Love Is Building Caring Relationships: Dawaun’s Story

Dawaun JohnsonDawaun Johnson is a man who has faced many challenges in his life. “I’m originally from Chicago. I grew up with a big family, 5 brothers and 2 sisters. We went through a lot growing up, there wasn’t enough for everyone. In January 2011 I moved to Minnesota with $800 in my pocket and no job or car. I was able to find a job in Chaska but had no place to live, so I went to a motel in Chaska. I didn’t have a car, so I biked 5 miles to and from work each day, praying to God to watch over me and protect me. It wasn’t easy to ask for help. Where I come from you don’t ask for help, but knew I needed someone or some organization to help me.”

Dawaun’s life began taking a turn for the better when he reached out to local agencies including Love INC. “PROP and the housing authority helped me out with part of my deposit. The day the Love INC truck pulled up, I felt like a kid on Christmas Eve, I couldn’t wait for the presents to arrive.”

Ginger Mulcrone, a volunteer with our FurniShare ministry said, “When we delivered the bunk bed to Dawaun’s house and assembled it in the bedroom, we saw the excitement on Dawaun’s face, just watching him think about how excited his boys would be to have a bunk bed.” Connie Schibilla, another Love INC volunteer said,Furnishare van “We put the couch against the wall, hooked up the TV and put some lamps on tables. We even added a plant next to the window. When we were finished, Dawaun sat down and said, ‘This is great, this is home.’”

Besides FurniShare providing the furniture, The Linen Closet ministry of Love INC gave Dawaun sheets, blankets, pillows and towels. Love INC’s Bike Shop gave a bike to his son and the Personal Care and Kitchen Essentials also pitched in.

John Thomas recalls, “I had a great time with Dawaun that day. We laughed together, moved furniture together. I was able to kid around with him quite a bit – he has a great sense of humor. Dawaun said, “Once everything was said and done, John asked to say a prayer for me.”

“Kneeling in prayer with Dawaun, praying for his children, his health and work, and for his life to start to stabilize a bit. Just to be at one with him in prayer, lifting up his name to Jesus, asking him to provide all these things that he so desperately needs, not just furniture—was a tremendous moment that I will never forget.”

Dawaun continues, “Love INC really helped me along my path of becoming who I am today. Being able to accomplish what I have today, I would have not been able to without Love INC. I’ve seen God’s presence through these people. They didn’t have to help me, they didn’t know me, they didn’t owe me anything. They did it through their faith. I wish there were more people around like that. All I can say is Glory to God—to feel the love that comes from them and the helping hand from people I didn’t even know!”

Volunteering from the Heart

Enjoy this interview with Julie Timm, Loads of Love Coordinator at Westbrook Community Church.

What exactly do you do as a volunteer with Love INC?Julie Timm, Loads of Love Coordinator

Julie: At Westbrook Church, we have taken on the laundry and dish soap GAP ministry “Loads of Love”. We provide laundry detergent, dryer sheets, dish detergent and dish soap to families in need from our community. We get to help an average of 8-10 families each week, so it takes a LOT of donations to sustain this ministry. I also coordinate the volunteer drivers that are willing to deliver to families during the week. That’s an easy way for people to jump in and be the hands and feet of Christ, without requiring a huge commitment.

Why did you decide to get involved with this ministry?

Julie: Well, there was a time in my life when I was on the receiving end. In my early 20’s, I hadn’t been to church in about 6 years and didn’t really have any intentions of returning. Then my husband suddenly passed away and I found myself a single mother of a two year old, with no money and not a lot of resources. I was feeling really desperate and lost. The church I had grown up in heard about
my situation and jumped in to help. They provided some basic needs for me and my son that would not have been met otherwise. They also took time to pray with me and for me, and told me that they would continue to do so. It took me several years to return to church after that, but the seed was planted. I could never let go of the fact that they just stepped in and helped me with NO expectations. I knew it was more than charity – I knew there was a bigger purpose. It gave me hope and deepened my faith in God. And even now, 20 years later, I see it as a defining factor of why my faith is so strong. That’s really the reason I chose to volunteer for Love INC. I think if we, as a church family, can be a part of that to somebody – it can make a big impact.

What kind of a difference do you think you are making?

Julie: When volunteers deliver the items, there is an opportunity to talk and pray with the recipients. Because there are several churches dropping off at the same house and praying with them, it shows that their community cares about them and their circumstances. And because we are doing it In the Name of Christ, it shows them that God really does love them and will provide for them in their time of need. I think we have a really unique opportunity with this ministry to meet people where they are and we just never know how God will use it in their lives. In fact, the mission of Love INC is to mobilize the church to transform lives and our community in the name of Christ. What can be better than that?

A Note from Executive Director Doug Peterson

Doug Peterson, Executive DIrector of Love INCLove In the Name of Christ is joyfully celebrating our 5th anniversary of serving the communities and the churches of Eastern Carver County. God’s hand of blessing has been very evident: pastors have become partners, churches have been given a direct means of helping those in need in our community, church members have been stretched and grown as they have put their faith to the test, and area businesses have stepped up to provide encouragement to the churches and volunteers through their financial support.

We are building a stronger community, yet there is much work to be done. Please join us in the following commitments as we ask God to transform us and our community:

  • We will encourage caring relationships to be built which have the potential to transform lives.
  • We will emphasize developmental compassion which is person-centered, not need-centered.
  • We will mobilize members of  partner churches to connect with those in need in our community.
  • We will serve those in need by giving a hand-up, not just a hand-out.
  • We will encourage transformation through developing life skills that help people move toward self-sufficiency.
  • We will pray for people, pointing them towards Christ’s unlimited resources and transforming power.

May God richly bless all of us as we look toward a new year of love in Christ’s name!