Yesterday I delivered some of our “Warming Ears” fleece hats to a mission in the West Side of Grand Rapids called Matthew’s House. I had never taken a delivery before, so I asked my good friend Rose to come with me. In addition to providing moral support, Rose belongs to a Bible Study with the director of the mission, Pastor George Werkema.
Matthew’s House gets its name from Matthew 9:10: “While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples.” The door is open to all who need help of any kind. The neat white building on the corner of 7th Street and Alpine is set up like a comfortable coffeehouse where people can come and get moral as well as physical support.
When you first enter, large round tables invite you to sit and have a cup of coffee with your neighbors. Bookcases are filled with reading materials as well as games and toys. Baskets near the front hold items people can take, such as toiletries and clothing. In the back corner of the great room, three computers with internet access are available. These computers are used for computer literacy classes as well as job searches and resume writing.
In the next room, people have free use of a washer and dryer, as well as a shower. As one of the women there told us, “When I’m clean on the outside, I feel better about myself, and then I’m more able to accept the help I need to stay clean inside.” A quiet gentleman told us he went through a period where he was unable to pay his utility bills, so he came to Matthew’s House every day to shower and stay warm. Both of these people provided wonderful testimonies to the helping hand they received through this mission.
Students in the neighborhood can come to Matthew’s House for tutoring and mentoring. Adult education classes in skills such as knitting and crafting are also offered, and a beautician comes regularly to give free haircuts. Pastor George told me he doesn’t have an agenda for what happens there, but the gifts people bring and the needs that arise are what drive the events.
As with all faith-based ministries, the need is great. There are many ways we can work together to ease this need. Go to their website at http://matthews-house.org/home for information about this wonderful place. The “Services” page lists ways you can help. I know the Warm Ears Ministry will be back with more hats as the days get colder.