Hello, hello. I am Steve Kimes and I’ve posted a few comments, but I’ve just had the opportunity to join this infamous group, so I figured I’d take the time to write a few paragraphs about me, as an introduction.
First of all, I wasn’t raised Mennonite/Anabaptist. I actually wasn’t raised Christian. I came to the Anabaptist fold via conservative evangelicalism. My career choice was missions, specifically working with the poor in Bangladesh, after a missions trip in Calcutta and Bangladesh for six months. However, God led my wife and I to work with the homeless in Portland, OR instead.
But, since our background was missions, we approached doing homeless ministry from a missions perspective. So we invited the homeless to our home, trying to understand their culture and ways. We try to love them within their culture, rather than bringing them out of their culture, trying to teach and demonstrate how to live for Jesus as a homless and/or mentally ill person rather than just as a middle class person.
Since we noticed that fellowship and Christian community was difficult for most homeless and mentally ill believers, we created a church community that was specifically made for those groups, where they would feel comfortable. This has proved pretty successful, having now three cell groups (and just beginning a fourth) with about a hundred people a week coming. We also offer meals, showers, clothes– especially socks!– and a place where the outcast feel welcome.
If you’d like to know more about our work, you can check out our website at www.anawim.or.us.mennonite.net
Anyway, I look forward to participating here!