Getting it right this time…Finally honest with myself

My name is Dawn. It was a 20-year marriage, but it was a troubled marriage, one filled with mental and physical abuse. And it drove me to
drink. Vodka became my companion. I started drinking just to relax. After all, I had excuses, right? The domestic abuse was terrible, my mother was on meds, I was having anxiety attacks, and I was overwhelmed trying to be super mom. But one drink became two, and then I
figured I needed another one . . . and so it went until it became a full-blown addiction.

With God’s help, I’ll stay the course this time around

Free for the First Time 1

The results of my drinking? I lost everything — my driver’s license, my house, and more jobs than I care to remember. My employers got tired of me calling in saying, “I’m sorry but I’m sick today.” When I was finally honest with myself, I had to admit I was doing a rotten job running my life. That’s when I decided to return to Holland Rescue Mission’s program, from which I’d graduated more than two years ago.
I hoped against hope I would learn my lesson this time and maintain a better relationship with God. I no longer wanted to fill that deep hole in my life with alcohol. All I can say is, so far so good.

It’s good to know I’m not doing this alone. God, my Christian counselors, and you who support this place of rescue are with me every day. I love to spend time in God’s Word, and I’m working hard on developing my relationship with my heavenly Father. Thank you for giving me a safe place — a good place — at this time of my life. It’s also great to be able to help in the thrift store here at the Gateway Center, where I’m able to use my many years of retail skills. When I meet Jesus in heaven one day, I’m simply going to thank Him for loving me. And I hope to hear him say to me, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

Dawn

 

Free for the First Time

My name is Karl. There was no stopping it. I just drank, drank, and drank . . . and then I drank some more. The police around here know me well, because I was picked up three times for public drinking and disorderly conduct. But I just kept drinking.

“Alcohol was destroying me drink by drink I lost everything many times”

Free for the First Time

Alcohol was destroying me drink by drink I lost everything many times — apartments, cars, and everything else that should have been important to me. A lot of people tried to help me over the years, but I never listened. I just didn’t want to stop drinking.

My life is finally turning in the right direction

It took a long time for me to see the light. When I finally realized alcohol was killing me, I came to Holland Rescue Mission. For the first time, my life is turning around.

Today, I know God loves me and that He forgives me. I’m no longer a slave to alcohol and a lifestyle that violated everything God wants for me. I’m free. I still have my problems, but now I have the One who is always there for me when I need help.

Someday, I hope I get the chance to talk to high school kids, so I can share with them the lessons I’ve learned: Booze is a lie and drinking is no path to a good life. If just one kid listened to me, it would be worth it.

I don’t know what I would do without Holland Rescue Mission and generous people like you who keep these doors open. Thank you for being obedient to Jesus when He says to reach out to people in need. I hope you and your family make it a great holiday season.

Karl

I thank you for your love & compassion…from the bottom of my heart

My name is Juana. I am an immigrant/refugee from Mexico. I know a lot is being said about immigrants these days, but I want you to know that I’m doing everything legal to stay in this country so I can make a better life for myself and children. But never thought I would be able to be in such a wonderful place like the Holland Rescue Mission. and the Gateway Center. I am learning so much here.

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I am becoming more disciplined in my Christian faith, and I am waiting to see what God will do next in my life. I have many good friends here at the Mission. These are men and women who reach out to me, accept me and who want the best for my life. If I did not have the privilege of being here, I don’t know where I would be today. I just know it would be difficult.

I’m learning how to be a servant to others

The Mission may be a lot of things to a lot of people, but for me it’s an opportunity to be of service to others; to be a student, a volunteer, to learn more about the Bible and even how to write a resume for the day when I’m able to work full-time. The process is slow, but I’m doing everything legally and patiently, knowing God will take care of my family and me. I already have a job lined up teaching Spanish as soon as I get my work permit. Sometimes, I admit it’s hard to be patient, but I know in the long run God will give me what I need.

You and I may never meet, but I want you to know how much I appreciate your support. Thank you for reaching out to me during this holiday season.

I’m making progress on my long road to recovery

My name is Ken. Before I came to Holland Rescue Mission, my life was in shambles. I was homeless, and I figured I just needed a job. I now know what I needed was Jesus Christ. My former life was all about alcohol, pornography, women and money. It seemed like I committed every sin against God possible. One of my darkest moments was when, at age 13, I attacked my second cousin.

I'm making progress on my long road to recover

Because of what I did, I wanted to kill myself…and for a long time I kept cutting myself with razor blades. I had no answers to the problems that surrounded me. One thing is for sure: if I hadn’t come through the doors of Holland Rescue Mission and the Gateway Ministry Center, I know I would be back on the streets, making trouble, begging for good and having no life at all.

