The Foundry Ministries – The Next Stop on Mission Birmingham’s Summer Prayer Journey

Welcome back to the Summer Prayer Journey for Nonprofits, facilitated by Mission Birmingham. We encourage you, if you can, to join us in person each Friday at 7am at a different nonprofit. To find out which nonprofits are coming up, follow Mission Birmingham on Facebook. Last week, we had a wonderful time together at Jimmie Hale Mission, as we prayed out of Psalm 107. Next week, June 26, we will be meeting and praying at The Lovelady Center.

This week, we are visiting and praying for The Foundry Ministries. Founded in 1971 as the Bessemer Rescue Mission by Sam Reynolds, the vision for The Foundry Ministries is “permanently transformed lives through Christ-centered ministries.” Their mission is “to restore hope and rebuild lives the of the addict, the ex-inmate and the destitute through Christ-centered Recovery, Re-Entry, and Rescue.”

This ministry was founded in 1971 as the Bessemer Rescue Mission by Sam Reynolds. Rev. Bob Bell, himself a recovered alcoholic, was the first executive director. Below is a brief timeline of their recent history. I didn’t include all of it from their website because of time, I encourage you to take time to read through the whole amazing timeline on their website when you get a chance, and marvel over how much the Lord has done on behalf of what society would consider “the least of these”.

  • 1992 – Bessemer Rescue Mission opens shelter for homeless women
  • 1996 – Rev. Bill Heintz becomes the executive director. Acknowledging one of the reasons for homelessness is drug and alcohol abuse, they desired to provide more than warm beds and hot meals. They wanted to offer those in the grip of addiction the tools to permanently transform their lives.
  • 1997 – In the first of many miracles, the ministry purchased First Alliance Church, which was renovated for their long-term Recovery program. This first miracle of many helped pave the way for tremendous growth in the coming years. Bessemer Rescue Mission becomes The City of Hope.
  • 2004 – City of Hope changes its name to The Foundry Rescue Mission and Recovery Center. The ministry’s SuperThrift Outlet becomes the largest thrift store in Alabama, generating funds for the ministry and providing training opportunity for residents.
  • 2005 – The Foundry takes over Re-Entry Ministries to provide men leaving the prison system a safe haven and opportunity to transition back into society as productive citizens.
  • 2014 – The name is updated to The Foundry Ministries to better reflect the vast scope of their programs and services. A collaboration is formed with Changed Lives Christian Center (CLCC) in Birmingham to enhance services to residents and expand outreach to that area’s homeless and near-homeles.

To find out more about this incredible ministry and how you can be involved through prayer support, giving, or volunteering your time, please visit The Foundry Ministries website. I read through the bios on the leadership team on their site, and Leslie Freeman, the Senior Director of Operations and Development, said her study of Isaiah 58 helped shape her life’s calling. I thought it would be fitting to pray out of that passage ourselves for this ministry. Instead of typing it all out for you (or copying and pasting it), I will simply include the verse reference where needed.

Lord, You are the God of mercy. You call Your people to care for the broken, the hungry, the homeless, the hurting and hopeless. You have compassion on those whom society has thrown away. You adopt them and set them with Christ in the heavenly places, so that You can show the riches of Your grace to them. (Eph. 2:6-7) Apart from You, we were all children of wrath, and You died for us while we were yet sinners – Your enemies. What amazing compassion! What love! What amazing grace!

Isaiah 58:6 says that the fast which You choose is to loosen the bonds of wickedness, to undo the bands of the yoke, and to let the oppressed go free and break every yoke. Forgive us for our religious fasts and outward acts of righteousness even while we neglect those who are slowly starving to death around us, or who are being choked to death by the bonds of their addictions. Thank You, Lord, for raising up ministries like The Foundry to be Your hands and feet to these men and women. We praise You for the incredible growth You have blessed them with over the years, not for their own prestige, but because it increased their capacity to serve the ones You’ve called them to serve. We pray You would mobilize Your Church in and around Bessemer to come along-side this ministry, filling the volunteer positions, and giving Kingdom resources. Cause us to have Your compassion towards the men and women who are struggling through addictions or poverty or homelessness.

We pray Isaiah 58:10-11 for The Foundry Ministries – that as they give themselves to the hungry and satisfy the desires of the wicked, You would cause their light to shine in the darkness, and their gloom to become like midday. We pray that You would continually guide Rev. Heintz, his wife, their leadership team and staff in Your wisdom and counsel. Satisfy their desire in the scorched places, whether they are physical, mental, emotional or spiritual places. May the Living Water from Your Word and by Your Spirit flood into every dry place in their lives and ministry. Give them strength by Your might and power, and let them see much fruit from their labors. For every life that comes into their ministry, we pray for fruit that remains.

Lord God, we pray Is. 58:8 for the men and women The Foundry serves. Let the light of Your truth set them free from the darkness and deception of their bonds. We pray that their recovery and restoration would speedily break forth. Let them exchange their filthy rags for garments of salvation and robes of righteousness. Go before them, Lord, and make their path straight and clear. I cannot imagine how difficult it is to see the path You have ordained for them after being on paths of such pain and destruction. Give them strength by Your Spirit in their inner man to walk that path of righteousness. We pray the glory of the Lord would be their rear guard.

