wedding vows for Ron & Louis Vance (their 50th anniversary) on the River Walk downtown.
  • September 2: I began a new sermon series, “Our Shepherd & His Providential Care,” on Sunday evenings at Providence Downtown Church.
  • September 5: Thirteen ministers gathered together for a ministry luncheon at the City of Refuge.
  • September 7: I started Hebrew class with Pastor Beau Floyd of Emmaus Road Church.
  • September 8: Ten of us from the Idaho Falls Rescue Mission went to the Eastern Idaho Fair and Demolition Derby in Blackfoot, Idaho.
  • September 9: Picture night at Providence Downtown.  We ended up holding our worship service in the downtown Civitan Plaza.  This particular Sunday marked our six months of ministry as a church family.
  • September 10:  What a joy to celebrate the first day of Rosh Hashanah, the beginning of the Jewish new year.
  • September 11: I joined seven other pastors at Cop Church.  We thanked all our first responders in attendance and remembered those who died on 9/11.
  • September 13: We had Pastor Phil Hagen, First Presbyterian Church, as a guest speaker for our IFRM staff breakfast.
  • September 15: The executive director of the Shepherd’s Inn, a ministry for pregnant mothers, gave me a tour of their facility.
  • September 16:  I preached out of Galatians for the morning service at First Evangelical Lutheran Church. I spent the afternoon in ministry at the Bonneville County Jail, ministering to approximately 25 men.
  • September 17: This day marks the completion of three years of ministry with the Idaho Falls Rescue Mission.
  • September 18:  The beginning of a fast with Jews at sundown – Yom Kippur.  That night I also attended the Imani Milele Children’s Choir Concert at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church.
  • September 20: We were a part of a beautiful reconciliation of an adult son with his sister and mother at the Idaho Falls Rescue Mission.
  • September 23:  Providence Water Baptism Service at the Apple Athletic Club.  We listened to Ginger sing a song of worship to the Father, and then she was baptized.
  • September 24:  Celebration of the first day of Sukkot – Jewish Feast of the Tabernacles.
  • September 29-30: Attendance at the FELC Men’s Retreat with Pastor Patrick Jones at Old Faithful Christian Ranch.  Sunday was a full day:  (1) Beautiful, early 8:30 am service and communion at the camp, (2) 11:00 am worship service at Grace Baptist Church in Rexburg, (3) afternoon ministry at the Bonneville County Jail, and then (4) evening 6:45 pm service with the beloved Providence Downtown Church family.
Would you like to contribute financially on a monthly basis to my missionary work?  Here are three ways: (1) Send the contribution to my home church, Emmaus Road Church, and mark it as “missionary fund for Todd Wood”; (2) Address mission support to Providence Downtown Church in care of my name as well, or (3) You are welcome to give directly to me.  For the month of September, I received $1,450 in monthly support.  Thank you so much!
On the home front:  
It has been a lot of fun to watch our youngest son compete in Cross Country meets.  It reminds me of my senior year in high school when I ran Cross Country. It is a grueling sport but a great way to get in shape.
Prayer requests: 
  1. Pray that I might be able to increase my monthly mission support.
  2. Pray for our five men in the Idaho Falls Rescue Mission Works Program.  Two of the men will be graduating on November 17.
  3. Pray for God’s strength to uphold men and women when they fall to temptation.
  4. Pray for a Christian brother at the Mission who spent a day in family reconciliation with his mother and sister.
  5. Pray for God’s blessing and Christian growth for the sister who was recently baptized.

My three main ministry objectives:

  1. Be a servant missionary-pastor with Providence Downtown Church that specifically ministers to the incarcerated, the addicted, the homeless, and impoverished.  It is a church ministering and bringing mercy to those in the margins.
  2. Minister as a chaplain with the Idaho Falls Rescue Mission: (1) Encouraging and partnering with local and regional churches, (2) Discipling IFRM staff, volunteers, and residents, and providing pastoral prayer, encouragement, counsel, Biblical preaching, and teaching, and (3) Assisting with discipleship components for the IFRM Work’s Program.
  3. Be a blessing to the local church families.
May Jesus reign as King!
roots by the river,
Todd Wood (downtown missionary)

 

 

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Mercy in the Margins (September – 2018)

Hi all,

We have been enjoying the sweetness of fresh apples, plums, and peaches from the trees.  Fall weather is approaching, one of our favorite times of the year.  We love the temperatures, the colors, and the harvest.  God’s providence is evident everywhere.

By the way, Happy Jewish New Year!  Rosh Hashanah!

