One of the staples of L.I.V.I.N.G. Ministry is weekly shelter outreach. This is how the ministry was started, and will be the constant throughout the entire life of the ministry. In 2002 we first started our weekly shelter outreach by going to Pleasant Valley Shelter, a program of Northside Common Ministries. We would go and play cards, eat snacks, have bible studies, and always take prayer requests. After going to Pleasant Valley every Saturday night for about a year, the leadership of the shelter decided to make us official by giving us the title of volunteer chaplains. As chaplains, we had more freedom to come and go as we pleased and to bring anyone with us that wanted to join the Bible Studies. About two years into this outreach, we began going to Pleasant Valley on Thursday nights as well as Saturday nights. This allowed people with busy schedules to come with us. Today, we still go to Pleasant Valley Shelter (2) days a week for Bible Study (Monday and Saturday nights). Over the years, God has called us to again do more. He has opened up the door for us to go to more shelters and have outreach. In that time, we have been able to start Bible studies at Wellsprings, New Hope Church, Miryam's, and Light of Life. We are so thankful for the opportunity to do outreach on a weekly basis in the shelters.
As shelters fill up, we have noticed an increasing trend of people choosing to live on the streets. Naturally our ministry has adjusted to these changes, and now we have carved out time to reach out to this individuals. Every week, you can find the leaders of our Men's and Women's ministries traversing under bridges, climbing hills, and caring for those people living on the street. Once a month we also bring volunteers along to learn how to reach out to the street homeless. Usually our times are filled with praying together, distrubting needed items, and just simply sharing a time to catch up on life.
Helping people grow in their faith is an extremely important aspect of the ministry. For over 7 years, we have had a variety of men's and women's discipleship programs that have ranged from intensive housing programs, to weekly empowerment groups. Today, our Men's disciple program is called Closer Walk. It is an 8 week program, where men gather together 3 days of each week to discuss their upward relationship with God, their inward relationship with other believers, and their outward relationship with the community. Within Women's Ministry, we have started a weekly empowerment group that addresses the emotional, physical, and spiritual aspects of life.
Every November for the past 14 years, L.I.V.I.N.G. Ministry has hosted one of the biggest community celebrations in Pittsburgh. We gather together in Allegheny Commons Park on the Northside and praise the name of the Lord. During that day, we invite as many homeless as we can (usually over 350), as many volunteers as we can (usually over 250) and we celebrate the life that we have in Jesus Christ. We have a bunch of different groups leading worship, serve an awesome hot lunch, pray with each other, play board games, and give out warm clothes.