530.345.2640 2255 Fair Street
Chico, CA 95928

June 2021 — Monthly Update: Pathways & Promises

Thank you for joining with us to build our new expanded facility on 2255 Fair Street! It was a journey of epic proportions. We are thrilled to be creating a pathway towards hope, health and housing for our unhoused friends in the community.

Since arriving on Fair Street, I’ve had so many reflections on the path to us getting here. I see signs now that pointed us forward, led us here, and guided us through the unknown. As I’ve met the dozen or so participants who have arrived in the first two weeks, I have marveled at the way their path and ours so obviously fit together right now.

The Psalmist was clear—stay close to the Lord and His word: “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:105

Let me rehearse the signs that God has been the light to our path!

We know that it is God’s way to guide His people back to Him, to a place of restoration and new life. He leads us on a path home. God has been our path-maker and promises also to guide those who come here for help.

We know that all of us get lost on our path sometimes for a whole host of reasons. We trust that God has an abundant life waiting for each of us, including those in our community who struggle the most.

The Jesus Center exists because God loves all humans and created them in His image. Yes, we know that every human merits love, compassion, encouragement and opportunities for restoration. That is why the Jesus Center is now open 24/7!

As folks come to the Jesus Center, they come to get their life back—to regain hope, improve their health at every level (physical, mental, psychological, and spiritual), and find a path to stable housing. Pathways, our Sabbath House curriculum, is set up to aid them in their forward progress.

I don’t think I need to remind you that our community has been through massive change and instability since late 2018. Our plans for a new facility were well under way before the
Camp Fire but had to be carefully reviewed and vetted after the loss of homes for over 14,000 households and the devastation of entire communities right here in Butte County. It was through this process that our closest partner, the Torres Shelter changed both their model and their hours clarifying how we could focus our role in the community. With our funding being predominantly private, we were able to make adjustments easily. It was through this discernment and prayer process that we decided to focus on sober, 24/7 sheltering for our core services. We also were able to develop a more comprehensive collaborative model for our Phase II Renewal Center serving under-served and special needs populations in our 100-bed shelter.

We will never be able to adequately thank each person who contributed to our work on our path to Fair Street. For four years our Renewal Team has met to imagine, research, plan, draw, and vet potential services and programs. We have used consultants near and far to bring best practices to our thinking. We have relied on our Board for prayer, guidance, and wisdom. We worked with our fellow service providers, city and county leaders. We also added 12 new staff positions in order to fully support the work moving forward.

And of course, we have been provided miraculous financial support from a wide variety of partners including the Walmart Foundation, local families, individuals, businesses and foundations. We have chosen not to build our new facilities with government money because we want to maintain the flexibility that comes with community-based support. We continue to trust in God’s provision and God has not disappointed us.

For our participants, it is our commitment to offer them both private and public resources to aid them in their journey forward. We know that it is difficult to navigate pathways to health, legal resolutions, housing cues and the like. We are committed to helping them find and access these resources. This is what God has done for us; it is what we will share with each of them.

God gave us our location on Park Avenue many years ago and showed up over and over doing His kind work in those who came there. Having said that, the building there had served its purpose and for FOUR years we sought a new home. We thought for sure it was the 4 acres next to the Torres Shelter. But alas, the time and cost kept mounting so we went back to the drawing board. Then we found two viable options near the Chico Enterprise Record. But those were not our land. About a year ago we found our new home. Our land was here all along on Fair Street. 6.2 acres, just ready to be sold to us after the love and care for 40 years of our friends at the Work Training Center. We also celebrate the sale of our Park Avenue property to Jamboree Housing Corporation to build 57 units of affordable housing. What an exciting new beginning for the property where God led us so many years ago.

While most of our participants will not find a path to buy land, it is our goal to help them find a path to health and stable housing. Each day they are here they take one step closer to finding their home, a stable place to live.

Ultimately, both the Jesus Center and our beloved participants are on the path of life—finding our purpose in this community. Making our contribution. We named this project the Miracle Project because God kept showing up in ways we could never have dreamed of, addressed challenges in creative ways, and brought us the right resources at the right time.

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Just yesterday, during an intake of a husband in need of help, the wife declared to him: “This is your place because my God won’t leave you!” She pulled his belongings from the car and drove off confident in the path ahead of him.

Celebrate with us by viewing our ribbon cutting on our website at jesuscenter.org. We are so pleased to show you a virtual rendition of our newest pathway to new life!

“You show me the path of life. In your presence there is fullness of joy; in your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” —Psalm 16:11

And, once again, please consider a gift to help us support this pathway to change and new life. Join our monthly giving group, "The Vine," with a gift of $40 per month to honor our 40th Anniversary and make a significant difference as we operationalize this new program.

Thank you in advance,

Laura R. Cootsona
Executive Director

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