I have talked about my newest project The Red Door Foundation a lot on my blog, but I don’t really feel like I’ve given a clear look at my vision or its mission. Mostly because it’s still coming to me, but I can give you a bit of what I have since I know that people don’t tend to give money to things without knowing what the point is. I don’t, so I don’t expect anyone else to.
Our mission is simple: meet people where they are and help them in any way that we can.
Works of Mercy to be more specific.
I’m gonna do my best to try to explain exactly why I’ve always had this dream. It’s hard to explain really because it’s kind of like a tree that was planted in my heart a long time ago and has grown and grown up until now. Basically, I was a lost child. I always felt alone because I didn’t have a dad. I remember listening to Ronnie Milsap’s song Smokey Mountain Rain and daydreaming that my dad was looking for me. I had no concept of love because I was 4 years old, but I knew that I wanted a dad and that I wanted a dad who would search and search for me until he found me.
Not having a dad and being an awkward child, plus abuse and having kids bully me at times gave me severe rejection issues among many other things. The one thing that I knew for sure was that no male human being rejected a naked girl who would let him do anything to her. The rejection came later, but in a twisted way it was worth it for that little moment of acceptance.
Going through those things gave me a soft spot for people who are struggling in this world. Whether it be starving children in India or the homeless in our own country. I have saved stray cats, rescued pit bulls, tried to help anyone that needs it all my life. I’m a helper. I had pictures of Mother Teresa on my wall even before I ever thought of becoming Catholic.
When I got involved in the pro-life movement I thought that I had finally found my place, my mission. It was like finding your favorite shoe and it fitting in the store but then you realize that it’s just a bit too small once you get home. I knew that I was going in the right direction, but it wasn’t quite where I belonged. God did not give me the temperament needed to be a witness of Christ in the mist of politics.
It was only when I finally caved and told God “yes” to this house idea that I have felt on fire. This is so it. He’s given me this idea for as long as I can remember and I can see it so clearly in my mind. I have no idea how it’s going to work out. I have no money, no credit to buy a house, and I have a specific area of town that I want a house in with a fireplace. All of that is kind of impossible to make work when you look at it with human eyes, but another thing that I know is that God doesn’t see things through human eyes. And He is crazy. God’s timing is perfect and if this is His Will, it will happen.
What I want is a house with a fireplace, a shower and a kitchen. I want to make breakfast tacos (ok, have someone else make them, let’s not get crazy), lunch and after school snacks so that people can come eat, drink coffee and get a snack after school. I want to let homeless people, or anyone else who needs it, take showers during the day and then have an area for the kids to do their homework after school if they have nowhere else to get help.
The thing is, I know what it is like to not have any money or resources. What it’s like to not be able to afford help with daycare or after school programs. I know what it’s like to be so poor that reading a book seems like a guilty pleasure that is a waste of time when you could be doing something more productive with your time. To this day I feel like I’m the laziest person on the planet when I write. If I can let one child know that writing and reading are gifts that don’t make them lazy, then I want to do that.
I want to create a home that belongs to anyone that needs a home sometimes. Not to live in, but to know they can come to when things in the world are too much for them. Someone told me that it’s like the eye of a hurricane.
I know that if people get a taste of what a home is, of what life can be like, if they open a book and travel to other times and places, that they can see that there is a world full of possibilities out there and that they have just as much right to make their dreams come true as anyone else does. If just a few people can see that then the cycle of hopelessness can be broken a little at a time.
That’s how I got out of poverty. I’m still broke, but broke is not poverty. A lot of people don’t know the difference because they have never lived in poverty. It’s hard to explain poverty. It’s like a tornado, a hopeless tornado. I would just like to go into that storm with people and maybe help them see that they can get out of it if they want or just simply stand there with them.
Incarnational Evangelization happens when Christian men and women leave the comfortable place of their own origin, just as the Word proceeded from the Father, to set a tent among the “others”, and live closely with them. It meets the “others” where they are at, and learns their names and their stories. It talks with them, eats with them, laughs and cries with them, helps to birth them and, if necessary, to bury them.
It is first and foremost about service to the “other” and to Love. Which is God.
All of this used to be natural to Catholicism, back when Incarnational Evangelization went by another, simpler, name: Mission.
Her entire post speaks to exactly what I want to do with this house. I want to set up my tent among my people, among the people who I love and I want to be with them in the middle of whatever storms they may face.
That does take money. I’ve always told myself that I don’t want to be one of those people who sends spam emails talking about all the horrible things that will happen if people don’t give money to my organization. I don’t want to have fancy banquets with crappy chicken dinners where people get to hear about all the reasons why they should donate money to the Red Door Foundation. I’m starting to learn about fundraising, so that may change, but I do know that for now, I don’t want to beg for donations. (I will blog for them though) Mother Teresa never did. But I do need startup money.
Our needs now are for a website and to file for 501c3 status. At some point I will have to raise the money for a down payment on a house. And with that will come all kinds of needs. But for right now, the website and 501c3 status is the top priority.
Yesterday I sent a letter to a young woman who is in jail and having a lot of hate mail sent to her. I also put $20 on her books so she can buy some noodles and toothpaste in commissary. It was officially our first act of mercy. There will be so many more to come if I have a chance. God’s will be done.
If God calls you to give money to a crazy lady saying He has given her this mission to set up a tent among people in the hood, then here’s a GoFundMe account to help you do so.