On July 22, 2023, Monroe Adventist Church collaborated for the first time with Project Love, a felt-needs event held at New Hope Fellowship. Twice a year, local groups come together to freely offer much-needed items to families and individuals who struggle to find housing and support themselves.
Monroe Church provided personal hygiene items for guests to choose from and a meal coordinated by Jemimah Evans in an epic display of Jesus’ counsel: “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me” (Matt. 25:35–36). Monroe Church interpreted this text as, “When I was dirty you gave me toiletries so I could be washed clean and be refreshed.”
Roger Evans, New Hope Fellowship outreach coordinator, and Melissa Clark and Jessica Tedeschi, Project Love founders, are passionate about reaching the unhoused and meeting community needs. They personally relate with the people they serve as they themselves experienced homelessness and addiction in the past. Their lives were turned around when they were introduced to Jesus; now they serve to make a difference in the lives of others.
Jesus is interested in the well-being of the whole person, both the internal and the external. Personal hygiene kits are simply a collection of items used to cleanse bodies on the outside, but they serve as a powerful metaphor to the cleansing Jesus offers on the inside — the mind and spiritual heart. The free soap and shampoo the church provided cleanse the skin, but Jesus provides the love, care and compassion that cleanse and transform the heart freely to all who receive Him.
To His chosen people who represent Him to the world, God says, “Free those who are wrongly imprisoned … Share your food with the hungry and give shelter to the homeless. Give clothes to those who need them … help those in trouble. Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon” (Isa. 58:6–10).
It matters to God that His chosen people serve and meet felt needs, and it matters to God how they represent Him, shining His light to expel the darkness.