January 2015 Posts

The PR Desk: Love Thy Neighbor

If you keep up with the Mission then you may already be aware that we had a groundbreaking event for the Lawrence Street Community Center.

Groundbreaking events usually aren’t impressive, but this one blew me away. Maybe it’s because we ended it by singing together about our great God, or because it was an image of community together. Maybe it was hearing Michael’s journey from addict to homeless and then to manager at a Goodwill store after coming to the Mission.

Regardless, the Mission’s groundbreaking event gave life to the words love thy neighbor.

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The PR Desk: The Roof

Alexxa Sometimes in PR, you get to do fun and exciting things. Then there are days that just aren’t my fave. (We all have those,  right?)

Earlier this week, during a snowstorm, I went up on the roof of the Lawrence Street Shelter with our photographer to  figure out where to place a camera for a time lapse photo project.

This wasn’t my first time on the roof, but for some reason I had jitters climbing up the fire escape-type stairs to the top.

It was all worth it in the end. The view was beautiful, even in blowing snow. And, I captured this photo of the construction on the Lawrence Street Community Center, which just started this week!

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The PR Desk | Sober Friends, Sober Dads and Sober Grandpas

Frank's daughter, Frank and Bob (a Mission chaplain)

Frank’s daughter, Frank and Bob (a Mission chaplain)

I spent my morning at Harvest Farm celebrating Frank’s new life. The room was filled with mostly men who are also in pursuit of a new life. When Frank first came to the Program, he was angry and battling an alcohol addiction. He had lost his faith and left relationships behind. He tried rehabs before, but nothing seemed to work until he came to Harvest Farm.

The journey wasn’t easy for him. There were days he didn’t want to be there, but those days would pass and he would cling to the hope of a better future—where he is sober, reunited with his family and walking in step with God’s plan. During the graduation ceremony, Frank spoke about his journey and other men in the Program said encouraging words and shared memories.

A flood of hands went up for the opportunity to share and voices chocked back tears as they spoke about Frank and his new found life.

“Remember that you’re not done. There’s a whole new life ahead. A great one,” said a fellow New Life Program participant.

“I missed my dad and now I have him back. The Farm didn’t just help him, they helped our family,” Frank’s daughter shared.

“It’s important to connect with the other guys here on the Farm. We need each other and Frank took the time to encourage others,” said another fellow New Life Program participant.

“It was a privilege to watch you go from angry to a man full of joy,” a Mission employee gladly shared.

“What we now have in common is that we will be sober friends, sober dads and sober grandpas,” said yet another fellow New Life Program graduate.

That’s when tears streamed down my face. Here are men who faced some of their worst days, who are now friends loving each other through better or worse. These men are starting over, and they can’t wait to find sobriety and peace again—but they need each other.

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The Fridge

When my oldest son, Jake, returned home for Thanksgiving during his freshman year at college, he went straight to the refrigerator. He opened the door, looked at the abundance of food contained inside, sighed, then turned to his three brothers and sister and said, “You really have no idea how good you have it, or what it is like to not have a refrigerator filled with whatever you want.”

Now let’s be clear: Jake was not exactly starving at college. He had a meal ticket and all kinds of choices when he went to the school cafeteria. But his experience at school, of being away from home, and of having to fill his own small refrigerator helped him realize one of the things he missed most about home—good food anytime he wanted it!

How many of us are like Jake’s siblings? Or how many of us open the fridge, full of food, and still say there’s nothing to eat.

We’ve had all we needed for so long that we do not really know what it’s like to go without food. When we get hungry, we just stop at any one of the hundreds of fast food restaurants nearby and enjoy a meal.

But if you have ever been without, if you have missed some meals, gone hungry, tried to eat on a dollar a day—then you know the importance of a meal.

The simple act of providing someone breakfast, lunch or dinner, and maybe a little conversation, a little dignity, makes all the difference in the world. Often, a meal is all someone needs to start them on the road to a changed life, on the road to recovery and to becoming a productive, self-sufficient citizen.

Meals at the Mission are provided 365 days a year. Thanks for keeping our fridge full.

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The PR Desk | United

#UnitedInOrange

I am from Wisconsin, so naturally I am a Packer fan. It’s an easy team to love, but when my husband and I moved to Colorado three years ago, it didn’t take long to become Broncos fans too. We root for them, we wear orange and blue. We also wear green and yellow. Some of family back in Wisconsin give us a hard time about our adopted team, but for me it’s about being part of the community. I love the feeling in the air today. It does seem a little more united – a little more connected. More conversations strike up because you’re wearing orange and blue at the grocery store.

When we push back from the community we are meant to be in, we miss out. I am not talking just about football anymore. I am talking about being united for each other especially when it matters like making meals for a new mom and dad, shoveling for your neighbor when they are out of town, serving meals at your local shelter…

My heart is with the Packers and I will watch them beat the Cowboys, but I will also cheer for for the Broncos against the Colts on Sunday.

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Brandon Johnson

 

 

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