I share greetings of the Lord’s grace and peace to you all. This is the first of my monthly updates, entitled “Mercy in the Margins”. My life passage in the Bible is Isaiah 61:1-3. It’s fitting because my first name, Elon, is in this Hebrew text. Secondly, for a year and half now, I have been ministering as a servant of Jesus among those who are homeless; those who have had very difficult backgrounds filled with personal heartache, and those who are held captive by addiction. This is a big mission field in Idaho Falls. When one considers men, women, and children in the Bonneville County Jail, the homeless shelters of the Idaho Falls Rescue Mission, and low-income housing, my desire is to see the miraculous gospel of Jesus Christ abound in the midst of this community and then to see them embraced by Christ’s Church and serving the King.
A little over three weeks ago, I approached the Executive Director of the Idaho Falls Rescue Mission about my idea to launch out as a chaplain on missionary status. My specific mission is partnering IFRM with Jesus’ Church in Idaho Falls and the Southeastern Idaho region to disciple the marginalized so that they, in turn, may disciple others for the glory of God. And I break this down into four main objectives:
- Partner IFRM with local churches
- Ongoing discipleship among IFRM staff, volunteers, and residents
- Provide pastoral prayer, encouragement, counsel, and Biblical preaching and teaching
- Help facilitate discipleship components for the Idaho Falls Rescue Mission and the future Renewed Life Recovery Program
My first church family to share this vision will be with those beloved to me in Idaho Falls, the Berean Baptist Church, on Sunday, March 19. If your church family has questions on how to bring Jesus to those trapped in low income jobs on the verge of homelessness, fighting mental struggles, battling addiction, or deeply hurting, give me a call. I would love to partner with you.
Some quick highlights from the trenches
- Currently, I case manage eighteen men.
- I am leading a half dozen weekly Bible studies and devotionals in small groups.
- We have seen four baptisms of residents in the local churches.
- And I am delighted to be involved in a new church plant along the river in Idaho Falls, Emmaus Road Church.
On the home front
- I have the gift of mercy, but my wife has twice the amount of this grace giftedness.
- Our oldest son and daughter are attending colleges on the other side of the country, and our youngest daughter and son attend Skyline High School.
My Prayer Requests
- In my observations, every homeless man and women needs a friend.
- Every resident who lives in one of the IFRM shelters and worshiping with a church needs a spiritual mentor within that Christian family. We need much training on discipleship.
- My first goal is to partner with ten churches.
roots by the river,