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More About the Mission

Beyond Barriers to Hope

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Sharing his appreciation of the Mission and all it means to him, “Adam” expressed regret that he had “little English.” Without delving deeper, one would never know that this hardworking man actually speaks seven languages. In addition to his linguistic abilities, the men’s shelter director tells of Adam’s “awesome attitude” and willingness to serve wherever needed. He was a team leader on a work crew, a group made up of shelter guests who help keep the facility clean and safe. Having moved into the work dorm after finding stable employment, Adam requested to remain on the work crew, even though it is not asked of those men in our work dorm.

There is little today to recognize of the man who had arrived at the Mission in the middle of winter: hungry, homeless, and completely alone. Adam had come to this country eight years ago, after a long flight from civil unrest that led him from country to country, until he earned an opportunity to come to America. Arriving in Lansing, Michigan, and unfamiliar with the country and the area, he was given a job at a warehouse. After losing that job, he spent five years drinking heavily and sleeping under bridges or behind liquor stores. Finally ending up in trouble with the law, he was given probation and the motivation to stop drinking.

A friend told Adam about the Mission. The night he arrived, he was nervous and unsure, wondering if they would let him in, worried that they would not accept him. Instead, he was welcomed, and he has been working hard to show his gratitude ever since.

We believe that God brings people to the Mission, but Adam’s presence has been beneficial in more than just his work ethic and good attitude. A man came to our drop-in center, the Outreach, desperately in need of help, but he only spoke Swahili. The seven languages Adam spoke included Swahili, and he has served as a translator to help staff connect this man to the services he needs.

Every day is an opportunity to serve, and it is always a blessing to see the many ways so many people come together to provide food, shelter, and hope in our community. Your compassion offers women and men, like Adam, opportunities to overcome their challenges and to hear the message of Truth. Thank you for your faithfulness. Thank you for being a rescuer.

Act of Worship

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“And in the same way he sprinkled with the blood both the tent and all the vessels used in worship.” Hebrews 9:21

The Greek word for “worship” in Hebrews 9:21 is the word “leitourgia.” What is important about this word is that it primarily means “service,” such as military, workmen, or the ministry of the Old Testament priests. In this verse, many Bible translations use the word “worship” but it implies the act of service or ministry. Scripture certainly indicates that we “worship” God when we are used in the area of service and ministry which is our reasonable response to God’s mercy (Romans 12:1-2).

Unfortunately, in comparison to the acts of worship and service performed by the priests in the Old Testament, the 21st century church often uses the word “worship” outside of its broader Biblical context. On a Sunday morning, you may often hear, “Our worship service is about to begin,” or “Let’s begin worship,” as we start our church service in songs of praise. This may indirectly or unintentionally suggest that our only form of “worship” is when we sing songs to God. Similar to the vessels of atonement mentioned above and used by priests, God’s people are used to worship in deed and service, and it is never ending. We begin our worship when we get out of bed in the morning and when we have our first breath of air. This worship is in response to His mercy in our lives and not only when we are directed to “stand and sing, if you are able.”

Last month, the Mission began to serve a nightly average of 145 women, children, and men at our three primary locations. These numbers are closer to the “pre-COVID” demand for food, shelter, and hope. As temporary federal measures are adjusted to reflect the current state of the pandemic, more people are finding themselves precariously housed or simply needing shelter or a safe place to temporarily call home. Thankfully, we are ready to serve. Ready to help. Ready to minister. Thank you for being a vessel in worship unto our Lord and Savior. Thank you for being a rescuer!

In Christian Service,
Mark Criss
Executive Director

The First Quarter of 2021 by the Numbers

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Even writing this in late May, it is difficult to know what the world will look like by the time you read this. Currently, we seem to be moving in a positive direction that indicates some of our COVID precautions will no longer be necessary. It has been a joy and pleasure to be able to continue to serve every day of the last year. We could not have met those challenges without your faithful support and compassion. The numbers below represent only some of the many ways your gifts have impacted our community in the first three months of 2021. Thank you for being an important member of team rescue.

FOOD: 19,500 Meals
SHELTER: 12,754 Safe Nights
HOPE: 760 Counseling & Case Management Sessions

Service in Every Season

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Our lives are made up of many seasons, and as those seasons change, we find ourselves with different ability and time to give back to our community. Many would not consider attending a university during a pandemic to be a season in which a person has the time to invest in their community, but we have been very blessed by multiple groups from MSU. One group of medical school students, led by Andres, has served regularly through the school year at our women and children’s shelter.

Andres’ reason for getting involved with the City Rescue Mission was “knowing that there were people who were being impacted more severely by lockdowns and quarantine.” He also says he is “extremely grateful for this opportunity because I’ve been able to sit down and get to know many of the families and people that are staying at the City Rescue Mission shelter and learn about their stories.” In addition, he said he was “able to realize my own implicit bias” and it has “opened my perspective to the various types of people who have been affected by homelessness.”

Leading a group can present its own challenges, but Andres found “the entire process was very organized, and the communication was exceptional.” He shared that the volunteers he organized “consistently tell me how grateful they are for the opportunity to serve and always take the chance to sit and talk with the people staying at the shelters. Overall, it has been an extremely positive opportunity.”

When asked what he would say to other students about volunteering, he said, “…find time to volunteer on the weekend when you have time if you can. Not only is it a good break from studying but you can learn a good amount about yourself and the people in your community.” Life gets busy, seasons change, but the need in our community is always present. If you feel burdened to help those around you, we would love to have you join Team Rescue as a volunteer, no matter your season of life.