Meet Sr. Pastor Jose Aguilar, vice president of The Lord's Hand's & Heart's Ministries located in South Dallas. As the guidance leader, Pastor Aguilar helps the homeless and poor of the community move into a productive life. Aguilar, who is a radiologic technician came to the ministry as a one-time meal volunteer nearly a decade ago and since then has dedicated countless hours to this mission of helping others transform their lives.
We wanted to know more about Aguilar and The Lord's Hands & Heart's Ministries and he was kind enough to answer a few questions:
Dawn Tongish: Please begin by telling us about The Lord's Hands & Hearts Ministries.
Pastor Jose Aguilar: The Lord’s Hands & Hearts Ministries is a non-profit 501.C3 organization located in South Dallas. We are the hands and heart of Christ reaching out to the homeless and residential poor in our community. As a faith based organization, our goal is to come alongside, encourage and assist the homeless in making the transition from homelessness to being a productive member of the community by connecting them with various entities in the community and providing transitional housing for those that meet the criteria during this process. Beginning on Christmas Day, 2004 with 42 meals in the back of a car and a directive from God, founders John Starne and Leann Starne-Rice began to reach out to the homeless and hurting on the streets of Dallas. Their hearts were filled to overflowing with God’s love and compassion for them. Today, we reach out to hundreds of homeless and residential poor through multiple ministries:
- Nehemiah House provides discipleship residences for men transitioning from life on the streets back into society.
- Pauline’s Pantry is our nutritional outreach providing emergency food services to those in need.
- Urban Relics Resale is a benefit store of donated items repurposed with proceeds going to fund the homeless through Solomon’s Porch.
- Solomon’s Porch Homeless Outreach provides us the opportunity to share a listening ear, a hot breakfast, lunch, clothing, hygiene supplies, prayer, biblical teaching and a gospel message to the homeless every Saturday.
- Clothing Ministry sorts and packages donated clothing for distribution to Solomon's Porch guests. Thousands of articles of clothing and supplies are provided seasonally for both men and women and includes blankets, winter coats, shoes, travel bags and hygiene products.
- Donation Warehouseis the drop-off site where all donations from the community are processed. Donations are sorted first to fill client needs with the remainder going to stock our resale store. All donors receive a receipt each time they donate items if desired.
- Neighborhood Evangelism provides us the opportunity to minister God’s word one on one to those we meet on the streets and allows us to spread God’s love by cleaning up trash in their neighborhoods.
DT: What are your duties at The Lord's Hands & Hearts Ministries?
PJA: I serve as the Senior Pastor providing pastoral guidance based on biblical principles. Additionally, I serve as Vice President of this ministry which is a multi faceted position. As a ministry leader, I oversee our Solomon’s Porch outreach on Saturdays and help coordinate weekly activities such as the collection of donated items, men’s Bible studies and hospital visitations.
DT: How did you become involved with TLHHM, and why are you so passionate about the work being done at the organization?
PJA: I became involved with TLHHM in 2007 to help serve the annual Thanksgiving meal. This experience changed my perception of the homeless in our community. I was impressed by the compassion with which the founders of the ministry reached out with dignity and respect for each person. This act of kindness inspired me to be a part of something that was bigger than the world I was a part of, bringing hope to those without hope.
DT: Why do you work in the nonprofit sector?
PJA: I am a Radiologic Technologist by profession to fulfill my financial responsibilities to my family and I choose to spend my non - working time devoted to helping others in the community through this ministry. Being a non- profit organization presents an opportunity to meet the needs of the homeless community in a way and manner that government agencies cannot.
DT: It can be difficult for any nonprofit to pay the bills. How do you stay afloat?
PJA: A small ministry like Hands & Hearts relies solely on donations from individuals and groups to continue doing God’s work.
DT: How can the people of DFW and beyond help you meet your needs for 2014? What are your biggest needs?
PJA: We offer an excellent way to provide your family, friends, company or church congregation with an opportunity to reach out by coming to volunteer with us. The experience can be life changing for you and the people we serve. We are also seeking financial contributions for the ministry, either as a monthly commitment or a one-time donation. Just as churches support missionaries in other countries, the mission field in our own backyards needs this support as well.
- You can donate individually or as a group. Any donation of any amount will make a difference. There are several avenues in which you can make a difference through a tax deductable cash gift.
- $400.00 would provide all the food and supplies needed for one Saturday to feed the 200-300 homeless that come through Solomon’s Porch. This is an ongoing weekly need.
- $5,000.00 would fund the build out of one apartment at Nehemiah House to house men transitioning out of homelessness. We currently have 8 unfunded apartments that we are waiting to build out.
Any monthly amount for helping to keep our ministry headquarters running every day: electricity, heat, water and rent for a place for the needy to come by daily for food, fellowship, prayer and apartment essentials for those transitioning into self-sufficiency. Our headquarters building houses Pauline’s Pantry, Clothing Ministry, Donation Warehouse, Urban Relics and our ministry offices.
DT: What is the most memorable moment in your experiences at TLHHM?
PJA: There are many memorable moments, the one that stands out is when our 16 foot enclosed trailer was stolen several summers ago with all of our supplies: cooking pots, tents, clothing donations and many other items which are necessary to carry out our Saturday outreach at Solomon’s Porch. The theft happened during the middle of the week and when Dallas police recovered the trailer it had been emptied. Nevertheless our commitment to our homeless guests was not hampered because we had resolved to be there even if all we had to offer was prayer and a cup of coffee. To our amazement when the word got around through social media, the army of volunteers present and past came to support us by bringing many brand new items to replace the ones that were stolen. The outpouring of love and kindness displayed that day confirmed to me that no matter what the set backs are, there are those who truly catch the vision of your heart and help you carry the load.
DT: What is the first thing you do when you walk into work each day?
PJA: The first thing I do is give thanks to God for the people who come alongside us with love and support.
If you'd like to nominate a local resident for a BubbleLife community profile, contact Dawn Tongish at firstname.lastname@example.org or find her on Twitter at @DawnTongish.