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.