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6 min read

LC Valley Partners: Coming Together as the Body of Christ

“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” (Isaiah 43:19)


 

UGM seeks to extend a hand to the poor and provide the opportunity for a transformed life. When our leadership was approached about the need for a high-barrier shelter in the LC Valley, they answered the call to serve the region. We talked to some of our church partners in the area about the need for a shelter and learned why they believe that God is moving through UGM.

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Valued Church Partners

2023 was a year of cultivating friendships with many Lewis Clark Valley community members who are passionate about serving those in need and partnering with UGM to create a lasting impact. UGM church partners Carly Klappenbach, Herb Boreson, Kevin Beeson, and Sam Creason are among them. Given that Union Gospel Mission has worked with local churches in the community since our beginning in 1951, we couldn’t be more excited about what is happening in the LC Valley. 

Although these church leaders are from unique congregations, they share more than one thing in common. They are all dedicated to serving the LC Valley by addressing both tangible and spiritual needs, and they believe in supporting UGM’s unique approach that offers individuals a pathway out of homelessness.

 

Set Free

Carly Klappenbach, Director of Engagement and Missions at CrossPoint Alliance Church, expressed that there is an urgent need for homeless services in the LC Valley, yet a lack of awareness of it.
“We need the honesty to say we do have a homeless problem…there are people in our community that don’t have a place to sleep at night.” 

CrossPoint and other churches in the region want to help individuals understand that many of their neighbors are facing homelessness. However, they feel limited in how much they are able to help alleviate the issue.

Pastor Herb Boreson of Gateway Church, born and raised in Lewiston, Idaho, discussed the urgent need for homeless services in the LC Valley. He recounted his personal efforts to provide clothing for those in need and engage with individuals facing addiction during the time his church was on Main Street. “I could pray for them, but I couldn't house them and feed them and clothe them and spiritually feed them all at once. I wanted to set them free so they could have the joy of bringing home their own food.” 

Herb-BoresonPastor Herb Boreson, Gateway Church

 

“I wanted to set them free so they could have the joy of bringing home their own food.”

 

His heart for these people aligns closely with that of UGM Founder Albert Arend, who shared, “Our aim is not free meals, but freed persons; not free beds, but free beings.”

Herb recognizes that true life transformation requires a plan and resources, which is what led his church to UGM’s programs. “It needed more than our band-aid. They needed a plan. They needed a purpose to get out of addiction.”

 

“It needed more than our band-aid. They needed a plan. They needed a purpose to get out of addiction.”

 

“It takes years to break some patterns…And oftentimes, an individual church is not set up to effectively [support] that,” echoes Sam Creason in a separate conversation.

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Sam Creason, Valley Covenant Church elder

As an elder at Valley Covenant Church, local attorney, and Lewiston native, Sam Creason has a deep understanding of the needs that exist in his community. “We lose something of our community and the enrichment of our lives when we try to put [the poor] in positions where we don't have to see them…I hate to even describe UGM as a homeless shelter. It's a ministry.” 

 

“I hate to even describe UGM as a homeless shelter. It’s a ministry.”

 

 

Planting Seeds, Reaping Harvest

Sam explained that many local people are committed to supporting UGM by serving, praying, and giving financially. They are motivated for this reason: “UGM is unashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It preaches that the gospel is central to freedom, both in this world and in the life to come. That was critical to us because we want to find faithful stewards. We see [UGM] as giving seed and we trust that that seed will flourish into a harvest, and then that harvest can be used to plant more seed.”

UGM is and has always been centered around the gospel and caring for the whole person. With safety as priority and meeting basic human needs for survival, our vision is to equip people with a plan and tools to build a flourishing life and to experience a personal relationship with God. 

 

“From what we've seen, UGM is unashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It preaches that the gospel is central to freedom, both in this world
and in the life to come.”

 

Carly shared about the importance of sharing the gospel and becoming more like Jesus each day. “If we’re actually serious about being the hands and feet of Jesus, then that means engaging with people and loving them right where they’re at.” 

