Thursday, November 1, 2012

Lansing's "Best Kept Secret"

Early this morning, I was driving my car north on Larch and had the opportunity to pass the Mission on Michigan Avenue. The sky was a mix of colors, starting at almost gold where the rising sun was mixing with the lights of the city and slowing fading into a deep midnight of a cloudy night taking it's time rolling up for another day. I knew that as I drove over the Michigan Avenue intersection, I'd be able to glance to my right and see the light of the Mission "Jesus Saves" sign blending into the lights of a city rousing itself to face the morning. It was beautiful and reassuring to know that the Mission has been there, steady and unwavering, for 100 years. And that for about seven decades the cross has also been there, shining the light of hope into the dark places of our community.

As I was mulling over these feelings, I remembered the words of a guest with whom I'd recently had the opportunity to talk. She had come to the Mission after losing a great job and a wonderful home. Never having known poverty or want, before now, she'd also never known of the Mission. Seeing the surprise on my face, she admitted that she'd only lived in the area ten years.

Ten years! And never knew of the Mission until drastic circumstances had brought her within hours of living on the streets. The Mission truly is what our executive director recently described as "the best kept secret in Lansing. And it shouldn't be."

It should not be. For 100 years, we've been providing food, shelter, and hope to men, women, and children in Michigan's capital area. We're not funded by the state or federal government. We really do survive on faith and the gifts of those who do know about the Mission and who help us help others. Are you a Rescuer? If you are, don't "keep it under your hat." Not only can you encourage others to become involved but you can make someone aware of a place of refuge and safety. A place of shelter and rescue.

The guest to whom I was speaking? She was contemplating the final act of taking her own life when faced with the "inevitability" of sleeping on the streets. She was terrified of what would happen to her. She was ashamed of her "failure" and angry with God. The last minute encouragement of someone from her church, who told her about the Mission, changed the course of her life.

So spread the news: there is a place to find "rescue" in our community! The City Rescue Mission of Lansing.

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