"There was a woman in her 50s who lived a life of being a crack cocaine addict for 20 some years and was prostituting herself," said Leah. "She prayed for toilet paper that morning and we showed up with toilet paper. I knew her heart was softening and God was telling me to seek her out and I'll rescue her."
The Molchans are co-founders of the Grand Rapids Dream Center (GRDC), a movement-based, mission-focused ministry they launched in August 2014 that mobilizes volunteers to meet people's spiritual and physical needs.
Transformational relationships is key
Key to GRDC is building transformational relationships, which is accomplished by being consistent to the outreach God has given them. The Hudsonville couple makes it clear they are not in a hurry to notch conversions for Christ on their belts.
"The No. 1 thing is can I be your friend?" said Leah. "It may take five months for people to open up."
"Every single week we have consistent community work and that's where the Dream Center has been born," added Greg. "We've gotten to know communities and individuals through our consistency."
The GRDC borrows a page from the Dream Center based in the Echo Park neighborhood of Los Angeles that's based out of the former Queen of Angels Hospital. The church ministers to gang members, drug addicts, unwed mothers and children without parents, motorcycle groups, taggers, AIDS victims and various subculture, ethnic and nationality groups.
The Rev. Matthew Barnett manages the Dream Center and pastors Angelus Temple, a Foursquare Pentecostal Church. Matthew Barnett, with the help of his father, Tommy Barnett, founded the church in 1993 when it was known as the L.A. International Church, which was then a home missions project of the Southern California District of the Assemblies of God.
Unconditional love found here
Greg and Leah visited the Los Angeles Dream Center in August 2014, where they received a front-row seat in ministry on how to effectively help those hurting and needing Christ's unconditional love.
"They prayed with us and affirmed our calling," said Greg. "The first time we went out with them it rained. We went with two ladies and a guy to hardest part of the city. God showed us I am here and I am in the midst of this."
Dream Center ministry takes time and patience with people who initially may be wary of their motives, but the slow and consistent approach bears lasting fruit.
"A lot of people I know could go to evangelistic meetings and put their hand up and leave and still live the same lifestyle," said Leah. "We love and walk with people and are led by the Holy Spirit and that's what has produced change."
The GRDC is a multi-prong ministry. Among them are:
• Adopt-A-block, which is considered a core GRDC ministry. The Madison Adopt-A Block meets at the back parking lot of the Gerald R. Ford Academic Center and includes the Powerhouse for children and making door-to-door home visits, fulfilling service projects, visiting the elderly and handicapped, having fun on a basketball court or going out with a delivery team.
"When we started our first Adopt-A-Block, we went to where the most police cars were," said Leah. "We weren't trying to play it safe. It was the place that was the most crime and drug infested."
"Some of our biggest friends are dealers," added Greg. "We're not a threat to them because they know we are there for good. We establish relationships to stop that lifestyle. Some say yes, some no."
• Food delivery, which transports food using multiple vehicles to the hungry.
• Delivery team. Comprised of dedicated volunteers who deliver items such as household goods, mattresses, and other requested items that have been donated to families.
•World Changers – Men's Ministry. Includes discipleship and making deliveries.
• Outreach events with a ministry focus.
• Open gym that includes character lessons.
• I.D. Crew that relies on creative expression to draw people to Jesus Christ. This includes dance, music, media, and athleticism to communicate the dynamic message of freedom through Christ.
• Service projects ranging from lawn care, snow removal, landscape, home repair and yard clean up.
Passion to communicate
For Leah, GRDC has been a time of positive growth and change for her as well.
"I grew up in the suburbs of Grandville where everybody looked like me," she said. "I went to Rez Life (Resurrection Life Church in Grandville). When God called us to this, it was very hard for me at first when we went out to LA (Dream Center). We met with their team. I just remembered people looked and acted different but God gave me a passion to communicate with people and through the calling He's taught me so much."
Leah said having a sincere heart to effectively interact with people from a variety of backgrounds and races is highly important.
"You can have a attitude when you go into a home and people feel that," she said. "We say to our volunteers, 'Get your heart right before you're invited into a home. People feel that sincerity and the walls come down."
"People know you're genuine," added Greg. "We feel like whatever we do, it's with no strings attached. We tell our volunteers you can't have an agenda, not even a conversation agenda, because people can discern that. You've got to let the Holy Spirit do the work. 'It's the goodness of God that draws men to repentance'" (Romans 2:4).