Today, I want to step away from my usual style of telling stories of how we find Jesus here among our friends. I’d like to bring you up to date on some of what we see Jesus doing on East Colfax and ask you to pray with us about both our challenges and our opportunities.THE FRIEND FURNITURE BUILDING:A couple months ago I shared the story of the Friend Furniture Building, how I had started praying over it my first day on Colfax, and how God had miraculously opened a door for us to have it under contract. Even more amazing is that God provided the $400,000 we needed to close (thanks to the Christian Reformed Church Properties Committee) and the closing was a month ago. That happened about three months earlier than I was planning on. So celebrate the purchase with us!Our dream is to use the building for a ministry center that would gather 6-8 ministries that have a love for Jesus and a heart to serve among the poor in a wide range of ways. For Jesus on Colfax, we are especially looking forward to having a “living room” feel to part of the building for our motel friends to have a place to hang out. Other than their rooms and the street, they have no safe place to go. But we see much more than that. The building is big, nearly 24,000 square feet, and we envision everything from job-training to counseling services to medical and dental clinics to artist space to youth and children’s ministries space. Most of all, this will be a place of Jesus’ light in the middle of one of the darkest stretches of pavement in the Denver Metro area.

Pray with us about this project as it comes with sizable challenges. We need financial and physical help to remodel the space. I expect that we will need to raise a couple million dollars for that. We also need ministry partners to come into the space with us. Pray that God will provide all of that. The needs are large, the opportunity larger, but our God is larger still!

OUR MOTEL FRIENDS: Our circle of friends continues to grow as does the team of people who come with us to love them. We have a team of about 15 who are actively involved and are just moving to serve into a couple of new motels, meaning that we will have a weekly presence in 5-6 motels along with many contacts in many more.What we see as we befriend people is a striking contrast between the beauty of who they are and the stunning brokenness in their lives. We see Jesus at work all the time, though change comes slowly here. At the same time, the pain of it all forces us to our knees to pray for them.Pray with us for this world. Pray especially for our friends, that they would find healing from trauma and mental illness, that they could break the cycle of addiction, and that they could find stability in their lives. Pray that Jesus would continue to be real to them. Pray too for our team as we move in and out of this world. Pray for discernment, patience and the grace to be Jesus here. Thank God that we receive every bit as much as we give in this world. Pray especially for a couple of our friends who are battling health issues. We expect that some may not last through the winter.

LIFE AT THE RANGER MOTEL:Over the last months, we have slowly begun to move some of our friends into the Ranger, the motel Diane and I live in. That allows us to keep an eye on them and also provide the beginnings of a Christian community. We would love to see that expand. Many of our friends simply do better when they are around us and around others who are also trying to stabilize their lives. If we could, we would love to fill many of the 55 rooms at the Ranger with friends like them.The challenges to making that happen are also large. We are in the beginning stages of thinking about approaching larger foundations for a grant that would allow us to subsidize room rent. Many simply do not have the financial ability to fully pay for a room. Our dream would be to assist them and then build a variety of support pieces that would help them grow in responsibility for their lives, find healing and hope in Christian community and also find pathways that would allow them to work and give back to others.Pray for a financial pathway that would allow this dream to continue to grow, even if it is one small step at a time. Pray also for partners who would see this as an opportunity to work with us.While there is much more I could share, let me leave it there for now. We are grateful to be serving here, grateful for our friends, grateful for our team members and grateful for all of you for partnering with us as we serve here along East Colfax. Your prayers have already carried us a long distance but we have a long way to go.

Pray with us!

Blessings, Shawn and Diane