We also pray that the work that is being done at The Foundry would impact the city of Bessemer and surrounding areas. We pray that as You restore lives at The Foundry, it would in turn cause the city to be restored. Restore the streets to be safe and pleasant places in which to dwell. Let the breaches in families, in neighborhoods, and in the city itself be repaired through the work The Foundry is doing. (from Is. 58:12)  We pray that You would also remove the yoke of oppression from the midst of Bessemer, the pointing finger and speaking wickedness. (Is. 58:9) Establish this city in righteousness, truth, and freedom, and use the ministry of The Foundry, and others like them, to that end.

Because You are the God who can do all this and so much more, we thank You and praise You. Because You alone are worthy, we worship You with our lives. Show us how to pour ourselves out for You. For Your glory and for Your kingdom, Amen.

What Praying Did

We did it! We prayed for all 90 municipalities in the metro-Birmingham area! It took 100 posts over a year-and-a-half. I was looking back through some of the first posts, and was surprised to see how much the posts changed over time. It was interesting to also notice how one of our smaller towns, Eldridge easily got the most visits – with over 200 in one day! That was amazing!

Kevin, the executive director of Mission Birmingham, of which this blog is an initiative, often reminded me that the goal of this blog wasn’t about readership, follows and comments, but about simply praying for the entire metro-B’ham area, one municipality at a time. As I focused on just praying, I saw how God really gave me His prayers to pray, and we even got to see God working in some of these towns and cities. My prayers also changed. I noticed they became much more evangelistic in nature, which is not my normal “prayer-default”, if you will. It made me wonder what ministries and evangelistic efforts we were coming along-side of through prayer in those cities and towns. We may never know this side of Heaven how God used those prayers, but we can be confident that He heard and answered. As we wrapped up praying through all 90 municipalities, the Lord suddenly started reminding me of His Scriptural promises regarding prayer. Nearly every day over the that week, it seemed I “happened across” another one. I think one of my current favorites is I John 5:14-15 – “This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.” If you keep that in mind as you look over the posts, and all the things we’ve prayed for the metro-Birmingham area, you should get pretty excited at what God is up to. At least, I do.

I have always loved the City of Birmingham, even from the time I was a little girl. We lived in Bessemer at the time, and whenever we had to drive into Birmingham, I would be in awe at the huge, old buildings, the straight streets laid out in a grid, the parks, all of it, really. I’ve also loved Bessemer, because it was my hometown, and even back then I could “feel” the history emanating from the buildings and streets, even if I was too young to understand it. For instance, I used to think DeBardeleben Park (I think I spelled that right. I hope.) was named for a Spanish explorer, not the man who basically founded the city and contributed so much to the development of the area and the steel industry. But then as I started looking into the history of the towns and cities – with the help of our awesome researcher, Ginny – I became so fascinated by how so many of them in this area were tied together by the steel-making industry or other common denominators. I also fell in love with each one we prayed for. I have long believed that you cannot pray regularly for someone without a them becoming knit to your heart. Apparently, it is also true for places you pray for. I feel so connected to all 90 of municipalities. I would love to have the time to go and explore each of these places in person. Maybe someday….

So as we turn the page of this blog, and start focusing our prayers more on current events and needs in the metro-Birmingham area, my heart is full of thanksgiving to God for allowing us to play a part in His plan for each town and city. I’m grateful to know He has heard our prayers, and will accomplish His will in them as it already is in Heaven. “Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.” – Ephesians 3:20-21

Is there a particular city or post that stuck with you? If you were with us for most of the journey, did it change your perspective in any way as well? I would love to hear about it if it did!

 

Bessemer

The city of Bessemer is where I grew up, and so for all of the opinions about this city that are out there, a part of my heart will always be connected to it and want the best for it.

. Mayor Kenneth Gulley
. Founded in 1886 by iron and steel magnate Henry Fairfield DeBardeleben
. Named for Sir Henry Bessemer, who invented the open-hearth method, a major cost-saving technique, for steel production.
. Its nickname is “Marvel City” because of its rapid growth in its early years
. 18 miles SW of Birmingham
. Has a land area of 40.8 square miles
. 27.2% of population is below the poverty line
. Tornado and earthquake activity is above state average.

Isaiah 62:4 – It will no longer be said to you, “Forsaken”, nor to your land will it any longer be said, “Desolate”; but you will be called, “My delight is in her,” and your land, “Married”; For the LORD delights in you, and to Him your land will be married.

Heavenly Father,
This is a city that has been scorned and ridiculed because of corruption, poverty, and oppression. Yet, it can also be a beautiful city with a rich history. We know that You are Sovereign over everything. Your Word says that you raise up kings and establish kingdoms. Are cities any different? If not, then we know You have raised up the city of Bessemer to fulfill a part of Your plans and purposes for Your kingdom.

We pray that You would turn Your face toward Bessemer, and give it favor among its citizens and surrounding communities. Give Mayor Gulley and the city leaders Your wisdom and counsel. We pray that You would do such a work in the City of Bessemer, that  the scorn it has endured in years past would only be a very distant memory. Let it be like a city set on a hill, shining with the Light of Your love and Your Spirit, drawing people to You.

You are a faithful and compassionate God. We pray that the people of Bessemer would experience You as their faithful, compassionate Redeemer and Lord. Let them not be abandoned to the enemy. Let them not substitute a real relationship with You for tradition and religion. Set them on the Rock Christ Jesus.

We pray these things for Bessemer in the matchless name of Jesus,
Amen

Is there a promise from Scripture that you would want to pray for Bessemer?