Something about a new beginning really appeals to us. A clean slate, a do over, starting fresh from scratch. That’s why we stay up till midnight every December 31 to ring in the New Year. It’s why we’re excited when a baby arrives and we celebrate life’s renewal.

God designed us to look ahead, not back. He said in the Book of Isaiah, “Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth …”

Jesus Was Homeless had a new beginning on Sunday, July 16 when we said so long to our old facility on Highway 76 and moved into our new building at 310 Gretna Road. Nearly 18 months of hard work culminated with seats and couches, desks and chairs and kitchen equipment hauled into place. If you’ve ever experienced the hassle of moving, you know how good it feels when the last box is finally unpacked.

We’re grateful to now have five times more space than we had in the old site. That means more elbow room for volunteers who prepare the 1,400 meals for delivery on Thursday mornings, more room for folks who worship with us on Sunday mornings and, well, just more room all around.

But this isn’t a case of becoming bigger for bigger’s sake. Since my wife Amy and I started Jesus Was Homeless back in 2008, we’ve learned how to reach and connect with those we serve living in Branson area motels. While that’s deeply gratifying, it’s time to step up to the next level. Still there are more people longing for love and acceptance, still more need someone to walk alongside them during life’s difficult times.

This additional space provides room to keep growing as we continue serving people in need. A new building in itself isn’t important; but what that new building will allow us to do is vitally important.

There’s also something new at the 310 Gretna Road campus. We’re opening the brand new Jesus Was Homeless Thrift Store. “Why does Branson need another second-hand store?” you may wonder.

Because our store will offer hope as well as gently used clothing and furniture. We’ll help people get the clothes they need for an important job interview. And we’ll provide opportunities for people to participate in a rewards program, so they can acquire food and other necessities for their family. Our store won’t just move merchandise: it will create a new avenue for making connections with the people we serve.

Then there’s Jobs for Life. Additional space means we’ll be able to accept even more people into this highly successful program that points the way out of poverty and into a better future through becoming a valued employee.

I could go on and on, because I’ve just scratched the surface of what this new beginning means to Jesus Was Homeless. But there’s only so much space on this blog. Let’s say I truly believe that when our organization’s history is written, it will say 2017 was the year when Jesus Was Homeless stepped up the challenge, extended its arms and touched the lives of even more people.

Thank you for being part of everything we do through your donation of time as a volunteer and your financial support. You make it possible for us to fulfill our mission.

As we settle into our new building, I eagerly look forward to seeing the “new thing” God is about to do here in Branson. And I look forward to you and your family being part of it, too!