Where do homeless people live? In cardboard boxes, under bridges or in vacant lots? Unfortunately for many, such is the case. However, if you are without residence in Alexandria, Louisiana you can contact The Grace House and have an opportunity for rehabilitation.
According to Brother Bruce Melder, the Community Care Coordinator for The Pentecostals of Alexandria, The Grace House affords homeless men, despondent, lonely, desperately in need of another chance, an opportunity to build a new life for themselves.
“Our building, owned and operated by The Pentecostals of Alexandria, can support 16 men providing food, shelter, discipline, and training,” Explains Bro. Melder. “The Grace House first opened in 1988 in a house converted for dorm-style living. In the spring of 2000, Grace House moved to its present location in a new, specially-built facility. The Grace House complex now includes living space for the men, a patio, a storage shed, and five additional lots. Located a few blocks from the Pentecostals of Alexandria, the Grace House is staffed by one administrator, two assistants, one house supervisor, and other volunteers”, states Brother Melder.
“The Grace House in Alexandria started with a burden that Brother Jerry Rollins had for the poor and the homeless in 1988,” said Brother Melder. “Brother Jerry worked with the homeless and poured himself into them for 17 years, establishing a solid foundation for this ministry.”
“To qualify for residence in Grace House,” Brother Melder explains, “candidates must be at least 18 years of age and physically able to take care of themselves. Upon their arrival, men must demonstrate their willingness to stay and cooperate with the established program including Bible study, obedience to house rules, and church attendance. While living at the Grace House, men are expected to police themselves and to show respect to others and to the authority figures in place.”
In the more than 20 years of its existence, close to 5,000 men have been blessed by the services of the Grace House. Many of the men, years later, remain members of the Pentecostals of Alexandria with viable and productive lives and church-related ministries.
“ You do not have to look very far in the scriptures to discover that the poor and the hurting are a high priority to the Lord,” Brother Melder points out. “ Jesus starts and ends his earthly ministry talking about this group of people. In Matthew 25:34-36 the Bible states, “ Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick and ye visited me: I was in prison , and ye came unto me.” “He has given us precise instructions to help the poor. It is a clear conclusion then that Christ will anoint us in our efforts to reach the poor. When we serve in this capacity we are serving Christ himself. He has promised we will ultimately be given an inheritance for our labors.”