December 2014 Posts

The PR Desk | Christmas Blessings

AlexxaChristmas time can be difficult for people at the Mission. It can bring up past memories or be a reminder of current situations. Let’s be honest, not everyone wants to spend the holidays at Denver Rescue Mission. But as our President Brad put it, we are so glad you are here. We are glad people who’ve come to us have the opportunity to create change in their lives.

This week, Mission staff along with community members purchased gifts for men in the New Life Program. The even known as Bless Our Brothers was a festive time where everyone received a gift and was served coffee and holiday treats. I feel privileged to work at the Mission and to serve the people here.

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New In Town

 

Photo by: Robert Bogan | photographybyrobo.com

Photo by: Robert Bogan | photographybyrobo.com

The term “Coloradan” still feels uncomfortable in my mouth as I slowly try to pronounce each syllable properly. The first time I heard it in a campaign ad I must admit I chuckled. It just sounded funny to me. But I guess I can’t laugh long because that’s what I am now: A Coloradan.

My wife, Rachel, and I recently moved to Denver from the Carolinas. We had been working at two international mission organizations in Charlotte, NC but felt God leading us somewhere new. Little did we know, “somewhere new” was going to be two-thirds of the way across the country.

Little did we know, “somewhere new” was going to be two-thirds of the way across the country.

Now we live at least 4,529 feet higher in altitude, and we’re new in town. We’ve only recently been introduced to green chili, the ice cream formerly known as Edy’s (Dreyer’s), chile rancheros, and snow storms that would shut down the entire city of Charlotte for two days. These things aren’t really that overwhelming (except for the snow), but they are different. It takes time to get used to a new place, new people, and new culture. Thankfully, we have some friends in Denver who connected us with a good church where we found community.

But imagine being a refugee.

You’ve fled your country because of disaster, persecution, or war. You’re not just in a new city; you’re in an entirely new country and culture. All you have if you’re lucky are a few precious belongings. The people here do not speak your home language much and worse—you don’t speak theirs well either.

Will life ever be normal again?

You came to this country in hopes of starting a new life away from the dangers of war. Or maybe you lost everything in a flood, famine, or other natural disaster, and you have to start your whole life over from scratch. How will you rebuild your life in this new country? Do you know anyone who lives here? How will you get a job? How will you find a place to live? Will your new home be safe for your family? Will you even find a new home? Will you find new friends, or will people ignore or avoid you because you don’t fit in? Will people judge you because of where you came from? Will life ever be normal again?

Did you know we have refugee families living in Denver?

As I learn more about the Mission, I keep finding out more about how God is at work in this city. One of those ways He is working is through the Mission’s Family Refugee Services program (FRS).

FRS is helping refugees in Denver who come from all over the world, including Somalia, Sudan, Liberia, Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and Iraq. It’s a partnership program with Lutheran Family Services, and it’s an amazing opportunity to share the love of Jesus with people who are essentially orphaned from their home culture.

Jose Kabeya, Family Refugee Services Coordinator for the Mission, says, “[We] assist refugees with their first rent deposit and place them on the path of productivity and self-sufficiency … We seek to prevent refugees from continuing the cycle of homelessness and despair in their new country.”

We seek to prevent refugees from continuing the cycle of homelessness and despair in their new country.
– Jose Kabeya, Denver Rescue Mission

Whether it’s finding a job, building a new community, or just basic language education the Family Refugee Services program seeks out struggling refugee neighbors and helps them acclimate to their new life in the United States. Trained mentors become an encouraging community for refugees who otherwise feel isolated.

As Rachel and I adjust to our new lives in Denver, I want to remember this feeling—the uncertainty of a new place. I want to remember the nervousness of hoping I can connect with a community, hoping I can find someone who understands me. I want to remember the anxiety of looking for a job in a new city. I want to remember how God gave me strength for each challenge, and comfort when I was afraid.

I want to remember what it feels like to be new in town, so when I see it on the face of a neighbor I can reach out my hand and say, “Welcome home.”

