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More About the Mission

A Change of View

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“Chuck” describes his experience at the Mission as a “synergy” of donors, volunteers, and staff coming together to help those in need. This feeling, of people wanting and working to help people, encourages him and has helped him “identify with things that were already there” in his own life and heart, as he realizes a similar desire in himself to meet needs and be of service.

He first came to the Mission on Good Friday. Having lived in Lansing, he knew about the Mission, and he was “embarrassed” to be one of those now needing its services. Today, he believes that feeling was based on an incorrect “perception” of those who came to the Mission, but when he first came, he would wear sunglasses and a hat. He describes making sure he arrived after the doors were open, so he wouldn’t be seen waiting outside. “I did not want to have anyone know I was staying here. ...My definition was people who just couldn’t help themselves or didn’t want to.” As he stayed at the Mission, “that view started to change.”

Instead, he encountered people from a variety of backgrounds with a variety of stories, from those staying at the Mission to those coming to speak in chapel. In fact, he found himself wanting to attend chapel because of the change it had on his spirit. Wanting to give back, he began volunteering to sweep and mop the chapel. “I was ready to help. I just wanted to help.”

Because of this desire, he stepped up during the recent staffing shortage to serve as a guest intern. He, and other guest interns, have helped fill vital roles during these difficult times.

When asked what he would say to supporters, Chuck replied, “Your support is needed, and that it’s appreciated, and it definitely, definitely helps.”

We echo his gratitude and the gratitude of the more than 1,000 women, children, and men you have helped already this year, through your gifts and prayers to the Mission. We can all understand the uncertainty and challenges of these times, but together, we make a difference. Thank you for being an important part of making that difference in our community.

Imitators of God

message from mark

“Therefore, be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Ephesians 5:1

Often times I have the opportunity to write letters or express my gratitude in different ways. It is quite frequent that I end my letter or card with “thank you for being a rescuer” or “thank you for being part of team rescue.” I am sincere in my conclusion, but I am also reflecting on the truth that is in God’s Word. I have the privilege of witnessing how God is using the “children of God” to meet physical and spiritual needs in the community by “walking in love” with their time and talents. James 2:15-16 reminds us, “If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled,’ without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?” Essentially, we show our faith by what we do. Our guests get to experience the love of God through His “beloved children” every single day of the year.

Recently, I had a friend text me and ask what she should do about a woman and her children, who are panhandling at a local grocery store. The woman's cardboard sign and “kids in tow” lead my friend to a conflict of thoughts and emotions. She didn’t want to foolishly give of God’s provisions if it would not be wise in this situation. Thankfully she reached out for advice. I recommended that she not provide any cash but would recommend food and the encouragement to “go to the Mission for help.” Coincidentally, I too had interacted with this woman (and her children) and gave her a business card and promised that we would find a way to get her into the shelter. All she had to do was call the phone number. Unfortunately, she did not take me up on the offer because she was not truly interested in shelter for her family. I am thankful that my friend had a desire to help and wanted to make a wise decision. She recognizes that the Mission meets these needs every single day, and we are good stewards of time and talents. As Christians, we are motivated because of the love Christ has shown us, and we are becoming imitators of God. The City Rescue Mission of Lansing is truly the “hands and feet” of the church. We get the opportunity to provide food, shelter, and hope to over 170 women, children, and men each night! This simply would not happen if it weren’t for the children of God being imitators of God. Thank you for walking in love and helping meet such important needs in a quality and safe way. Thank you, sincerely, for being a rescuer!

In Christian Service,
Mark Criss
Executive Director

First Six Month Service Numbers

rescue news

56,490 Quality Meals Provided

33,943 Nights of Shelter Offered

1,101 Women, Children, and Men Served

We are so grateful for your faithfulness and compassion, which continues to impact many lives, every day, in our community. This year could potentially be record-breaking in the number of services we have been able to provide, and we could not do what we do without your support and encouragement. Thank you!


mission expansion project update

UPDATE: Below is the information sent to our printer for the newsletter. However, a short time after sending for print, we learned that we would not be able to utilize a special use permit for the location of the former YMCA downtown. Currently, we are reviewing other options. Our executive director will meet with the city soon, to see what other properties might be available. If not, we will resume fundraising for the full project at Michigan Avenue. Please keep the process in your prayers, as we are grateful for God's guidance and His faithful provision through you, our fellow rescuers.

Previous Information: As mentioned in previous newsletters, construction costs to renovate our current men’s ministry on Michigan Avenue continued to rise. As a result, we are looking into other locations. Currently, we have put an offer on the downtown YMCA. This location has large bathrooms, locker facilities, and rooms that could convert easily into dorm rooms. There would be minimal renovations needed, which would lower overall costs and bring us closer to our goal of expanding services in this area of ministry. At this time, we are waiting final word on the offer. If the news is positive, we will then ask the city for a special use permit. Our potential plans for Michigan Avenue are that this site would remain our donation drop-off site and, eventually, serve as our administrative offices and, perhaps, our food services. This would allow us to expand services, if needed in the future, at our women and children’s shelter. Stay tuned for more information on this exciting new possibility and please continue to pray for wisdom as we seek the Lord’s will in this Next Chapter of Hope.

Partners in Faith

volunteer spotlight

Throughout our volunteer program, we have had many churches come alongside us and serve in a number of different ways. One of those ways has been faithfully serving dinners at both our Men’s Shelter and our Women and Children’s Shelter. This involves a man or women stepping up and deciding to act as the Team Leader, organizing members of the church, and communicating with our volunteer coordinator.

These Team Leaders are often some of our most faithful volunteers, and they have repeatedly shared with us that the blessing they receive in return is worth any “headache” a leader might encounter. They have said that it helps their church come closer together, as they serve with those they might not usually interact with on a Sunday Morning. It also helps the church connect with community in a way that can be hard to facilitate within the church’s walls.

Since the COVID-19 Crisis impacted our Volunteer Program, we have seen a need arise for groups to serve dinners on the weekend at both of our shelter locations. This is for small groups of 4-8 individuals, depending on the facility, available on a monthly recurring basis. If you would be interested in serving in this capacity or organizing a group from your church, small group, or work, we would be thrilled to have you as part of Team Rescue!