Just Do It!

Walk by faith, not by sight. We hear that a lot in our conversations. Sometimes we hear it so often it just sounds like a cliche'. We hear it at the PARC quite often. But what does that really look like? Walk by faith? I think the first thing it takes is action. We have to DO something. Most times it requires that we do something that doesn't make sense. In that way we have to have courage. It's scary when we do something that we don't understand, we certainly don't know the outcome and it feels a little risky. It also takes humility, because many times we feel stupid. We are moving forward in a direction, by faith, believing that God knows more about this than me. If I truly believe that He is who He says He is, then I have to trust that even though what I am about to do I cannot understand, nor can I explain it or make sense of it, I have to DO it because I believe God said.

the PARC has walked by faith throughout our short 5 year history. Robert and I opened the account for the PARC with $150.00, because that was all we had. We made a promise that if God gave us enough for the next step, that we would take it. We bought a building with $1200.00 in the bank. I felt really stupid that day. But, we made a promise. Our board operates in the same manner. We review all the facts, make sure we understand the position and the finances, and then make our decision by faith. If I were to be perfectly honest with you, I will tell you that walking by faith is pretty stressful at times.

So, here we stand on the precipice of our 'next'. We believe God has told us to expand, and in that to always hold true to our core principles and values. We are well positioned to 'walk by faith'. Everyone on this staff came to the PARC by faith. It certainly wasn't for the money. All of our board members have committed to serve by faith. Many of you have given to the PARC based on your faith. We believe and we are moving forward because we believe that God said - by faith. So, here we go. I hope that you join us, and I want to thank you in advance for all of those that have already chosen. There are some great, mighty and amazing things on the horizon. If you are like me and suffer from FOMO, Fear of Missing Out, then you will want to jump on board and be a part of the amazing miracles and changes that God is allowing us to participate in for this city; for those that are most often not seen. I honestly believe that we are going to change the world, and I will admit that I am a little nervous.

Just say Thank You

Dear PARC Family,

How many of us have a problem with receiving? Receiving compliments that is. When someone says something nice to me I either have a tendency to brush it off or make an excuse. It might be, "They are just saying that. It isn't really true. That's nice, but they don't mean it. You just caught me in a good moment." Or even, "I got this on sale." The correct response should be, "Thank you." It really ticks my husband off when I say thank you, but roll my eyes. Why do we have such a hard time receiving when people compliment us? Why can't we say 'thank you' and then receive it into ourselves; into our spirits?

I have the opportunity to speak on many occassions, and more often than not feel like I don't do very well. As I reflect, I remember the things I didn't say, how I said 'um' or couldn't think of a particular word. I feel like I didn't do a good job in conveying my heart. So, I have been practicing. When someone tells me that I did a good job, I am practicing saying 'thank you', and then trying very hard to believe them. Why do I think this is important? Because if we can't hear and receive the good things people say about us, how will we learn to receive them from God?

He has good things to say about us and to us. Lately I have been hearing these whispers of, "You did good. Look out there. See that. You did that." He will even bring memories of things from long ago and point out and say, "Look what you did. You've been doing that all your life." But, it's a compliment and it feels weird.

God doesn't just want to point out when we mess up or make mistakes. He doesn't want to fix us. He wants to bring us to our glory. That means walking in the fullness of who He created us to be, and He created us to be amazing.Think about it. Creating a whole person is a lot of work. Why would He go to all that work if He didn't plan on us being amazing? In fact, if we don't receive the good things He says about us and to us it's pretty rude. Don't you think? We need to just say 'thank you'.

At the PARC it is part of our mission to help those who come find their value and believe in themselves again. We look for opportunities to point out the good things and to compliment them often. It's powerful and they begin to change. They begin to show glimpses of who they really are, and start the journey towards becoming all that they can be. I hope we can all start practicing saying thank you and then receiving it. Imagine what we could do if we start receiving and believing what God says about us.