Here are some of the highlights from August: 
  • August 1:  Ministry luncheon at the City of Refuge – great fellowship with seven ministers.
  • August 5: I listened to a sermon by my cousin, Pastor Bon Puckett at Well in the Wilderness Church in Christmas Valley, Oregon.
  • August 7-8: spent time with Pastor Dennis Rogers and his family in Pullman, Washington
  • August 10: Visited Pastor Joe Lacy in Rexburg, Idaho and my sister, Susie, working at The Cocoa Bean in Rexburg, Idaho
  • August 19:  Afternoon ministry at the Bonneville County Jail
  • August 23: Big neighborhood barbecue picnic at Troy Park
  • August 25: an 80th birthday celebration for a special lady, Margaret Warner, member of Berean Baptist Church
  • August 26:  attended the 60th anniversary of Gethsemane Baptist Church, and then drove to an afternoon barbecue at Grace Baptist Church to hear Mark Matthews preach
  • August 30: Dinner together for Providence elders and wives in ministry
Would you like to contribute financially on a monthly basis to my missionary work?  Here are three ways: (1) Send the contribution to my home church, Emmaus Road Church, and mark it as “missionary fund for Todd Wood”; (2) Address mission support to Providence Downtown Church in care of my name as well, or (3) You are welcome to give directly to me.  For the month of August, I received $842 in monthly support.  Thank you so much!
On the home front:  We took a quick extended weekend trip to Oregon to be with relatives, and then we dropped off our youngest daughter, Mariah, up north at the University of Idaho.  We miss her much and pray that she will be blessed.
Prayer requests: 
  1. Pray for our daughter, Mariah, that she will be blessed with Christian fellowship in her new college environment.
  2. Pray for me as I preach a Sunday evening series for September on “Our Shepherd and His Providential Care”.
  3. Pray for my Bible studies every Monday morning with the guys at the Idaho Falls Rescue Mission.
  4. Pray for the afternoon ministry at the Bonneville County Jail on September 16.
  5. Pray for a Christian sister at Providence Downtown Church who will be baptized on September 23.
  6. I have enrolled in a Hebrew class taught by Pastor Beau Floyd of Emmaus Road Church.  Pray that I can get a good grasp of the Old Testament biblical language.
  7. Pray as I seek to launch an 8-week reading group where we read the entire New Testament.

My three main ministry objectives:

  1. Be a servant missionary-pastor with Providence Downtown Church that specifically ministers to the incarcerated, the addicted, the homeless, and impoverished.  It is a church ministering and bringing mercy to those in the margins.
  2. Minister as a chaplain with the Idaho Falls Rescue Mission: (1) Encouraging and partnering with local and regional churches, (2) Discipling IFRM staff, volunteers, and residents, and providing pastoral prayer, encouragement, counsel, Biblical preaching, and teaching, and (3) Assisting with discipleship components for the IFRM Work’s Program.
  3. Be a blessing to the local church families.
May Jesus reign as King!
roots by the river,
Todd Wood (downtown missionary)

 

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Mercy in the Margins (August – 2018)

Hi all,

It has been a spectacular season for water baptisms.  Since March, we have had seventeen people follow the Lord in water baptism, buried in the likeness of Christ’s death and raised to newness of life.  We celebrate the hope, grace, and peace found in Jesus.

Here are some of the highlights from July: 
  • July 1:  Worshiped with Emmaus Road Church family in the morning; afternoon Providence water baptism service (4 brothers) in the downtown river
  • July 6-7: Overnight at Red Cliff Bible Camp in Pinedale, Wyoming; celebrated 26 years of service for Dean Loftus as director of the camp
  • July 8: Preached in the morning service at River of Life Church
  • July 12: IFRM staff breakfast with Pastor Warren Cuppy teaching the devotion; afternoon visit to the Community Info/Resource Fair to discuss the reducing of inmate recidivism.
  • July 13:  Charles Hale, a recent brother baptized, took the evening to share his testimony at Providence Downtown Church
  • July 22: Worshiped with the Berean Baptist Church family in the morning; afternoon Providence water baptism service (2 sisters, 3 brothers)
  • July 29: Preached in the morning service at Eagle Rock Baptist Church

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Mercy in the Margins (July – 2018)

Hi all,
I praise God for Berean Baptist Church taking me on as a downtown missionary!  God is good and gracious.  It is an honor to be partnering together with the Berean family.  I am thankful for the love, prayers, and support of both Emmaus Road Church and Berean Baptist Church in Idaho Falls.
We are halfway through the year in ministry at the Idaho Falls Rescue Mission.  I would estimate that approximately 50 men and 25 women have attended morning Bible studies at the City of Refuge (men’s shelter) and Ruth House (women’s shelter) so far in 2018.  We are thankful for every gospel seed that is sown in the soil of human hearts.
Concerning Providence Downtown Church, we are four months into this new faith adventure.  We meet on Sunday nights, 6:45 pm, in the downtown historic Rogers Building at 320 B Street. We go high in our prayers (for mercy in the margins); we go deep in our study and discipleship (roots by the river), and we go broad in our fellowship (Jesus in Idaho Falls).  Approximately 145 people have worshipped in our services since the beginning, and thirty people form a core nucleus.  We have touched the lives of over one hundred men who are incarcerated, teaching in the local jail and mailing out discipleship materials.  There is so much need, and yet we have barely scratched the surface.  Please pray. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, I am down at the Idaho Falls Rescue Mission.  On Sundays, Mondays, and Thursdays, I am around the city, striving to be a missionary for the King.  Call me.  Connect with me.  Let us partner together to see the Lord lifted up in our midst.
Here are some of the highlights from June

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Mercy in the Margins (June – 2018)

Hi all,

I visited Fulton Street in downtown Manhattan. A little over 160 years ago, a gentleman named Jeremiah Lanphier, called for a noonday prayer.  And this led to a great spiritual awakening.  I have been thinking about prayer meetings today which by God’s grace can spark similar movements.  Let us faithfully gather collectively for prayer.

