2012 Posts

Around the World…

Can you imagine fleeing from your country? Or arriving to a foreign land not speaking the language or knowing what to do with the dishwasher? It’s not easy, and I know that today because I’m an intern at Denver Rescue Mission’s Refugee Services Department. A big part of my job is coordinating the refugee mentoring program in partnership with Lutheran Family Services.

As an intern, I don’t just sit back behind my desk, but I help mentor refugee families. Currently I am mentoring an Iraqi refugee family with the help from others including Nepali teenagers who are also refugees. One of the highlights of this relationship between the mentors and the refugee family is that we are all from different cultures, but we come together to support each other. That’s especially meaningful to me.

My internship at the Mission allows me to travel the world without stepping onto a plane. I am able to sit in their apartments, experience their cultures and give them guidance as they try to start a new life here in Denver – heck, I think that’s better than visiting museums overseas!

When I decided to pursue a full-time internship at the Mission, I knew that I would be giving up a few things: a paying position, cooking my own food and living in a nice apartment. However, these are small sacrifices in comparison to what I am gaining – learning more about God through different cultures, and making friendships with refugees and other interns. I’ve even found joy in sharing a meal with people who speak another language. To say the least, I am getting pretty good at talking with my hands!

>>To learn more about internships at Denver Rescue Mission, visit www.denverrescuemission.org/internship.>>

-Post written by, Michael Josten. Michael has been a Refugee Services Intern with Denver Rescue Mission since August 2012. He is from Ventura, Iowa and graduated from Taylor University in May of this year.

 

Graduation at Denver Rescue Mission: A room filled with JOY

Written by: Rachel Greiman, Writer/Editor

I’ve been to probably 20 graduations in my life. Some were my own, most were my siblings. We all graduated from kindergarten, then grade school, then middle school and so on, up until college. The ceremonies quickly lost their appeal and we collectively dreaded going to them. The graduator stopped being celebrated at some point along the way. It was more of an expectation than anything else.

I didn’t walk or attend my college graduation. I graduated a semester after most of my peers and there was little sentimental value of walking that aisle in their absence. I don’t regret the decision but I do wish I had something to mark the occasion with. A photograph, a date circled in an old calendar, something to remind me that I did it. That I had accomplished what I set out to do.

Today, I got to watch many program participants at Denver Rescue Mission graduate. Some received GEDs and some had completed a program. The goal is that DRM has prepared each individual to return to the world as self-sufficient, confident citizens. I know some of these incredible people never envisioned themselves in that position. Maybe because they never saw themselves needing a place like the Mission. Maybe some thought they would never get to that point where they were ready to get back out there. But the fact is that they did it. They entered the program. They attended classes, weekly meetings, Bible studies, community meals, and many other required events. They set a goal for themselves and they achieved it.

photo taken by Rachel Greiman

Each name was read and applause followed. Every person that walked on the stage exchanged smiles, handshakes and hugs with one of the people that mentored them. The audience clapped, yelled, whistled, and wiped away tears. The absolute joy that filled the room was indescribable. Each person graduating was loved and cared for. It was a clear testimony of passion: the staff were seeing their investment pay itself back in full and the participants were seeing their years of hard work come to fruition. This was not simply an event on a calendar; lives have been changed and this was that celebration.

I’m glad I didn’t go to my college graduation. It would have paled in comparison and I got my diploma anyway. But Denver Rescue Mission graduations? I wouldn’t miss one for anything.

It’s more than a turkey…

For most of us, the holidays are a stressful time: full of activities, shopping for gifts, cooking large meals and lots of family time. But for Denver’s needy, the stress is far more than what most of us can imagine. Sometimes a daily meal is difficult to find, let alone a holiday feast. This is where Denver Rescue Mission tries to alleviate some pressure.

We provide more than 136,000 meals throughout the holiday season, most of which involve a turkey. We have gotten requests for 18,000 turkeys this year. There are only 500 in our freezers. Our community is the only way we can deliver a true Thanksgiving meal to these thousands of families. We need your help. Please consider donating a turkey today. It will change someone’s holiday.

