August 2015 Posts

The Legacy We Leave

Cheery but tearful goodbyes are pretty common around here as people graduate programs and move on with their lives. Just this week, we said goodbye to at least three interns who spent their few short weeks of summer helping people in need get their lives back on track.

One of these interns worked just down the hall in our PR department. More than a couple times he was very helpful in getting photos of special events this summer. In the short time we had to get to know him, he quickly endeared himself to just about everyone here. Krumm has served at the Mission as an intern for three years now. And as he returns to school this fall, his absence at the Mission will be felt once again. That’s part of his legacy here at the Mission.

Another staff member I’ve grown to respect is also moving on and will be pastoring a church soon. It’s a great opportunity, and we’re all glad for him. But we’ll miss him too.

Ron and Pauline

Ron and Pauline served as missionaries to West Africa for more than 40 years.

I guess I’m just a little nostalgic today. Yesterday, I learned that a good friend from my previous job just passed away this week. Ron Sonius was like a substitute grandparent to me. During my first internship after college, Ron and his wife Pauline allowed me to stay in their home while I interned at SIM USA, an international mission organization based in Charlotte, NC.

With 40 years of missionary experience in Ghana and Liberia, Ron was always full of stories. Stories like the time he put his car up on blocks, took the tire off one wheel and used a piece of wood to lock the gas pedal in place to a certain speed. He then proceeded to link that rotating wheel hub to a generator so he could power his tools and finish building a school house in a remote area of West Africa.

When I met Ron, he was in his later years, but he was still as mischievous and feisty as ever.

When I met Ron, he was in his later years, but he was still as mischievous and feisty as ever. And he was always quick with a joke, even after a stroke left him less than quick on his feet.

Whenever I would ask him how he was, he would reply with a laugh, “Well, I’m here, but I’m not all there.”

It’s people like Ron who speak volumes into our lives even over a short period of time, and as I came in early today for breakfast at The Crossing, I’m reminded of the power God has given each of us to speak into the lives of other people.

Just this morning, I passed by Frank, the first person I ever interviewed for our monthly Mission newsletter (featured in January 2015). Still ripe with sarcasm, Frank’s always good for a laugh if you don’t take yourself too seriously. As we chatted, I learned that he’s got a job moving cars from the train yard to dealerships around the area. It’s good to see him enjoying work and life.

And then inside I saw Mitch, a New Life Program participant. He was pouring a cup of coffee and bouncing to the music on the Christian radio station that was playing in the background.

“You’re not having a good day at all, are you?” I asked Mitch sarcastically.

“Today’s my day off. I’m heading up to the clinic to get some medicine, and maybe on the bus I can find someone to talk to about Jesus.”

“Hey brother,” came his usual reply. “Today’s my day off. I’m heading up to the clinic to get some medicine, and maybe on the bus I can find someone to talk to about Jesus.”

My mind froze for a second. That right there is why we do what we do. It’s why we struggle through life with the men and women who come to us for help. It’s why I stop and talk to guys like Frank and Mitch when I see them, to ask them how they are doing. And it’s the legacy we leave behind with every life we help change here at Denver Rescue Mission.

So if you’ve been a part of that work through an internship, volunteering, supporting the Mission financially, or simply investing into the lives of staff like my friend Ron did with me, thank you. You will never know how important your legacy is in the lives of the people you touch every day.

Trusting God With New Places & New Choices

As someone who just moved to Denver 39 days ago, there’s a lot to take in. My husband and I set off for Denver after living in Chicago for six years. Chicago is a great city and will always have a special place in my heart, but now that we’re here, I can honestly say that nothing beats Denver’s beautiful mountains and laid-back culture.

Chicago to Denver

One of my favorite parts of living here? I can breathe fresh air! It’s amazing to beable to step outside of the city atmosphere on any given day and get back to nature. Now, I just need to work on my Denverite lingo… cue “14ers” “LoHi” “RiNo” and “century rides.” I’m learning, Denver, just give me time!

New vocabulary aside, we’ve found a pretty incredible home here. What’s made it feel even more like home is my position at Denver Rescue Mission. Hunting for jobs in Denver while still living in Chicago was a tough gig. I was passed up by dozens of potential employers because I lived so far away, and we didn’t have the means to pay for a flight for interviews. Luckily, Denver Rescue Mission is rooted in faith and they kept this in mind when hiring me. After a few video interviews with our PR Director, Alexxa Gagner, and VP of Development, Griff Freyschlag, they offered me the PR Coordinator position. I was beyond thrilled. Alexxa and Griff had faith that I was the right fit for the position even without having the chance to meet me in person. They had to trust that God was putting me in the right place at the right time.

