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Living a Better Story

A guest blog by Stoney and Judy Burke:


Our Living a Better Story begins in July 2008. Judy and I were preparing to be on Kairos Prison Ministry Team #1 at Hightower State Prison Ministry in Dayton, Texas. I was the Weekend Leader and needed a few more team members, especially ordained clergy. Rev. Marc Donaldson met Rev. Troy Williams at TDCJ Volunteer Training and put me in touch with Troy who was on staff at Star of Hope Mission in downtown Houston. Troy joined our team and Judy and I became impressed with Troy’s passion and dedication for serving the homeless of our community.


Judy and I assisted Troy and Star of Hope Mission yearly with some of their fundraisers so we are on their mail and email list. We received several emails and mailings from Star of Hope Mission recently requesting financial assistance; the Houston economy was sluggish and their contributions were lagging by about $700,000 from last year.


This is when Judy and I received our Living a Better Story packets.  Judy had a $5 bill in her packet; I had a $20 bill. We prayed for three days for God to show us where He wanted our multiplied money to be used. Confirming circumstances and prayer convinced me that Star of Hope Mission was where God wanted me to invest my fishes and loaves. During our three days of prayer, we received another mailing from Star of Hope Mission requesting financial assistance in providing back to school supplies for the homeless children that live in their shelters. Judy is a retired Second Grade teacher with a heart for helping school children get their required school supplies and back packs; she knew that God wanted her fishes and loaves to go toward school supplies for the homeless children at Star of Hope Mission.


Judy and I decided to pool our $25 rather than doing our projects separately. We came up with a list of friends, co-workers and family members who are not members here at Christ Church. We contacted them, shared our vision and the need at Star of Hope Mission and asked them to participate with us in multiplying God’s money. I sent an email to Rev. Troy Williams to let him know of our fishes and loaves project. He was intrigued and eager to see how God would work for Star of Hope Mission. 


The response was overwhelming! After three weeks of receiving numerous small contributions, our $25 had been multiplied by God into $950.00 with more expected. Judy and I visited Star of Hope with God’s multiplied money. Troy showed Judy and me all three of their facilities in downtown Houston. There is one men’s facility, one short term facility for parents with children and a long term facility for parents with children. The three facilities provide food and shelter for about 1,000 homeless members of the Houston community. All are very clean, well supervised and the spirit of love and compassion was evident everywhere we visited.


We were truly blessed by God in being able to work with Him in providing much needed operating funds and school supplies for some very deserving brothers and sisters.

Thank you Stoney and Judy!

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