Provide hope this season! www.DenverRescueMission.org

{written by, Rachel Greiman. DRM Writer/Editor}

 

 

 

 

I want to see people’s lives changed

What’s my anything? What is something I want more of? What has God planted in my heart? [in response to the last post: http://blog.denverrescuemission.com/?p=378]

I want more than anything is to be able to look back at my life and see that I have loved people well, that I have embraced the other even when it took every ounce of my being to do so. Something I want more of is to see people’s lives changed, not from political policies or governments doing the change, but from the change that comes from experiencing true love.

God has planted on my heart to help, love, and struggle with others in community. The one phrase that jumped out at me immediately was ”I want to be taught by those I teach.” I hope that in my position here at the mission I will do just that. That falls in with helping, loving, and struggling with others and I believe it is something we forget we need.

 

What do you want more than anything…?

Written by: Brad Meuli, Denver Rescue Mission President/CEO

With all that we have going on at Denver Rescue Mission it’s sometimes easy to lose sight of just what Christ has called us to do.

Recently my wife, Cary, shared a book with me written by Jennie Allen, entitled Anything. In the book the author quotes Katie Davis’ blog, a committed teenage Christian who gave up her affluent old life to live in Uganda with 13 orphaned girls she adopted off the street.

I was moved by Katie’s comments as they remind me of just what God has called me to at the Mission.

Katie writes, “You know what I want more? ALL the time? I want to be spiritually and emotionally filled every day of my life. I want to be loved and cuddled by 100 children and never go a day without laughing….I want to be challenged endlessly; I want to be learning and growing every minute.  I want to be taught by those I teach. I want to share God’s love with people who otherwise might not know it. I want to work so hard that I end every day filthy and too tired to move. I want to feel needed, important, used by the Lord. I want to make a difference and I want to follow the calling that God has planted deep in my heart. I want to give my life away, to serve the Lord with each breath, each second. I want to be here.  Right here.”

It is a blessing to serve with each of you at the Mission – staff, donors and volunteers. Right here, right now. What we do matters for eternity, we are making a difference. The calling that God has planted deep in all your hearts is an encouragement to me. You are needed and you are important. I pray that we will never forget why He has called us here.

A hungry boy changed my life…

Guest post written by Laura Schroff, author of An Invisible Thread

Hello, my name is Laura Schroff and I am honored to be the guest speaker for the Denver Rescue Mission’s upcoming An Evening of Exploration, an event aimed at exploring what it means to be homeless.

My book, An Invisible Thread is the New York Times bestseller about my friendship that spanned more than a quarter century with Maurice Mazyck, a homeless, 11-year-old panhandler I met on a Manhattan street corner in 1986.

At that time, I was a successful 35-year-old ad sales executive for USA Today. Only one block separated my apartment from Maurice’s, but in reality we lived in different worlds—I lived in a luxury high-rise, Maurice in a violent welfare hotel, the Bryant. On September 1, 1986, I walked past Maurice on the corner of 56th Street & Broadway.

“Excuse me lady, do you have any spare change?” Maurice asked. “I am hungry.”

And I said no and walked right by him, like a thousand other people did every day. But then I went back.

I went back and said I wouldn’t give him any money, but if he was hungry I would take him to McDonalds. Then I asked if I could join him. The simple lunch we shared that day was the beginning of an amazing ritual—Maurice and I wound up meeting every Monday for the next four years, and hundreds of times after that. Today, more than a quarter of a century later, we are still great friends.

An Invisible Thread tells the story of how one small act of kindness—taking a hungry boy for a hamburger—changed both Maurice’s and my live forever. And now, perhaps most impressively, An Invisible Thread is inspiring thousands of readers to look more closely at their own lives and discover the hidden blessings of their own invisible threads and how they can make a difference in the lives of those less fortunate.

The book’s title comes from an old Chinese proverb: “An invisible thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place or circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle. But it will never break.” That simple message—that we are all connected to someone somewhere who needs us—is resonating powerfully with the tens of thousands of people who have taken An Invisible Thread to heart.

Maurice and I are thrilled to have the opportunity to bring our story to life on Friday, October 5 at An Evening of Exploration event. We hope our story will continue to inspire the incredible people who support this wonderful organization who will be celebrating their 120th Year of Changing Lives in the Name of Christ!