Here are some of the highlights from May Continue reading

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Mercy in the Margins (May – 2018)

Hi all

Providence Downtown Church (Facebook Page) has just finished its second month of ministry.  We rejoice over what God is doing in men and women’s lives.  The Idaho Falls Rescue Mission (Facebook Page) recently had another gentleman graduate from the Works Program.  Emmaus Road Church (Facebook Page) has seen new levels of spiritual growth.  And our city and Southeast Idaho region have been experiencing renewed touches of God’s blessing.  The signs of spring are everywhere.  May Jesus be glorified!

Here are some of the highlights from April

  • April 1:  On Easter Sunday, my sister, Debbie Falconer, shared her testimony of faith in the midst of the fire.  Fifty-four people were in attendance at Providence Downtown Church.
  • April 4: Fourteen servants of Jesus gathered for lunch at the City of Refuge to share and pray.
  • April 8: I had the great privilege to preach in the morning service at First Evangelical Lutheran Church while Pastor Jason Ginsburg was out of town. Later in the day, Providence Downtown Church had a baptismal service at Berean Baptist Church.  Six men were baptized.  Great joy!!  And we loved the fellowship with Pastor Ken Feliciano and the Berean brothers and sisters.  Also, I love Berean’s new website!  Well done, indeed!
  • April 10: Upper Valley Pastors’ Morning Breakfast and Fellowship in Ashton, Idaho
  • April 12:  Visited with missionaries to Asia, Tim and Laura Berrey and their six children (Live With A Mission).  It was terrific to see my old friend.
  • April 13:  Salvation of a brother in a downtown coffee shop.
  • April 14: Graduation ceremony for Benjamin Nielson from the IFRM Works Program.
  • April 15: Afternoon ministry to the inmates at the Bonneville County Jail.
  • April 17:  Warriors For Truth Pastor’s Fellowship.
  • April 22:  We listened to Peter Vasquez of Second Chance Ministries in Fort Hall, Idaho.  In the evening, Chris Anderson shared his testimony at Providence Downtown Church.
  • April 28:  We enjoyed fellowship as we watched the movie, Paul, Apostle of Christ.
  • April 29:  Afternoon ministry at the Bonneville County Jail.  In the evening, two men were baptized in the river at South Tourist Park.  A glorious celebration!

Would you like to contribute financially on a monthly basis to my missionary work?  Here are three ways: (1) Send the contribution to my home church, Emmaus Road Church, and mark it as “missionary fund for Todd Wood”; (2) Address mission support to Providence Downtown Church in care of my name as well, or (3) You are welcome to give directly to me.  For the month of April, I received $1550 in ongoing monthly support and $150 in special gifts.  Thank you so much!

On the home front: My sister Debbie Falconer and her four kids spent a week in Idaho Falls.  What a blessing!  In upcoming days, we will see our oldest son, Elon, receive his college diploma.  And our youngest daughter, Mariah, will be graduating from Skyline High School.

Prayer requests:

  1. Pray for a great gathering this Thursday, May 3, on the National Day of Prayer.
  2. Please pray for the staff and residents of the Idaho Falls Rescue Mission.  Pray for an upcoming mission trip, May 19-21, to the Union Gospel Rescue Mission of Missoula, Montana.
  3. Please pray for Downtown Providence Church, Emmaus Road Church, Berean Baptist Church, and all the other smaller church families seeking to be a vibrant witness to the gospel of Jesus in Idaho Falls.
  4. Please pray for restored health for my brother-in-law, Pastor Joe Lacy, in Rexburg, Idaho.

My three main ministry objectives: 

  1. Be a servant pastor with Providence Downtown Church that specifically ministers to the incarcerated, the addicted, the homeless, and impoverished.  It is a church ministering to those in the margins.
  2. Minister as a chaplain with the Idaho Falls Rescue Mission:  (1) Encouraging and partnering with local and regional churches, (2) Discipling IFRM staff, volunteers, and residents, and providing pastoral prayer, encouragement, counsel, Biblical preaching, and teaching,  and (3) Assisting with discipleship components for the IFRM Work’s Program.
  3. Be a blessing to the Emmaus Road Church and seek to be an encouragement to the other local church families.

Thank you all for taking a moment to read this update.

roots by the river,

Todd Wood (downtown missionary)

 

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