Anawim Christian Community

3733 N Williams Ave
Portland, OR 97227
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  1. Bad News

    idea and Abby

    This teen and this baby are two of the hundreds of people who get helped from the funds given!

    I’m afraid I have some bad news.

    Yes, that’s right—this is a fundraising letter.


    But it’s important.  See, every year around this time we need extra funds just to make it.  We have to meet needs in the summer, but people like to give in the colder months.  I get it.  But we’re kinda desperate.

    You see, our funds have gone down this year, but expenses have gone up.  Bills are higher (water alone is twice as much as we paid three years ago).  We are meeting the needs of more people (we easily distribute almost two tons of food every week now).  And the issues surrounding homelessness have gotten more complicated, so we are trying to meet different kinds of needs.  There is more travel, more organization, more struggles.

    So many people have generously given food and tents and supplies and work and transportation, even a beautiful mobile shower unit!  It is amazing how much gets done from all this.  The tough part to keep up on is rent and bills and repairs.

    Have you been helped by Anawim?

    I especially want to ask help from some of you who are not the wealthiest folks.  All of you who have gotten a temporary place to stay at Anawim or Red Barn.  If you have ever been able to sleep there.  If you have eaten there when you had nowhere else to get food at.  If you have ever received one of our free trainings.

    If you have been helped by Anawim/RedBarn, we were happy to do it, for nothing.  We are about saving lives and giving help to those who desperately need it.  If you are doing better now, we ask that you help us now.

    We know that you may not have much.  But if you could just give us a few dollars, we could use your help.

    puppy power

    Here’s Steve being licked by a cute puppy! Doesn’t that make you want to give to Anawim?

    Have you been reading us?

    We know a lot of people have been reading our stories and thoughts regularly on our website, our Facebook pages and via email. Some of you have printed out our training manuals and many of you have taken our trainings. If you appreciate the writing, encouragement and practical stuff to help the homeless, please keep us going by providing a donation.

    How much do we need?

    To keep us going this month, we will need 5000 dollars.  To function well until winter, we will need to raise 10,000.

    If you can help us, please do.   You can give to Anawim directly, to our address or to our Paypal account.  More information on

  2. Everybody Needs a Little Help…


    Another camp for abused women we helped to establish

    This year has been amazing, so far.  Really, I’ve never seen anything like it.

    It really started when Portland’s mayor declared homelessness an emergency crisis, and the mayor started making radical changes in his homeless policies.  He made a camp official, and declared that he would make more official.

    I visited the camp and quickly saw that there was something wrong.  Twenty five people could stay, but the other 60 people were going to be pushed out, almost all of them without an opportunity to fit into the community.  So I decided to do something about it.  I got some leaders of the rejected people together to organize them and to create an official camp.  We chose another property, and established an organized move with other advocates before the date for them to move in January.   That camp is called Forgotten Realms and it is being declared another official camp in city literature.

    In March, the city of Gresham decided to amp up their efforts pushing the homeless all over the city.  After a month of police harassment, they succeeded in their efforts to push most of the homeless out of Gresham.  Some activists and I heard that Gresham was doing a final vote to fence off 60 acres of property where the homeless were recently living to take away the largest area of property where the homeless lived in the city.  About 20 of us went to city council to object and to stop the vote, if necessary, not to stop it, but so the homeless could be fairly heard.  Seven people, including myself, was arrested for chanting and interrupting the vote.  Our trial will be in the fall.

    Gresham mugshot 2

    My mugshot

    Meanwhile, in Portland, more homeless camps were being formed, wanting to know how to be official. A number of us started to meet to try to establish an organization to form and guide official homeless camps.

    In the next month, homeless folks and activists met together at Anawim to form a civil rights homeless camp to affirm the state law which says that a homeless person cannot be prosecuted for camping.  So Mary Maguire and others got together to establish a camp on city property with no trash, no late night noise and no illegal activity.  The police tried to harass and move them on, but they held their ground.  Now they are an established camp in Gresham.

    All this year, on top of my regular Anawim activities, my partners and I have been trying to help the homeless communicate with the local cities, to have better relations with their neighbors, and to affirm their rights.  We’ve been helping the homeless survive, to be good neighbors and be outspoken citizens.  We are not doing this in opposition to the cities (although the governments sometimes feel like that), but to help them listen to their poorest citizens and to help them.

