Mission From Mars – About the Mission
We created these ten core values to more clearly define what exactly the Mission From Mars culture is. They are reflected in everything we do and every interaction we have. Our core values are always the framework from which we make all of our decisions.
When asked what to bring, just bring yourself. The greatest gift we can give the homeless is our time. Bring your heart and listen. We do not want them to see you as someone who can meet their material needs. They need to see you as someone who can meet their emotional and spiritual needs.
As much as we want to help people, I believe we have to leave room for God to work. If being homeless ever becomes more comfortable than living in a home, we have not helped them. The key is to provide a hand up, but not a hand out.
1. We understand alleviation to poverty: “Poverty is rooted in broken relationships, so the solution to poverty is rooted in the power of Jesus’ death and resurrection to put all things into right relationship again. Poverty alleviation is the ministry of reconciliation: moving people closer to glorifying God by living in right relationship with God, with self, with others, and with the rest of creation.” (Helping without Hurting). To do this, we focus on creating a community where we are encouraged to talk and listen. We want to help the process of socialization and introduce to those who can present the gospel.
2. We build a community where we are all equal in God’s eyes: We don’t want to be a ‘drive by charity’ where we go one time, feel better about ourselves, feel better about the decision we have made and feel better than the people we met. We are all equal in God’s eyes, we are all His children. In serving, we are serving our community. Not their community.
3. We focus on empathy and embrace the ability to see through their eyes: We recognize the signs of mental illness or drug addition. We learn that sometimes you may no longer be talking to the person, but also the drug. Look at situations around you and see through the eyes of a man with severe social anxiety, but comes to get a meal.
4. We help break the stigma of homelessness: There is a negative and often unfair belief commonly associated with homelessness. Laziness, addiction, drugs. That is just not true. We find there is usually a major loss involved that resulted in homelessness. These are broken and hurting people who need to know they are valued.
5. We teach compassion: The experience of interacting with the homeless is a tremendous learning opportunity for our children. We encourage parents to teach our children to want to help someone who is experiencing difficulty. The book “A Shelter In My Car” is a great starting point to help kids understand why someone may be homeless. We also help our kids break the stigma of homelessness and teach them empathy, equality and respect.
6. We respect privacy: It is not a zoo or a circus show, these are people with real lives and real feelings. They are just like you and me. We respect their privacy, we do not exploit them on Facebook or through the media without permission and acknowledgement they understand. Ask a man why he doesn’t not like his picture taken and he may say “I don’t want my children to see me on Facebook and say “my dad is a bum.”
7. We transform lives but we leave transformed: We do not view our work as something done in pity for those who can do nothing in return. They will do so much for you in return if you let them.
8. We treat people with dignity: Dignity is the quality of being worthy of respect. We don’t believe in handing a man or woman on the street a crumpled up shirt for his first job interview. If we gave our friends hand-me-downs, would you throw them unclean and crumpled in a garbage bag and toss on the floor? We promote a clean clothing exchange.
9. We do more with less: It’s important to use money effectively. Buying top of the line towels for the bathing shelter or name brand jackets, is not an effective use of money. Remember, we can feed people at approximately $1 a person. Keep a budget and wise use of your money. If we can provide ‘used’ items (unless specifically new is requested), we should. We should not feel less giving or cheap.
10. We are street smart: As you grow in a street ministry, you will give part of your heart to the people you meet. You need to be prepared for heartbreak. Friends will disappoint, lie, cheat and steal. We are cautious with our money. We do not bring strangers back home with us. We are careful with our personal identification, our names, our addresses.
MORE ABOUT MISSION FROM MARS
Connecting Communities with a Compassionate Heart
After reviewing the services of other organizations, Mission From Mars identified there was a need to provide a lunchtime meal on Sundays on the Northside. Because access to public transportation is difficult for homeless (money, bus passes) and they may not attend a church that provides a meal. By providing this meal, it fills a gap for many living on the streets of Northside and downtown that may not otherwise eat. Mission From Mars connects the homeless with others in shared circumstances as well as the community.
The City of Pittsburgh currently has 1500 homeless living in shelters. About 1/3 of that statistic are Veterans, and there are around 100 street homeless. During the summer that number increases with 300-500 transient street homeless or "train kids".
We treat others with Respect
One of the greatest difficulties in being homeless is the stigma that comes with it. Many are ashamed or embarrassed and they often feel very alone. Mission From Mars goal is for our friends to know they are not alone. God is with them and there are friends here to help. We listen, we care, and we do not judge them. We love and support them. We try to reach as many as we can. Being a part of the Mission From Mars street ministry team you will learn these people do more for you- than we could ever do for them!