A long time ago I started on a journey of enlightenment by growing up in a small farm town in Iowa. Over the years I have always had fortune to be blessed by the friendships and the small town education offered to all of us who grew up there. The steppingstones of life gave us a special chronological experience of love, peace, joy and hope. Each of us growing up in the community never seemed to be discouraged from daydreaming of what might be possible in our lives. While being part of the baby boomer years our schools were robust with enrollments. My town had a population of 6,000 people. Education was a primary focus for this small town’s strategic plan like all towns across America. As enrollments grew elementary schools saw the shifting of boundary lines for attendance. Even in such a small town I like many others attended four different elementary schools throughout these years. (1951-58) Junior High School (1959-60) was a formal education that was the foundation of my future. There were no avenues of discovery without exploration nothing was eliminated or were purposely left out. The pledge of allegiance and prayer was probably taken for granted. It just seemed to fit so well with parents who had experienced World War II and the strength of their faith that had brought them from depression, drought and war would now give thanks through their choice of religious freedoms. Our forefathers and now mothers and fathers had fought and lost friends, family by protecting their beliefs. Our strength in life was the assurance by our leaders where we could sustain an expectation where all decisions could be focused on the betterment of the common good. During the high school years, we all became more aware of national news and began to see there was another life much different than what we had experienced in our farm town. Even our town experienced the sociological class system of poor, lower middle class, middle class and upper class. Even with these distinctions our town maintained the creed of love, peace, joy, and hope. As we watched with astonishment with national news, we became aware this wasn’t true everywhere.
In 1967, my life in the small town was now going to come to an end. My educational journey was now going to take me to the city. As a small town boy, I would now face the decisions of a man with college, housing, medical, food, recreation, spiritual life and the absence of all my friends of my small town. Nationally the news was focused on politics relating to the war in Vietnam and racial discrimination. My thoughts and prayers were often with my friends in Vietnam and for those who were experiencing racial discrimination. My beliefs and actions were swayed to more liberalism to support those who held grievances against those who created practices of inequity for the American citizens. These next years were my reality checks in life of what I had not been familiar with from my family values and culture.
So much has happened with change over the past many years and so much has not changed!
The information revolution began in the 1970’s which has changed us as a nation and world forever. Once we could be bergs of ignorance to the tragedies of inequities but no longer can this be an excuse. My lifetime experience, 1946-2020 has been an awaking. What was once a slogan of “Let’s Make America Great Again”, should have been how we change our ways to “Make America Greater”. There is ongoing truth to the fact there is and has been inequalities to race, religion, socio-economic status, economic favoritism, gender, and a justice system with no immediate supervision. It is time to move away from us and them defense scenarios and focus on issues of unity to fulfil equality and justice. Our life situation in society didn’t happen overnight. These grievous practices and acceptance have been overlooked and somewhat hidden in the annals of history.
It is my pleasure that in the past five years I have found a group of men and women who are making a difference in the lives who are suffering with dysfunction, incarceration, homelessness, addiction, absentee parents, the lack of love, peace, joy and hope. Over these five years we have seen miracles coming from the mentorship these people provide. The answers have not been just finding a way to take them off the street or feeding or clothing. It is a change of life with the perception of value and breaking the cycle of life they inherited. You can go to our website to look at testimonials of success which honestly have been miracles in the making. (https://menofbethany.org)
We are continually looking for volunteers and funding to continue our mission. Our system is being replicated by our mentors using the train the trainer model. Please consider the donation opportunity to strengthen and grow our ability to break the cycle of life that only increase the longevity of hopelessness. You can find our donation button on the opening page of our website. (Nonprofit 501 (3) C, EIN# 83-0845680)
Included are some review reports on an evening with Men of Bethany Mentors. Be reminded this is just one group where we have several groups a week we are mentoring and changing generations to come: This is one of the MOBIA groups working within the Open Door Mission. The mentors meet every Monday evening of every week of the year.
Lead Mentor Comments:
Notes from last night: Kevin came to ODM because he realized he couldn’t fight his drug addiction by himself and with God’s help he is doing it. He wants to mentor and help others when he leaves ODM and what stood out for him from last night was the realization of his boyish behavior. Thomas came to ODM because his drinking cost him everything, his family, job and home and after being homeless for two times he realized he needed God’s help and is finding it here. Thomas doesn’t know what he wants to do with his life after he leaves ODM but did like being a delivery man. What stood out for him is realizing that he is lonely even when around others. He has resorted to hiding in video games.
Lead Mentor Comments:
I really enjoyed last night at ODM my small group went very well.
Lead Mentor Comments:
One common theme at my table was loss of a parent and that event triggered heavy addiction. That might be very common in the room and perhaps a topic that we could spend some extra time discussing.
Lead Mentor Comments:
No parents and homelessness were a big issue at my table. Also, addictive behaviors. All three admitted they were in extended adolescence. One person had his parents murdered at a young age and was raised by his grandparents. He is an Iraq veteran and is homeless. His goal is to work at Open Door and help others. Excellent session. Testimonials and specific prayers were a highlight. Super Job Jason and mentors
Executive Director Gary R. Carlson
Board of Directors
MOBIA provides supports to build and strengthen families and the community.
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