    I know I haven’t written as much, but I’ve been busy.  Busy trying to offer just a little bit of help to our homeless partners.  They’ve been helping too, keeping our church running.  We’ve been collecting and distributing 3500 pounds of food a week to the poor in our community.  We’ve been organizing deliveries of food and meals to camps.  Really active, just trying to help.


    And we could use your help.  Honestly, we’ve been so busy spearheading efforts to help that we’ve been struggling to keep up with our ongoing expenses.  Some folks have been helping us with immediate needs, but we are heading toward a financial crisis.

    In our hour of need, if you can help, we’d really appreciate it.  Keep us fighting for the rights of the homeless.  Keep us pushing forward for everyone to have a safe place to sleep, to help more homeless people interact with their neighbors to make better cities.

    If you want to help, please look at our donation page:

  3. God’s Listening

    IMG_0454I am sitting in a waiting area waiting for my number to be called in a Ford dealership’s Parts Department.

    A little girl of about 5 years old asked if she can sit next to me on the bench. Without waiting for answer climbs up.

    A few minutes pass and she tells me her name is Angela. “That’s a pretty name,” I said.

    Then Angela takes my hand looks me straight in the eye and says in a matter of fact voice, “My mom is in jail for selling and doing drugs. My dad is dead. He died in some war in the Middle East I live with my Grandma but my Grandpa is dead. Grandma is really old and is sick, if she dies I will have no one, would you be my daddy?”

    About that time a woman on a scooter with oxygen tanks rolls up. In a gruff almost angry voice asked if she has been bothering me?

    “Nope not at all.”  She gives the little girl a nasty grimace “You see I am a Pastor, and she was just sharing a prayer request for the desire of her heart. And I am going to have a little chat with God and see if we can’t make her prayer come true.”

    Grandma scrunches up her face and spits out her words, saying, “I don’t believe in God.”

    “Well that’s too bad, but ya know what? Your unbelief doesn’t count, this is between Angela and Me and God.”

    Angela’s face was grinning ear to ear and I got a hug. Then Granny croaked, “Come, it is time to leave.” And with a wink and a wave they left.

    At that time my number was called and the service manager comes up and says, “You really a Pastor?”

    “Yup,” I said.

    “Think God was listening?”

    “He was standing in the room taking notes the whole time.”

    The service manager chuckles and says, “So how can I help you?”

  4. Moving Day

    mitten7This post was written on May 27.  Jeff and Yvan leave for Coos Bay permanently today.  They have been our friends, co-workers and supporters for almost a decade.  They have helped some of the most needy in society.  They have been accomplished artists, both visually and verbally on this website and elsewhere.  When I really needed someone to unburden on, they were always there.  We will miss them deeply.  -Pastor Steve

    Down to 76 hours. Tomorrow we transport the last of the studio to Coos Bay and leave the the truck at the R V Park……sigh,

    First time I left friends and family was when I entered into the Military. But there was the thought of coming back. The second time was when I was going to war and the thought of Never coming back was on my front burners always, BUT I did come back.

    Then the family moved to Oregon and I was left behind. Now I back to leaving friends and family again, and starting over in a town and part of the state that I know no one, have no contacts, no one to reach out to except the Lord.

    Once upon a time I was in a jail cell with Randy Alcorn and Ron Rohman and about 15 other men. A jailer walked into the cell and says,”Awk! a bunch of Christians! Too bad they won’t let us take them out and just shoot them.” I looked at Randy and said, “Well, the apostles have nothing on us.” And we laughed and then burst into song of praise. I share that because this is how the brothers and sisters of the first church were thinking and feeling, being forced to move to a place where they only have each other, and have to start over again. It is also how the refugees must feel.

    I find it amazing how the Lord is teaching Yvan and I things we may never had thought about……We need your prayers more than ever now……..

    And on that day a great persecution began against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. Acts 8:1



  5. Still Waiting for a Miracle

    Father Forgive Them by AstridThis afternoon we were at a rest stop. There was a mother and two well behaved children flying a large sign asking for a “Miracle”.

    A woman driving a brand new $54,000 Truck walks up and drops a few coins into a container and walks over to her truck which is decorated with the cross and shadows kneeling before it, gets in drives away.

