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

From a life of being abused… to being loved by people who care.

My name is Amanda. I’m at Holland Rescue Mission because my three kids and I had nowhere else to go. I was in a terrible relationship for many years, and the constant abuse finally got to the point right where I couldn’t take it anymore. It seems like being abused has been the center point of my life, starting with my dad, who was a coke addict. He was a hippie, and he pretty much ignored me — except to abuse me physically and verbally.

From a life of being abused... to being loved by people who care.

There were pot plants all over our house. One day, I even saw some deer eating his pot. That was quite a sight. When my father wasn’t looking, I would go to his ashtray and smoke whatever pot was left. In a nutshell, that was my life. My mom died when I was 18, and I don’t know why, but I blamed her death on God. I was angry at Him for a long time. But I’m happy to say all my former anger is now in the past, because today I love the God I once hated. I have my smile back. I’m more talkative. I’m finally discovering who I am and what God wants for my life.

Thank you for giving my kids and me shelter and food

My goal now is to return to school and continue my studies in criminal justice. I’ve already done a year and a half of coursework and I look forward to completing my degree. One thing’s for sure: I would not have this motivation to succeed in life if it were not for the Mission and all the people here who are on my side. I also consider you as one of those people, because your donations are giving my kids and me a roof over our heads and food in our bellies.

“. . . all my former anger is now in the past, because today I love the God I once hated.”

But more than that, you are helping my family discover how much Jesus loves us. I’ve never been happier and my relationship with God is growing closer each day.

Sincerely,
Amanda

God bless you for the love you pour into our hearts day after day

At the Mission I’m discovering what life is really all about… and it’s about God, not about me.

My name is Mannie. Before I share my testimony, I want to say your donations and acts of service have helped to save my life. When you give to Holland Rescue Mission, you become a part of someone that will live forever. That means I will always remember you and your great kindness.

At the Mission I’m discovering what life is really all about... and it’s about God, not about me.

I’m at the Mission because of a series of bad choices. In my younger days I had great aspirations as an athlete. But drugs messed me up. I looked forward to a career in football. But I blew all my university scholarships. I was always expected to do well. Instead, I started partying and I stopped studying, both of which put me out on the streets and ultimately behind bars from 2006 to 2009.

Thank you for my second chance at life.

As I look back on my life, I now see it was the drugs that were doing the talking. But even in my mess I was developing a good work ethic. The trouble was I’d be up at the wee hours working at being a better, more effective drug dealer. But what a difference God makes. Now that I have God in my life, I’m learning I don’t have to be a tough guy to get what I need.

“I’m understanding I don’t have to be a tough guy to get what I need in life.”

Now my desire is to be a man of God. My counselors here are helping me see my potential. But I don’t want to make the mistake of living life on my own. I must continue to have God as my center if I’m ever going to make it. I now realize you can gain the whole world and still lose your own soul. God bless you for all you are doing to give me a second chance at life. Thank you.

Your friend,
Mannie

The good news is God is keeping us together… and that’s the definition of a miracle

We are Bob and Sharon, and we want to express our thanks to a loving God, to Holland Rescue Mission, and to you who give so much to help give us a new life.

Bob’s alcoholism for 20 years was difficult for me. I was angry at him all the time, and I kept wondering if things would ever improve. The good news is we are still together, and Bob is now sober.

The good news is God is keeping us together . . . and that’s the definition of a miracle

At first he didn’t want to go to any of the Mission’s programs, but then suddenly it clicked, most notably when God’s Word began to take hold of his life.

For me, the Mission is a refresher course on the Bible. I’m so encouraged by everything I read in the word of God, and I am especially grateful to a Mission staff that is always available to reach out to me when I need help, and I often need help. It’s amazing what the Christian walk is doing in our lives. And this Mission? Well, if you’ve ever been here, you know that it’s nicer than a college dormitory. It is clean, well run and a good place to call home for this time in our lives. We are confident God has great plans for our future.

“You are giving us a chance we feel we don’t even deserve.”

I also want to say a word of thanks at this Thanksgiving season to you who help people you don’t even know. You are giving us a chance we feel we don’t even deserve. But by God’s grace, you are always there with your donations and so many other acts of Christian service. Bob and I cannot thank you enough. I also want to leave you with a verse that has become our motto for living . . .

Jeremiah 29:11 . . . “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”

Bob and I praise God for the encouragement that comes from that word of Scripture.

Your friends,
Bob and Sharon

Through all my trials and tribulations I have finally found joy in Jesus Christ

My name is Paul. I’ve blown to and fro for many years, with the exception of pausing once in a while to put my life in order. My addiction to alcohol took me places I didn’t want to go. I was messed up for way too long. When I heard about the Mission, I came here planning to spend only a couple days. I thought I would just give it a try.

Through all my trials and tribulations I have finally found joy in Jesus Christ

But it didn’t take long for Jesus to take hold of my heart. He altered my thinking about me and life itself. No longer do I consider leaving the Mission. This is the right place for me at this time of my life. I used to live only to use drugs. Today, God is my life and my only focus is on the person of Jesus Christ. Whenever I think about walking out these doors, I’m reminded by the staff not to leave before the miracle happens. Well, that miracle has happened and it happens every day I’m here at Holland Rescue Mission.