It's a Matter of Priorities

Life is busy. How many of us when we are asked how we are say, "Busy"? In fact, often life is so busy we feel that our schedule is controlling us rather than us being in control of our schedule. I have found that when I begin to feel like that, it is time for me to step back and reexamine my priorites.

We did that yesterday in our staff meeting. The meeting began by us naming our priorities for our personal lives, with the most important being at the top and then moving down. We then began the discussion of the priorities of the PARC. It was a great discussion and beautiful reminder of who we are and what we stand for. Not only what we stand for, but what we stand on - our foundation.

This is our list:
Integrity
Cleaniliness
Hospitality
Respect
Acceptance
Acknowledgement
Relationship
Creativity
Accountability

The discussion about each of these helped us to see that when we keep these things in order, there is power and lives are changed, including ours.

Integrity is of upmost importance. We are who we say we are, no matter the circumstances, especially when the chaos of a situation brings the need to make decisions quickly. Cleanliness provides the environment for the other things to fall in to place. When someone comes to the PARC they are welcomed in to an inviting environment where things are neat, orderly and well-taken care of. Respect is shown to all persons who enter our door, even if they are being asked to leave for the day. There is always acceptance not only for those who walk through our doors, but also for ourselves. Acknowledgement of each person begins to bring value, and then the relationship is where we can really start to see the change. Creativity continues the process of change. All of these allow accountability, which propels them towards their 'next'. We acknowledge and know that all of these flow from God, who is the canopy over the PARC.

One of the staff members said in our discussion, "There is no where else we can go that we are able to experience ALL of these things." As we each one thought about it we realized that this is true. It is also the reason that what happens at the PARC is so powerful. Last week there were 6 people that drove to the PARC in their own cars. Each of them is working fulltime and has a place to live. That was only last week. There are many others. They came back just to check-in and to say hello. They came back because this is the place where they found themselves. This is the place where they were changed from the inside out.

The Power of the PARC

This past week I have had the honor of giving several tours of the PARC to people that had not been here before. If you have been around me for very long you know that I LOVE to talk about the PARC. It is one of my most favorite things when someone asks me to tell them about the PARC and what we do. It is even greater when I can watch the light come on in their eyes and they too catch the passion for the heart of the PARC.

the PARC is unique and hard to explain, but as most of you know, the minute you walk in the door one can feel the 'presence'. We call it the power of the PARC. Something is different about this place. Many of our volunteers will just show up and say, "I needed to be at the PARC today." It is true. We all are able to experience the beauty of this place, no matter where we come from,

I can't really explain it. I don't really have to. I just know that here we stand on the principles of acceptance and respect. Everyone is called by their name and we never run out of chances. It is a place where we ALL get to experience that; a place where we are all valued. the PARC is a place where we ALL are known, and it is beautiful. Thank you for all you do to make THIS PLACE possible.

The Journey of Wisdom

Last week I shared with you about cutting my finger on Memorial Day. There have been so many lessons I have learned from this experience. I have tried to do all the right things. I’ve tried to be THANKFUL. It was my little finger on my left hand. I didn’t cut a tendon, nor did I cut my finger off. You know, things like that. I FOLLOWED THE RULES. I wore the splint for 2 days, kept it wrapped and didn’t get it wet. It was such an inconvenience, though.  I can’t wash my hands, I can’t wash my hair with 2 hands, I can’t put on lotion. All the things, but I did it.

But, then I got tired of it disrupting my life.  When I just happened to have an appointment with a friend of mine who happens to be a doctor, I seized upon the moment. Even though I had been told to wait ‘about’ 10 days before I got the stitches out, I talked myself in to believing that 8 days was close enough. My husband told me the night before that he thought it was too early, but I insisted. I went ahead and got the stitches out. Yes, my cut opened back up. That night as my husband was bandaging me up and trying to repair the damage, he told me I had gotten the stitches out too early and needed to go back to the clinic. What happened next was not pretty. This crazy woman started coming out of my mouth. I started crying and saying irrational things such as, “I know I messed up. I can’t do anything right. How do I know I can trust the doctor at the clinic? I don’t even know that doctor. It’s a good thing I don’t have a chronic illness because I wouldn’t be handling that well at all.” My husband just stood there looking confused and helpless. I went on and on. I knew I was being irrational, but I couldn’t stop myself. I also knew something deeper was going on, but I did not know what it was.

