Pouring Out Hope started in 1997, when John Villa was given a vision to unite local churches in the City of Lawndale, CA. He was given this vision by God while he attended a Promise Keepers Men’s Conference. At the time John lived in Lawndale and when he returned from the conference he took his vision to a group of praying pastors. One pastor suggested holding a Victory Service Potluck on Sunday to draw the Churches of Lawndale together, two homeless people in the community heard of the potluck event.
On the Sunday of the Potluck, 35 homeless people arrived to eat. The realization was made that there was no other place in the city for this group of people to go and recieve one of the fundamental resources needed for human survival, a warm meal. John was shaken, immensely, by this realization. The next morning during his devotional time John heard God say clearly, “feed my people”. God wanted those people fed!
That Wednesday John met with four pastors and shared what God had revealed and that there was a great need for these people. The plan John had hoped for was that each of the churches from Lawndale would take one Sunday a month to feed the homeless people, which worked out great since there were four of them. God had other plans. One by one each pastor explained that their church wasn’t ready to meet this need, some churches required approval from their boards of director’s while others simply couldn’t make the financial commitment to support the ministry. John took this back to God and God dropped him in the book of Matthew, Chapter 14 where Jesus fed the 5000 and Phillip was telling the people to go away, but Jesus said that they don’t need to leave. John realized this was message from God telling him that God hadn’t asked the pastors of the four churches to feed the homeless, God had asked John to feed the people. John didn’t have a car, a job, with very limited finances in the bank on top of that he didn’t even know how to cook!
The answer was clear though, John heard God continue on to say, “Do you have trust in Me?” So John wrote up hand written flyers and passed them out to the local food kitchens hoping for donations/contributions and he immediately started feeding that Sunday. He pulled $50 from his bank account and made beans and hot dogs that sunday. He fed eight homeless people that Sunday. In a very short time this group to 50 people on a regular basis.