    She is followed by a man wearing a large silver cross and he drops a few coins into the woman’s can and walked over to a 2016 Mercedes Roadster, with a big Christian Gold Fish that had the word “Pastor” in the middle, gets in drives off.

    Several others come read the sign and walk away.

    I was so ashamed and I got out reached for the billed fold pulled out some bills and put her in her hand……….

    And we wonder why the nation is under judgment.

  6. Visions

    IMG_0477A vision is a seeing of the future, powerful enough to help create that future. Envision what could be with me that we might re-create what is.

    I see a city that would welcome the homeless as neighbors and equal citizens

    I see a city that would create space for everyone to live, without harassment, without fear.

    I see a time when parents would no longer use the poor as a warning against laziness, but use their teaching time to spread compassion.

    I see green spaces where the poor may sleep and the housed move freely among them, without fear, without anger.

    I see a place where those who cannot be hired can work and be paid in a balance between their ability an their liability.

    I see a time when no one is measured by the size of their paycheck, or the value they give an employer, but by the beauty they create and the depth of compassion they show.

    I see a county that places people before property, that puts need before power, equality before class prejudice.

    I envision a place that will first ask, “what do you need?” before, “This is what we will do.”  An elected body who has lived with the poorest so that they might truly represent all the citizens and not just a select group.

    I envision a law enforcement that stirs respect and not fear. Officers who will only respond to crimes, not whines concerning people they refuse to understand.

    I see a city where the highways are used to bring food to the hungry, warmth for the cold, shelter for the wet, bathrooms and showers for those who lack hygiene.  I see a government who will freely provide this, because their citizens are in need, and for no other reason.

    I speak into being a community that loves, that provides, that does not hold to an arbitrary distinction of “deserving” and “undeserving” but is generous because they want to be known to the world as a place of giving and grace.

  7. Disability

    GodzillaYou have a work history, but something went terribly wrong. Perhaps it’s nothing physical, but you are no longer able to function. You do all you can to fix it, but you end up on the street anyway. You hear from someone to apply for disability. You apply. You are denied.

    Then someone tells you that everyone is denied disability at first, so you appeal. You get a lawyer– if they take your case it’s likely you will win your appeal. They put you through a psych evaluation, they gather up witnesses, the look at your work history. After three years, you get your day in court.

    The judge is kind, but he has his business to do. He listens to your supporters, perhaps a friend or two. They all say the same thing: “Can’t function” “Can’t work with others” “Can’t be on time”… Failure, failure, failure. You hold your head high, not listening, not believing, because you can’t accept that this is you.

    But the judge believes the reports, the testimony. He approves your disability. After the trial, when you are alone, you weep, because now it is legally proved what you had heard from those who never believed in you: you are worthless.

    After a number of months you get the money. You get an apartment. You escape some of the dreadful, deadening stress. And you realize you can do something with your life. You volunteer, you do something positive in your life. You spend the rest of your life disproving what was spoken about in that room.

  8. Three Reasons for Poverty?

    This is a guest post by Nigel Branken, who, with his family, ministers to the poor in South Africa.  He speaks out against the continuing prejudice against the coloreds in that country, and lives out his convictions by assisting people and helping them through the courts.  

    Nigel offers us some great wisdom:


    3 arguments that I constantly hear about the reasons people are poor…

    1. People are poor because they are stupid;
    2. People are poor because they are lazy;
    3. People are poor because there is just not enough in the world for everyone.

    You hear it presented like this…

    1. The solution to poverty is education,
    2. If people work harder they can break out of poverty
    3. If we want to deal with poverty we need to grow the economy mostly through entrepreneurship and job creation.

    While all of the above, education, hard work, entrepreneurship, job creation and economic growth are all good and help in some way, these arguments ignore and sustain the main reasons we have such obscene levels of poverty namely the greed of the ultra rich, their success being dependent on an exploitable work force, together with all of our combined apathy and acceptance of the status quo.

    Not having an education is used as a justification to exploit people and pay them less than what is required to live with any dignity. “If they were more educated they would be paid higher wages” is just another way of saying “I have employed you because I can get you at a super cheap price and make massive profits from you.”

    The hardest working people I know are the poorest. They work long hours for 6/7 days a week while never being able to afford a holiday. Their companies strictly control and limit their lunch and tea breaks. They are kept at maximum production levels on the brink of exhaustion for as long as they can be productive and are often churned out and replaced as soon as their productiveness ceases to be helpful.