The next day I went to some friends of mine that I have “lived life with” for the past 15 years. I asked them to please give me some insight. One of them, in her very sweet way said, “Maybe this is something you might think about. Do you think that maybe you feel out of control? You have to WAIT for your finger to heal, and that is frustrating you?” Ding! Ding! Ding! I knew immediately that she was right. I was tired of the inconvenience. I was tired of waiting and I wanted to rush the process. So, I closed my ears to the voice of wisdom. (This time it sounded like my husband.) I closed my mind to what was right, because I wanted to speed up the process.

This issue is one that I become frustrated with the members at the PARC about all the time. They get tired of the rules, of being homeless, of having to stay at Salvation Army, etc. They want to hurry the process and end up making bad decisions. When we hurry the process we sacrifice what is our best and we settle for a compromise; something that is not complete. Today in our Bible Study we talked about how “Wisdom cries out in the street”.  Oh, that we would listen. Oh, that we would listen every single time. I pray for wisdom every day, and yet I still find myself closing my ears when wisdom is inconvenient. "Wisdom will extend your life, making every year more frutiful than the one before." Prov. 9:11 I am going to keep asking for wisdom, but I think I might add patience to that prayer.

These are My People

I cut my finger last week on Memorial Day. Our family was just about to sit down to dinner, and I was cutting up an avocado. (I hear that is a 'thing'. They call it 'Avocado Hand' because so many people cut their fingers while cutting an avocado. I had no idea.) As I rushed to the bathroom my husband came to assist me. He kept telling me that I needed to go get stitches. I didn't want to go get stitches. My family was there. I told him to just put a bandaid on it. It was immediately saturated in blood. He inisisted again that I go get stitches. I asked him to try a butterfly bandage. He tried and then looked at me and said, "Valerie, there is no way we can stop the bleeding. You have to go get stitches". So, I went. He was right. I got 6 stiches.

A couple of months ago my nephew passed away unexpectedly. When I got the call I immediately called my sister, who lives in Lubbock.  A friend of hers answered and I asked if needed to come. She asked my sister who said no. I began to call my family to tell them the awful news. As I was talking to my daughter I told her that I didn't know what to do. She adamantly said, "Mom you need to go. You have to go." She was right, and so I left immediately.

My point is that we need people. We need people in our lives to speak truth to us when we can't see it. That is what we get to do at the PARC. We speak truth to those that come who can't see it in the middle of the storm. Their situations are difficult and feels out of control. It is easy to get caught up and not realize the answer, which can be so clear to those on the outside. As volunteers and staff at the PARC we may not know the answer, but we get to remind them that they are valuable. We get to remind them that there are possibilites inside them that they have forgotten. We remind them that there is an answer inside of them and they will find their way out. We need people, and at the PARC these are our people. What a wonderful joy and privilege that is. Thank you for creating an environment of hope and encouragement where there are people to love, encourage and speak truth.

What Does a Miracle Look Like?

I was in a meeting this week where I was asked how we measure success at the PARC. I listed the indicators that we use; get a job, get a place to live, go to rehab, enroll in school or reconcile with their family. These are measurable and provide numbers for the statistics that are so often needed in this line of work, but we believe that the true success we see at the PARC can't be measured.

Kyle has been coming to the PARC for several weeks. He is 18 and has been on a 'rocky road' to say the least. As we have gotten to know him a little bit we have learned that he has been kicked out of his High School, Boys Ranch and has been trespassed from the Resource Center. Kyle has an anger issue. We have tried to meet him where he is while still requiring him to meet the expectations we have here at the PARC. Let's just say we have had many "converstions" with Kyle.

