Because of you… “My story has a new beginning!”

“Without the Mission, I would’ve been out on the street,” Collin shares.

“There are so many things I’ve been guided to through the Lord that I never would’ve done on my own.”

“I had good folks, but we did fight a lot,” Collin says.

Collin’s parents divorced when he was 15, so he rebelled by using drugs and alcohol. “It was a way to cope with things I was dealing with in an extremely unhealthy and self-destructive manner.” He dropped out of school at age 17, then started a string of jobs that never lasted long.

Collin had just learned he was being evicted around Christmas when he heard about Holland Rescue Mission. He had been homeless before and didn’t want to go back to the streets, so he swallowed his pride and came to the Mission. Here, through your gifts, he was blessed with the essentials of safe shelter… nutritious meals… and everything he needed to feel comfortable and at home.

“I didn’t eat well before I came to the Mission, but the food is fantastic here. The people are really welcoming and supportive. After coming to the Lord and going into the program, my perspective completely changed.”

For the first time, Collin was able to celebrate the miracle of Christmas with God’s joy and peace in his heart.

After a few months in our care, Collin felt led to enter our 9-month Gateway Discipleship & Vocational Program. He sees the transformation in his heart and life thanks to the daily classes, Bible study and chapel services. He also works on one of the Mission’s trucks, going out each day to pick up donations for our Thrift Stores, and plans to get his GED.This Christmas, because of your compassion and God’s love, Collin’s story has a new beginning. Through the gift of Christ’s birth, his future is filled with joy and meaning. “Now I try to follow the Lord and go where He leads me. It’s an honor to be adopted into God’s family and be able to help others in their walk with the Lord.”

Lonny Wants to Thank You

Lonny Wants to Thank You

“Somebody my grandma can be proud of.”

Lonny started drinking from his dad’s beer cans at 8 years old, and was an alcoholic by age 10.

“My mom was a drug addict and my dad was an alcoholic, so it’s just what I’ve known since I was little.”

Lonny’s parents divorced, and he was raised by his dad and abusive stepmom. He spent more than 20 years drinking and using drugs to cover up the pain. His grandma was the only person he could count on to love him no matter what he did or how bad things got.

His turning point came when he was released from prison and became homeless. Lonny came to Holland Rescue Mission and his entire outlook changed when he developed a real relationship with God.

“When things were rough, I used to call upon God. When things were good, I handled everything myself… or so I thought, till God placed me at the Mission.”

“As a man, having to admit that you’re homeless and you need help is hard to do sometimes.”

Lonny entered our Gateway long-term recovery program, and in addition to his daily classes and counseling sessions, the Lord laid it upon his heart to serve others.

“I used to be a very selfish person. But then I became that guy talking with people and praying for somebody when they needed it. It was a good feeling for me.”

Other staff members and guests took note of Lonny’s actions, and he was soon asked to be a residential assistant. The Lord then opened up a position on staff, and today Lonny serves as a Ministry Support Coordinator, working with guests who have mental health issues.

“God put me through all the worst possible things in my life so today, right now, He can use me as a gift to help another man who is going through trouble in his life.”

Because of your generosity, Lonny’s heart has been filled with thanksgiving… and God’s love! “Since coming to the Mission, I’m a messenger and a warrior of God. I’m somebody my grandma can be proud of.”

Dan’s Challenge: Finding the Strength to Live Clean

“Before I came to the Mission, I was completely lost. I didn’t have hope anymore.”

Dan's Challenge: Finding the Strength to Live Clean 1

Dan was raised in a loving home, with a father who was a pastor, but he turned away from God in his teens when he saw the hypocrisy in the church.

“By age 12 I didn’t want anything to do with God. At first it was just experimenting with drugs, but then it became a lifestyle.”

For years, Dan’s heroin addiction made him feel “on top of the world” – until reality came crashing in. “I lost everything – my house, car, wife, kids. I just didn’t want to live anymore.”

