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Missionary to NAMB staffers, ‘I got your back & you got mine’

ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP)–Reggie Robbins is a North American Mission Board missionary who ministers to many of the homeless, drug-addicted and neglected people in Atlanta.

Speaking in a March 30 chapel service at the mission board, Robbins said, “I’m honored to be here at NAMB, to speak to the other half of our team. And, I just want you to know that, like we say in the ‘hood, I got your back and you got mine. We are a team.”

Supported by the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering, Robbins and his wife Anna are among the 5,300-plus Southern Baptist missionaries in the United States, Canada and their territories. Robbins is one of eight Southern Baptist missionaries highlighted as part of the 2006 Week of Prayer for North American Missions.

Robbins encouraged NAMB staffers with stories about how his ministry, Set Free Memorial Drive Ministries, is reaching people for Christ, such as three children who spent last summer in the Set Free day camp.

“Their grandmother was taking care of them but had to work and didn’t have the money for daycare,” Robbins recounted. “She cried when I told her we’d love to have her three grandchildren and that the camp was free,” Robbins said.

“I want you to know we led all three of those kids to faith in Jesus,” he told the NAMB staff.

A teenager named Ricky stumbled on Robbins’ inner-city ministry center and didn’t want to leave to go back to a troubled home. He, too, accepted Christ, Robbins said, and now is a regular at the center and getting straight A’s in school.

Robbins said Set Free has three distinct ministries: a shelter for homeless families; a ministry to rehabilitate those with substance addictions; and a community outreach ministry — including a food pantry, serving some 1,500 hot meals a week, along with a clothing operation.

Set Free Sanctuary Shelter is the only homeless shelter in the metro Atlanta area that refuses to split up families, who can stay up to three months. Families are provided with hot meals, clean beds, daycare for their children, counseling, medical assistance, clothing, drug/alcohol addiction treatment, job training and job search support. They also get a strong dose of the Gospel.

“First, we want to keep families together,” Robbins said, “for the sake of the children and for the health of the marriage. Next, we want to present Christ to the whole family.”

The impact of homelessness on children and teenagers is both touching and difficult, Robbins said.

“I remember a family with a 6-year-old boy. When we showed the little boy where his room would be, he yelled, ‘Look mom … look dad … a bed.’ You see, they had been sleeping in a car for two weeks.

“We have men and women who come to us and simply say they’re tired of being on the street, of waking up in places in which they have no memory of how they got there and tired of hurting their families because of their addictions.”

One of those was Anthony whose street name was Ant Man.

“Ant Man came to our block party outreach and heard the plan of salvation,” Robbins told the NAMB staff. “But he said he didn’t want to hear about Jesus, so I asked if he was sick and tired of being sick and tired and he said ‘yes.’ He went through our substance abuse program, accepted Christ, reunited with his family and became a staff member.

“One day he had a heart attack on his way into the ministry center and died right there on the sidewalk in front of Set Free Ministries. Ant Man, who at first didn’t even want to hear the name Jesus, woke up that day in glory, because he heard and accepted the Gospel at a ministry center supported by Southern Baptists and the North American Mission Board.”

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  • Martin King