Posted by: Caleb Butler | October 12, 2009

Caleb’s October Newsletter

Dear Family & Friends,

First of all, thank you.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.  None of this is possible without the support of my family and friends.  Your financial support is not only a great help for me but also for the entire Jefferson Street Baptist Center, which recently turned away a large financial sum from the government in order to freely share the gospel of Jesus Christ.  It is the gospel that will guide these men to a complete recovery.  More importantly, I am gracious for your prayers.  Each day is trying, and I need strength from God.

So what exactly do you do, Caleb?

I’m glad you asked!  Five days of the week, I am in the Day Shelter.  It is open Monday – Thursday from 7am to 1pm and Friday – Sunday from 7am – 12pm.  Over 100 homeless guests come in each day.  My responsibilities here include the front office, storage closet, and kitchen.  The front office is where we check each person into the computer’s log, answer phone calls, and check mail (JSBC provides an address for close to 2,000 individuals).  The storage closet provides a safe place for people to store up to two bags.  The kitchen duties include handing out toiletries, laundry detergent, and towels.  The person in the kitchen also runs the laundry list and keeps an eye on the guests, who hang out in the cafeteria.

After the Day Shelter closes, my focus shifts to the residents here at the Jefferson Street Baptist Center.  Some of them live in the permanent housing complex, but most are in the Fresh Start program.  Fresh Start is designed to help these men recover and eventually live on their own.  I spend my time hanging out with them, building relationships.

Please pray for discernment to see where God is leading me in these men’s lives.  I cannot be a best friend to all of them, although I want to be.  Pray for patience.  It is a marathon, not a sprint.  At the same time, I need to put myself out there and boldly do things for the sake of Christ.  Pray for God to move and pray for me and my Team Members to have faith that He can do anything.

“Now let me teach you the fundamentals,” exclaimed Jack as we started a second game of chess in the cafeteria of the Day Shelter.  We were sitting in the cafeteria of the Day Shelter, surrounded by the sights and sounds of Louisville’s homeless.  I had just lost in about ten minutes, and for anyone who knows much about chess, an untimed game should take much longer than that.  I was embarrassed by a homeless man.  He had my queen, both bishops, and a knight within minutes.  After declaring checkmate, Jack kindly paused to give me a few pointers.  I had no shot, but I can’t wait to try again.  And I can’t wait until the next opportunity comes.  You see, this is a means to build a relationship, and relationships are a means to bring change.

“I always think of the same thing anytime I hear the name Caleb or Joshua.”  Jack started this conversation at lunch the day before our chess experience.  “Oh yeah.  The story of the twelve spies … they were the only two who said it was possible – with God’s help,” I recalled.  As if shrinking away from a bright light, Jack reenacted how the other spies might have seemed because they were frightened.  “Oh no!  They’re too big,” he cried.  We laughed a little, and from there the conversation took off as we opened up about our own relationships to God, our life stories, and how much the Bible means to us.

In that short time with Jack, as I looked into his eyes, I saw Jesus.  I was given a glimpse of God’s Kingdom at work in the heart of this man.  Furthermore, I shared in his story of redemption from sin to eternal life, eternal hope.  He kept reminding me that this time is temporary, the physical body will soon be gone, and a whole new life awaits.  It’s our heart or rather our soul, that will live on.  Thanks be to God.

See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God.  But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.  We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first.”  (Hebrews 3:12-14)

Once again, I want to say thank you for all of your support.  You are just as much a part of the ministry at Jefferson Street Baptist Center as I am.  I am praying for you.  Stay faithful.


Caleb Butler

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