Thank you for bringing GREAT JOY to hurting people – Christ changed Scott’s life

Scott saw drugs destroying his life, but he didn’t know another way to deal with his grief and pain…

Scott didn’t know how to cope when he lost his mom, dad and brother in a period of about six years.

“I had a lot of confusion and loneliness and hurt, and just wondered ‘why?’ I started using drugs to numb the pain and fell into substance abuse. Things went awry really bad.”

Throughout his addiction, Scott lost custody of his son and couldn’t keep a job. “It pretty much started to run my life. I just couldn’t handle it anymore.”

Scott hit rock bottom when he became homeless. He was walking outside one summer day, “admiring God’s creation,” when he decided to get away from his lifestyle and get help.

The day he walked into Holland Rescue Mission, everything changed for Scott.

“I just couldn’t do it on my own anymore,” he says. “I needed to let the Lord help me deal with it instead of trying to fight it myself.”

Scott came to the Mission looking for change, and he found a relationship with God to sustain him. “I’ve always believed… I was just unwilling to surrender everything and follow His will before.”

In our long-term restoration program, Scott found healing for his hurts and learned how to deal with his grief in a healthy way. “I learned God is loving and caring and desires to help. He is a true father.”

Scott is restoring the relationship with his son and enjoys the time they spend together on the weekends. He feels a calling to go into ministry so he can share his story and God’s love with others.

This year, Scott will be celebrating Christmas as a new creation, filled with the great joy of God’s love. “Now I see myself as a child of God. I’m loved and cared for and I know God has a plan for me. It’s amazing.”

To read this issue of Changing Lives, click here.

Owen’s Heart Is Filled With Gratitude for YOU!

Changing Lives Newsletter 2

“The Mission was there for me when I hit rock bottom.”

Owen turned to online video games as a teen to escape from daily life. “I was struggling with loneliness. Students at school were harassing me and making me feel unworthy of love,” he says.

But what started as fun quickly spiraled into obsession. Owen also developed an addiction to pornography, and these issues led to trouble functioning as an adult.

“I hit some rough passages, lost my job and my life kind of spiraled downhill from there. I managed to spend all my money and became homeless for a few weeks.”

That’s when he heard about Holland Rescue Mission and decided he wanted a better life. The day he walked through our doors, everything changed for Owen.

“I was originally just going to the Mission to try to find a job and get back on my feet,” he says, smiling. “But then I decided to join the Gateway Program and see if I could find a new way of being an adult.”

Owen found healing and hope through daily classes and Bible study, and discovered a real, intimate relationship with Jesus.

“Coming into the program I was spiritually hungry… there had to be something better than the way I was living. After two weeks, I recommitted my life to Christ.

Owen is grateful for the guidance he is getting to rebuild his life. He knows that the lessons he’s learned at the Mission will give him the skills and confidence to go back to college, study for the ministry and go wherever God leads him.

“I’m looking at the transitional development program to learn how to make money, to budget and do the things I didn’t know how to do.”

This Thanksgiving season – and all through the year – your kind generosity fills hearts with hope and gratitude… and transforms lives through God’s love!

“Now I’m thankful God created me this way. The qualities I have – like being empathetic and loving to listen – are beautiful and given by Him. I can use those gifts to help others and share the Gospel.”

To read this issue of Changing Lives, click here.

Richard’s life is changed forever and he wants to thank YOU!

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“I know the Lord is on my side.”

Richard spent 20 years driving trucks and enjoying his life on the road. 

Then a doctor’s diagnosis changed everything…  

“I got diabetes and it disqualified me from trucking,” he says. “I couldn’t drive, so I lost my truck, which was also my home.” 

Now homeless, Richard also felt completely alone. As a 6 year old, he’d been the victim of abuse from his stepdad and step-siblings. By God’s grace, his great-grandparents took him away from that home and raised him in theirs. 

Unfortunately, the trauma he’d experienced left him with severe trust issues. Richard says that over the years, his inability to trust led to poor decisions, especially when it came to friends. 

So when he lost his job and his truck, he had no one to turn to for help. And that’s when he turned to the Mission.

The day he came to Holland Rescue Mission, everything changed for Richard. 

“I came here hoping to get closer to the Lord,” he says, smiling. “To get involved with church more.”

“If I can minister to somebody or help change the way they feel – even just one person – that makes a difference.”  

Richard had come to know the Lord through a man he met at a chapel in a truck stop. But life on the road hadn’t allowed much time for church. Here, he’s found a church family that loves and supports him in his recovery. 

Through our Gateway long-term restoration program, Richard found healing for the trauma that’s been the root of his trust issues. The Christ-centered counseling here has allowed him to open up about the abuse he experienced as a child.

“I have childhood family issues to deal with, and it’s hard to talk about. But facing my problems and dealing with them is the only way I’m going to heal.”

Richard has the support of his son and daughter, who encourage him during the recovery process. 

He hopes to find work in the Mission kitchen serving others.

“I like to cook and make good food for the people here. I would like to work part-time at the Mission if I can.”

Because you gave from your heart to help Richard, his life has been changed by your goodness and God’s love forever! “The Mission changes lives and helps people get back on their feet. I have a place now, and I know that the Lord loves me.”

Meet Lisa. She can’t thank YOU enough!

easter newsletter lisa

“The Holy Spirit has been working in me and changing my heart.” 

Lisa was hiding a dark secret – when she was young, her older brother had abused her. “There was a lot of anger there and I didn’t tell anybody.”

Unable to cope with the pain, Lisa let a boyfriend talk her into using drugs as a teen. “The first time I got high I thought, this is what I’ve been looking for,” she shares. “A way out… to escape.”

Lisa graduated high school, but was unable to keep a job for long. She looks back on that time in her life with regret, thinking about everything she lost to addiction. “I had all these big dreams and plans. I just threw them all out the window.”

The day she walked into Holland Rescue Mission, everything changed for Lisa. 

“I knew that the women in the shelter really cared about me because they didn’t judge me,” she says, smiling. “They just responded with love.”

“I really wanted to have a relationship with Jesus, but I didn’t know how to give up my own will.”

 Lisa dedicated her life to Christ, and experienced tremendous personal growth in our Gateway Center program. The best change she’s seen is discovering how to be still and listen when God speaks.

“The biggest thing I’ve been learning is to apply God’s Word to my life,” she says. “I fought that for so long. Now I’m working on obedience and God’s direction.”

She graduated from the program and has found a new peace and purpose in serving others. Today, Lisa serves on staff here at the Mission while she attends Moody Bible Institute online.

She’s so grateful for her time in our care, and she encourages anyone who needs it to get help. “You’re not in this by yourself… it’s like a little family here.”

You may never meet Lisa, but she’s eternally grateful to YOU for your support – today, her heart is filled with new hope for the future. “The Mission saved my life. Now there’s potential for me to do great things for God’s kingdom.”

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.”


“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.


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.”


“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.


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.”