2012 Year
in Review
NEWS & NOTES
A look back at the past year of 2012

Thank You
We are so grateful for the role you played in helping us reach hungry, homeless and hurting individuals in our community in 2012. As we look back and count our blessings, we have to say that we did not know it would be so overwhelming at times. We began this journey making 48 meals in our kitchen, juggling full-time jobs and family, while feeling called to help people recognize who God created them to be. We are deeply appreciative of the support from volunteers, donors and friends. Please accept our apology if you did not receive a returned phone call, a response on Facebook, a reply to an email or were not recognized for your time, talents or donation. It was never our intention for anyone's kindness to fall through the cracks of technology or get lost in the craziness of us just trying to keep up. By all means, keep those encouraging words coming even if we are not able to reply as timely as we'd like.
40,000 Meals
How much is a life worth? Is it worth $1.25 a week? That is the actual costs for each of the "Happy Meals" that we deliver every Thursday to individuals and families living in area motels. We are currently delivering 800 "Happy Meals" per week, and that only reaches 20 of the 35 weekly and extended-stay motels. Of those meals, 200-300 go to families with children. Some claim that the meal itself, the contact with caring people, and/or the resource information sheet have saved their lives. Earlier this year, a woman came up to us with tears in her eyes and told us how thankful she was for the meals and our volunteers each week. She said that she doesn't usually eat the applesauce cups that we include with our meals, but instead places them next to her bed to give away later. As a diabetic, she had let her blood sugar get so low that she was dangerously close to slipping into a coma. Living alone in a motel room and too weak to get out of bed to give herself an insulin shot, the only thing she had within reach that could help her were those applesauce cups. After eating the applesauce her blood sugar level came up enough for her to get out of bed and take her insulin. She said that the applesauce, and the meal it came in, saved her life. We will have delivered or served over 40,000 meals in 2012 with the help of hundreds of volunteers representing over 30 churches and organizations. With that level of compassion-in-action, I wonder how many other lives were saved? We started this year with a night of prayer at Jesus Was Homeless' new home, the "Living Room." Our volunteers and those we serve prayed over the hundreds of names and prayer requests written on the floor, then prayed that this location would be a place that people in all their brokenness could feel safe to gather, develop relationships and begin to explore God.
Branson Tornado

Just as we were settling in to the Living Room, Branson took a direct hit from an EF-2 tornado on Leap Day. When Amy and I heard reports that the heaviest hit areas were on West Highway 76 by Wal-Mart (which is directly across the street from the Living Room) and that many of the weekly and extended stay motels to which we deliver "Happy Meals" were badly damaged, our hearts sank. We were fearful that many of our friends had been badly injured (or worse), and that our new location had been destroyed. When we arrived to look at the damage, we were in awe of God's grace and protection. The Living Room was protected on the back side of the strip mall, sustaining only broken glass. The most amazing miracle of all was that there had been no significant injuries, just some cuts and bruises, among our friends whose motels were hit by the tornado. Just days after the storm, we set up our grill in the Wal-Mart parking lot, cooked hamburgers and hotdogs, and distributed toiletry items and blankets for two days, then delivered any extras to those that were displaced. Despite the chaos of not having power, broken glass and the streets closed by the National Guard, we didn't miss a single Thursday of meal-making or delivery thanks to all of our volunteers.
Gateway Branson Church

 This year we launched Gateway Branson Internet Campus, "church for people who don't like church, where no perfect people are allowed," through our partnership with Gateway Church in Austin, TX.   With their guidance, encouragement, and messages designed specifically for first-time visitors or those who feel hurt by church in the past, we had seven baptisms this fall and that is seven more people committed to Christ that may not have ever even gone to church before Gateway Branson! Every Sunday, we provide a free, hot breakfast and transportation for 75-100 people that would not go to a traditional church. We believe we need to meet the physical need (in this case, hunger) so that God can meet the spiritual need. Through innovative approaches and monthly service projects, we are seeing lives transformed as the ones being served are now becoming the servants.  To learn more visit www.gatewaybranson.org
Our Programs
 

Our other programs and ministries have grown in 2012, and new adventures have begun:

* Our Tuesday night LIFE SUPPORT Discussion Group provides transportation for more than75 people and a free, hot meal (provided by volunteers). This is a great opportunity for people to get connected in supportive relationships with others, process struggles in safe environment and explore God.

 

* In May, we began a 16-week program entitled "GO...And Make Disciples". During this time, we taught individuals how to become a disciple where they live, work and play, and the biblical foundations for how to reach people that are far from God.