Last week it was time for class and it became the usual struggle. When I approached him to tell him he needed to go to class he stood up and gathered his things. "Kyle" I said, "You can't come back today if you don't go to class." He became sullen and angry and told me that going to class should be a choice. I reminded him that coming to the PARC was his choice, but when he is here he needed to adhere to our expectations. He left, but was so angry that when he got outside he threw his crutches in to the middle of the street. As Terry recovered his crutches I told Kyle to take a day off and think about whether he wanted to come to the PARC or not.

A couple of days later Kyle walked in the door. When it was time for class he got up and went. THAT was a huge step. Yesterday the class was an art class called 'Painting with Scissors." As Kyle worked on his project he began to get positive feedback on his work. His face began to brighten and he started having conversation. We watched his countenance change. Later in the day he brought the painting over to us and showed us what he had done. He smiled as he shared with us what it symbolized.  One side was completely black and the other had a cross on it. "It's the fight between good and evil", he said.  Kyle had changed. He was proud of what he had accomplished. When he walked away I looked at our staff and I said, "THAT was a miracle. We just watched him change right before our eyes."

It may seem small, but we believe that change happens from the inside out. At the PARC we believe that relationship and productivity change those who are homeless and hopeless. It sounds too simplistic, but we see it's power every day. You never run out of chances. You can always come back when you are ready. We don't know what Kyle's 'next' will be or if he will be one of our "measures of success," but we do know that yesterday Kyle found value and believed in himself. It's a start. The journey continues. I am so glad that you share this journey with us.

What If?

Fear. What are we afraid of? What things make us afraid? I don't think of myself as a person that is afraid, but if I am being totally honest, there are a few things I 'worry' about. Is that the same thing? Are fear and worry basically the same emotion with just a little bit of a different twist? I do worry, and no matter how much I try to "give it to God" there always seems to be this little nagging thing that says, "What if?" What I am actually worrying about hasn't even happened yet, but what if? 

I do think fear and worry are the same thing. Do you notice how often God tells us "Do not fear? I will never leave you? I will never forsake you?." He is speaking in to our future. He is speaking in to the things that haven't happened yet. Right now everything is okay, but 'what if?" God knows we are afraid and that we worry and so He tells us to not be afraid. Do not worry about tomorrow. But no matter how many times He tells me that He will take care of me; even though He has proven to me over and over that He is who He says He is and will do what He says He will do, there is still that nagging "what if?".

As I am writing this it makes me angry. When I do that I am ALLOWING fear and worry to steal my joy and thankfulness for NOW. God's goodness and provision are all around me, and I am well taken care of. God has proved Himself to me over and over and instead of recognizing that I think "but what if?"

This is something I have learned and am reminded of daily by the members of the PARC. Even in the situations in which they have found themselves, I hear them say,  "I am thankful for the PARC. I am thankful for a place to come that is safe and positive. Thank you." We hear this every day and it may sound a little simplistic, but what I hear is that right now I am standing in the PARC and I am grateful. Yes, I am homeless. Yes, I have to live in a shelter where I don't want to be. I need a job. I need a home. I need transportation, but right now I am standing in the PARC and I am thankful.

That is how I want to be. Right now this is where I am. Right now I am being taken care of and I am provided for. Right now I am safe. How dare I worry about what MIGHT happen. How rude!!! I am sorry. I repent. I commit to be more intentional about being right here, seeing God's goodness and saying 'thank you.' And when that nagging voice starts to say, "what if?' I will tell it to be quiet and then I will look around and be grateful.

The Power of YOU

I have talked a lot about relationship in the past few weeks. There are so many different kinds of relationships, but we know and have seen that it is relationship that is the key to the successes we see in the lives of our members. What I love about relationship is that it is a two-way street. Relationship is not about what we can GIVE to someone, but more about what each of us in the relationship gives to one another. So often when we think of volunteering we want to GIVE something. What about when we come to just give ourselves. Are we enough? Can just giving myself be of value to anyone? So many times GIVING becomes more about us than it does about those to whom we are giving.