The drugs numbed him to everything going on around him, despite his homelessness. “I was living on the streets. My parents and friends shunned me. Nobody wanted anything to do with me.”

Then Dan’s girlfriend died of an overdose and it was a wake-up call to make a change. That’s when Dan decided to come to the Mission and turn back to God during his darkest hour.

“I was wasting my life away. I got to the point where I was finally willing to let my Lord and Savior take my life because I couldn’t do it on my own.”

Dan has found healing and peace in our care. In our Gateway Recovery & Work Training Program, he is learning how to live without drugs, and to rely on Jesus every step of the way.

“I used to have so much anxiety about life. Now I know that God loves me, and I can pretty much do anything if I give it to Him.”

“I was so lost and now I’m finally found. I want to just tell everybody that if I can do it, anybody can.”

Dan is restoring relationships with his family, and his ex-wife and children have been supportive of the changes he’s made. After graduation, he hopes to get trained in plumbing so he can find a job and support his family.

Today, Dan smiles when he says,“The Mission showed me a life I never thought I was going to have.”

YOU are the reason that men and women like Dan are no longer bound by their past challenges – and have discovered the joy that comes from Christ! “There’s a life that’s so much better. You just have to put the work in, and it’s well worth it.”

BUILDING BEAUTY OUT OF BROKENNESS

“I’m leaning on God and trying to be open to wherever He leads.”

Jada grew up in a broken home. Her parents divorced when she was two, and though her dad had custody, she was primarily raised by her grandparents.

BUILDING BEAUTY OUT OF BROKENNESS

The only time Jada saw her mother was on the weekends. But her mom wasn’t a good influence, and they didn’t have a healthy mother-daughter relationship. “My first time ever smoking marijuana was with my mom,” she says. “I’ve used drugs with her quite a few times over the course of my life.”

Jada left home when she was 16, and began working full-time to support herself. She dropped out of college after the first few weeks and worked at a bartending job for years – surrounded by drugs, alcohol and parties. When she left that environment and her abusive ex-husband, Jada and her son had nowhere to go. They lived in her car until she heard about the safe shelter at Holland Rescue Mission.

“I began to open my heart to the possibility of renewing my relationship with the Lord. Though I had a lot of anger, it was hard not to let God’s love wash over me with the welcome and compassion the Mission staff showed me.” Jada entered our Gateway Program, a work-based program that allowed her to still care for her son, and was delighted to be able to spend more time with him after years of conflicting schedules during her time working in bars.

“I accepted God’s love, and it freed me from the anger and hurt I’d been carrying for so long.”

Today, Jada has gained the confidence and courage to go back to college and get her degree in communications. After graduating Gateway, Jada and her son plan to enter our Transitional Housing Program for an extra year of support before they move out on their own. “My son is my priority, and I’m taking this time to reconnect and strengthen our bond as a family.”

This Easter, Jada and her son will be celebrating the beautiful new beginning in their life – made possible by your generous support. “Having God in my life has given me a peace and calm that has transformed me inside and out. Now the Mission is my family.”

THE ONE WHO HEALS ALL HEARTS

“Now I know that I’m loved and have been forgiven.”

Lisa felt alone. She was raised by a single mom and was too scared to tell anyone her older brother was abusing her. When she tried drugs and alcohol at age 16, it brought relief.

THE ONE WHO HEALS ALL HEARTS

She says, “I dated a boy who introduced me to pills, marijuana and alcohol. I felt better and thought, this is what I’ve been looking for – a way not to feel this pain.”

Lisa spent years struggling with addiction. One day, she realized, “I don’t have a home. I haven’t been able to hold down a job. I have no children. I’m running out of time. I’m tired. I don’t want to keep doing this.”

Then she heard about Holland Rescue Mission and decided to enter our Gateway Program to rebuild her life.

At the Mission, Lisa gave her heart to Christ and found the support she needs to stay clean and sober. “I spent so much time running from God. But now I’m trying not just to listen and read the Word, but to apply it to my life. God is really pushing me to do things that are uncomfortable but good for me.”