Thank you for giving me back my self-worth

I am so grateful for the good food, the safe shelter and clothing I receive on a regular basis. I don’t have the words to express my gratitude to so many who’re helping me. I’m especially thankful for you and how you give so much of yourself to help keep these doors open for someone like me.

“Whenever I think about walking out these doors I am reminded by the staff not to leave before the miracle happens.”

You are helping me regain my self-esteem and my sense of worth. Now, it’s my desire to give back to others so they don’t make the same mistakes I’ve made in my life. It’s also great working at the Mission’s thrift store, where I’m able to meet  so many caring people. It’s always a privilege to give people a kind word. Perhaps I will meet you one day in the store as well. God bless you and your family during these summer months.

Your friend,
Paul

I’m a runner, and I’ve been a runner all my life… until now.

My name is Candy. All my life, I’ve been a runner. I’ve run when things have been good, and I’ve run when things were bad. I ran from my husband, who verbally and sexually abused me. I ran from my pain, and ran into the terrible arms of meth. For 10 years, I was addicted. I was so high I would clean everything in sight . . . and then I would clean it again.

I’m a runner, and I’ve been a runner all my life . . . until now

“All my life, I was told I had no value. Rejection seemed to be my middle name”

As if that wasn’t enough, I would go over and clean my neighbor’s house. I remember the time I wrote a 46-page letter to someone who was in prison. I overdid everything, and was messed up big time. Then one day Jesus said, Candy, slow down, and no more running. I heard his voice and I came to Holland Rescue Mission. And even though I had been here many times before, I was still welcomed with open arms. I came here when I had no place else to go.

Thank you for keeping these doors open for me

All my life, I was told I had no value. Rejection seemed to be my middle name. But here at the Mission people remind me I have value. Every day I feel loved. Everything about Holland Rescue Mission is uplifting and positive. So for me, there’s no more running . . . except into the arms of Jesus who loves me and has forgiven me of my sins. I’m so grateful for my Christian counselors. I can go to them at any time with any question and they are there for me. And you are there for me also through your generous donations. I cannot thank you enough for keeping these doors open for me. I will never be able to pay you back for your kindness, except to live a life that brings honor to my risen Lord. But maybe that’s the best payback of all.

Sincerely,
Candy

God is teaching me something that is transforming my life

My name is Anthony. When I look at my past, I see nothing but utter chaos. I was doing drugs, fighting with my ex-wife, had a daughter who died in her crib, while all the time I just stayed addicted. I needed help and I needed it fast. When I first came to Holland Rescue Mission I was ashamed of this place.

God is teaching me something that is transforming my life

Now, I realize I was really ashamed of myself. I went to church until about the fourth grade, but that was about it. I remember how my mom would give my brother and me marijuana for Christmas. That’s when we were in junior high. Not a great way to start a life. That was a long time ago, but what you do early in life has a ripple effect for a long time. And even though I needed help, I still didn’t want to come to the Mission. But I’m glad I’ve stuck it out, because without this place of rescue I’d either be dead or in prison. I refused to live on the streets, so those were my only two options: death or getting locked up.

I now have hope for a new life

I have so many people to thank that I hardly know where to start. But I do know your donations are making a world of difference in my life. Some people say the homeless don’t want to change.

“I remember how my mom would give my brother and me marijuana for Christmas.” 

That may be true for some, but not true for me. Every day, God is doing something to transform my life. When I go to chapel, I take in what I hear, and I do my best to put it into practice in my daily life. At this Easter season, I’m especially grateful that God is giving me a new life and hope for a better future.

Your friend,
Anthony

God is using you and your donations in miraculous ways…

My name is Jose. I’ve always been a person who played by the rules. That’s why I’ve waited so long for my green card. I cannot work here in the United States, but one day I know God will provide a way for me. Before I arrived in this country I worked for 10 years in a bank. I studied law and I received a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics. Meanwhile, my wife and children were already here in the US. But for the time being, it’s difficult for me to see my children.

God is using you and your donations in miraculous ways...

When I can see them, I try to be a good example to them as a father and as a human being. I’m a devout Christian and I also teach Sunday school. However, I had no place to stay. That’s why I’m so grateful for Holland Rescue Mission. I don’t know what I would do without the help of a loving God, a donor like yourself and my counselors here at the Mission.

You are so generous and I am so grateful

I’m also learning so much in the program here. I’m studying how to apply God’s principles to my life. The classes are practical, and every day I’m gaining a greater understanding of how to be God’s person. Many people you help at the Mission face challenges with drug and alcohol addictions. For me, I just needed to have a special place where God could restore my life.

“Every day, my heart rejoices in the Lord . . . because his ways are always perfect.”

I’m also learning so much in the program here. I’m studying how to apply God’s principles to my life. The classes are practical, and every day I’m gaining a greater understanding of how to be God’s person. Many people you help at the Mission face challenges with drug and alcohol addictions. For me, I just needed to have a special place where God could restore my life. And this is all happening day by day. Sometimes I wonder if you can possibly realize how much God is using you and your donations to help us who are in such great need. Every day, my heart rejoices in the Lord, because the ways of the Lord are always perfect. May God bless you at this Easter season.

Your friend,
Jose