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Ministry seeks to provide a solution, not a bandaid

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By John Barnhart

Grace Ministries is the result of a vision that Josh Ball, and his wife, Kayla, have for serving the homeless in the Bedford area.

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    Ball had originally pastored a non-denominational church  called Revived Community Church, but the church ended up folding for lack of support. Since that time, Ball became aware of a problem in Bedford: He kept encountering homeless people.
    Having the heart of a pastor made him more alert to people who seemed in distress, being willing to strike up a conversation with them created this awareness.
    Finally, he came to believe God was leading him to do something about it and started planning Grace Ministries six months ago.
    He’s apparently on to something.
    “A lot of volunteers came out who we never saw before,” he said.
    The ministry went from him and his wife to about 20 people working together. He opened Grace Ministries, which has an emergency shelter for homeless people in the 6 C’s Shopping Center. The ministry opened in the early part of September. Over the last four weeks, Ball has met 30 homeless people in this area.
    “The vast majority we found, this was their home,” Ball said.
    Most of them are not passing through. They once had homes here. He’s found some people living in their cars.
    There are ministries here, such as Bedford Christian Ministries, Lake Christian Ministries and the Agape Center that help people in difficult situations and Ball said they do a great job. But there is no ministry geared to the homeless.
    “There is a huge gap in our community,” Ball said.
    His goal is to fill that gap.
    Ball’s vision is, first, an emergency shelter. This is already open. The next phase is to establish a larger and permanent shelter which will be called Grace House.
    Grace House’s long term goal, along with providing shelter, will be to provide a job training program and teach people how to write resumes. The vision also includes teaching people how to make a budget, and stick to it, and how to shop for groceries in a way to get the most for their money.
    He also hopes to partner with organizations that can provide assistance with substance abuse or mental health issues.
    The goal is to try to address the problems that made homeless people homeless in the first place.
    “We don’t want to be a bandaid,” he said.
    “We have amazing resources in our community that, if we partner together, we can make an amazing impact,” Ball said.
    Grace Ministries has a Thanksgiving Day dinner scheduled for Thursday, at 6 p.m. at its 6 C’s Shopping Center headquarters. Ball said they have six Turkeys and two large hams. The entire community is invited.
    Ball is an EMT. He works for Centra and is also a member of the Montvale Rescue Squad where he also serves as its chaplain.
    Grace Ministries is on Facebook and also has a website at www. hypergrace.tv.