 

Inspire – Encourage – Empower

A Word from Deb Phipps

I love the heart of Denver Rescue Mission which is why I love serving alongside them as they feed, clothe, shelter, minister to, and change lives every day in our very own city!  In the city of Denver, this organization truly is the hands and feet of Jesus!!

My life was busy and full with many amazing things, but I knew God was calling me to do more, when I received a phone call from a longtime friend, Denver Rescue Mission’s CEO, Brad Meuli. Brad asked if I would consider be on a planning committee for a new event honoring women who have made a positive difference in the city of Denver. Women Who’ve Changed the Heart of the City was just a vision for Denver at that time. I knew this was God’s calling for me to serve the Mission in a larger capacity.

Four years later, I am in awe of the event’s success and the women we have honored. Each and every one of them has lived in a way that honors other people – leaving a mark on the city that has positively changed the footprint of Denver forever. These women inspire us all to do more, to give more, and to be more!

A Word from Carol Mullens

I was thrilled when Deb asked me to be a part of the Women Who’ve Changed the Heart of the City planning committee. I have been so inspired by the women we have honored each year. These women have dedicated their lives to helping and encouraging others by going above and beyond what was expected of them. They are changing our city – our state – our world.

The women who are honored at the tea are women who are leading by example. This event inspires, encourages and empowers other people to make their community better through change – which in turn sparks a legacy of doing good.

Planning Committee

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Event Details

Please join us for tea on September 14th at The Brown’s Palace Hotel and leave inspired, encouraged and empowered to change the heart of the city.

Buy your ticket here https://www.blacktie-colorado.com/calendar/event-detail.cfm?id=23686. Registration closes Tuesday, September 11th.

Hey, did you know mentoring changes lives?

Written by: Aneta Storvik, Public Relations Coordinator

Imagine your friend passing away leaving two beautiful children in the hands of the court system. What would you do? Would you fight for custody of those children? That’s exactly what one woman did. Shannen spent her savings on lawyers to gain custody of her best friends children. Her efforts were well worth it; she prevented them from going into the foster care system.

But today, Shannen is fighting another battle –  fighting to provide a home for her new family. Through the Family and Senior Homeless Initiative (FSHI), she has hope! Shannen is waiting for a mentor team through FSHI to help her build a stable home once again.

FSHI empowers Metro Denver homeless families and seniors toward self-sufficiency through mentoring and deposit/first month’s rent assistance. Right now, there are 23 homeless families and seniors are waiting for mentor teams.

Mentor teams provide relational, physical and spiritual support to participating families and seniors. Make a difference in the life of a needy family or senior – it’s worth it for all involved.

When you mentor a family, you help them gain back get control of their life! “It  felt so good being back in a home you can call your own, and it’s so important to have a roof over your kids’ head,” Shirley, FSHI mentee family, relays. “Having mentor team was awesome too. They gave me so much good insight, and were never judgmental. I haven’t met anyone involved with this program who had a bad attitude.”

“We find it very rewarding for us,” expressed Marilyn, a past mentor. “We just like to help the families get on their feet.”

Want to help? Call 303.313.2440. for more information or visit www.FSHI.org.

 

{Guest Blogger} The Good Neighbor

Written by: Kari Sanders

The year was 1997. My husband and I had moved to Riverside, California, so that I could pursue a graduate degree. The financial end of things did not work out for me, so I left the graduate program and started looking for a job. Even with an engineering degree, the process took a over month and a half. So, I was frequently home during the day while my husband was at work and met Christine- my neighbor.

We shared a balcony, but little conversation. One afternoon, Christine poked her head in to ask if I could help her fax a resume. I agreed – I could have told her about the library resources at the school or other places, but I decided to invite her over. We worked on her resume together, wrote a cover letter, and I helped her fax it from my computer to several potential employers.  As a thank-you, she made me an ice cream float, and we spent some time talking on the balcony.

During our first, more personal, conversation, Christine told me about who she had come to Riverside after running away from an abusive relationship. Her husband had been abusive to her, and she was concerned he would become abusive toward the children. One day, they had an altercation in which she was threatened with significant harm. She packed up the kids while he was out of the house and traveled from Oregon to California. She and the children spent several nights in a women’s shelter until she could get the apartment in Riverside.

