No Where to Lay His Head …
What does “anawim” mean, anyway?
Anawim (pronounced ah-nah-weem) is a Hebrew word that means, “the poor who depend on the Lord for deliverance.” It is used frequently in the Bible, especially the Psalms and is the basis for Jesus’ statement “Blessed are the poor.”
“Trust in the Lord and do good. Those who wait for the Lord, the anawim, will inherit the earth.” (Psalm 37:3,9,11)
When did Anawim begin?
Steve and Diane Kimes began Anawim in 1995 as a benevolence ministry focused on listening to the stories and needs of the poor in Portland over a simple meal. They were confident that the Lord is the one who will provide for the needs of the poor, if the poor would but depend on him in faith. They lived this out themselves by living by the grace of God since 1998, spending the first eight months living in peoples’ living rooms with their two children. All the while, they did what they could to serve the poor, praying for them, teaching God’s word and giving food and clothing to those they met in need. In 2003, after the owner of their apartment told them to leave because he no longer wanted homeless people visiting their apartment, the Kimes’ received a 100-year old six bedroom Victorian home as a gift and they live there along with other formerly homeless Christians. In 2010, the Mennonite conference gave the opportunity for Anawim and another Mennonite church to rent a three acre property with four buildings in Gresham. This property is now the home of the Anawim day shelters and warehouse for the poor and homeless in East Multnomah County.
“Sell your possessions and give to the poor and you shall make for yourselves an unfailing treasure in heaven.” (Luke 12:33)
What kind of a church is Anawim?
In 1999, Anawim became Anawim Christian Community, a church made up of the poor and outcast from “normal” society—the impoverished, the homeless, the mentally ill and those on public assistance. ACC holds low-key services and Bible studies, expecting interruption and questions throughout the services and low-key dress. The pastors of Anawim are casual in appearance and demeanor, giving an opportunity for the services to be more of a family gathering than a formal church service. There are three services a week, one on Saturday afternoons in Gresham, one on Sunday in Portland and one on Wednesday in St. Johns.
“When you have a celebration, invite the poor, the crippled, the handicapped—all those who cannot pay you back—and you will be repaid at the reward of the righteous.” (Luke 14:13-14)
Primarily, Anawim wants to bring the poor to the Lord, to give Him an opportunity to be glorified by answering the cry of the poor. We want to do all we can to bring the poor to the Lord so they will be filled with faith in Jesus Christ and by the Holy Spirit and display that faith by loving others and so gain the kingdom of God. Our goal is to continue to build a community made up of the homeless, mentally ill and needy, along with the middle class of many other churches, who all are obedient to Jesus and rely on God for his provision. We want to be faithful to the Lord in using whatever resources we have for the benefit of those in need. And we want to encourage all of those in the Church of Jesus Christ to be completely devoted to God and to relate to those in need, both those they see in their own community and those they don’t see in areas of war, famine and persecution of God’s people.
“Blessed are those who are poor in the Spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:3)
How does Anawim meet their financial goals?
Anawim has a number of expenses, including rent, utilities in two facilities, food expenses, gas and much more. But we recognize that since God has called us to this ministry, then He would meet the expenses in His way. We receive donations from the individuals, of all financial abilities, and from congregations who want to participate in the ministry of our community. If you feel led to give, you can do so by sending us the money or by clicking the PayPal button on our donations page.
How many people has Anawim gotten off the street?
Anawim has assisted a number of people with housing through the community house. However, we do not see that housing always meets the needs of the homeless. We could spend all of our resources and energy on providing housing to those who need it, and fail in our goal to assist people to be faithful followers of Jesus. We try to reach a balance between using what resources we have to meet people’s needs, and also using what personal and spiritual resources we have to lead people to the Lord. Of course, nothing of any use can be accomplished without God’s Spirit, and so we depend on the Lord for everything.
How many people have been saved in the Anawim ministry?
Some have come to the Lord through Anawim, some have been baptized and some have been healed both physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. But since we are all in a process of salvation, we do not look so much at an instant conversion experience as the moment of salvation. Rather, we look at ourselves as being a part of a process that includes the Spirit and the rest of the church in leading people to faithfulness in Jesus. A person’s salvation is in the Lord’s hands and only He knows whether those drawn to Him through Anawim are in the tens, the hundreds or thousands.
How can I help Anawim?
If you are local to Portland, one of the best things you can do is to come to Anawim and meet our folks. Get to know the street folks and the mentally ill and see that they are people like “normal” people, even if they might have a unique perspective on life. If you are unable to come to Anawim, there are many needs that you could meet. Look at the Anawim Needs page for ideas.
“In Jesus Christ, nothing matters but faith working through love.” (Galatians 5:6)
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