Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Exciting Arrivals

Lots of changes coming up at the Mission and for Mission staff. Julie, our executive director's dog and one of our Mission Mascots, has just had a litter of puppies. We all are excited at the thought of seeing the little guys (and girls). Some of the Transformation Program men even volunteered to "puppysit," should the need arise.

Tim, our director of maintenance, is expecting his first child. He is pictured here with his wife on their wedding day a few years ago. He met his wife through the Mission, and we are all anxiously waiting to welcome this new little girl into the world.

Today, we're in the process of giving the chapel a facelift. Pictures are finally going up, and I will post photos of the completed project on the Mission facebook page (search City Rescue Mission of Lansing), once everything is finally on the walls.

Monday, June 22, 2009

The One Who Came Back

On occasion, when you're in the "business" of rescue, you think back to a face, a name, a person who came seeking help. We do our best; however, sometimes, the person disappears back onto the streets and you never know if they began to apply what they learned. Did they make the positive changes in their life? Were they just "saying the words and going through the motions," until they could make it out the door and back to their old habits?
Recently, one of our night managers shared a praise. A call came in to the Mission long after the office had closed, from a young man who wanted to donate the food from his wedding. It was a catered affair and, as often happens, some of the food remained untouched and still in sealed containers. Per the health department, we can take food that is from a licensed kitchen and has not been served from, and we were grateful for this donation to add to our daily meals.

The young man arrived with his bride and began unloading their vehicle. Then he shook the night manager's hand. "I used to stay here," he said. Now he's married and getting his life back on track. What a blessing to realize that, through the donations and compassion of our supporters, this man's life has been changed.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

So That's What I Smelt...

Dining at the Mission can be an educational experience. Through the years, we've served an astonishing array of interesting dishes, besides the normal "Mission fare." Because at least 90% of what our cooks serve comes from whatever arrives in the form of donations, anyone serving in the Mission kitchen has to learn how to be a little creative with their recipes. It wasn't until I began to work at the Mission, for example, that I learned that such a thing as smelt even existed, let alone that people ate the little things. I've had many culinary firsts here, swordfish, collard greens, asparagus (what can I say, I had a sheltered childhood), and even buffalo (not that I tried that dish. Does anyone remember Elvis from Fenner?).

It is actually pretty amazing when you think that in 2008 alone, we served enough meals to feed a family of four, 3 meals a day, for over 19 years. Much of that food comes from regular families, like the one pictured here! Do those few extra sale items you pick up and donate make a difference? Just ask the hundreds of men, women, and children who will get a hot meal tonight because of your compassion!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Thoughts on Liberty

I'm working on the front page article for July. That is to say, I'm avoiding working on the front page article for July. My measure for whether or not a story has merit to be printed as the cover article is whether or not I feel an emotional connection with what I'm writing. Do the words come alive to me? If they don't come alive to me, I can hardly expect anyone else to be impressed or interested in casual words slapped into some kind of order and slathered over blank, white space. We're a month ahead, always, so the newsletter has been in process since the end of May, as soon as the June newsletter was sent on to be printed.

And July, well, July is sort of a special month to me, even more so since I began to work at the Mission. Here, every day we strive for an Independence Day. For freedom to finally come to those struggling under the weight of poverty, selfish choices, addictions, parental neglect, mental or physical handicaps, and the myriad of other circumstances that can lead a person to our doors.

I decided to start eating healthier. I only say this because today was day one, so, of course, I stopped at a fast food restaurant for just a small indulgence. While inside, one of the workers recognized my Mission shirt and mentioned one of her relatives. I knew the women she was talking about, knew her testimony and the changes in her life. And I was struck again by how one woman's triumph over a life of selfishness and addiction affected more than herself. Her family also found freedom.

What a blessing to be part of that.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Auld Lang Syne

It's always a blessing to spend time with friends, especially friends we haven't seen in a while. Wednesday, Jim, our former volunteer coordinator, had some time to spend with us during a trip to Lansing. Jim "wore a variety of hats" at CRM (serving with our ministry for over a decade) before accepting a new position with the Lenawee County Mission near Adrian. We are pleased to hear that things seem to be going well, and Jim is enjoying his new responsibilities as Assistant Director. Wednesday was a good opportunity to catch up with Jim, as well as to hear how the Lord is working in the hearts of men who have come to the Mission for help with their addictions. Those of you who remember Jim from his many long years of service, please remember to say a prayer for him and his new work in Adrian.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Emptiness of our Hands

Working at the City Rescue Mission is, at one time, both highly rewarding and incredibly humbling. I wish I could find words capable of fully transmitting the feeling of opening a courtesy reply envelope and seeing a check and a note, "I wish I could give more, but I'm currently laid off from my job." Or how many people express a desire to give more or the regret that they can't give at this time.

I have an app on my desktop that allows me to receive internet headlines for the day, and one of those linked to a map showing the economic climate of every state during this "recession." I highlight that word because I noticed something as I scrolled over the fifty states. The earliest any other state began to fall into a recession was listed as October 2007, that I could find. Michigan was listed at April of 2006.

It amazes me, living in Michigan and seeing the state of our economy firsthand, how much our citizens still manage to give, even from limited incomes. D. L. Moody once said that character is what you are in the dark. When things are down. When it doesn't seem to matter any more. When no one is looking.

But we have so many who give, without recognition and in spite of personal sacrifices. So that is our good news for the day. The need is great, but through God's providence, compassion is greater.