Amazon Smile | Share a Smile with Denver Rescue Mission

The season of gift-giving is here! If you like shopping from the comfort of your home, you are probably excited to find deals online. We have some good news to share as you shop! You can feel good about the shopping that you do and donate to your favorite charity with AmazonSmile. Each time you make a purchase on AmazonSmile, 0.5% of your total purchase will go directly to the charity of your choosing.

Here’s how it works:

    1. Search for smile.amazon.com:When you use AmazonSmile, you will have the same shopping experience as you would with Amazon.com. The only difference is that AmazonSmile will allow you to donate 0.5% of your total purchase to the charity of your choosing. There is no extra cost for you!amazon smile
    2. Sign in or create an account:Amazon.com and AmazonSmile use the same account login information. If you already have an account with Amazon, simply enter your email address and Amazon password on the “Sign In” screen. If you are new to Amazon, you will be able to create a new account on this page as well.amazon smile 2
    3. Search for Denver Rescue Mission:After signing in, you will be prompted to search for the charity you wish to support. amazon 3
    4. Select Denver Rescue Mission: Once you have selected “Denver Rescue Mission,” or the charity of your choice, you will receive an email from AmazonSmile to confirm your selection. amazon smile 4
    5. Now you begin shopping! Select any items that are marked “Eligible for Amazon Smile” and add those items to your shopping cart. A donation of 0.5% of your total purchase will be sent to your chosen charity.Remember, if you want Amazon to donate to Denver Rescue Mission, you need to start each shopping session at the URL http://smile.amazon.comand Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price of your eligible purchases.Denver Rescue Mission also has a “Greatest Needs” list on Amazon. To donate items online via our Amazon Giving Page, click here. amazonamazon 

 

 

 

The PR Desk | Community

Community. Seems like a catch phrase these days, but it’s important and we all want need it.

Denver Rescue Mission is about forging community. We believe having a healthy community can help sustain sobriety, keep each other on the straight and narrow. Community is powerful. It can make or break you.

At the Mission we see strong communities form all around us and this week we saw Denver Broncos players build community with men, women and families at The Crossing, a transitional living facility.

Men, women and families were enjoying a catered dinner in their blue and orange and as soon as the players and Miles enter the room, faces light up.

Autographs were signed. Photos were snapped. Gingerbread cookies were decorated. And then I couldn’t find two of the players. I heard one of the kids tell me that they were outside. I stepped out and found them tossing the football with the kids under the stars.

You see, they didn’t just come for the fame and glory because kids don’t care about that. They don’t notice their numbers on their jerseys. They see them as friends. You can see that in their gazes and the way they lay their heads on their shoulders.

We need community – all of us do. We thrive when we all jump in and care for one another.

As the players left, I handed them thank you notes. They were surprised. They were just there to give.

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The PR Desk | It’s harder, but better

“It’s harder, but better.”

Morgan, a Mission program graduate spoke those words over and over and over this morning at graduation.

Morgan chose drugs, alcohol and self-pity over and over and over again. And over and over and over again his life fell into the same result: shame and blame.

He blamed his job for his unhappiness and broken life. So he quit. Spent the next few days drinking, smoking and snorting until his money ran out and he was forced to the streets.

At 22 years old, Morgan had nothing – nothing but a prayer. A prayer to a God he really didn’t think existed. “God fix my life. I will do anything.”

The next day, Morgan made a choice. A choice to fix his life. After one miraculous event after another, he joined the Mission’s New Life Program.

While in the program he chose to walk with God, the hardest choice to make, but a better one.

After the first 8 months in the program his depression faded away and God gave Him a fresh start. Where Morgan felt lost, God gave him direction. Where Morgan felt broken, God gave him healing.

Today, Morgan stood on a platform and spoke to a crowd about the harder but better choice in choosing to walk with God. Morgan has to choose this over and over and over again.

He’s 5 years sober. No alcohol. No drugs. He is maintaining the employment he started while in the program and is taking college courses.

You see, we all have choices. I have choices to make every single day.

This is Morgan. He chooses God all the time.

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