Category Archives: Uncategorized

Warmer Weather is Here!

I received a notice from Facebook that over 2500 people had not heard from Crossroads for a while.  I’m glad I receive those reminders or it might be longer before anyone hears from us. I don’t mean for it to happen that way, but most often the days go by so quickly that it’s hard to keep up!

We’re getting ready for warmer weather.  What am I talking about!  Warmer weather is already here!  Our biggest concern is keeping the homeless hydrated. Many of the homeless are out in the elements and don’t think about drinking water.  Some drink alcohol and that makes it so much easier to become dehydrated.  We don’t want anyone to die from dehydration but here in the desert it is a real possibility!  You don’t have to be homeless to forget to stay hydrated.  If your lips become chapped, you are most likely needing water.  Sugary drinks do not help that much.  You can help us pass the word that the shelters are cooling off facilities and so is the Crossroads Mission Thrift Store at 550 West 8th Street.  Stop by any of these locales, cool off and get some water.  We’re here to help!  Here are some tips on dehydration and hydration:

Why is Hydration Important?

Most of your body is made up of water, so it is important to maintain a good level of hydration in order to keep your body functioning properly. Water is essential for a variety of processes that keep us healthy, including regulating body temperature, removing toxins through urine, controlling heart rate and blood pressure, protecting organs and tissues, and transporting nutrients and oxygen. Neglecting to replenish your fluids can lead to several short-term and long-term negative health effects.

Dehydration

Dehydration occurs when you do not consume enough water to keep your fluid levels balanced. You lose water from your body every minute just from regular breathing, sweating, or using the restroom. You can be at risk for dehydration even if you are not engaging in vigorous activities.

 Be cautious of these signs and symptoms of dehydration:

  • a dry or sticky mouth or tongue
  • dark-colored urine or a lack of urine
  • dizziness, nausea, headaches
  • dry skin, including chapped lips

 Tips for Staying Hydrated:

  • Keep a water bottle with you at all times and sip it throughout the day.
  • Make it a habit to drink a glass of water after you wake up.
  • Include low-sodium soups in your meals.
  • Be aware of changes in your environment, such as drier climates, that may cause your body to lose more water.
  • Make sure that you are well hydrated before engaging in activities that will cause your body to lose water.

The amount of water a body needs will be different for every person and will depend on that individual’s day-to-day activities and overall lifestyle. Be mindful of how your body functions and any changes you notice, and do not ignore signs of dehydration.

You can find more information at wedmd.com at this link:  https://www.webmd.com/diet/ss/slideshow-diet-dehydration

If you or your club or organization would like to donate bottled water to help Crossroads, please contact Barbara Rochester at 928-580-4482.

God bless you!

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Saving Lives From the Heat!

Yikes! I’ve been negligent in getting blogs on the Crossroads Mission’s web page. The sad thing is that I love sharing my thoughts and experiences at Crossroads. We are a busy agency to say the least! Many things in Yuma slow down because of the summer heat but I think in many ways it makes us busier.

We have many goals during these extreme weather conditions with the first being that no one dies in this heat! We don’t have control over some of the choices the homeless make but we can educate them. Crossroads works with the Arizona Department of Health Services, Cenpatico of Arizona, and the Yuma Heat Relief Project to provide heat-related services to not only the homeless but the poor of this community. We are equipped to be “cooling off” stations for those who are without electricity or water. A “cooling off” station means that people in the heat can stop by the shelters to get a drink and to cool off.  (Visit our Heat Safety web page for more information: http://crossroadsmission.org/heat-safety.html)

Recently, local businesses held a bottled water drive for Crossroads. They posted their efforts on Facebook and asked for readers to donate. Some people responded in a very negative way about giving the homeless bottled water. One lady remarked that she drank out of the faucet and that should be good enough for the homeless. Another person wrote that they couldn’t afford bottled water so why should they buy it to donate it to the homeless. Some of the remarks were cutting but most were because the people did not take time to find out what we do with the bottled water. We give bottled water to the homeless who are still out in the elements. Many live in “shelters” that do not have accessible water. Some have “homes” that do not have access to water because of not being able to pay the water bill.

There are many situations that make the use of bottled water appropriate. We do use faucet water in all of the shelters by filling up containers with ice and water and keeping them accessible to everyone who comes into any building on our property locations.

We try to emphasize and educate the homeless that they must be hydrated in this heat. Many use drugs or alcohol which intensifies dehydration in the body. We want to get them into a program to help them live a sober life but some just aren’t ready. We want them to live long enough to be ready to make changes. We want to be there with programs and services to help them to become engaged, productive citizens. Water? It is a life or death situation. We do not want anyone to die in the elements when it’s such an easy solution of drinking water.