I don't want to preach to you a lesson on giving or volunteering, but I do want to remind you of the value of who you are and what you can bring to the PARC. I hear very often, "at the PARC they treat us like a person and not a piece of trash." Is it really so simple? Is it really as simple as coming in and introducing ourselves, shaking a hand and then calling that person by their name? Is it really as uncomplicated as taking the time to sit down and ask someone to tell you about themselves and then have a conversation with them? Why are we intimidated by that? Why do we feel that there has to be more? 

I am here to say that it is as simple and uncomplicated as that. I have witnessed miraculous change over and over because of this very thing. the PARC is for everyone. the PARC is for you. Those who come to volunteer may be shy, outgoing, talkative, good listeners, confused, or just searching for more, but we all have one thing in common. When we come to just be ourselves and make our self available, we have the honor of impacting a life; a person. We do not have the answers. We don't have to 'say the right thing' or solve their problem. We aren't supposed to. The beauty of what happens is that through relationship, as they begin to feel 'like a person and not a piece of trash', they begin to find themselves. Their confidence grows and THEY find the answers. The change happens from the inside out. 

As our numbers have increased at the PARC our need for volunteers has greatly increased. We need people like you sitting around the tables and having conversation. Do you want to change a life today? Do you want to be changed? Come to the PARC. Come anytime and stay as long as you want. We are open 8:00 - 4:00 Monday through Friday. Some come on their lunch hour. Some just drop by when they have some time in their schedule. Many schedule a time where they come consistently on the same day and at the same time every week. It is up to you, but we need you. It sounds too simple. It is hard to picture, but I promise you that once you see it; the minute you step in to the PARC, you get it. And, I can also promise you another thing. You will not only get the opportunity to impact and change someone's life, you have the opportunity to be changed yourself. There is value in relationship, and I am so thankful that the PARC has given me  the opportunity to have relationship with people I would never have known. I am richer. I am changed. Call or come by. Tell your friends. Our number is 367-8024 and we are located at 413 SW 6th. I hope to see you soon.

The Cost of Relationship

Dear PARC Family,

Relationship. That is the core principle of the PARC. It is behind everything we do and every decision we make. Relationship is the reason Robert and I started the PARC. We knew that those experiencing homelessness needed and wanted to be known; to be valued. They needed to know that they were cared for and cared about. We knew it was a need, but we had no idea how very powerful it would be. The changes we are able to see on a daily basis still catch us off guard. We celebrate victories every day as we witness how the power of relationship brings about things that were not even thought possible before. 

The thing about relationship, however is that it puts you in a place of caring, and that is often not so easy, or rewarding. Yes, we get the opportunity to celebrate often, but what about the times when those for which we have grown to love and care about so deeply make decisions and choose to go in directions that we do not believe are for their best? At the PARC we get the privilege of seeing those that are homeless for who they truly are. The walls come down and we see their hearts and recognize their potential. So, when they go off and do something that we be believe is harmful or 'stupid' we often don't know what to do with those emotions. We believe in them! We are rooting for them. Now what? What do we do? What is our role?

Relationship is hard. It takes a toll on you and requires vulnerability and honesty. It also takes acceptance. We must accept our 'friends' for who they are and walk in grace to allow them to take the directions they choose. Isn't that what God does for us? We must realize that when they leave the PARC each day that they are not our responsibility. They belong to God; a loving Father that won't leave them. He goes with them wherever they go, even to the darkest places, and He cares for them more than we do. That is HARD but it is necessary. 

If we are going to do this, if we are going to choose to walk in relationship with one another we must release them in to the hands of God, and in that releasing keep our hearts ready for their return. We must decide to keep our hearts open so that when they do come back and get on the right track again, we are standing ready to welcome them with open arms and open hearts. We choose to keep believing and keep giving them chances. At the PARC no one ever runs out of chances, but that is hard when we care so deeply. Sometimes we just get angry. Often it hurts. We have to decide to face our pain and grief and release them to walk this path they choose. It is grace. It is the grace that God shows us every single day. Do we choose it? Do we choose relationship no matter what it takes? With a resounding proclamation we say 'YES'! There is power in relationship. It changes us. It changes them. We choose relationship. Thank you for choosing to walk with us and choosing relationship to impact and truly change lives.

