King’s Compassion Ministry restores dignityBookmark this
Showing the love of God to San Antonio’s elderly poor
Almost 20 years ago, God dramatically grabbed Robert Reyes’ attention. It all started when his wife, Rose, was knocking on doors in San Antonio’s Southtown community, connecting poverty-stricken residents with helpful services and resources for a local nonprofit. Robert will never forget the day he decided to tag along – mostly to provide protection and companionship as Rose was going to start knocking on doors. It was Halloween 1999.
What he found changed the direction of his life. He and Rose realized the elderly poor were the most appreciative of their efforts and the most desperately needy.
“An elderly person doesn’t want you to leave,” Robert says. “They just want you to talk to them. After that Halloween day, something happened in the heavenlies. I said, ‘I can do this!’” Robert exclaims. Instead of playing golf, Robert found himself heading to the neglected neighborhoods west of King William on weekends and after work to visit an ever-increasing number of homes.
“They captured me, they mentored me, they ministered to me,” he says. “This is who God called us to touch. Now all I want to do is help, serve and make a difference.”
What started as visits to a few destitute seniors broadened to providing care for dozens of disadvantaged elderly living in San Antonio’s poorest zip codes. In 2011, the Reyeses completed the 501(c)(3) paperwork to officially begin King’s Compassion ministry, which provides practical help like mowing grass, performing home repairs, delivering food, clothing and toiletries and providing companionship to those over 70 whose income falls below the poverty line.
Their ministry is named King’s Compassion because of two plays on the word King. Their last name, Reyes, means kings in Spanish. The King also refers to King Jesus.
The kingdom, so to speak, keeps expanding. In the past year, they delivered 1,000 bags of groceries, soap, paper goods, and toiletries in more than 500 personal visits. Volunteers raked 300 bags of leaves, mowed 150 lawns and made 100 minor home repairs.
Every summer, King’s Compassion marshals a small army of volunteers to paint the exterior of a client’s home – six so far. One recipient, Esther, told Robert she wanted her mobile home to be painted so she could be ready for her departure (to her heavenly home).
King’s Compassion also distributes food on the first Saturday of the month, including deliveries to several elderly homeless people not served elsewhere.
The Reyeses have been told, “You are my angel! You do more than my family does,” Robert says. “They consider us their family,” Rose adds. “When I see their smiles, I am paid,” Robert agrees.
King's Compassion makes sure the elderly are loved, listened to, served and presented the gospel in the last years of their lives. The Reyeses report most of their elderly have come to know the Lord through their association with the ministry.
“Sometimes we need to be able to show people Jesus through the practical – by bringing them groceries or cleaning something for them,” Rose says. “Everything is unto the Lord. We are his representatives; what we do brings value, love and compassion. We tell them ‘If you have a relationship with King Jesus – you are never alone.’”
“You have to look past the dirt and find the soul in there. I’ve been inside some houses – no human being should live like that,” Robert says, with visible emotion.
Mama Harvey is a living example of the ministry’s impact. The 88-year-old widow, who lives close to the AT&T center, had been scammed by thieves who failed to fix her dangerously damaged floor and stole her bed. King’s Compassion cleared out her home, fixed the floor (with donations and help from ministry supporter Pride Flooring), exterminated vermin, and even found her a bed.
“She became one of our dear ones,” Rose says.
All the items or services provided by King’s Compassion are completely free to their clients, which is why the ministry relies on funding from generous donors and volunteers to help do the work. The Reyeses run everything out of their home. Their biggest need is a 1,000-foot warehouse in which to keep their tools and materials. That space would also allow them to store food, which would qualify them to be distributors of donations from the Food Bank instead of purchasing the food they allocate. They seek helpers who want to share their skills or talents. King’s Compassion can accommodate volunteers of all ages from church or home school groups.
“Every time we get a youth group in here we tell them every volunteer is a fresh gust of wind in our sails. We hope and pray after they come and help they will see their grandparents and great grandparents differently,” Robert says.
“The elderly are so neglected, so abused, so forgotten. We get to show them they are loved and cared for,” Rose says.
“The only thing I regret,” adds Robert, “is that I should have started this sooner.”
Be A Light.
Visit. Search for the ministry website and learn more about King’s Compassion. Invite. Tell your church, Sunday school class, small group, bible study or business to learn about the plight of the elderly poor and invite Robert and Rose to speak. Volunteer. Come to help alone or with your small group or a bunch of youth to pack or deliver food or mow a lawn. Learn. Find out how to paint a house or complete light home repairs. Pray. Intercede for the ministry to continue to thrive and bring love and dignity to forgotten elderly in our community. Call. Contact Robert or Rose at 210-325-3184 if you own or know someone that has warehouse space to donate. Give. King’s Compassion invites you to partner with them financially through monthly donations. In addition, you can donate time, food, toiletries, or paper goods so their resources can be stretched farther and further into the community.
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