Most importantly, I must always look to the scripture for direction. In Mark 9:21 (KJV) Jesus was teaching the disciples about sharing the Word with others and it gives us great insight to how we should present ourselves as Christians. We can take it literally as well.   “For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward.”

Let’s not forgive our service to the children either. In Matthew 10:42 (KJV) we read, “Whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.”

Giving water is an important ministry tool at Crossroads Mission. We minister to the homeless, the addicted, the poor, the needy, families, men, women, and children by being the hands and feet of Jesus. God bless you for supporting Crossroads Mission and for being part of the our ministries to this community!

Serving Even in Through The Dry Heat

It’s a dry heat!  I’ve heard that a time or two!  We’re in the midst of that “dry” heat right now!  Really?  Those of us living in Yuma know that July starts the monsoon season. The humidity seems unbearable at times and that only increases the effects of the heat.  No matter what the season or what the weather brings us, at Crossroads Mission, we continue to try to meet the needs of the folks who seek help at the mission.  

 Crossroads Mission is a faith-based organization dedicated to helping individuals who find themselves at a “crossroads” in their lives. Our goal is to help them take that direction that will bring them to a personal encounter with God, and to help them make changes that will result in a better quality of life.

 We’re in the business of compassion, change, and giving a hand up instead of a handout. We begin with the very basics of need:  food, clothing, and shelter.   It is our mission to help the poor, the needy, and those who are hurting,   Our donors are part of that mission.  Our volunteers are part of that mission.  The Board of Directors and the staff at the mission work towards that common goal of helping people change and to alleviate suffering.  I thank you for helping us accomplish our mission statement.  If you would like to volunteer or donate, please contact us on the web at http://www.crossroadsmission.org/ or call (928) 783-9362.  f you need services, please call.  God bless you!

Fraudulent Schemes:

Recently, the Yuma Community Food Bank had to deal with a situation that every non-profit director knows could happen to their agency as well and that is donation fraud.  Someone or a group of people sent out an appeal on behalf of the food bank for donations that were never intended to go to the food bank.  The letter that was sent instructed the donor to send the money to a post office box number.  Thankfully, a donor happened to ask if they could drop their donation off at the local food bank office which alerted the food bank staff to the fraud.  They knew that they didn’t have that type of appeal out at that time.

I remember a time at Crossroads when a couple of people came to the mission to cash checks that they had collected door-to-door.  They had gotten cash from some donors and other donors had given them checks.  When they couldn’t cash the checks, they came to us, thinking that we would give them the cash after we cashed the checks.  These folks certainly weren’t the smartest of thinkers.  This was another fraudulent scheme revealed.  Of course, we reported these individuals to the authorities as the Yuma Community Food Bank reported this incident to the authorities.

As the information age advances our ability to be more mobile in our giving, we know that we must be diligent in guarding what we do.  Crossroads does not collect cash donations door-to-door.  We strive to ensure that we have many safeguards in place to make our online giving safe for us but safe for the donors as well.  Crossroads does have certain activities in front of stores where we will collect cash in one of our donation jars or which can be given to a Crossroads staff, advisory council member, or volunteer.  All of our volunteers and staff can be identified by a Crossroads Mission’s Ambassador’s badge which is unique to Crossroads.  No one taking donations for Crossroads, whether cash or in-kind, will hesitate to show their identification.

Crossroads also sends out appeal letters and often will do a large mailing throughout the county to acquire new donors.  These appeals can always be sent to our post office box number which we have had for many years.  (That address is Crossroads Mission, Post Office Box 1161, Yuma, AZ 85366-1161.)  United States Post Office crimes are a federal crime and once convicted carry long penalties of prison, financial restitution, or both with them.

Crossroads also uses our newsletter, News for Our Partners as an appeal for funds.  We use special events, success stories, information about the programs of the mission, and other information about the mission to keep our donors informed about what is happening at Crossroads.  We report the statistics for our programs in this newsletter to let the donors know how many folks are reaching out to us for help.  Donors help those people too when they give to Crossroads.  That’s how we have continued to help people in this community for over 50 years now.

If you ever have questions about anyone representing Crossroads Mission, do not hesitate to contact one of our offices to inquire.  We are here to help but we are very aware that there are folks out there who use illegal means to scam folks out of their money.

The Crossroads Mission’s Board of Directors and I believe in being transparent with the financial operations of the mission.  We are audited each year by an independent auditor and submit these audits to several agencies for accountability.  Audits can be provided upon request to our donors.

It makes me sad to hear about the scam at the food bank.  When an agency tries to do good to help the poor and needy in this economy but then must use valuable resources to protect what they do have, it is egregious.

