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"I Knew I Wanted What They Had"

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“I was in a dark place,” are the words “Debbie” uses to describe coming to the City Rescue Mission of Lansing. “I was quite scared. It’s not something you’re really proud of.” For Debbie, her homelessness was even more challenging due to having left an abusive relationship. However, she found the staff encouraging and the Mission a “safe haven,” while she worked to end the relationship and rebuild her life.

“I knew that there was something different,” she remembers about her time at the Mission, “but I couldn’t figure it out. I guess it was God speaking to me. ‘Take My outstretched arm, and I’ll help you...’ Between the Mission and my 71 year old mother,” Debbie says, “I heard the gospel.”

Today, Debbie declares herself to be a child of God. She overcame a previous drug dependency, moved to her own home, and found a good job. Part of her success was due to the ability to settle into a good church that feels like family. She is very involved with a church in South Lansing that has been a longtime supporter of the Mission and especially involved with guests at the women and children’s shelter. Their investment in Debbie helped her to have a strong community that could come alongside her as she grew in the Lord.

The example of this church and especially Mission staff helped Debbie determine to create a new life for herself. “I knew I wanted what they had.” Although she has moved into the next chapter of her life, she remembers the Mission and staff with fondness. “It’s like a second home.” She hopes to be able to give back herself, when she is able.

Your gifts make a tremendous difference in the lives of those, like Debbie, who come to the Mission seeking food or shelter and finding rescue. The kindness that was shown to Debbie, by you and by our staff, encouraged her to reach out to others in kindness, especially other women in the shelter.

“I am just so thankful,” Debbie says, and we echo her gratitude. Without your support and continued compassion, we could not help the many women, children, and men who come to the Mission every day. Thank you for your faithfulness.

A Mother’s Love

message from mark

“As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you; you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.” Isaiah 66:13

It seems that a mother is always on your side. I know that is sadly not the case with all mothers, and I can’t imagine the difficulties that brings. After all, my mother was my biggest fan, and she never ceased praying for my siblings and myself. She was always there for us and always provided a word of comfort, advice, or encouragement. She always supported our endeavors but let us know when wisdom conflicted with our ways. It was comforting to know that my mother spoke truth and loved us unconditionally. Which is partly why this Mother’s Day is so difficult. As many of you are aware, my mother died last June after a six month recovery battle from a stroke and a MRSA blood infection. I often find myself wishing I could talk with mom about so many things, such as the expansion project on Michigan Avenue, staffing shortages, service changes (i.e. temporary closing of the Outreach), witness opportunities, church life, and the like. She was the first one I always went to for prayer and advice.

I still find comfort, however, in reflecting on my mom’s unconditional love for us. Such experiential love reflects a glimmer of God’s love for His creation and mankind. Although, “No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us” (Romans 13:8). Not only did my mother love me and my sisters, but she reflected God’s work and impact in her life. As I reflect back on my mother’s life, I am so thankful that I was raised and loved by such a special person. I learned how to forgive and love others because my mother showed how genuine followers of Jesus Christ live and have their being.

I believe my mom was most proud when I told her that I was “going into ministry” at the City Rescue Mission. She told me, “Well, it’s about time because I knew you were called when you were five years old.” After several similar instances where I unashamedly shared about Jesus with others, God solidified the conviction of my someday being an evangelist in my mother’s heart when she witnessed me “telling people about Jesus in line at the Dairy Queen.” She pondered that in her heart for many decades. The prayers of a mother, evidentially, avails much, too.

Thank you, also, for your prayers in order that we can continue “the work of an evangelist” in the heart of Michigan’s capital area. Thank you for helping us meet physical and spiritual needs. Thank you for being a rescuer!

In Christian Service,
Mark Criss
Executive Director

Affordable Housing Crisis

rescue news

In an April article of the Lansing State Journal, the president of the Capital Region Housing Collaborative, of which the Mission is a member, described what is quickly becoming an affordable housing crisis in our area. The housing market is booming, but steeply rising prices are leaving many lower income people behind. As reported, “Since 2017, the median rent in Lansing has increased by about 20% across all apartment types... That increase, which outpaces the rate of inflation, can make it difficult for people to live downtown. ‘As rents go up, it begins to push out people who maybe previously were able to afford that location,’ said Rawley Van Fossen, [also] executive director of Capital Area Housing Partnership, a nonprofit focused on affordable housing and financial stability. ‘There are folks in the community struggling who cannot keep up with the pace of increased rents in our community.’"

As our city continues to shift due to the impact of COVID and the possibly permanent changes it has made in our area, we continue our commitment to meeting the vital needs in our community for food, shelter, and, most importantly, hope. Thank you for being a part of providing something more for those facing hunger, homelessness, and hopelessness.

Durnbaugh, Elena. "Rents are spiking in downtown Lansing. Will tenants stick around?" Lansing State Journal, April 13, 2022

Shifting Course

michigan avenue update

In the April newsletter, we announced that rising construction costs were becoming a barrier to renovations at Michigan Avenue. At this time, we have decided to begin reviewing less expensive options that would also decrease renovation time. Currently, there is about a million square feet of open space downtown, which might make it a better fit for us to transition our men’s ministry to a larger facility. We have toured a few locations, however, there is much still to be decided, including the opportunities this might create at our Michigan Avenue location. Please keep this need in prayer, as we seek wisdom in being prepared to meet the growing need for shelter in Michigan’s capital area.

Banana Bread

volunteer spotlight

Family Size: 12 Servings
2 cups all-purpose Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/2 cup Butter
3/4 cup Brown Sugar
2 Eggs, beaten
2 1/3 cups mashed overripe Bananas

Mission Size: 96 Servings
16 cups all-purpose Flour
2 1/2 tablespoons and 1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 tablespoon and 1/2 teaspoon Salt
4 cups Butter
6 cups Brown Sugar
16 Eggs, beaten
18 2/3 cups mashed overripe Bananas

Directions: Preheat oven to 350° F. Lightly grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan (for family size). In a large bowl, combine Flour, Baking Soda, and Salt. In a separate bowl, cream together Butter and Brown Sugar. Stir in Eggs and mashed Bananas until well blended. Stir Banana mixture into Flour mixture; stir just to moisten. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan. Bake in preheated oven for 60 to 65 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean. Let bread cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack.