December 2013 Posts

Rachel’s Lens // Merry Christmas!

I will keep this one short and sweet as I’m sure most of you are in the same lazy stupor that I am in after a week of celebrating (read:eating)!!!

We have so many great events this time of year so I thought I would just share a couple photos from them with you all.

Sarah Waite, Major Gift Officer, pictured with an especially festive Banquet guest

Sarah Waite, Major Gifts Officer, pictured with an especially festive Banquet guest

Some very excited (and very cute) children in our STAR Transitional Program receiving presents at our annual Holiday Party with the Denver Broncos!

Some very excited (and very cute) children in our STAR Transitional Program receiving presents at our annual Holiday Party with the Denver Broncos!

A family receiving presents through our Adopt A Family program

A family receiving presents through our Adopt A Family program

I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas! Thank you for remembering our community’s most needy throughout this year and next!

Rachel’s Lens // A Story, in Photographs

As a photographer, I edit my shoots to give people the best of the best, the cream of the crop (ha, crop, get it?!). You often don’t see the progressions of a scene…that’s what movies are for. But every once in a while, if I shoot a bunch of photos in succession, it tells a better and bigger story than a single shot.

No, the photos aren’t all perfect, but they show that excitement lasts longer than the click of my shutter. The photos below are from our annual holiday party, where the children in our STAR Transitional Program receive presents, eat a delicious meal and decorate gingerbread men with some of the Denver Bronco players!

It’s a once in a lifetime evening for the kids and I will never tire of seeing them walk into our dining room with big eyes and even bigger smiles.

Watch the short clip below to see what I’m talking about. Some photos, unedited, flawed, but telling a beautiful story.

 

Celebrating Christmas // #ServeDenver`

This weekend, I celebrated Christmas. I wasn’t around a roaring fire, exchanging gifts with my family, or drinking eggnog. It was a different kind of celebration with people I just met – people that can never repay me.

My small group from church signed up to adopt two families for the Mission’s Christmas outreach – Adopt-a-Family. This past weekend, we shopped and wrapped the gifts, and dropped them off.

We arrived at the first family’s house. We rang the doorbell and Domingo welcomed us into his home, insisting we sat down. We passed out the gifts and prayed with this sweet family. Before we left, they handed us thank you notes. My friend and I left and sat in my car with tears in our eyes. We were overwhelmed by their joy.

Off to the next family. We knocked and heard the three children cheering that we were there. They invited us in and two hours later we left! We spent time listening to them read us their stories and tried our hardest to build a ginger bread house.

This weekend, I was reminded that it’s not the tangible gifts that define Christmas or where I celebrate, but the love that we share and extend to others. This weekend changed my life.

Thank you to everyone who helped 500 families have a merrier and brighter Christmas!

aafI want to hear from you! How do you serve your community? Leave a comment here or post on twitter using #ServeDenver.

 

Rachel’s Lens // Hungry for more than a plate of food

This summer, I went down to our Lawrence Street Shelter with some coworkers to serve lunch. We met so many people that day, but one stuck out to me more than others.

We met Garry, a Program Candidate who had just been told that he was accepted into the New Life Program and would be moving to The Crossing. He was ecstatic. He had diligently worked at the shelter, in the kitchen, for over a month, waiting for a spot in the program. He was ready to get his life back on track. He wanted to be involved in his children’s lives and he wanted to pursue his dream of having his own restaurant. He was open and honest about the demons he was fighting. It was so touching to see someone express such hopeful desperation.

I didn’t see Garry for a couple months. This fall, I went looking for him because he had left such an impression on me. I wanted to check in and possibly write a story about him. I was sure it would be a success story. I was devastated to find out that Garry had left the program. I was so certain he would be one to make it through and really turn his life around.

I wasn’t wrong. A couple weeks ago, I went down to the shelter again. And guess who was there?! Garry! I saw him and immediately felt relief, coupled with excitement. His face lit up. He ran out of the kitchen and as soon as I said hello, he broke down. He couldn’t believe I remembered him. He couldn’t believe how many people were rooting for him. He said: “I had no idea how many people cared that I made it. I had no idea I had this community surrounding me.” Through tears, he explained that this time was different. He feels surrounded and lifted up.

I work for a place and for people who believe in second and third chances. It is beautiful to see people come back to us, hungry for more than a plate of food. Denver’s homeless and hurting are starving for the love of Jesus Christ. Praise the Lord that there is a place to come where they can get both.

Before I left, I asked Garry a slightly awkward question. I asked him if I could take a photo of him in such raw state of emotion. I wanted to remember that moment, but I especially wanted him to remember the promise he was making to himself. He promised he was going to complete the program. And I believe him.

Join us in prayer and petition for the men and women in our programs. What they are doing is not easy work.

Rachel’s Lens // Guest Post

Brad Meuli, President/CEO

Brad Meuli, President/CEO

I’ve asked Brad Meuli, our President and CEO, to do a guest post for Rachel’s Lens this week. It’s pretty cold outside and he has some important things to say about it! – Rachel

Last night we may have set a record for the number of people spending the night in our emergency facilities. Our Lawrence Street Shelter and our Emergency Overflow Shelter were beyond our normal capacity with 490 men needing a place to sleep. It’s a sad reality that this many people are seeking shelter, but we are so thankful that we can provide them with a warm and safe place to sleep. No one should have to be outside in this cold.

We can’t thank you enough for your generosity to the needy in our community. We can’t keep our doors open without you and please continue to remember the homeless throughout this cold holiday season.

God Bless,

Brad Meuli

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