God is helping me forgive myself          

One of the greatest challenges for me is to forgive myself. It hasn’t been easy, and it’s not easy now. But I am making progress. The more I give every part of my life to Jesus, the more the sinful burdens of my past are being lifted from my shoulders. In my earlier, feeble attempt to put my life in order, I sampled ever religion imaginable. But non of those faiths game me the answers I needed to put my life in order. I think I was just eating “religious snack food,” when what I needed was to sit down at God’s table and enjoy a full course meal of His Truth. I now know God’s way is the only way I will ever make it in this world.”

I am excited about the Gateway Ministry Center. I’m doing well in the Bible classes, and I am also showing some exceptional mathematical skills. I’m not bragging. I’m just telling you how happy I am for where my life is today. Thank you for supporting me in my journey of recovery.

Your donations and Christian giving are giving us a home…Thank you for your kindness

We are Jon and Crystal. Our story is perhaps different than most. We are at the Mission because we had nowhere else to go. Through a variety of circumstances, our kids were taken away from us, and now we are fighting to get them back. Now that we’re here at Holland Rescue Mission, we feel we have a better chance of being reunited with our family.

Your donations and Christian giving are giving us a home...Thank you for your kindness

If you’re a parent or grandparent, you know how it would feel not to have those you love with you. We used to live in a nice house, and things were going pretty well for our family. But life caught up with us, and we are now reliant on the generosity of others.

We know our family will be together again soon

Jon is legally blind and totally deaf in one ear, but he enjoys singing, especially Gospel music. Whenever he sings, I can see how relaxed he becomes. I do know he misses his guitar, and hopefully he will get another one soon. People often ask me what it’s like to marry someone who is blind. I can just tell you when you love someone, even something like blindness doesn’t bother you. We love each other, and we love our kids. Not to have them with us is painful, but we know we will be together again soon. The Mission is great
for both of us in so many ways. In fact, I have even been taking a GED course, and by the time you read this, I should have a high school diploma.
I don’t have words to describe how much we appreciate what you do for
the Mission and for us specifically. You give us the clothes on our backs,
nourishing food and shelter that is safe. I wish we could pay you back for your
kindness, but right now all Jon and I can say is thank you.

“. . . when you love someone even something like blindness doesn’t bother you.”

Now when I see trouble coming my way…I know God is always there to help me

My name is Travis. I thank God I came to Holland Rescue Mission. I’m young,
but in some ways I’ve already lived many lives — most of them wrong. I’ve been to jail too many times. I was always on a drinking spree, a stealing spree, a pot-smoking spree and a deceiving spree. I’d lie to people who were nice to me, and I didn’t even care. I think most of my friends would say I’m a good person who just keeps making stupid decisions. I had a street mentality, eager to manipulate anybody to get my way. I was a con and an expert at trickery.

This Program is difficult…but I know I must complete it

Now when I see trouble coming my way...I know God is always there to help me 2

I tell you all this so you can see what God has to work with. And He is working in my life in ways I never thought possible. The program here at the Mission is difficult, but I know if I want to change, I have to stick with it. And I plan to do just that. Today, when I see trouble coming my way, I ask God to help me. Most people on the street don’t see a way out. Like me, they feel lost, with no one to reach out to them. I think I’m finally beginning to live my life with the right motives — and one of those motives is to reach out to others, just as you are reaching out to me. I want to thank you for all you do to give me good food, shelter, clothing and Christian counseling. You lift my spirits up, and that means a lot to me. Here at the Mission, I’m washing dishes, and I volunteer at other times to help prepare meals. Each time I see someone we serve, I am reminded of where I once was. I know I could easily backslide. That’s why I need a Savior. Every day.

Travis

I finally realized it would either be God, death or jail.

My name is Heather. I should not be alive today. Were it not for the grace of God, I would be dead. I had 15 years of hard addiction. I started at 19, when I thought it was a lot of fun. In the end, it was not fun at all. At age 21, I was introduced to cocaine. And while I did that drug, I kept drinking. I would often take my paycheck, go to a bar and spend the entire $500 in one sitting. The next day I felt horrible. And still, I wanted alcohol and other drugs all the time. There was no ending the madness. If anyone needed a transformation of heart and spirit, it was Heather.

"I finally realized it would either be God, death or jail." 1

I finally gave up and let God take over 

One night I was so drunk I couldn’t drive home. So I got a ride with a designated driver. On the way home, I was raped. Just another part of my life that was going south fast. I finally realized it would either be God, death or jail. There would be no middle road. That’s when I told God I was ready to do whatever He wanted me to do. I made that decision here at Holland Rescue Mission.

In less than six months, God has restored almost everything in my life. I think I may even get my daughter back. I went to dinner with my mom not long ago. These are things I never thought would happen. One of the great joys of my life is to be on the prayer team at church. I have been invited to help serve communion once a month, and before long, I will even have a seminary degree. So if you don’t believe in miracles, you and I need to have a little chat. I was once in a black hole. I didn’t care about anything. It didn’t bother me I was breaking God’s heart. Now, I finally have purpose in my life. Thank you for the role you continue to play in helping me rise from the dead to live a life that honors my Savior and Lord.