The Power of Relationship

Last week I had such a wonderful time of refreshing and renewal. It was restorative. A friend of mine and I went to North Carolina to visit our friend that has recently moved there. The three of us have been together for over 15 years in a group that met weekly or bi-weekly. Our purpose was to live life together; to be honest and vulnerable; to open ourselves to one another to share our pain, struggles, victories and disappointments. We came together each week for advice, encouragement and most of all accountability. We had to prioritize this time and worked hard to be committed to coming together. The result is that our relationship is strong and it is easy. We know each other inside and out and love one another all the way through.

Relationship is important. It feeds and encourages us in ways we are not able to do on our own. It calls us higher and helps us to see ourselves through  a different perspective. It helps to remind us of who we are truly meant to be. My friends have encouraged me to do things I would never have thought possible because they believed in me more than I did in myself. They saw things in me, both good and bad, that I could not see. 

Relationship is the foundation on what everything else is built at the PARC. It is THE most important thing we do, and it is the hardest. Steve works in construction downtown and comes in every day to the PARC on his lunch break. John stops in each morning before he catches the bus for his shift, and last week 2 members of the PARC that live in their own place came by. I was so sad to have missed them, but it is a reminder to me of the power of the PARC. Lives change here because together we help each other to see through different perspectives. The relationships that happen here help people do things they never thought possible because we believe in them more than they believe in themselves. It matters. It is powerful. It is miraculous.

As the PARC has grown our need for volunteers has increased. We need YOU. Look for times in your schedule when you can come to the PARC to make some friends and establish relationships. It will be rewarding and impactful. Yes, relationships take work, but they are well worth the effort. We truly are changing our city one life at a time. I hope that you will come and join us.

For more information about volunteering at the PARC, please call us at (806)367-8024 or email us at theparcamarillo@gmail.com. We look forward to hearing from you!

Invest in Possibilities

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Becoming an investor in the PARC is simple, convenient, and tailored to meet the needs of you.

We have recently partnered up with the RoundUp App to provide you with a one-of-a-kind investment opportunity.

The RoundUp App is a new and innovative way to become a monthly investor in the PARC. The RoundUp App allows you to automatically donate the change from your credit and/or debit card transactions. With each transaction that you use your card, RoundUp will round up the transaction to the nearest whole dollar amount. At the end of the month, RoundUp will tally the total change of your transactions and send a deposit directly to the PARC! All that you have to do is select the PARC as the nonprofit you would like to donate to and link your banks and cards through the app. Once you create an account, you do not need to use the app while making a purchase. Just swipe your card as usual!

Concerned that you may end up donating more than you hope? No worries! The RoundUp App allows you to set a cap on how much you would like to be donated each month.

Worried about keeping your personal information safe and secure? Secured by Stripe, the same payment processor as Amazon, Facebook, and many other corporations, account security is not a concern with RoundUp.

What are the benefits of using the RoundUp App? The RoundUp App:

  • Provides a critical source of consistent support that allows us to do our work. This is true philanthropy.

  • Makes investing effortless

  • The average investor ends up contributing $20-$30/month

  • Naturally fluctuates up and down with your spending

  • You can set a cap for the maximum amount you will donate in a month

Ready to take the next step towards making a change? You can download the app for iPhone, Android, or create an account on the Web.

As always, thank you so much for your continued support and generosity!

the PARC Literally Saved My Life

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When I first came to Amarillo, I was sent to the Pavilion for severe depression and suicidal thoughts. After 2 weeks, I was released into the wild, homeless and afraid at the Salvation Army. So for the next 2 weeks, I was going to another place to stay during the day. The majority of the people seemed to enjoy being miserable and bitter all the time. There was nothing there to occupy one’s mind, no games and a television. Being there at the other place just added to the bad feelings and suicidal thoughts I already had. I had already planned a couple of ways to leave this world behind. I really didn’t want to be like everyone else. 

