October 2013 Posts

Rachel’s Lens // Pennsylvania

Hello from the LOVELY state of Pennsylvania! I’m out of the office this week, enjoying my homeland full of whoopie pies, buggies, rolling hills, and my beloved Wawa hoagies.

And make sure you head out to Harvest Farm Fall Festival this weekend in Wellington! It’s a family friendly festival and it supports life changing programs – what beats that?? (…enjoy a $2 off coupon)

DEN RESCUE HARVEST FARMI hope you have a fantastic weekend and I’ll be back next week!

Conversations About Anything // Brad Meuli

Written by Rachel Greiman, Writer & Photograph

Written by Rachel Greiman, Writer & Photographer

This series was inspired by the book Anything written by Jennie Allen. Please follow me as I struggle with life’s difficult questions and walk down the path to find my “anything”!

Brad cried approximately five times during our interview. I say that in a good way. A really good way. His tendency to cry might be my favorite thing about him. I grew up Mennonite. There are lots of great things to say about Mennonites, but their crying is sub par. I’m not used to men that cry. And Brad, like many of the men I work with at the Mission, allows himself to be moved by what happens around him. He has a physical response to the work he does. He is humble enough to know when he is witnessing or recounting a powerful moment. And he reacts. My favorite moment he told me about in our two hour meeting made me cry, too.

“We had a graduation after I had been here just a couple years. A graduate named Robert was sitting right next to me on stage. He looks at the audience and says: ‘Brad, my mom is here. Would you like to meet my mom?’ He had been estranged from his family. After the ceremony, this little woman comes running down the aisle and she embraces Robert. ‘I love you, I knew you were gonna be fine.’ I thought it couldn’t get any better. But it did. He turned and introduced me to her. She hugs me and she is crying all over me. She said, ‘Thank you for giving me my son back.’ And I thought: ‘I gotta keep doing this. This is the greatest thing in the world.’ That’s what we do. We restore families. We give sons back to their moms, sometimes to their wives. And we see lives changed forever.”

But I’m getting ahead of myself. I chose to interview Brad to kick-off the Conversations About Anything series because 1. He’s the head honcho around here and 2. I wanted to hear how he made the decision to accept his job.

So let’s start at the beginning. In 1987, I was born. That also happens to be the year that Brad Meuli accepted a job as the VP of Commercial Lending at the largest bank in Colorado. It was clearly an important time for the both of us.

Brad Meuli, President/CEO

Rachel Greiman: Were you happy at that job?
Brad Meuli: I thought: “Lord, this is it? I should be happier.” I remember praying: “Lord, I don’t know what you want me to do. But I’m willing to do anything. If you want me to stay in banking, I’m fine with that. But will you just answer this prayer: show me that you’re using me. I don’t want to labor in vain.”

RG: Was that prayer answered?
BM: He began to show me the next day that He was using me. The veil had come off my eyes and I began to see how I was being used in this position. I got involved with Hope Communities, run by a guy from Denver Seminary. I met Del Maxfield [then President and CEO of Denver Rescue Mission] through people in my church.

RG: Did you get involved with Denver Rescue Mission then?
BM: At the time, the Mission was looking for a family facility. We found the building that eventually became Champa House. That was my first time doing development work. I asked the Savings and Loan Association that owned it if we could have it, and they said “yes.” A bunch of people from my church and bank came over and we gutted it. A construction company came in and built it. Then we all came back and painted it.

RG: And then?
BM: In 1988, they asked me to come on the Board of Directors. I said no. Six months later, they asked again. And I said no.

RG: Why?
BM: I just wanted to do projects. I didn’t want to sit in on a stuffy old board meeting. But finally, the third time they asked me in 1990, I thought, “This must be the Lord calling me.” So I came on board.

RG: And the rest is history?
BM: Well, pretty quickly, I became Chairman. I had some wonderful opportunities, not the least of which is this building [current Administrative Office Building]. I found out that a printing company wanted to give a building away, so we applied and we got it.

RG: So you got two buildings for the Mission, for free, before you were on staff. Did you think you were going to become CEO at that point?
BM: I would meet periodically with Del. I loved what the Mission did and he was a good friend. He was getting ready to retire and wanted to put together a succession plan. I don’t know why I said this to him but I asked, “Would the board ever consider me for the job?”

RG: And they did!
BM: They put together a succession plan and looked at other candidates for two years and I put it in God’s hands. I didn’t know if I particularly wanted to run a Rescue Mission. But yes, they did. They hired me on April Fool’s Day in 1999. I was mentored by Del for almost two years and became President and CEO in January 2001.

