A man came to the red doors at City Light, our shelter in Boise for women and children, early this week looking for a local church. He was from out of town, and his infant son was very ill and had been taken by ambulance to the hospital. What a blessing that this worried father was driving around looking for a pastor to pray with and found us. Read More
“I never got a chance to say thank you for helping me get back on my feet.”
We just may never know the influence we may have on those who come seeking our services. However, it is especially encouraging to hear the progress that one has made in his or life after having been with us.
Case in point is Tom*. Tom came to our shelter for the first time in January of 2014 with very little in the way of possessions. He expressed interest in our work program and was accepted. During his 5 months stay with us, we were able to help Tom connect with the Idaho Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, “a state-federal program whose goal is to assist people with disabilities prepare for, secure, retain or regain employment.” He received assistance in the way of funds to get his driver’s license and a voucher to get glasses/contacts. Tom’s goal? To drive trucks. By the end of Tom’s stay with us, he had been accepted by a reputable company to attend their out-of-state truck driving school. Tom left us for this school the first part of July, 2014.
Fast forward to January 2017, nearly 3 years after Tom first came to us. Tom just sent an email to us letting us know what has been transpiring in his life since his departure from us. He wrote about the period in his life before coming to us. He said, “It was a dark time in my life after having $13,000 stolen in Thailand, and then being deported back to nothing in United States.” But, he said, the Rescue Mission was here to be that light; that beacon of hope for him during that time of darkness.
He went on to say, “I read many times that going from homeless and broke to being normal again was on the verge of being impossible, but I did it and now I’m back where I started. I am using my degree and teaching at a dramatic arts college in Thailand. He will soon be married to his Thai girlfriend who is an accountant for the college.
Tom concluded his email by saying, “Thank you for all you did. I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for you guys.”
And we, as a ministry, would not be here if it wasn’t for our donors. We thank God for His provision, through our donors, to make sure we have everything we need to help the “Tom’s” who come through our doors.
Director, Lighthouse Rescue Mission
On top of the crazy challenges our shelters face during snow days, the flu has been going around to guests and staff. I came in to cover for one of our staff. For me, it was a really enjoyable evening and made me miss being involved in shelter operations on a daily basis.
Then, at 9 pm, a call came in from a man who was looking for shelter. His car had broken down and he didn’t have anywhere to go to get out of the cold. Divorced and homeless, only option was to sleep in his car. He was really at the end of his rope.
He said he was near St. Al’s hospital which I knew was much too far to walk to get to our men’s shelter on a cold and icy night. I told him to go inside the hospital to wait and we would figure something out.
It was such a good feeling to be able to share with him that we could help with a safe, warm place to stay, meals, clothes and help him get his life back on track. As I talked with him, I could tell he was choking up on the other end of the line. He said he didn’t know where else to turn. He has a job, but no home, and now that his car is disabled, he didn’t know what to do. I was able to reassure him the he called the right place; that we were going to help.
A quick call over to River of Life, and the staff there said they would find a way to get him there.
Just now, they called and said, “We got him!” Praise the Lord for everyone who works so hard to make our shelters run and who are willing to go above and beyond to find that one lost sheep.
Chief Operating Officer
Here are a few simple ideas that you can use to help bring our homeless and hurting neighbors in from the cold.
SPREAD THE WORD
Each of Boise Rescue Mission Ministries’ facilities serve meals to our hungry and homeless neighbors every day, even to those who are not staying with us but still need our assistance. Help us spread the word by carrying some of our meal tickets in your glove compartment. These tickets have all of the information a person needs to connect with the Mission’s shelters. They are available for download from BoiseRM.org/media, or you can call 208-343-2389. We would be happy to send them to you.
Help us reach out to those in need by sharing our invitation to everyone to come in from the cold; to warm up and have a good meal at our table and to rest easy for the night.
Once we have provided for these basic needs, we work hard to connect these men, women, and children with the resources they need to address the root causes of their homelessness. Whatever it is that caused them to be homeless, we offer numerous programs to help them recover.
Whatever you decide to do, please remember to take precautions for your safety. The unfortunate truth is that some people living on the street are criminals and fugitives from the law. So be prudent. Stay where other people can see you and don’t take unnecessary risks.
PROVIDE AN ALTERNATIVE
Consider what alternatives you could provide to money. It is a sad truth that, too often, well-intentioned gifts are converted to drugs or alcohol. So think about a small act of kindness that meets an immediate need: a hot cup of coffee on a cold day, a bottle of water, or even bringing carry-out from a restaurant and sharing it with them. You could also provide gloves, socks, tissues, or a granola bar, things that are easy to carry with you and give away.
One of the best ways to get started helping homeless people face to face is to volunteer at one of our shelters. As a volunteer you can learn from those who are already making a significant difference in the lives of our guests on a daily basis, as well having the perfect opportunity to share your talents and encourage the people we serve.
Do you find it true sometimes that the most powerful tool we have at our disposal is the one we are tempted to dismiss as not quite enough? When you encounter someone out in the cold this winter, pray for God’s physical, mental, and spiritual protection over them. And know that your prayers are what God will use to bring many of the broken to Himself.
There is this incredible moment at the end of each of our New Life Program (NLP) graduations when Rev. Bill Roscoe, BRMM President, invites the family and friends of the graduates to come forward to stand with them.
In the minutes that follow, a beautiful picture begins to develop of how far reaching the impact of your generosity truly is. The graduates that you have helped through the New Life Program are parents and grandparents, sons and daughters, friends and co-workers. What starts as just a few people in front of the stage quickly multiplies to what I can only describe as a joyful mass of people filled with excitement for the future.