My invitation to allow my neighbor to use my computer and fax machine allowed Christine to pursue new opportunities. It was simple, yet helped change the course of her life.

Today, I am not in contact with Christine, but her story stayed with me. Her story reminded me that it doesn’t take much to turn your life upside down – what happened to her could happen to anyone. I learned that a hand up combined with a lot of determination is all that’s needed to get life back on track.

I believe the work  Denver Rescue Mission does is extremely important for our community – they are one of the places determined people who just need a hand up can turn to when it seems all other doors have closed. I want to help ensure that the organization is always there – for the people who need it, for people like Christine, for people like those I knew growing up who struggled – and, one never knows – maybe even for me someday.

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Thank you, Kari for sharing your experiences! If you’d like to share your experiences about being a good neighbor, please submit a short essay to Aneta Storvik, AStorvik@DenRescue.org.

A ripple can start with a big splash or a small touch of the water

Written by: Gina Schreck

Over four years ago Denver Rescue Mission decided to create an event that honored women who were causing ripples that impacted their communities.  Some started simple and spread to the world, like Captain Emily Warner (2011 honoree) who was the first female commercial pilot.  Others took on a world in need and made ripples that pointed back to Denver, like Lily Nie (2010 honoree) who set out to use her connections in China to bring a few orphans to longing parents in Denver and now has helped to connect over 9,000 forsaken Chinese orphans to their loving parents in the United States wither her Chinese Children’s Charity.

This event, Women Who Have Changed the Heart of the City, is meant to not only honor women doing amazing things, but to inspire us all to look around, right where we sit and get involved with those in need.

2011 Women Who've Changed the Heart of the City

This year’s honorees are sure to inspire

Sue Anschutz-Rogers who took on seeing that her father’s wishes to help those who were in need, would be carried out.  By taking the time to care and look deeper, she found that the needs of so many were not being met because those in the further corners of our state did not know how to access the help they needed.  Sue now helps all in need have access to the resources that are available.

A mail-order bride in her family caused a disturbance in the soul of Beth Klein.  She knew, even at a young age, it was not right for a woman to be bought and sold like a pair of shoes.  She got her law degree and has taken on sex slavery with a vengeance, and a goal of seeing it completely wiped out!  Writing laws in our country and now across the globe to make these horrendous crimes easier to prosecute, she is changing the world!

Diane Van Deren developed epileptic seizures during her pregnancy, which increased over the next 12 years to a point where she was seizing up to 10 times a day as she tried to care for her young children.  After undergoing a risky brain surgery to hopefully stop or at least slow the seizures, Diane started running when she realized the physical activity would stave off the feelings of an oncoming seizure.  Her two-mile run, turned into 100, 300 and most recently, she completed a 1,000-mile journey in 20 days.  Proving to herself, and to others battling with epilepsy or any other disability, that you really can outrun your problems.

Keri Christiansen was living her dream life as a well-known and accomplished talent agent here in Denver, Colorado.  Because her family had been touched by breast-cancer scares in the past, Keri and her sister, channel 9 anchor, Kim Christiansen, spread the message of Buddy Check 9, encouraging women to get regular breast exams.  Irony struck hard when Keri discovered she had breast cancer herself.  Instead of seeing the diagnoses as a defeat, she took it on as a challenge and a pivotal point to make big changes in her own life.  Moving into the non-profit world Keri is now developing talent and raising awareness at The Denver Hospice.

What challenge or opportunity are you facing today?  Will you sit back and wait for someone else to do something or will you reach out and stir the waters right where you are?

Join us on September 14, 2012 and meet these incredible women and many more. Register here: https://www.blacktie-colorado.com/calendar/event-detail.cfm?id=23686.

Let’s make a big ripple together that can change the heart of the city!  Denver Rescue Mission event: http://bit.ly/MoIM9vTWEET THIS

BIO: Gina Schreck has been on the Committee for the Women Who have Changed the Heart of the City event for all four years and loves getting to meet and be inspired by these amazing women!  She is the president and co-founder of SynapseConnecting, an interactive technology and social media management company.  Find her on Twitter @GinaSchreck.