New York, New York, United States | Kaara Baptiste

The Showers of Blessings van, an outreach ministry of the Greater New York Conference’s (GNYC) Adventist Community Services (ACS), was dedicated on Sept. 15, 2018. Officials from the conference, Atlantic Union Conference, and the North American Division (NAD) gathered at United Camp Meeting for the dedication.

The mobile showers will serve the homeless in New York City, providing clean towels, washcloths, and new undergarments, as well as an outpouring of God’s love. The ministry, partly funded by NAD, is a result of many years of planning and is their first mobile shower unit for the homeless.

Luis Biazotto, GNYC’s ACS director, said the van is a response to the city’s growing homelessness problem — at its highest levels since the Great Depression. “This humanitarian relief is not optional for our church; it’s mandatory. We need to provide services to alleviate their suffering.”

According to Biazotto, ACS will partner with churches in the five boroughs to have the van serve local homeless communities weekly. The holistic approach also provides clothing, food, and spiritual and psychological care.

Sung Kwon, NAD ACS executive director, applauds the vision behind the initiative. Instead of a model where we build and invite people to come, “this is about going to people and providing a service they need,” said Kwon. “That is so biblical. It’s the missional church, a movement mindset.”

ACS piloted the van with the Delancey Seventh-day Adventist Church in lower Manhattan and received a positive response. “You see the results after just 10 minutes. When they leave, most of them say ‘You changed my life.’ They’re reminded to have hope. That’s what we bring with Showers of Blessings,” Biazotto said.

Click here to learn more about the ministry.

—Kaara Baptiste is communication director for the Maranatha Seventh-day Adventist Church in Brooklyn, New York; this article originally appeared in the Nov. 2018 Atlantic Union Gleaner.