In May 2014, Jeffry was one of those NLP graduates. He had come to our Lighthouse Rescue Mission a year and a half earlier, sick, addicted to drugs, and, as he says, he was angry!
He tells me, “I used to be mean all the time to everyone. Mean and angry! I was in gangs and using drugs and angry at everyone, including God, for all the bad things that happened to me in my life. The drugs were making me physically sick and crazy in my head, and I was a terrible person.”
But Jeffry is not the person he used to be! “It’s true! I’m Not Who I Was is my favorite song. It reminds me of how far I have come and to keep moving forward. I’m not the same as I was.”
We talked to Jeffry in March of 2014, and you can read the details of his story on our website at BoiseRM.org/march-2014-newsletter, but today we want to tell you that, when you touched Jeffry’s life, it was the beginning of something so much more than just freedom from addiction.
Jeffry has become an invaluable friend and employee at The Rescue Mission Thrift Store since it opened last year. Last week, he celebrated his fourth year free from drug addiction. And he realized another dream of his last month when he went on a mission trip to Ecuador.
“The staff at the Mission and my pastor were asking me the question, ‘How can you help somebody now?’ So a year ago, I decided this is the way I can help someone else, to sponsor a child with Compassion International. I have been sponsoring Mileidy ever since then, and I got to meet her on my trip to Ecuador.”
Jeffry says, “It is important because I want to make sure she has food in her house, medical care, and is able to go to school. And I want to help her to know God. I have so much love for her, I can’t describe what meeting her was like.
“God gave me a chance to redeem myself; another chance to show people how God’s love can work in their lives too. Many people don’t realize that He gave His life for us. He did that so we can have a better life; a future and a hope. When I came to the Mission, I found out that is what He did for me.”
One of the many different names of God found in the Old Testament is “Jehovah-Jireh”. The name means “The Lord Will Provide” and, if I’m not mistaken, is first found in Genesis 22:14. This is the passage where Abraham goes up on Mount Moriah to sacrifice his son, Isaac. Abraham gives the above name to the place when God provided for him the ram to be sacrificed in place of Isaac.
Over and over again in the Scriptures we can see where the Lord provides…for the Israelites, for the saints, and for the poor and the needy. On a daily basis across our ministry, we get to see how the Lord provides. From monetary donations to in-kind donations (i.e. clothing, food, household items, hygiene products) to people giving of their time to volunteer in some capacity. God uses readers like you to provide the needs we have and enable us to continue to touch the lives of those who reach out to us.
As mentioned above, one of the ways many are touched by the work we do is through our food ministry. What a blessing it is to see the thousands who are touched by this outreach. One meal
goes a long way.
Well, on the subject of God providing, I recently experienced the Lord provide a simple need of ours – milk. Yes, a product that many of us don’t think twice about. Well, when it comes to serving cereal at our facility, we could easily go through several gallons. It was a Friday, and the plans were to serve oatmeal and cereal at our breakfast the next morning.
When we went to our cooler to see what we had on hand by way of milk, it was noticed that we were down to 1 gallon. OK. Down to one gallon. Milk is roughly $2 a gallon, so spending $4 – $6 wasn’t a bank breaker, if you know what I mean. We already had “milk” listed on our marquee as a need, so I told our food services staff that we should pray that some comes in. At the same time, I was planning on going to the store right after lunch to get some milk should none have come in.
As I was getting things together to go run some errands, including a stop to get some milk, the food services staff informed me that 2 gallons of milk had just been donated. WOW!!!! Talk about a quick answer to prayer. Our need for the planned breakfast was met. And how awesome it is to think that the individual that dropped off the milk was used by God to meet our need.
This happens over and over. And maybe, just maybe, the next time could involve you.
Director, Lighthouse Rescue Mission
It is a week of Thanksgiving for all of us and here at the Mission we have so much to be thankful for. But, the nature of what we do sometimes causes us some heartache as well. It comes in many different forms – watching people make the same bad choices over and over, watching them turn their backs on the people who are trying to help them and so forth. One of the worst is when we fall in love with a mom and her child (or children) and suddenly she leaves with them. Sometimes we know what happened to them, sometimes we still even have a relationship with them. But sometimes they just vanish and we are left wondering and praying that they are ok. And we miss them. And wait. And hope.
There was a little girl several years ago who was one of our favorites. Abruptly her mother left and took her. Quite a long time passed and we were left wondering. We kept praying and God answered because we got a call a few weeks ago from her because she was missing us too! She is now in the care of a guardian who agreed we could be in contact with our young friend.
And even better, I happened to be in the town where she now lives and her guardian let me see her. It was a balm to my heart to see her big smile and how much she’s grown. Even more amazing, one of my relatives is one of her elementary school teachers!
When I got home after seeing her that day, she called me. We chatted a bit. She reminded me her birthday is coming up. She reminded me who her favorite sport teams were. I got a good list for birthday/Christmas. She said she misses us. We miss her. It was a wonderful reunion.
This Thanksgiving I am thankful for many things, and a big one this year is the gift of being reconnected with this sweet girl and knowing she is safe.
This morning, I gave one of our former guest services ladies a ride to the hospital. She’s having much needed back surgery and needed to be there very early. It was nice that she felt she could reach out to us for help after many years.
After I got her safely to the hospital, I drove through a fast food restaurant to get breakfast. One of our current guests was at the window and handed me my breakfast. She gave me a dazzling smile and a big greeting. It was really sweet to see her working hard and obviously proud of what she is doing.
Before 8am this morning, I got to see two of our Mission programs in action: our “safety net” where we try to become a Christian family to our former guests so they can call on us if they need us, and our Work Search/Accountability program. The people who come to us are capable and full of life to give to others. The Mission enables them to contribute to the best of their ability!
Jean Lockhart Chief Operating Officer