Grateful through it all: Barbara is especially thankful for YOU!

Barbara Holland Rescue Mission Fall Newsletter

“I’ve been blessed by so much love.”

From all outward appearances, Barbara’s adoptive family seemed an ideal environment for a little girl. Yet unbeknown to those outside her home – and ignored by the adults within it – she was being abused by an older sibling.

As she grew older, the pain and humiliation of what she’d endured drove her deep into despair. “I had so much anger and hatred and sadness and denial that I didn’t know how to handle it,” she says. “So, I turned to drugs to help me cope.”

Instead, her life spiraled even further downhill.

Her marriage ended… she lost her job… she was evicted from her home. After living for months in a tent in the woods, she fell to her knees and prayed. God’s answer came in the form of a friend who encouraged her to come to the Mission.

“The moment I walked in the door, there was so much joy and love that was given to me, and I’d never felt that before.”

Now in our Gateway Discipleship Program, Barbara is healing from the wounds of her past and overcoming self-destructive behaviors. “I’m taking it a day at a time, but God will get me through it.”

She’s also embracing the life skills, education and job-readiness training that will empower her to regain her independence and self-esteem. “They prepare you mentally and emotionally,” she says. “They teach you daily life.”

Just as important to her recovery has been the kindness and compassion of our counselors, staff and fellow students who have shown her God’s unconditional love. She prays her future holds opportunities to share His Word with others, in the role of a volunteer. “I feel God working through me to do that,” she says.

As Barbara celebrates this Thanksgiving, she feels incredibly thankful for your compassion and support – and how it’s given her a fresh start. “I have so much joy in my heart I don’t even want to sleep at night. I’ve never been so happy in my life.”

To read this issue of Changing Lives, click here.

Your support is giving Silas a second chance

Your support is giving Silas  a second chance 2

“Before I was broken, and now I am reborn.”

Silas had a difficult childhood. He suffered his father’s abuse before his dad was sent to prison. His mom cared more about her boyfriends than Silas… leaving him scared and alone, trying to care for himself.

“My mom didn’t want anything to do with me, so at 14, I ended up in foster care. I turned to drugs and alcohol to deal with the depression, hurt and pain.”

After leaving foster care, Silas reconnected with his father and they moved in together. But his father also struggled with drugs, and Silas fell deeper into addiction.

The turning point came when Silas was in jail. “One of the guys kept nudging me toward Christ. I started praying and asked God to get me out of this.” That’s when Silas decided to try the Mission.

As soon as he walked into Holland Rescue Mission, everything changed for Silas.

“I was hoping to find a new way of living,” he says, with a rueful grin. “Because I know the way I was doing it wasn’t working out at all.”

In our care, Silas found healing for past hurts. A few months into our long-term recovery program he gave his life to the Lord – and really began to change.

“It’s helping me not be angry all the time. They’re giving me tools and coping mechanisms to handle difficult situations without drugs or alcohol.”

Silas works for our thrift store, helping to pick up deliveries of donations from homes. And he’s restoring relationships with his family members, who are thrilled at the changes God is working in his life.

“The Mission took me off the path of following the world and doing what the world wants, and put me on the narrow path following Jesus.”

Silas is beyond grateful for this second chance in life – and says it’s thanks to the love you’ve shown for a neighbor like him. “It’s nice seeing people come together in a community where everyone wants you to get better. They don’t care who you are or what you did… you’re welcome here.”

To read this issue of Changing Lives, click here.

Ken is celebrating hope! Your support brings hope to the hurting this Easter.

“Whatever doors God opens for me, I will go through them.”

Ken grew up with parents who were both alcoholics. But in trying to escape the chaos in his house, he started spending time with the wrong crowd.

“I tried to stay away from home as much as I could, and I ended up hanging out with the wrong kind of friends. I tried drugs at age 12 and it put me on a path to destruction.”

For more than 30 years, Ken tried to numb his feelings with drugs and alcohol. He chose drugs over his family, abandoning his children when they were young and spending many years homeless on the streets.

“I had no friends. I lost many jobs… and my dignity. I got to the point where I had no hope left.”

Then one day, Ken called out to God for the strength to overcome his pride and get help.

When he walked into Holland Rescue Mission, everything changed for Ken.

“When I got here, I immediately felt love,” he says, smiling. “They made me feel welcome and taught me how to deal with my issues instead of hoping they would go away.”

“I’m learning more about how to walk as a Christian and show God’s love to other people, instead of it being all about me.”

Through our Program, Ken got right with the Lord again.

“I’ve always had a relationship with God, but I was drifting away. Now I can see that I have value and a purpose in this world.”

Ken learned what true faith meant, and gained the knowledge and tools to walk closer with Jesus. He is a Resident Assistant for others who are still in the Gateway Program and has found purpose in serving others while he looks for a place of his own.

“Now I feel at peace with everything going on around me. I actually have joy in my heart.”

He is taking steps to reconcile with his children and feels called into ministry to share his faith and experiences with others.

Thanks to the blessing of your support, Ken is celebrating Easter as a new creation in Christ. “I have a relationship with God and that comes first. Once you have that, everything else follows.”


To read this issue of Changing Lives, click here.

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.”