Appeal from Houston Charity – CSM Center for Student Missions – Hurricane Ike Damages Housing Site

I received an urgent email update from our friends at CSM in Houston today:

Houston Hurricane Alert CSM Center for Student Missions

CSM Houston’s housing site lost it’s roof during Hurricane Ike. Many of you know that Houston was directly hit by Hurricane Ike. Many homes, businesses and churches were devastated by the double devastation of wind and water.

The CSM housing site was not spared Ike’s fury. Thank God that no one was home at the time of the hurricane, but the hurricane winds did peel off the roof of the gym building where teams shower and eat and where our seasonal staff are housed. Water came through windows and the roof, drenching rooms, furniture and floors. The church’s insurance adjuster estimates about a million dollars damage for the whole property. Because of the evacuation, when our Houston city leader Paul Randall could finally inspect the site, he discovered that mold had already developed. CSM helps ministries in need, but right now, CSM Houston needs your help.

In order to continue helping the city during the crises of Hurricane Ike’s aftermath, we will need to make extensive repairs to the CSM site. We will need to replace all of the furniture and appliances in the staff housing as well as make construction repairs and replace flooring, carpeting and paint the entire facility. Though insurance will cover the structural damage to the roof it will not cover our damage and loss. Please be in prayer for the Houston team as they begin the clean up. Pray, too, that teams will come to Houston to assist with the clean up. Ask God to bring hope and encouragement to the congregation that shares their facility so generously with us.

We’d also like to ask you consider giving a special gift now to help us rebuild our housing and assist our host congregation. CSM Houston has an immediate, critical need where you can make a significant impact. Please send your gift to CSM, P.O. 900, Dana Point, CA 92629-0900 or you can donate online at http://www.CSM.org/ Look under “Opportunities” and designate your gift in the note box. Your gift today will enable CSM to continue supporting our ministry partners in the city as they rebuild.We want to thank you for all of your heartfelt care and partnership with us at CSM as together we bring hope and transformation to often forgotten people for God’s sake.

Dan Reeve
CSM President
http://www.csm.org

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CSM Center for Student Missions also has a site in Toronto, who for many years have sent volunteers – more than 500 every year – to help Project417 with our Sandwich Runs to the Homeless out on the streets and many of those volunteers are here visiting from all over the United States, even Texas. They have helped us here in Toronto for so many years I hope people can be encouraged to return the blessing and help them in their time of need.  I’ll be visiting Houston for the next two weeks to help set up an Emergency Disaster Services warehouse to distribute personal items, emergency kits and food hampers. While I’m there I’ll do my best to meet with Paul Randall of CSM Houston and get an update on their progress. Check back to the MissionLog blog here often or visit our Facebook page. <><

==> More Hurricane Updates and Photos

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Divine Appointment in Toronto

Center for Student Missions

From the CSM Urban Update blog, the experiences of a student volunteer in Toronto. –

I wanted to share who I had my divine appointment with – While we were at one of the ministry sites in Toronto that work with participants who are mentally challenged. I got the chance to spend some time with a girl named “R”. I met her on the first afternoon we were there. I looked down and realized she had prominent scars all over her arms…”

It’s particularily moving to me because of the young woman she met, identified as “R” only to protect her identity. I’ve known “R” for years – first met her at an Out of the Cold program for street youth. She has been street involved and homeless since she was thirteen. She has endured a youth no one should have to face, and she bears scars in deeper places than just her arms.

I met a psychiatrist who worked in Chicago’s inner city with troubled youth. He told me the significance of scars due self-inflicted cuts: It is the major indicator of victims of child sexual abuse. From Wikipedia, self-injury or self harm is described – The illness is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR) as a symptom of borderline personality disorder and depressive disorders. It is sometimes associated with mental illness, a history of trauma and abuse including emotional abuse, sexual abuse … A study in 2003 found an extremely high prevalance of self-injury among 428 homeless and runaway youth (age 16 to 19) with 72% of males and 66% of females reporting a past history of self-mutilation. [Tyler, Kimberly A., Les B. Whitbeck, Dan R. Hoyt, and Kurt D. Johnson (2003), “Self Mutilation and Homeless Youth: The Role of Family Abuse, Street Experiences, and Mental Disorders”, Journal of Research on Adolescence 13 (4): 457–474

I include this technical background because although “R” is now a young woman, she has been on the street since she was a child in more than one Canadian city. Many more people than our organization have become familiar with her. This would of include coming to the “official” attention of the authorities. Why has everyone been so inneffective in helping her, how has she remained homeless for so long? As a teen, “R” was labelled by society as a “runaway” with all of the negative connotations that carries. In effect, most people would write her off as the author of her own condition. Far from it. “R” is a victim. She deserves better. I met her once on a street corner in Toronto, Spadina and Queen, where she was panhandling. She was in particularily bad shape that day, very high from her drug of choice at the time, which caused her to slur her words and made her body twitch uncontrollably.  When I arrived, she dragged herself up from the foot of the lightpole she was leaning against and, arms wide, asked for the only thing she has ever requested of me – a hug. Not the little, hihowareyou hugs we deliver in polite company, but a great big, bone crushing, head burying HUG.! It always cheers her up. Standing to one side were two semi-official looking people with those City of Tornto ID cards hanging around their necks. One had flashes from a private security company on his shoulders. He was “protection” for the city worker carrying a clipboard. Part of a new task force set-up by Toronto’s Streets to Homes programs to reduce panhandling. They were trying to interview “R” by asking a very long list of canned questions. They seemed oblivious to her state – as if she could be coherent while jonesin for a fix. After our hug, she turned to them and said, “I can’t talk to you now, Andy’s here. He saved my life”. After we talked for a while and I encouraged her to head for a woman’s shelter down the street, I left and went into a store at the corner to buy her bottled water. Her lips were cracked and bleeding she was so dehydrated. As I brought it back to her, the city social worker was back at it again, making little check marks on her clipboard survey. How those little pen strokes were supposed to bring healing to “R”, I’ll never know. She certainly deserves better.

Thanks to all the volunteers who come and meet people like “R” on their home turf. You bring with you a very precious commodity: love!
CSM brings hundreds of volunteers out to Project417 to take part in sandwich runs to the homeless on the streets of Toronto every year. Visit them at csm.org or donate to “R” at project417.com

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