But recognizing when God is speaking to us and actually listening to his direction isn’t always easy to do.  I’ve lived 25 of my 28 years on this earth on a wandering path. As we learned recently in our Relationship Training Workshop at the Mission, sometimes people go through life “Sliding, Not Deciding”. I was the ultimate slider. I would find myself “sliding” into all sorts of negative situations without really thinking about the consequences. I never really defined what I stood for, the values I held close to my heart or what I wanted out of life.Trust in God

Little did I know, about four years ago God was doing some intensive work on my hardened heart. I had a constant void in my life before finding Christ. Now that He’s by my side, I’m learning to trust Him when I encounter tough decisions or new experiences—like moving to Denver and starting a new job. This didn’t happen overnight, and as a newer Christian, it’s still something I have to work at constantly. Sometimes we slip back into our old ways and think we’ve got it all under control when, in reality, that’s so far from the truth. For me, the important thing is understanding that we can choose God in even the smallest moments of our life, and this helps prevent us from sliding in unwanted directions.

I look forward to experiencing an even closer relationship with Christ while working at Denver Rescue Mission and serving those in need. With one slip, every single one of us could lose a job, suffer relationship problems or battle with silent addictions. We can’t forget how close we all are in this vast span of humanity, and in God’s eyes. I feel so encouraged and inspired to hear stories of how active God is at the Mission. I look forward to learning from and growing with our incredible guests, program participants and staff and create relationships that last a lifetime.

He created us to trust in Him. So, here we go God! Take the reins on my new Denver adventure!

Shedding The Past & Breathing New Life at The Farm

Early August will mark my 12th year of working here at Harvest Farm. I’ve held four different positions during my time here, and I’ve seen this place and its people from almost every angle. We have had our share of tragedies, death and heartbreak. We have learned together how to push through these dark times and come out on the other end of our grief wounded but still whole. And we have also had a myriad of encounters with the miraculous, where spirits are visibly moved, hearts and souls are healed, and lives are renewed.


Harvest Farm

Harvest Farm

J’s Way  
Even after all this time on the farm, I am still always awed when I get the privilege of witnessing a participant graduate from our program. Just last week, I sat among the rest of the farm body, both staff and participants, as well as numerous other supporters and watched yet another man I’ll call “J” launch into a new life. When I first met J, on the first day he stepped on to this property, I could tell he was going to be one of our tougher participants. Shaved head, bulging arms, dark and intense eyes, and even a tattoo on his face the size of a baby’s hand. He was simply a scary dude. And that is exactly what J wanted to be, because he knew that if he could look tough enough, intimidating enough, no one would get close to him and he could be left alone. He wanted nothing to do with other people. He certainly did not want to be loved; love was too hard to accept, too hard to trust, and he learned early on in his life that love made a person vulnerable to pain and abandonment.

We made him rethink that.

Shedding It All 

In his 14 months here at the farm, he gradually shed it all. During his graduation speech, with his once estranged mother sitting front and center, teary eyed and joyful, he listed the names of people he had known during his time here who had helped and cared for him. He spoke of staff members, participants he had known, his boss, mentor, and the countless other members of the community who had come out to support him. After each name, J said the three words I couldn’t ever imagine coming out of his mouth the day I first met him: He said, “I love you.” And perhaps more importantly, those people said “I love you” right back to him, and he accepted their love.


Js Graduation

J (right) with his New Life Program chaplain, Jason Bryant, on graduation day.

Nothing Is Permanent
As one of our staff members wisely remarked during the graduation ceremony, nothing is permanent. No despair is too deep to swim out of, as long as there is a hand to grab onto that can help pull you out of it. No darkness it too dark, no life is beyond repair. I believe this; I know this. That tattoo on his face? It’s gone. Not a trace of it remains. One of J’s goals during his time here was to remove that mark from his face so that he would no longer be immediately judged as someone he no longer was, and he did it. It was a long, painful process, but he was determined, and the tattoo is gone. The old mark of the old life has disappeared. Nothing is permanent. Change is not only possible, but attainable and within our grasp if we only take the opportunities we are given.


To learn more about the New Life Program at Harvest Farm and read more stories of lives changed, visit