RG: Were you scared?
BM: The lesson I learned took 12 years, from 1987 until 1999. I had prayed this prayer and felt the Holy Spirit tugging on my heart. The first thing was being willing to do ANYTHING and secondly, was just being faithful and working hard in whatever I was doing. I can see now that my heart had to be changed.

RG: What has this job taught you?
BM: Here, we get to impact people for eternity. Even if they don’t graduate from a program, they hear the word of the Lord and have an opportunity to come to know the Lord Jesus Christ and be changed for eternity.

RG: Do you ever struggle with the question “Am I doing enough?”
BM: For 12 years, I didn’t know where I should go. For two years, I was praying…is this it or not? A small voice in my heart said, “Yes, this is what you should do.” I still hear that small voice now. But it’s not so small anymore. It’s like a big loud speaker. It’s like 70,000 people in a stadium saying that God’s in control, saying that I need to reach homeless people for eternity. God could call me to do something else but I just want to be willing to do ANYTHING that he has asked me to do.

RG: So for me, a 20-something seeking direction, what is your advice?
BM: The Lord is in control and can use you wherever you are. You don’t have to be the President/CEO of Denver Rescue Mission for the Lord to use you.
A couple weeks after the interview, Brad was still mulling over some thoughts and I received an e-mail from him, encouraging me to “be open to how God would lead you today, be sensitive to what He is putting on your heart today…and tomorrow and the next day will take care of itself.” At the end of the e-mail, he told me it was just his two cents. But to me, it’s worth a whole lot more than that.

Brad praying before a banquet at the shelter

Brad praying before a banquet at the shelter

Rachel’s Lens // One Year

Written by Rachel Greiman, Writer & Photograph

Written by Rachel Greiman, Writer & Photograph

I celebrated my one-year anniversary last week. One year at the Mission. I can’t believe it! In some ways, the time has flooooown by. In others, it seems like I’ve been here an eternity.

I have made some amazing relationships that feel much older and deeper than only a year would allow. I have walked in the footsteps, picking up trinkets of knowledge, from the veterans at the Mission, people who have been here 10, 15, even 20 years. And I have learned an incredible amount from our program participants. Each interview teaches me a new lesson, opens my eyes to a new reality or broadens my perspectives.

Besides saying thanks for the Starbucks gift card (woo!), I want to say thank you to the Mission for providing me with this opportunity. I’m so grateful to come to a place I love each day, working with people that I love and for the God I love.

Rachel’s Lens // This Is Ministry

Rachel BlogI’m working on a new Welcome Newsletter for the Mission, one to introduce people to all that we do here. (Let me tell you what, it is hard to cram that into a three page spread!) I needed to find a quote from a donor for the newsletter so I went to MichaelAnn, our Phone Outreach Manager. I asked, “Do you have any quotes written down from some donors?”

She casually whips out a folder from her file, inches thick. It’s full of beautiful thank-you notes, some handwritten, some typed. They are all from people our Phone Outreach Team has contacted in the last couple years. This team makes hundreds of calls daily to our supporters. And the thought dawned on me, “This is ministry.” Phone Outreach is not simply calling people to tell them about Denver Rescue Mission. These women are giving people a chance to connect with someone else on a personal level. Letter after letter described the kind words spoken by our team. Necessary, life-giving words that gave people hope for the day, week, month ahead of them. And the relationship continues after the phone call.  They write notes of encouragement to let our donors know we are thinking of them and praying for them through difficult times.

What a blessing our team has been to so, so many people. It was truly humbling to read through that folder, knowing that I get to work alongside such selfless, kind people. Thank you, Phone Outreach for your ministry to our community.
photo

A Reminder // Hope Not Despair

aneta

Written by Aneta Storvik, Public Relations Specialist

I feel like I blogged about this already, but I can’t remember because I haven’t blogged on here since 1999 (or a few months). I have been too  busy to stop and write!

Either way, I wanted to share my Tuesday with you. I was at Harvest Farm with a reporter from the Fort Collins Coloradoan. She interviewed one of our program participants there, Blake. I was standing back talking with others but listening in, hearing pieces of Blake’s life story. He started with prescription drugs and then slowly started using heroin. He was talking about his horrific trip to the hospital after “shooting up.” But when Blake was talking, he had confidence not shame. He had hope and not despair. No matter his circumstance, he’s shining the Lord’s light. He had more hope and joy then I did that day! I have a lot to learn from Blake.

He reminded me that my job is more than sending press releases and organizing campaigns, it’s about sharing Christ’s redemption! It’s about stopping to listen stories and to share my own.  It’s about inspiring hope in a world where despair is more easily seen.

I needed yesterday. It was a reminder that life is always good because God is always good!

Here are a few snapshots from yesterday:crops

bnewman trailorblake sarah emilieaneta hay bale 2photo 1