I hope that you are a donor.  Many agencies in our community survive through the generous donations of the supporters.  If you suspect something is amiss, don’t hesitate to contact the agency where you donate.  Together we can continue to make a difference!

Blessed by the AGRM Conference

Staff and I recently attended the Association of Gospel Rescue Mission’s  (AGRM) annual conference.  I’ve attend AGRM conferences since 1999 and have not been disappointed with the quality and content of the information passed on to the conference attendees.  This year’s five-day event was held in Saint Charles, Illinois just outside of Chicago.  This conference was jam-packed with educational possibilities, networking, and most importantly, spiritually refreshing sessions.

As always, I wanted to ensure that we got the most from each session.  After we all found our respective rooms and met for dinner the first night, we strategically planned which sessions each of us would attend. There were specific topic tracks to attend in addition to general sessions and other activities.  We talked about the tracks we wanted to attend which was directed by each person’s job:  ministry, administration, graphics, development, shelter services, or treatment.  We made sure we covered as many of the topics as we could.

I decided to take the Strategic Leadership track which involved attending six group sessions.  I wasn’t disappointed in the quality and amount of information that I learned at each session.  The other staff members laid out  a map of the sessions that helped them cover as many topics as possible.  In the strategic leadership track, I was inspired with information on how to make a good relationship better between the board and executive director.  In other sessions, I learned about having God’s vision and seeking His direction for the staff, clients, and mission. I was reminded of God’s provision for our mission.  I felt enlightened by hearing that God loves me just as I am but doesn’t expect me to stay as I am.  I must grow spiritually in Him!  I’m on a journey of obedience, discipline, and learning.

The staff reported few disappointments in the sessions.  Even some of the sessions that may have been somewhat tedious let the staff know that we were doing things right at our own mission or helped them see opportunities to change.  Most of the sessions brought great insight to programs, donor development, services, and many other valuable topics.

We’re home now; grateful for seeing loved ones and sleeping in our own beds.  We’re loaded with ideas to help enhance the services and programs at our mission.  We’ve all benefited from our trip but most importantly, our clients will benefit when we share with the other staff members what we’ve learned.

I feel blessed for being able to attend the conference.  I feel blessed that the Executive Director and staff of AGRM are so dedicated to bring this conference to fruition.  I feel blessed that God has bestowed on me the opportunity to lead Crossroads Mission to the next level of service as we continue on our journey!

God has NEVER failed me!

God is good!  I remember in my youth Oral Roberts was on the television weekly. His message was always the same:  “God is good!”  I love that saying even to this day because it is so true.  A life in Christ doesn’t mean that we won’t have hard times or that everything will be easy.  He’s good all the time!  There are many things that I struggle over but God is always with me.  I may not always hear from Him or feel Him but He does not abandon His own!  God is true to His promises.

At one time in my life, I hadn’t “heard” from God.  I thought He left me!  I felt that since I had been such a sinner, He just had given up on me.  I thought a great deal about my life as a sinner and my new life as a Christian.  I knew that my worse day as a Christian was by far better than my best day as a sinner. I made up my mind that if I never felt God again, I was going to serve Him.  I sought godly counsel about not feeling God.  The man of God I spoke to asked me one question and then said something that I will never forget.  He asked me if God had ever failed me.  I immediately answered that God had never failed me!  The man then said to me that if God failed me today, it would be the first time! What a profound statement!  God had never failed me!  He is good all the time.  He may not answer my prayers the way I want them answered but there was an answer.  He may have withheld things that I thought I couldn’t live without but it was for my own good.  God had never failed me!  He is good all the time!

How about you?  How has your life been?  Have you made a decision to accept Jesus as your savior?  John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, that whosoever believeth in him shall not perish but have everlasting life.  God loves you no matter what you’ve done in your life.  He sent his son as a sacrifice for your sins.  The plan of salvation is simple as ABCAccept!  Believe!  Confess!  Acknowledge Jesus as you Savior by accepting him into your heart.  Believe that he rose from the dead.  Then confess your new found Savior to someone else!

Please contact us at our web site if you made a decision to change your life today.  I’ll answer you and we will send you some literature on your new life in Christ.  We will also be glad to refer you to a church near you for discipleship.  God bless you!

Absolutes

Nothing ever changes!  This never works!  No one ever listens! You never change.   My computer never works.  This printer never prints! You’re never in your office!  Every time I call, you’re on the phone!  Everything is always the same.  Nothing changes. I have been acutely aware of people speaking in absolutes.  The absolutes can be about people, machinery, equipment, even situations which I’m sure you can come up with more to add to my list.

I have been keenly sensitive to my own absolutes.  Mine sound much like those that I’ve been hearing.  I have spent some time pondering the “absolute” attitude or even mind-set.  I use the words “mind-set” because when I ask staff to not speak in an absolute, to speak specifically of the problem; most of them take a few minutes before they grasp the idea of my instructions.  Some don’t ever understand what I’m getting at.

