Missio Dei Is Latin For Mission of God, But What Mission Are You Specifically Engaged In?

  • Sunday Dinner: A Sunday evening hot meal that serves 100-150 people every week. This is no ordinary meal. This is food that is better than what we’d often eat at home. We provide food for the hungry, rest for the weary and friendship for the lonely.

  • Loaves and Fishes: A Saturday morning hot breakfast that serves 200-300 people every week. Not to brag (OK maybe a little), but the food is pretty incredible. Again, the aim is to provide food for the hungry, rest for the weary and friendship for the lonely. We do so in partnership with a number of downtown churches committed to caring for our vulnerable population.

  • Laundry Love: A Monthly provision for the working poor and homeless community in St. Petersburg. We provide coins, laundry detergent and dryer sheets to help folks launder their essentials. In addition we provide pizza and drink to refresh them while they wait for their newly cleaned laundry.

  • Mission Assistance and Homeless Ombudsman: We allocate funds every month to assist folks who need assistance getting off the street or staying off the street. Things like emergency utility payments, rent deposits, partial rent payments, food, diapers, clothing etc. GW Rolle is constantly finding and vetting opportunities to spend our funds in ways that can help people move forward well.

  • Edible Peace Patch Project: The Peace Patch installs and maintains schoolyard gardens in Title I elementary schools in South St. Petersburg. The program engages at-risk students in experiential, hands-on education in Science, Math and Reading activities, while simultaneously teaching them about nutrition. These gardens are located in bonafide food deserts where access to nutritious foods is more than 1 mile from home. Missio Dei participates in this project by providing access to resources, personnel and volunteers.

  • Advocacy: National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty: GW Rolle sits on the board of directors on behalf of Missio Dei. His role is one of advocacy for the decriminalization of homelessness and fair treatment of all citizens.

  • Reuniting Families: We often find out about folks who have found themselves without a roof over their head who have family who will take them in. We vet those family members to ensure that they are serious and willing. Then we partner with Daystar to fund the purchase of a ticket to get them home.

  • Food Provision: Missio regularly picks up food from available local resources and distributes food to other ministries including Celebrate Outreach, Friday Picnic and low (sliding) income housing among others.

  • House into Home: Missio collects donations of lightly used and good condition clothing, furniture, appliances and other household items to later distribute to anyone in need who is setting up a home and needs assistance. We store these items at an off site storage facility until they are needed.

  • I have an idea for mission that I'd like to make happen. Will you help me get it off the ground?

  • Join our email list to receive weekly emails about upcoming events and opportunities to live in mission.

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Mission - Worshiping With Dirty Hands

By Missio Participant Gene Anderson


It's raining.

It's been raining for a couple days now.

It let up for a bit this morning, but it stormed hard last night and it started again this afternoon.

And the homeless citizens of St. Petersburg, Florida are still homeless.

And stuck out in the rain.

It's Monday night and folks from The Missio Dei and Eckerd College were engaged in our Monday night mission called "Love the Poor". We make and distribute meals to homeless people throughout the St. Petersburg area. We don't ask them to come to us, we go to them. We meet them in their space, not ours. We leave our comfort zone to be with our neighbors and fellow citizens in a city that is recognized as one of the toughest cities for homeless people in the United States of America.

We worship with dirty, wet hands.

We feed, hug, pray, laugh, and cry with our friends.

We join in solidarity with our homeless neighbors because they are us.

I want to tell you about a couple of the folks I met tonight. Of course, I've changed their names. But hear a bit of their stories:

"Billy" is 29 years old. He has been homeless for 9 years. He sleeps next to City Hall and is very proud of his bicycle. He woke up in the rain last night, but was able to dry out his socks and sleeping bag after the sun came up. That is important. If you can keep your socks and your sleeping bag dry, that's half the battle.

Billy is about to start a GED class at a center for adult education. He says his reading skills (9th grade level) are good enough to pass the test, but that his math skills are rather weak, especially with respect to percentages and fractions.

"Nashville" joined us in a prayer circle tonight, along with several other homeless folks. He led a prayer and dropped the F-bomb about 3 or 4 times during it. It wasn't that he was trying to be disrespectful, it's just the way he talks and it came from the depths of his heart. After we finished praying, I tapped him lightly on his chest, smiled, and told him God hears our hearts and not our words. Then I offered him a couple smokes. We had a smoke together and he told me he didn't mean to cuss during the prayer. I laughed, told him I was a minister and told him I've done it myself a few times. He smiled and laughed back. Then we gave each other a long, full body hug as he began to cry a little bit on my shoulder.

His prayer was the finest prayer I may have heard in my entire life.

It's time to pray, to worship, to minister, and to love with dirty hands.

It's time to become "Mission Men" and "Mission Women".

It's time to truly love God by loving and being with our neighbors.

No matter who they are or where they sleep.

"Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head." (Luke 9:58 NRSV)