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More About the Mission

A Place for Family

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Unsafe living conditions displaced Michele and her entire family, when they had to leave the apartment they shared. Michele, her daughter, and grandchildren came to the Mission’s women and children’s shelter, while her son-in-law and adult son stayed at the men’s shelter. Though she had some concerns about what the Mission might be like, Michele felt as though a burden immediately lifted from her shoulders as she entered the building for the first time.

She remembers one night especially, when she had lost her appetite, and the Mission served her favorite meal during her stay: baked chicken, mashed potatoes, fresh salad, and the extras. “I ate good, slept good, and had a good chapel.” Those good days formed a pattern as she states, “It’s pleasant to be here.”

In addition to being homeless, Michele dealt with severe health concerns, as doctors continued to run tests to determine if she had cancer. She was relieved and grateful to the Lord when tests returned negative for cancer. She also faced another health scare concerning her lungs, during her time at the Mission, but she came through that as well.

Today, Michele is choosing to look forward. “I’m going to get it together. I got nothing but time on my hands.” Her daughter's family has already been reunited in a home of their own, and Michele expects to be moving to her own apartment very soon. Once she is settled and fully healed from her surgery, she plans to start taking classes. Her dream is to help counsel those struggling with substance abuse. She feels that it is important to have a goal and would like to use her time to help others. “I just stay humble,” Michele says, “You got to humble yourself in order to succeed in the things that you want.”

She continued to express appreciation for the staff, the counseling, and the casework. “The Mission really helped us.” Michele is also grateful for the gifts of those who support the quality services her family received. “You guys have a great Mission here in Lansing.”

Thank you for helping families like Michele’s, that often just need some time and a little help to transition out of homelessness and into independence. Thank you for being a rescuer.

A Thankful Heart

message from mark

“Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into His presence with singing!” Psalms 100:1-2

Recently, I have been struck by the persistency of some of the Michigan robins that sing in my neighborhood. I have been enchanted by their melody and their seemingly ubiquitous presence as my wife and I walk our dogs in the evening. I jokingly said something to the effect, “That red robin must really like us,” as it seems that we are regularly followed eight blocks for our enjoyment. While it is likely the work of more than one robin, our most recent walks have been fully accompanied by such beautiful singing. I can’t help but wonder if this too is a “joyful noise to the Lord…all the earth!” It is good for us to sing, or make a joyful noise unto the Lord, but I can’t imagine a much better soloist than such a marvelous creature who seems completely satisfied, perched high in a tree or telephone pole, and singing in perfect pitch and melody. A joyful noise to the Lord.

Working a morning meal shift at the women and children’s shelter on Sunday, I witnessed nearly fifty people who were very thankful for the good quality breakfast and the “beautiful place that God has provided through the Mission.” I suppose the robin serves the Lord in its own way, as God designed it to do. But we, too, are designed to worship God and serve Him forever. I was encouraged by one of our guests because of her joyful and thankful heart. She couldn’t say enough praises regarding the staff and the quality place where she can lay her head. “They are special people…they are servants of God.” That day was a special day for her because she was “getting ready to go to church and hear the Word of God,” which she also enjoys each evening at the Mission. She had a zip in her step and was quick to praise God because of His mercy. It is difficult to fathom how I would feel at 70+ years old, homeless, and living in a shelter. I pray that I would be as joyful as this guest and see the goodness of God through His people. Thank you so much for enabling us to serve others and be God’s hands and feet. Be encouraged that you are making a difference. The next time you hear a robin sing, I pray that you recognize God’s unchanging love and goodness to you as well. We serve a mighty God!

In Christian Service,
Mark Criss
Executive Director

Serving Together

rescue news

In the past six months, there have been a number of unexpected changes to how other local homeless service agencies receive assistance and funding from HUD (the Federal Department of Housing & Urban Development) and MSHDA (the Michigan State Housing Development Authority). The City of Lansing stepped down from their role of overseeing HUD funding. Instead, they oversee MSHDA funding. The Lansing Housing Commission agreed to serve as mediator for HUD. Haven House accepted the role of data entry into the HMIS system (which coordinates local statistics and demographics of those seeking services in our area). This necessitated some quick adjustment to how our community meets needs; however, the local Continuum of Care (COC) agencies came together to overcome any difficulties due to these changes. Thankfully, your gifts have enabled the Mission to be independent from government financing. We are part of our local COC, called the Capital Region Housing Collaborative; however, we receive no government funding. We pay dues as a member agency and our executive director serves on the board to enable us to collaborate with other local service agencies on the best ways to serve our community. Our community has definitely experienced many challenges in the past two years, but we are grateful to see our COC agencies continually seek to meet the need together.

Block Party

mission expansion project update

In June, Coldwell Banker Hubbell Briarwood and the REO Town Campus of Riverview Church teamed up to put on a block party. There were several fun activities, including a bounce house, food trucks, caricatures, face painting, popcorn machine, and live music. These were donated, so that all the proceeds for the event went to the Mission’s expansion project. We also had several opportunities to raise awareness about the Mission and our plans to increase and improve services. If you too would like to give toward the Mission expansion project, you can donate online ( or by sending in a check with “Mission Expansion Project” in the memo line. We do continue to investigate the best option, due to increasing costs of construction, and hope to be able to share more on the project in our August newsletter.


volunteer spotlight

Family Size: 6-8 servings

1 1/2 pounds Ground Beef
1 Egg
1 Onion, chopped
1 cup Milk
1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
1 cup dried Bread Crumbs
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 Tbsp Brown Sugar
2 Tbsp prepared Mustard
1/3 cup Ketchup

Mission Size: 160 Servings

36 pounds Ground Beef
24 Eggs
24 small Onions, chopped
24 cups Milk
1/4 cup Garlic Powder
24 cups dried Bread Crumbs
Salt and Pepper to taste
3 cups Brown Sugar
3 cups prepared Mustard
8 cups Ketchup

Directions: Preheat oven to 350°. In a bowl, combine the Ground Beef, Egg, chopped Onion, Milk, Garlic Powder, and Bread OR Cracker Crumbs. Season with Salt and Pepper to taste. Place meat in a lightly greased 9x5 inch loaf pan, or form into a loaf and place in a lightly greased 9x13 inch baking dish. In a separate bowl, combine the Brown Sugar, Mustard, and Ketchup. Mix well and pour over the meatloaf. Bake at 350° for 1 hour. (Adjust cooking time for larger meatloaf.)