When I looked up the word “absolute”, I was surprised to find that outside of the absolute alcohol definition; most of the bullet points for the word were positive, not negative.  (By the way, absolute alcohol means pure and unadulterated which may fit in with what I’m thinking as well.)  The definitions included free from imperfection; complete; perfect as in absolute liberty. Another meant free from restriction or limitation, not limited in any way as in absolute command or absolute freedom. This definition even uses the word positive:  positive, certain as in absolute in opinion or absolute evidence. However the definition that best fits what I’m hearing and thinking is complete, outright as in an absolute lie or in absolute denial.  If I use the Thesaurus to look up synonyms, I find words like total, complete, utter, fixed, unquestionable, unconditional, conclusive, firm, resolved, definite, unmovable, final, and unchangeable.

Persons speaking in absolutes are most often frustrated by situations that they have no control over; even equipment that they don’t understand or have no control over.  They have no hope that the problem can be changed.  I’ve spoken to many parents and spouses who use absolutes when they’re talking about their loved ones.  He can’t change!

From my own experience, I know that I can’t see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel and begin to spout off absolutes:  This never changes!  We’re always out of money!  Everything is always broken! I’ve found myself with an attitude of superstition not wanting to say: What next?  Can any anything else go wrong? I feel that if I’m absolutely sure that there will be the next thing that happens and that anything else will certainly be happening within the next few minutes.  Absolute thinking comes from frustrations to situations or people.  Absolute thinking in this case is always linked to something negative event, situation, or behavior.  Knowing how to solve problems can help with the absolute mind-set.  Many times the problem exists based on my own perception or from the fact that I’m not getting my way.  I don’t have control!  I often feel “under the gun”, stressed, and very short for time when I begin to think in absolutes.  I know that I can solidify that thinking by allowing it to continue.  Then it becomes a mind-set for me.

The steps to problem solving include:

1)  Do I understand why the problem exists or do I even need to understand why the problem exists?  If I do understand why the problem exists, I’ll have a better time resolving it.  Defining the root cause of the problem will help me to logically think it out or to be ready to explain the problem when I’m seeking help.

  • What can I see that causes me to think there’s a problem?
  • Where is it happening?
  • How is it happening?
  • When is it happening?
  • With whom is it happening? (As a director, I need to address issues more than people.)
  • Why is it happening?
  • I can write down a five-sentence description of the problem.

2)  I should try to clearly identify the problem and any obstacles that it presents.  Often I’m seeing many problems that are a result of one problem.  The computer doesn’t work.  I never can get to do what I want.  The screen is always dark.

I’ve made these statements when the computer has been unplugged or I forgot that I shut it down the last time I was on it.  My mind goes immediately to a bigger problem when I have those rambling, negative, absolute statements going through my brain.

3)  Once I’ve clearly identified the problem, I need to understand what I have control over and what I don’t.  I must try to resolve the problem within the areas of what I do have control over.  Do I have control over plugging the computer into the socket?  Sure I do!  Do I have control over the smoke that’s coming out of it?  I don’t think so!  I’ll need help!

4)  Do I have all the information I need to resolve this problem?  Solving problems is like being a detective.  I should do my investigation of the facts before I
jump to those absolutes.

5)  I should not jump to conclusions.  Once I have all the information, once I’ve analyzed it carefully, once I’ve looked at it from different vantage points, I should be as objective as possible.

6)  Now I’m ready to take action.  I’ve got a strategy in place.  Can I take care of this problem myself or do I need help?  Do I need a second opinion?  If I don’t have control over this situation, do I know someone who can help me?  Does someone else have control over it?

Simply put, problem solving includes:

1) Defining the problem.

2) Looking for potential causes of the problem.

3) Identifying alternatives for approaches to resolve the problem.

4) Selecting an approach to resolve the problems.

5) Planning the implementation of the best alternative.  Take action!

6) Re-evaluating the action plan.

7) Verifying if the problem has been resolved.

I’m praying that God will help me to be more aware of my “absolute mentality” so that I can change it.  My desire is to be a positive role model as was Jesus.  God designed me to be a problem-solver and to be a leader.  I can’t lead people when I have that negative nothing ever changes attitude.  I am in the business of change!  Finally, I’m going to instruct the other leaders of my organization to identify their absolute thinking as well.  When we are bringing a problem to the table, we will identify the root of the problem and bring possible solutions as well.  We’re a team that has a foundation built on the principles of God’s Word.  There is ABSOLUTELY nothing that we can’t handle when we ask for God’s wisdom and stay in prayer.  Absolutely!