In a world oftentimes overshadowed with violence and racial prejudiced, doesn’t it do us at least some good to sit back, and take in ALL the positive stories which we might have to dig a little deep to find? Make no mistake about it, there’s good news all around. The one great story which I will attempt to share with you today deals with one man’s fight to make his community the best place to live, and the direct implication of those efforts. The story of course takes place in the small Delta town of; West Memphis Arkansas, and like most everything within the state of Arkansas the number of honest and genuine people FAR outweigh those who seek to do their neighbors harm.
let’s go on a journey to the downtown area of West Memphis. (POP. 28,777) The name of the place is the; 8th Street Mission for Jesus Christ. The 8th Street Mission is a Non Profit 501 C3 organization and you’ll find them located at; 1717 east Broadway. This particular center just like the good majority of Non Profit agencies in West Memphis Arkansas didn’t just spring up overnight. The 8th Street Mission as a matter of fact has been working extremely hard in the fight to better this region for the last 29 years. Now, at this point some of you may perhaps be asking yourself this “But what does the 8th Street Mission for Jesus Christ do exactly? What type of people does the mission cater to and why should I even care?”
In the early part of July 2010, “Residents 4 Arkansas” West Memphis Chapter had the unique opportunity to sit down with Rev, Lee Crawford (Executive Director of the 8th Street) and he was gracious enough to also take us on a guided tour of the facility. One visit and I’m certain you’ll agree…Arkansas needs MORE community places just like the 8th Street Mission! The following are some of the mission’s objectives.
1. To respond to individuals experiencing personal crisis
2. To be a supportive agency to community endeavors and build bridges of understanding between people in the community and throughout the Greater West Memphis area.
3. To reach out to our community and beyond to assist the needy, demonstrating Christian generosity, love and the saving grace of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
In ADDITION to helping HOUSE, FEED and CLOTHE homeless residents, the 8th Street Mission also provides job training classes. You see, the REAL strength of the 8th Street Mission lies in her ability to multitask and personally connect with EACH and every individual who walks through those doors. NO-ONE is turned away! Instead, They're instantly made to feel like a member of an extended family, and walking through the cozy facility feels akin to walking through your own house. The atmosphere is just that comfortable.
Here is just one example of the great services which they provide.
The primary mission of The 8th Street Mission for Jesus Christ is to minister to those who have drug and alcohol addictions. Through a 12 month, 24 hour, 7 day per week program the men and women of The 8th Street Mission for Jesus Christ strive and grow in the strength and admonition of the Word of God.
The Program consists of:
Basic Care needs
Access to Health Care
Drug and Alcohol Recovery
Educational and Occupational TrainingThe residents of the Mission are entered into a health care program and receive professional counseling in life skills, education and occupational training. They are given transportation to and from all appointments including legal and court appearances. The Mission has also partnered with the local college to offer a GED program, literacy training, life skills and grants for college entry. Education gives the men and women a chance to become contributing members of our society.
Life Skills Training
Counseling (Both Disciplinary and Spiritual)
25 Hours of Bible Study, Worship and Prayer
Through encouragement, each person learns that they are not alone and that others are going through the same process.
The 8th Street Mission for Jesus Christ and the West Memphis Marion Ministerial Association have had a long standing relationship. The Association contributes funds from each of their congregations to the mission allowing us to assist those who are stranded in West Memphis and the surrounding area.
The most requested type of assistance under this program is Fuel Assistance.
There are also provisions for the Traveler who has very little money and needs a place to stay for the evening.
The third requested type of assistance in the Stranded Travelers Assistance Program is Bus Ticket Vouchers.
In closing, I’d like to thank Rev Lee Crawford and his staff for their gracious hospitality it was indeed an absolute pleasure to meet and discuss with them the 8th Street mission. Thank you!
The 8th Street Mission for Jesus Christ
717 EAST BROADWAY ST
WEST MEMPHIS, ARKANSAS