Lisa learned about managing her finances and other life skills through daily classes. She plans to go back to college and get her degree so she can pursue a career at a local Christian radio station.

“I feel like I’m at the edge of something really significant… like God’s just waiting for me to jump in.”

She also found an unexpected source of encouragement in her newfound faith – her mom. “We’re kind of in the same place as far as learning how to walk with God. It’s really cool to be able to share our experiences and what we’re seeing God do in our lives.” Thanks to the support of friends like you, Lisa is on the path to a better life – one filled with God’s grace and purpose. “It’s humbling to go to a homeless shelter. But coming here and hearing the women’s stories, I realize we’re all lost. It really can happen to anybody for any reason. Now I feel like I see the world differently, more through God’s eyes. I have hope.”

Discovering God’s GRACE

“I believe everything is part of God’s plan. Everything happens for a reason.”

When Hacer came to the United States from her native country of Turkey 14 years ago, she never dreamed that one day she would be homeless.

Hacer’s ex-husband was in the military. They met while he was stationed in Turkey and he brought her to the U.S. But then they divorced, her husband got full custody of her four young children and she struggled to care for herself in her adopted homeland.

“It’s still a shock when I think about that… I can’t believe it. I’m not from here. I don’t know anybody. I don’t have any family – no home, no car, nothing. I’m just by myself,” Hacer says.

She was homeless for three years until a police officer told Hacer about Holland Rescue Mission and brought her into our care. Here, through your gifts, she was blessed with the essentials of safe shelter… nutritious meals… and everything she needed to feel comfortable and at home.

“The Mission gives you more than what you need. I have a roof. I have food. I love Jesus so much, I love my life. Everything is a miracle.”

Hacer was in such pain when she first got here that she refused to participate in chapel and used anger as a defense to keep anyone from getting too close. But then she was prescribed medication to control her bipolar disorder and accepted Christ into her heart, and her demeanor completely changed.

“I was a Muslim, but now I’m a Christian because I see Jesus loves me so much. I went to Lake Michigan to be baptized. No matter what I do, where I go, He helps me. He’s amazing.”

In addition to the spiritual transformation Hacer experienced, she  also found healing through counseling and supportive friendships. Her biggest wish is to get her life together and be reunited with her children.

This Christmas, as Hacer celebrates Christ’s birth for the very first time, she’ll also celebrate the joyous new life she found inside our doors… because of your kind compassion. “That’s why I believe Jesus loves me… because I have a different heart. Now my heart is more open to love, to happiness, to be positive and to be good.”

My Coma Was My Wake-Up Call

I was looking forward to a career in baseball. But after I was drafted in the 27th round by the Cincinnati Reds, I soon tore my shoulder and became addicted to morphine. My baseball career came to an abrupt halt. Even though I had an incredible childhood, growing up in a middle-class home that taught me how to live life right, I turned my back on all of it.

Over the years, I suffered a lot of depression. I never tried to kill myself, but I wanted to die more than once. During that time, I also sold drugs. One day, when a drug deal went bad, I had to jump out of a fast-moving car. I lay in a coma for 64 days. And when it was over, I had to learn to walk, read, and write all over again. Talk about a wake-up call.

Since coming to Holland Rescue Mission to get the help I desperately needed, I’m finally allowing God to take control of my life. I’m making progress every day, thanks to the Mission’s Gateway Ministry Center. For the first time in years, I feel I have hope on my side. I never read the Bible in the past, but
now God’s Word is a key part of my life. In the past, it was just me and my shadow. I felt alone, with no one to talk to. Now all that’s changed and my life is taking a turn for the better.

I want to thank all of you who pray, volunteer, and donate to the Holland Rescue Mission. I am so grateful because of your care and generosity. I join my many friends here at the Mission in wishing you and your family a happy Easter.

Marlon

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.