Then I found the PARC. I was greeted by the staff who asked me my  name. Then I met Taylor, who showed me the various parts of the building and all the activities the PARC offered. Still depressed, I stayed most of the day and left for home as the staff told me good bye. I came back the next day, and to my surprise, they greeted me by my name, I was so impressed. From that day, any time I entered the building, Will, Valerie, Jimmy, Taylor and Jenna always said hi anytime they were there. All of the time, there were several staff members always watching the floor. Doing activities most of the day along with the group sessions, kept my mind busy during the day. Still depressed, a couple of weeks passed by. Every day started feeling a little better each day with all the positivity that the PARC provides every day. Taylor would always walk around, checking in on everybody and what they were up to, and always “that’s great,” “good job” or “that looks good.” Taylor really caught my attention. I have never met a young lady so mature and full of positive energy. It amazes me how sweet and caring she is every day she is there, towards anybody and everything. Valerie, Jimmy, Will and Jenna, the most outgoing, positive friends I have ever met. 

Every day that I come to the PARC is the most calm and relaxing place that anyone could ever ask for. If it hadn’t been for the PARC, I would have never made it. the PARC literally saved my life from me ending it with a suicide. If it hadn’t been for the staff, volunteers and the other various people that make the PARC possible, I would have never seen the light in the darkness of my mind. If you ever need a place to get away from the stress, depression, suicidal thoughts or just need someone to talk to, the PARC might just save your life one day too.

One Word From God Can Change Your Destiny

Meet Marvin. A man of gentleness and grace, soft-spoken and wise. A man who spends his time seeking and soaking in God’s word and presence which shines through him. To know Marvin, you would never believe his past. 

Marvin's Diploma

Marvin was born in Odessa, TX, and following his parents’ divorce, he moved around a lot with his mother. He had to drop out of high school and when he was 20 years old, his cousin came to visit from Houston. Soon after, police officers were banging on Marvin’s door with a warrant for his arrest. Following a guilty conviction, Marvin was sentenced to ten years in prison for a crime he did not commit. It turns out that Marvin’s cousin committed the crime, although Marvin did not know it at the time.

He made the most of his time in prison, earning his CDL through a local college. And after about five years, he was paroled. When his parole was through, he began moving around with his mom again, until he was arrested again. He was sent to prison for the second time, and he lost his CDL. After five years, he was paroled again. He began using drugs and wound up on the streets. He struggled to get clean, and despite an encounter with God, he continued in rebellion. He violated his parole, more than once, leading to serving more time. 

After he got off parole, he graduated with a CDL again, moving to Alabama to be with his mom until she passed away. Then, he returned to Wichita Falls where he met Gloria with whom he had a daughter. Not long after she was born, he was arrested again. His charges were enhanced due to his record, and the state was seeking to give him 25 years to life. Fearful and afraid, he prayed. God strengthened his faith, and he only received five years of probation.

Just before his probation ended, a neighbor called in false charges on Marvin. He was sent back to prison. Separated from his family, Marvin sought out God. A book he found led him to find deeper hope and faith. According to Marvin, “One word from God can change your destiny.” For him, that word was “expectation.” He spent the rest of his time incarcerated studying the word, learning to trust God, and growing in his faith. Soon he was released on parole, and after being sent to Pampa, came to Amarillo where we had the pleasure to meet him at the PARC.  

Today, Marvin is committed to getting his life back on track and to providing hope to others. I have seen him walk through many trials with his faith and his joy never wavering. Marvin is a new man, steadfast. He brings peace and kindness with him on his days at the PARC. I recently got to watch him graduate from the Christian Men’s Job Corps at the top of his class and celebrated with him as Marvin found a full-time job the very next day. God has big plans for Marvin’s life and testimony, and I am grateful to get to walk beside him along the way. 

 

Hospitable

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the PARC uses a core set of values to fulfill our mission of helping those experiencing homelessness to find hope and possibilities. Hospitality is vital to this mission. 