    Growth in the economy hardly ever translates into a reduction in poverty as most new wealth goes to the already rich. This is why inequality globally is growing not shrinking. The ultra rich keep taking more and using that more to demand more from the poor. Job creation programmes which pay minimum wages hardly ever translate into a real reduction in poverty. Entrepreneurship, despite being spoken of as a solution is also not encouraged in reality. The rich do not really want the poor to start their own businesses. Limited access to capital and excessive regulations at the entry level normally provide sufficient barriers to entry so the majority are kept without an escape route from poverty, thereby maintaining an available exploitable work force for the ultra rich.

    If you look at the ultra rich, it is hardly ever their hard work, education or the growth of the economy that has led to their riches. Their riches are normally built on the backs of the poor. They are dependent on the poor. In addition, the rules are stacked in their favor and there is also a combination of luck, opportunity, and connectedness.

    Perhaps the most revealing reason these arguments are used is because they require nothing or very little from the ultra rich. The responsibility for poverty is placed in the hands of government or the exploited themselves.

    When you suggest that perhaps there could be a little more even distribution of profits you are labelled a communist, a socialist, a leftie or a liberal. You are told that only free market capitalism works despite the fact that there is very little freedom in the markets. The rules favor those who have already made it.

    No current political party will be able to deliver the change we need. Most political parties have already been captured by the ultra wealthy. Our governments have already mostly been bough and act in the interests of a few. We are already mostly oligarchies. The change which is required will take a grassroots movement of active citizens who are not only fed up with the status quo, but also prepared to work for change.

    If we are going to move towards a more just world, we need to dream while we are awake and actively pursue our dream by demonstrating it is possible around us and advocating for structural change.

    Here is my starting statement towards the world we as a family dream of… Perhaps you can add yours below…

    “We are a rather ordinary family doing some extraordinary things. We believe as Christians that God is extremely concerned with the brokenness in our city and nation and that He has called each one of us to get involved in making a difference. To bring change, we need to see the future, prepare for the future and then become the future… or in the words of Ghandi “we must become the change we want to see in the world”.

    We want to see a world in which the rich do not tolerate extreme poverty and inequality. We want to see many people actually laying down their lives of comfort and convenience for the sake of bettering the lives of others. Seeing people freed from poverty, inequality, racism and exploitation is more important than fulfilling our lust for more things! We want to be part of a society in which people are valued more than things. We want to see the god of consumerism in South Africa bowing it’s knee to a love motivated revolution which results in freedom from oppression and exploitation. We want to see this for all people, regardless of class, citizenship, race or religion.

    We dream of equality in every sector of society. We believe that if the education system is not OK for a rich kid, it is not OK for a poor kid. The same goes with healthcare, housing, security. The same goes for rural kids and inner city kids. The same for black kids and white kids. We are not more valuable than the least valued in our society. We are doing our lives in a new way.

    We are going to live our dream and see this reality briefly described above happening around us. We hope others will join us and this will happen around them too. Who knows, very soon, the world can be a different place!

  9. Kindness Creates Kindness

    ChocolatI note that there are many, many people who fear the homeless. This is because they don’t recognize that the homeless are their neighbors. Sure, we have some irritating neighbors, even bad ones, but as long as we are polite to our neighbors, they will be polite to us. If we are kind to them, they will be kind to us. Here’s some ideas to be a neighbor to the homeless:

    • If you see a new homeless person in your neighborhood, offer them a cup of coffee
    • Ask them how they are doing each time you see them
    • Talk about neighborhood issues—traffic, local news, new buildings, etc.
    • If they look unhappy, ask them why
    • If you have an issue with them (trash, perhaps), go and talk to them. Don’t force the police to mediate for you.
    • Once you get to know them, and are comfortable, invite them to dinner. It’s fun!
    • If they offer you food or help, please take it. It gives them respect, and you might very well need the help.
  10. Beyond Endurance

    HammeredWhen I am exhausted and I cannot endure

    a moment’s more compassion,

    a moment’s more mercy,

    a moment’s more sacrifice,


    I find a moment more.

    That must come from God,

    for I have often come to the end of myself.

    Only God is found

    where there is nothing left.

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