As a child, “Ted” would ride his bicycle past the Mission. All his life, he lived down the street and never dreamed he would need its services. He never thought beyond the cross or imagined life behind its doors, until he found himself homeless. He had never been homeless before but a drug charge meant he could no longer live at his previous home.
He had a job but needed a stable address. Suddenly, he thought a lot about the Mission and what it meant to live there, to be one of the men seeking refuge under that cross and behind those doors. Admittedly, he was “kinda shook for awhile,” but it did not take long for him to realize that the Mission was nothing like he feared. Instead, the Mission “helped me a lot,” he said, and he described the Mission as an “excellent place.”
While at the Mission, Ted not only received a safe place to sleep and a quality meal, he was also able to attend Biblical counseling. He attributes the Mission and the support of his grandchildren as providing the encouragement he needed to deal with his addiction. When asked if the Mission had made a difference in his life, he replied, “100%. They got me out of drugs and stuff like that,” and said that the counseling was part of what helped in “leading me in the right way.”
There are many paths that lead to homelessness, sometimes it is our choice or the choices of others. Whatever the circumstances, we are grateful for the opportunity to hold out a hand of help to women and men, like Ted, who need food, shelter, and hope. Thank you for being part of providing a chance for rescue to so many in need.
As many of you know, this year is the Mission’s 110th anniversary of service in our community. Our own founder, Thomas Dolton, struggled with an addiction before surrendering his life to the Lord and determining, with the help of his wife Emily, to start a ministry to others in his community. As we continue his commitment to serve, we look forward to increasing and improving services through our Michigan Avenue Project. This will enable us to help even more people like Ted, by offering excellent services and the tools for a transformed life. It truly is about more than just food and shelter. As Ted said, “They help me out in every which way I need help.”
Thank you for the gifts that do more every day in our community. Thank you for being a rescuer!
“...preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.” 2 Timothy 4:2
Very recently, I was reminded of an event that occurred nearly 15 years ago. The employees of the Mission had been working closely with a man named David. He had been the “town drunk” for many years, but God started working in his life. We started seeing sporadic and increasing periods of sobriety. The more sober he lived, the more interest he had in the things of God. He began to listen to God’s Word, and we started seeing an impact. We started seeing fruit from above (Galatians 5:22-23). His attitude changed, and he became a very likable and pliable person.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t end the way a good Hallmark story would end. He didn’t find a new home and a happy family but eventually died alone, in a shed, intoxicated, while hiding from the cold. To say that news broke my heart would be a gross understatement. It shook me to the core. I questioned if we did enough. I questioned what type of things should be changed in order to save such a life. What did we do wrong? After much prayer and questioning of God’s design for the ministry of rescue, I realized that we were doing what God simply called us to do. “Preach the word…with complete patience and teaching.” The Word of God is sufficient to reprove, rebuke, and exhort. There is nothing lacking in the power of God to save men and women in all walks of life. The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation for everyone who believes. Sometimes our temporary judgment gets in the way of an eternal view of God’s amazing grace.
The verse above, from Paul's second letter to Timothy, encouraged Timothy to remain steadfast in the area of ministry in which God equipped and ordained. It reminds me much of the ministry of rescue. There must have been times when Timothy grew weary and may have felt that his preaching or teaching was in vain, yet the Apostle Paul encouraged him, "By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you” (2 Timothy 14). God ordained that He would work through Timothy and the apostle Paul to reach the unsaved for the glory of God. Timothy was simply called to be faithful to God’s calling and to not be ashamed of the Gospel.
In the case of David, our guest at the Mission, the circumstances surrounding his death were unquestionably tragic, but only God truly knows the end of his story. He does not call us to "fix" people but rather to come alongside them with patience and truth. God sees value in every life, and we are so grateful for the opportunity to offer our guests more than just temporary, physical needs. Thank you for enabling us to invest His love in the hopeless and forgotten. Your compassion allows us to be the feet that bring good news and the hands that reach out in rescue.
In Christian Service,
No one can deny that this past year has been full of uncertainty, just as no one would deny that the affects of COVID have been devastating for some. Imagine the difficulty of experiencing homelessness while trying to deal with the challenges of possible quarantine and contracting COVID. While we celebrate what is truly divine intervention in protecting the Mission so that only about 1% of guests ever contracted COVID, we are grateful not only that the health department provided quarantine for guests but also that they provided the opportunity for vaccinations to those who wanted it. This was especially meaningful to those of our guests with severe health issues.
We have the honor of seeing many guests regain solid footing and head to a stable future. Being a part of the beginning stages of this process is a joy, but it is a special kind of joy when that future includes a desire to give back to the Mission. Amber is one such individual who decided she wanted to be a part of the organization that she once called a “temporary home.”
Amber comes in weekly, her kiddos in tow, to assist staff with the children in the shelter while their moms are in a chapel service. When discussing transitioning from guest to volunteer, she said, “The Mission is where I began discovering my strengths and worth as an individual. I do not think you expect that when walking through the door as a guest. Coming back to serve, I was met with the same open arms. I appreciated this because the Mission has been an important event in my life and spiritual journey.”
Amber has found her family’s time volunteering to “always be a pleasure,” and she and the kids “look forward to spending time and giving attention to all of God’s children” in the shelter. She said, “I will forever encourage volunteering at the Mission” because “they truly are an extension of God and do His work through this temporary home.” We are so blessed to be able to be a part of Amber’s story both then and now, just as we are blessed by every individual who chooses to share his or her time with us.
If you would like to find a way to be more involved with the ministry of rescue, we would love to have you as a volunteer. You can experience the joy of having a front row seat to the blessings we get to witness on a daily basis while serving your community in a real and meaningful way. Contact the volunteer coordinator (517.485.0145) or visit our website (BEaRESCUER.org) for information on how to get involved.