 

At the PARC, we want both the environment and the people to be hospitable. This means:

  • The environment at the PARC will be warm and welcoming
    • The tables will be painted warm and inviting colors.
    • The room will be clean and in order.
    • Fresh coffee and water will be available.
    • The room will smell good.
    • Projects will be ready, presented in an attractive way on the tables. 
  • Everyone that does through the door will be greeted.
    • If we already know them, we will call them by name.
    • If they have never been to the PARC, a staff member or volunteer will go to the door and greet them.
      • The staff member or volunteer will welcome them, introduce themselves, and learn their name.
      • We will tell them that we are glad they are here.
      • The staff member or volunteer will then show them around the PARC, explain what we do at the PARC, and share the expectations. 
        • Show them the class schedule and let them know that we expect them to attend the classes.
        • Introduce them to the supplies and explain that they will need to find something to do. If there is something they need that they can't find, to let us know and we will try to find it for them.
        • Introduce them to other members.
        • Show them where the coffee and water are.
        • Show them where the restroom facilities are and where and when smoking is permitted. 
    • Throughout the day, we will check on the members, continue to call them by name, and make sure they have what they need. 
  • Maintain an atmosphere of peace.
    • Those that are angry or out of order will be asked/escorted outside until they have calmed down.
    • There will be mutual respect between staff, volunteers, and members.
    • The staff and volunteers are non-judgmental, open-hearted, positive, and encouraging.
  • There is a sense of belonging and ownership.
    • Those who come to the PARC will be called members.
    • As each person participates in activities that keep them productive and at ease, it maintains an atmosphere of peace and relationship.
  • When someone leaves the PARC, we will tell them goodbye and let them know that we are looking forward to the next time that we will see them.

Miracles Happen at the PARC

Rainee started coming to the PARC not long after we opened. One of our values is "You never run out of chances." Rainee is an example of the power that value has. Due to her addiction, there were many occasions Rainee came to the PARC under the influence and had to be asked to leave. When she was ready she was welcomed back each time and given encouragement to persevere. We've been honored to journey with her, to watch her go from the streets, addiction and abuse through the strong battle to just stay sober. We had the privilege of walking with her as she decided to work through her steps of recovery; forgiveness, making amends, and the hard, hard things required to get her life back.

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Last fall, Rainee transitioned to Martha's Home and overcame many obstacles to find a job and begin working. During this time, she cautiously moved towards reconciliation with her children through humility, respect and listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit.

Recently, Rainee came by the PARC to introduce me to her daughter! This is no small matter. This is God at work in the mightiest of ways. Rainee's life today is a miracle! In her, I see HIS miraculous work, a fulfillment of promises, perseverance and hard work.

I am grateful for the PARC. I am grateful for my unlikely friends. I am grateful for the opportunity to watch God's miracles happen right before my very eyes.

 

 

Coffee for a Cause

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We drink a lot coffee at the PARC. Coffee is important to the PARC. There is always a fresh pot brewed when you walk in, and we take pride in brewing a good cup of coffee for our members and volunteers. Our members especially love our coffee, and many enjoy it all day every day with their preferred fixings of sweetener and creamer. 

So, it was an honor and a perfect fit when Palace Coffee Co. asked if we would like to be one of their monthly causes this year! Like us, they take pride in serving only the best coffee to their customers, and they are trying to make a positive change in our community. the PARC is Palace's March cause, which means anytime someone buys their Cause Latte this month, we receive $1! The Cause Latte for March is "the Matador" which is a delicious blend of sweetened evaporated milk with cinnamon, espresso, and steamed milk. I can personally assure you the Matador is amazing! 

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In addition to the donations from Palace for Cause Latte purchases, Palace Coffee Co. has teamed up with the Amarillo Area Foundation which provides even greater support to their monthly causes! Once each month, if you scan the QR code on your Palace Coffee sleeve and enter your contact information, AAF will donate $5 to that month's cause! If you have not scanned your sleeve yet this month, please do so! (And don't worry, AAF is not going to spam your e-mails each day.)

Thank you Palace Coffee Co. and Amarillo Area Foundation for this opportunity and for all you do in our community, and thank you to everyone who is buying the Cause Latte and scanning your sleeve!!