Denver Rescue Mission Posts

The Journey

Ryan, Jeff, Josh, Brian, and Brandon (Mission employees)

Ryan, Jeff, Josh, Brian, and Brandon (Mission employees)

On any given Saturday morning there are endless options along the Colorado Front Range to enjoy the beautiful communities in which we live.

This past Saturday morning a handful of Denver Rescue Mission staff met just as the sun was coming up at the Mission’s Harvest Farm in Wellington, Colorado to cycle to the Mission’s Lawrence Street Shelter in downtown Denver. While several in our group had experience with distance cycling, it was the first time some had tackled a Century Ride: 100 miles.

I’ve spent a good deal of time on my road bike the past few years – and in my experience, there are few better places to be challenged than on the seat of a bike. As with other aspects of my life, there are times when I need to ride by myself, times when I desire the company of a good friend and times when I’m happy to join with a group.

When I was training for a week-long distance ride last summer, I intentionally sought out a riding partner that was stronger and more experienced than I was and who would push me to be better. In life, when I surround myself with people who are more experienced than I am, I tend to improve my skill set faster. Likewise, when I’m always the “expert” in a particular arena, I find myself atrophying in that skill set – as I’m not being challenged externally to improve.

On a typical group ride it doesn’t take long before the cadence of the group falls in line, and the members begin working together. The ones who are better at climbing are found up front on long hills, pulling the others up behind them. Or in my case, sometimes they’re back behind me physically pushing me up the hill. J However, everyone stops once we climb the hill and waits for gravity to carry us down. My 250 lb. frame creates a huge slipstream for the other riders to fall in and effortlessly draft behind me. In both cases, one’s strength aids the others. While I’m not sure if my 250 lb. frame is a strength, I have learned what many of my strengths are – and try to find folks whose strengths look different than mine. In doing so, I benefit from a strength that I do not possess.

On long rides, one of my favorite things to do is slip in beside someone and catch-up on life. It doesn’t take a whole lot of intentionality, or any special effort on my part – rather simply deciding that as we’re both traveling along in the same direction, there’s probably some way that we can be mutually encouraging to each other. In life, some of the deepest encouragement that I’ve received has come from someone who simply slipped in next to me as we recognized our journeys were headed in the same direction.

I encourage you to find something that you really enjoy doing, and then find someone to do it with. Each of our lives is headed somewhere – and while I’m excited about the destination, I don’t want to miss out on what the journey has to teach me.

Community

Yesterday, Cindy and PJ’s story was posted on Facebook. It has 16 shares, 180 plus likes and the most encouraging comments. This makes me happy. Not because I manage the Mission’s social media pages, but because those numbers are proof that we have a community who rallies around the lives being changed here at the Mission.

The Mission’s donors and volunteers are more than people donating money and time. They invest. They love. They encourage.

We need a community who rallies around people. People like Cindy and her son, whose circumstances left them with no other option but to live out of their van. Their story didn’t have to end there—and it doesn’t. Because of our community, Cindy and PJ had a place to find a second chance; they found the redo button here. They found friends here. They found opportunities and skills here. They found their strength in the Lord here.

See what happens when a community works together? Lives truly change one life at a time.

Watch her story here:

 

Meet Thomas Forcier // Building Relationships

Tom Forcier, Facility Assistant at the Lawrence Street Shelter

Thomas Forcier, Facility Assistant at the Lawrence Street Shelter

Interview written by Valerie Cabrera, Public Relations Intern

Even though Thomas Forcier had never had a traditional office job, he quickly learned the ropes after starting at the Mission as part-time overnight security. Tom worked his way up and eventually learned what it took to become a Facility Assistant (FA) at the Lawrence Street Shelter. It takes a lot, he found, but it also gives a lot. He speaks about the stories of transformation he’s been a part of, his close relationships with New Life Program candidates and the challenges of a job that involves body and soul.

Valerie: You work the afternoon shift at the Lawrence Street Shelter. What does a typical day at work look like?

Thomas: I usually get in at 1:30 pm. Lunch is over by then and there are no outside guests in the building. I get organized in my head first and look at the schedule which gives me a general idea about where our New Life Program candidates are going to be stationed. I organize who’s doing what and I put together a roster with those names. Then I usually go and walk around the building. When you’re moving 400 guys in and out of the building you’ve got to make sure everybody is where you need them. I don’t really feel comfortable until I have that figured out.

V: Sometimes the Lawrence Street Shelter is referred to as a “boot camp” for our New Life Program participants. You get to see guys begin to transform their life during that time. What is your role in that process?

T: I always tell the guys that’s the whole object of their time here. They have to have separation from where they were to where they’re going and I help encourage them. We see these guys at the very bottom. There was one guy who was on heroin. His dad passed away while he was using. When he came in here and started to get clean, he realized that he never even dealt with the fact that his dad had died. The drugs were a way for him to suppress that. After being clean for a couple of weeks, he started reflecting on what was going on. He sat in my office and broke down crying. Dramatic change can happen here. We give them the tools, the knowledge—everything they need with this program. And I tell them, “The only person that can stop you now is you.”

V: What do you think is the most significant part of your job?

T: I think that a big part of our job as FA’s is our relationship with the New Life Program candidates. These guys are here for a reason. This isn’t a rec center where guys come to hang out. We try to relate to them. In some ways we can be a mentor. We’re here to support them but at the same time we have to hold them accountable. I’ll talk to them about their struggles, why they’re here and what this program has to offer. We’ll talk about life and we’ll build a relationship.

V: It seems like there would be challenges in a job like this—a job that gets you involved not just emotionally, but physically and spiritually as well.

T: Yeah. This job is tough, this particular shift even more so. It just hits you from all sides. All this stuff with the program candidates, that’s only half of it. I spend half of my shift working with outside guests. There are also times when I’ll build a relationship with a guy that ends up leaving and, I mean, that hurts me. It’s hard for me to deal with that. I pray for them, I pray with them, and all of a sudden, they’re gone. It’s impossible not to take that home. There are times when I have to process stuff with my wife, and we have to sit down and pray. I’ve got guys at my church that pray for me constantly, too.

V: Despite how tough it is, you’re still here! What’s your favorite part about being an FA?

T: It’s very rewarding. Guys can have huge success stories. And the bottom line is that what we do is definitely good. We sleep, even in the summer, 400 men most nights. When you think about stuff like that, it makes you feel good about what you’re doing.