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Carly Klappenbach, CrossPoint Alliance Church

As a way to empower their congregation to go out and actively “love the least of these” (Matthew 25:40), CrossPoint Alliance Church established Love the Valley grants. Members of their church can apply for support with projects to serve those in need. “It’s helped our church really recognize the need in the LC Valley, whether it’s homelessness or addiction or poverty…When you get into somebody’s space, when you can hear their story, when there’s a relationship there, it completely changes your perspective,” Carly explains. 

 

“If we’re actually serious about being the hands and feet of Jesus, then that means engaging with people and loving them right where they’re at.”

 

 

Breaking Bread

Pastor Kevin Beeson of River City Church has spent his entire life in the LC Valley. It’s home. And he understands the depth of the need for Jesus outside the four walls of his church. 

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Pastor Kevin Beeson, River City Church

He told us about a dinner church they planted in the LC Valley called The Bridge. “Every week, we have 80 to 120 people showing up, mostly homeless, those on the margins that are not only looking for a good meal, but for relationship.” At The Bridge, pastors create a welcoming atmosphere and share a ten-minute story about Jesus. Even people who are not homeless or struggling for food attend. “They were impoverished relationally, and they needed people. We all need it. We all need people.” 

 

“They were impoverished relationally, and they needed people. We all need people.”

 

It brings the UGM community immense joy to come alongside those who are on mission for the same things we are. River City’s efforts to provide meals and create a space for community mirrors the work we do at Union Gospel Mission. They’ve even brought several people who attended The Bridge to UGM Recovery in Spokane after learning about their readiness to join the program and change their lives.  

A few years ago, Kevin and a group of pastors toured our UGM shelters in Spokane and Coeur d’Alene. “I was most impressed by the friendliness and the care. I could tell people were really relational, the staff and even those who were clients there. Just a sense of excellence, and not excellence that’s cold, but warm. There was a warmth.” 

Guests-Eating

As staff and volunteers work daily to serve those in our shelters, there is a buzz of hope and a genuine warmth in our shelters. People’s hearts are stirring. Their minds are renewing. In places filled with true rest and healing, stories are being rewritten.  

Pastor Kevin shared an appreciation for the ways in which UGM provides guests with a “hand up” by utilizing a clear process. “If you can find someone who's doing something and they're doing it well, why would you try to reinvent that? I'd rather partner…I think that’s good stewardship.” 

 

“If you can find someone who's doing something and they're doing it well, why would you try to reinvent that? I'd rather partner. I think that’s good stewardship.”

 

 

Joining Arms, Together

In our conversation with Sam, he expressed, “It is a taste of the life to come when we get to do the Lord’s will.” We couldn’t agree more. 

Many pieces have already fallen into place for the LC Valley Shelter to be where it is today, and many lives we don’t yet know about will be transformed by it. This reality makes our hearts swell with hope and gratitude. In every conversation, we are reminded that God is moving. He is near to the brokenhearted (Psalm 34:18) and He has good plans (Jeremiah 29:11). 

Partnering-with-Churches

Pastor Kevin summarized our goal for Union Gospel Mission, and specifically our presence in the LC Valley, perfectly. “As we join arms, as we partner together, not only with UGM itself, but also with other local churches in the community…this is an excellent way to steward and multiply our impact.” 

 

“As we join arms, as we partner together, not only with UGM itself, but also with other local churches in the community…this is an excellent way to steward and multiply our impact.”

 

Thank you, Herb, Sam, Carly, and Kevin, and our many other church partners in the region for being faithful leaders in this work. UGM is honored by your friendship and support. We can’t wait to see what the Lord will do in the LC Valley through the many hands and hearts that are part of this great effort. 


 

 

Breaking Ground 

Great news! We’re excited to invite you to the groundbreaking ceremony of the LC Valley Shelter on Friday, February 23 at 10:00 a.m. With the support of the community, we are building the region’s first high-barrier shelter to address homelessness in the LC Valley. More than 250 people are experiencing this crisis, of which 70% are unsheltered.

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Come celebrate us as we hear from Executive Director Phil Altmeyer, local leaders, and a former UGM resident from the LC Valley. At the event, we will pray over the property and all who will walk through its doors.  

 

 

Join us in bringing a beacon of hope to the LC Valley. Click here. >>

 

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