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More About the Mission

Stability and Hope

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"COVID started my journey!" "Robert" says when describing what led him to the City Rescue Mission of Lansing. Living in his own home for years, he lost his independence after three "really bad surgeries." He was able to stay with family for a short time but eventually came to the Mission in 2023.

When asked his first impression of the Mission, he remembers thinking, "What did I get myself into?!" After years of living on his own, it was hard at first, but he eventually adjusted to his surroundings.

Those coming to the Mission, like Robert, are looking for a temporary refuge and basic needs, such as food, shelter, and clothing. What he found at the Mission is "self improvement and a new drive in life." The Mission, "opened my eyes and mind, also my heart."

Even in their initial thirty days at the Mission, guests will interact with staff and meet our casework coordinator. They will begin to build relationships and find a sense of peace and security. Robert, like many we serve, has dealt with years of personal tragedies. While coming to the Mission involves great change, it also offers rest. Guests can set aside the worries and burdens that led them to the Mission and know their needs will be met. For Robert, the Mission symbolizes "Stability and Hope."

"Thank you for such a place," he says to you, those who support him in his challenges. "Thank you for the opportunity to live and thrive in a place that I thought I would never be! This has been a culture shock to my system...but it has made me a better person!"

As you can see in the “Rescue News” article on page three, we provided a record number of services in 2023. There were many men and women who found themselves homeless, some for the first time, after the struggles and challenges resulting from COVID. While we continue to see the after effects of the pandemic—staffing shortages, supply shortages, increased housing costs, and inflation—we are grateful that your compassion is providing a place of stability and hope to many in our community. On behalf of Robert and the hundreds of others who will find rescue at the Mission tonight, thank you. Thank you for being a rescuer.

Not in Vain

message from mark

“But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.” 1 Corinthians 15:10

In the above verse, the apostle Paul was not bragging about how much harder he worked than all the other disciples or apostles. He was simply referring to the great indebtedness that he has relative to God’s abundant grace. Just previous to this statement, the apostle Paul recognizes that he is “the least of the apostles and does not deserve to be called an apostle” (verse 9). Paul isn’t attempting an act of humility. He has truly been humbled by God’s grace and mercy to utilize him in the proclamation of the Gospel to those in Corinth. I wonder what Paul would think if he knew we are still learning and contemplating his words that the Holy Spirit enabled?

Around Christmas, I received a message on my work phone from a gentlemen who was a guest of the Mission approximately 15 years ago. I certainly recognized his voice before he confirmed his identity and asked me to call him back. I obliged and called him right back. It went to his voicemail after a few rings, and it was my turn to leave a message. However, his recorded voicemail introduction threw me off guard, “Hello, you have reached Eugene, I am sorry I’m not able to answer your call but by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain,” then he adequately summarized God’s grace to him as a follower of Jesus Christ. Wow! What a blessing! I love his bravery and his identifying literally with Jesus Christ so that everyone could hear.

Of course, Eugene could always make me smile because he is always bold in life. Eventually, we did connect with each other, and he informed me that he saw a chocolate labradoodle at the VA hospital and immediately “thought of Azan and the Mission.” Although he is living in Atlanta, Georgia, he was praying and thinking about how God brought him out of darkness and into the marvelous light. He reflected on how God used the Mission to “put me on the right track…I don’t even want to think about where I would be if it wasn’t for God bringing me to the Mission.” After we celebrated God’s goodness and transforming power, we also recognized that His work “was not in vain.”

Like Eugene, we continue to see the eternal impact of the Gospel through your support of the ministry of rescue. Every day, your gifts and prayers touch hundreds of souls in Michigan’s capital area. Thank you for helping us help others. Thank you for being a rescuer!

To God Be the Glory,
Mark Criss
Executive Director

2023 Service Numbers

rescue news

Meals: 133,347
Nights of Shelter: 89,200
Women, Children, and Men Served: 2,352

The year 2023 brought several challenges, as we provided a record number of services. Meals increased by more than 10,000; we provided a safe haven to an additional 48 people every night; and nearly 500 more individuals came through our doors in 2023, as compared to 2022. When we ended 2022, we had wondered how we could possibly sustain the need. By God’s grace and through your gifts, we not only sustained, we exceeded. Staff, volunteers, supporters, and donors worked and prayed and gave together, and more than 2,300 individuals saw the results. We face 2024 knowing the challenge remains; however, we are hopeful that we can soon begin the process of expanding to provide space and more efficient services. For a brief update on our expansion project, please see page four. Thank you for being part of a record year at the Mission by providing food, shelter, and hope to thousands in need in our community.

Doing Life Together

mission expansion project update

As our executive director often says, Mission staff are “doing life together,” and it is joyous to witness the ways that staff support each other in the small challenges and large life events. Last year, included its share of sadnesses, with loss and illness. There was also joy, as we celebrated three marriages. A supervisor at our drop-in center, our food services director, and our women and children’s shelter director all had weddings in 2023! Congratulations to these staff members and to their new spouses. We know you join with us in praying blessings for their marriages and the commitments they have made.

If you have ever had an interest in serving as the hands and feet of Christ in our community, find out more on our website at BEaRESCUER.org.

Volunteer Meet-and-Greet in March

volunteer spotlight

Are you a past, present, or future volunteer at the City Rescue Mission? You are all welcome! This upcoming March, we are excited to offer our next Volunteer Meet-and-Greet. This event will be held at our local community Starbucks at 637 East Michigan Avenue. Bring a friend and grab a free cup of hot coffee while learning what service looks like at the Mission. With up to 5 locations and over 30 different opportunities, the Mission can accommodate a variety of skills and schedules. We will gather together to fellowship and learn how each volunteer impacts the Mission as a whole. Please join us Tuesday, March 12, at 2 p.m., as fellow rescuers serving our community together. For any questions, contact our volunteer coordinator at 517.485.0145 or volunteers@BEaRESCUER.org.