Heather

Merry Christmas!

Looking outside the frosted window, you see the first snowfall of the year and the reflection of the freshly lit and decorated Christmas tree. Family is gathered around the dinner table prepared to eat a warm, delicious Christmas meal followed by the exchanging of gifts, singing Christmas carols, and sharing and celebrating the wonderful news of the birth of Jesus Christ.

This describes the visions we have about the Christmas season, and this is the type of experience we want to provide for the men, women, and children at the Holland Rescue Mission. There is no better way to share Christ’s love than to invest in another person’s life, which is exactly what our community is doing this Christmas season.

If you were to walk into our Men’s Ministry Center or Family Hope Ministry Center, you would see lit Christmas trees, hanging ornaments, evergreen garlands, Christmas candles, and more. You would see residents gathered around the dinner table eating a warm, delicious Christmas meal with one another. You would see Christmas gifts being exchanged Christmas morning. You would see individuals coming in to provide a special Christmas event or share Christmas carols with our residents, but most importantly, you would see devotions, chapel, and church services focused on the gospel and the birth of Jesus Christ.

This experience would not be possible without the involvement and volunteer services of churches, businesses, families, and individuals in our community. We have volunteers decorate our facilities with Christmas decor, volunteers prepare and serve meals, volunteers provide gifts through our Emergency Shelter Gift Bag and Adopt-A-Friend programs, and volunteers who get involved with singing Christmas carols, providing special craft nights for the children, speaking at chapel services, and investing in the lives of our residents.

The Holland Rescue Mission is thankful for the involvement of all volunteers through their financial donations and the time they invest into the lives of our families. We are blessed by the community we live in and their willingness to not only be involved this Christmas season but throughout the entire year. We are thankful for the community involvement in our ministry, for praying for our ministry, for investing in the lives of the men, women, and children here, and for sharing the great news of Christ.

And the angel said unto them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:10-11

 

-Anna Southwell, Volunteer/Event Coordinator

I no longer live in fear because I know the Lord is Always at my side

My name is Mike. One week before I came to Holland Rescue Mission, I tried to kill myself. I wanted to be creative, so I set up a pulley overhead and threaded it with a length of rope to which I tied a shotgun. I then drank half a gallon of drain cleaner and jumped off the chair, assuming that would end it all. Well, the gun went off, but it hit the rope and shattered it as I fell
unceremoniously to the ground. As it turns out, the drain cleaner must have been old and flat, because it had no effect on me. So there I was lying on the floor not dead, but thinking to myself . . . okay God, if I’m not gonna die I better go to the Mission. My life was so messed up I couldn’t even kill myself.

“ My TV and I were best friends. In fact, the television set was my only friend.”

My Christ-esteem is improving and I’m glad I didn’t, because here at the
Mission I’m discovering who I am in Christ. It’s not my self-esteem that’s improving; it’s my Christ-esteem. For the first time in a long time, I no longer feel broken or angry. I once had a home-based business where I was earning a
yearly income of six figures. I figured with all that money I didn’t need the Lord. Well, that was crooked thinking. That’s when I needed Him most. Now I’m back in the fold, reading my Bible, praying, and being grateful to God, the Mission and to you who give so much of yourself to make this place available to me.

In the past, I was so timid I’d stay in my cabin and have my groceries delivered. I didn’t want to see or meet anyone. My TV and I were best friends. In fact, the television set was my only friend. Today I can talk to people, interact with them and live a much more normal life. Well, that’s my story in a nutshell. Thank you for listening — and thank you for being a hope provider for me today and for the better days that lie ahead in the New Year.

Your Friend,

Mike

Social Enterprises

Social Enterprise – What is it?

 

“Social Enterprises are businesses that trade to tackle social problems, improve communities, people’s life chances, or the environment. They make their money from selling goods and services in the open market, but they reinvest their profits back into the business or the local community”

 

This is the essence of what we are doing at Holland Rescue Mission through both our current thrift stores and our new Gateway Center. We are selling goods (donated items) on the open market (through our stores) to reinvest the profits back into improving the local community (operating emergency homeless shelters).

 

Another key component of Social Enterprise is sustainability.   Sustainability can be simply defined as the “capacity to endure”, or in basic terms – “the ability to continue”.  In terms of Holland Rescue Mission, it allows us to operate an enterprise (thrift stores) that generates income which enhances our ability to continue what we are doing (providing emergency food and shelter).

 

At Holland Rescue Mission, we take this one step further and utilize our guests to assist in the enterprise model.  That is, many of our guests are asked to work in our social enterprise (thrift stores and/or donation processing) to not only teach them the connection between work and the benefits received, but also assisting with our overall ability to continue to operate emergency food and shelter programs.

 

The next time you shop at one of our thrift stores, you can be assured that you are not only getting a great deal but you are investing into our local community – through a Social Enterprise!

Scott Klingberg, Chief Program Officer