 

* We hosted five "Love Your Neighbors" barbecues this summer, with live music, enough burgers and hotdogs to feed 300-400 people provided by Famous Dave's BBQ, and ice to keep everything else cool even on the hottest days provided by Mr. Ice Man.

 

* In partnership with other organizations, we provided transportation, a hot lunch and workshops focused on real-life issues, such as Addiction & Recovery (with Church Army Branson), Relationship Repair (with the National Institute of Marriage) and a Special Spa Day for ladies (with The Caring People), all to help people move forward, gain life skills, and feel empowered and valued.

 

* Our 5th Annual "Love Your Neighbors" Thanksgiving Day Dinner saw over 500 volunteers offer smiling faces, hugs and genuine conversation to more than 850 individuals who came for the meal. We were again blessed by local businesses and organizations that helped with donations of clothing, toiletry items and food.

 

* The Yellow Bike Shop relocated to the Living Room, where we continue to provide bikes at three area weekly and extended-stay motels. The bikes are free to use 24-hours a day, seven days a week, for the residents of the motels. Individuals in need of their own bike for primary transportation can obtain one through our "Earn-a-Bike" program.   After two years of collecting data, we believe there is a strong case for a bicycle transportation program in Branson. However, we are praying for another group or organization to lead that effort and take over the Yellow Bike Program so that we can focus on those efforts/ministries that most closely align with our mission.  
Our Videos

Changed Lives

Changed Lives

Meal Deliveries Before Christmas
Meal Deliveries Before Christmas
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
Making a Difference
 We can't begin to say how thankful we are for your amazing generosity this year! We have seen so many individuals and organizations rally on our behalf with food drives, miniature golf tournaments, music jams and so much more. One of our long-time volunteers, Jodelle Fitzwater, traveled 32 miles across Table Rock Lake standing on a paddle board as a fundraiser for us. She also donated proceeds from a cookbook she published to Jesus Was Homeless and collected hundreds of jars of peanut butter for those living in the motels. Additionally, we were one of the beneficiaries of money raised through Centurylink's Backpack Buddies/Feed the Children Food Drive. With Centurylink committed to matching every $1.00 raised for Jesus Was Homeless and Christian Action Ministries with up to $6.00, your generosity resulted in over $99,000 to be used in our community to help provide meals to those living in weekly and extended stay motels.

 

All of this was accomplished with only one part-time paid person and thousands of volunteer hours. We are so grateful and humbled by the blessings of this year, and are fully aware that 2013 will present its own challenges - both financially and in relation to our mission. We will continue to actively reach those that are hungry, hurting, homeless, and show them a God who is passionately in love with them. We will serve others and offer the hope, love and compassion that can only come from Jesus, but we will need your help to do it. Your financial gift, literally, changes lives by offering hope. We have seen, time and again, that without hope people will turn to alcohol and drugs, crime, immorality and selfishness to try to numb the pain of life. Your tax-deductible donations, your volunteer time, and your prayers are what have made a difference in countless lives thus far. Working to reach those that are far from God takes time, but we are seeing the fruit start to blossom and together we are making a difference in this community. I invite you to continue to be a part of this journey by investing in our efforts to change lives one meal at a time!

 

May you be blessed with God's grace and peace in the coming year, 

 

Bryan and Amy Stallings

Founders, Jesus Was Homeless 

 

P.S. For more details on dates and times of our programs and events, to see photos from 2012 or to learn about other ways that you can become involved with Jesus Was Homeless, find us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter or visit our website at www.jesuswashomeless.org.

 

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Volunteer Representation

Arvest Bank * Branson Bank * Branson United Methodist Church

Brookeside Church * Church Army Branson * Closer Walk Christian

Church Community of Christ * Cowboy Church with Norma Jean

Cross Creek Community Church * Faith & Wisdom Church * Faith Life Church

First Baptist Church of Ozark * First Baptist of Biloxi * First Baptist of Branson

First Baptist of Conway * First Baptist of Kimberling City

First Baptist of Omaha, AR * First Christian Church

First Nazarene * First Presbyterian * Forest Park * Friendly Baptist Church

Gateway Church * Gateway Branson * Grace Community Church

Hurley Baptist Church * James River * Liberty Bank * Life Christian Center

Life Song United Methodist Church * Mt. Branson Christian * New Beginnings

Omaha Church of Christ * OMCC * Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church

Pointe Royal * Praise & Worship * Second Baptist Church * Skyline

The Caring Cupcakes * The Carpenters House * The River

Tri-Lakes Christian Church * Tri-Lakes Church * Woodland Hills

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176 Summerbrooke Lane, Branson, MO 65616 417.335.9915