In 2011, I found out that there were three hundred and seventy-six homeless children living in Onslow County, NC. That broke my heart, and God didn’t let me forget it. So in December of 2012, my husband and I purchased twelve rental units in hopes of partnering with organizations that worked with the homeless. We named our business Philippians Place Rentals, based on the Bible verses, Philippians 2:1-5:
"Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus."
Throughout 2013, we tried to get the homeless into our apartments, but for many reasons, it just never happened. In December of 2013, I saw a news broadcast about a single mom and her children spending Christmas at the Homeless Shelter, and once again, my heart was broken; I had an empty two-bedroom apartment at that very moment.
God made it pretty clear to me what I needed to do: Take that leap of faith and do something! And so, we did. We completed all the necessary paperwork to become a 501(c)3. We repaired, and set up three vacant apartments to have them move-in ready for clients, and our community overwhelmed us with support; total strangers donated furniture, household items, and their time and talents to move Philippians Place forward. Our church’s youth ministry blessed us by providing spiritual, volunteer, and initial financial support. Their initial gift sponsored our first client, a single mother of three. Today, she is self-sustaining, and in a management position.
Two years later, God gave me the idea to open a thrift store because at that time, I was picking up and delivering donated furniture to people moving out of the shelters. This could be the opportunity for people to pick out what they want and support Philippians Place--it's a win-win! But it wasn't time yet; we had to grow our volunteers and wait on doors to open for us. Finally, a little over a year later, while we had our fourteenth and fifteenth clients, God said, "It is time." It was time to start something new: a Learning Facility and Resale Store.
God opened doors and put people in the right places at the right time like we could never have imagined; because of God we now have an amazing space at Brookwood Baptist's old day care buildings, an ex-store owner and board chair leading us as our board chair, an ex-thrift store manager of seven years managing our Resale Store, and we have a beautiful energetic Christian leading our Client Programs. I could not have orchestrated any of this, nor could I have done this by myself; God is the master planner and He laid it all out; I just needed to be still, listen, understand, and follow--He did the rest! Thank you Jesus!
Our last client successfully transitioned out of our transitional housing program, and we closed our transitional housing program to follow God. Now we bless many people with our Learning Facility and Resale Store! Anyone who is homeless or struggling to make ends meet can come to our Program Office and get all the resources our county has to offer and the opportunity to participate in our Earnings Program to learn new skills and earn some financial assistance.
God has shown me that we're not done with transitional housing; He's putting His team together and it's going to be bigger and better than ever! I don't know when yet, I just know it is in His timing. In the meantime, God is doing some amazing work at Philippians Place! We get to see Him in action every day by serving, loving, and helping His people in a time of need. We are so blessed to be called to do His will, and I can't wait to see where He takes us from here!
Thank you for your interest in Philippians Place! I'm wondering what His plan is for you? Whatever it is...hold on and enjoy!
– Lenize Patton
Founder & Executive Director