Denver Rescue Mission Posts

Coming Clean

Shower

This is hard to admit, but I have not been able to take a shower at home for over a week.

When my wife and I moved to Denver last fall, friends opened their home to us so that we could have a soft landing while we looked for work. It was quite a blessing, and it’s worked out very well for us. It’s even allowed us to make the transition to buy our own place soon.

Three weeks ago, our friends discovered some leaking water behind the tub and shower, so they had to remove them both and tear out the damp drywall and insulation. Which leaves the bathroom with an obvious and significant problem: the tub and shower are gone.

Which leaves the bathroom with an obvious and significant problem: the tub and shower are gone.

Actually, the tub was on the front porch, and now is in the backyard full of dirt for a makeshift herb garden (it looks nicer than it sounds, I promise). It makes for a pretty funny conversation piece. But the reality is, it’s no joke. Thankfully, the house still has running water, so we’re not totally without options on getting clean.

Of course, you’ll have to forgive me as I spout off some #FirstWorldProblems related to having no tub or shower in the house, but it’s really hard to keep clean and feel refreshed when you can’t take a shower or bath at home. And it’s embarrassing to admit that I’ve had to use the shower facilities here at the Mission several times (Thank God the new Administration and Education building has access to a weight room and showers).

But each time I get up in the morning and shuffle into the construction zone that is currently our bathroom, it reminds me of the people I meet down at the Lawrence Street Shelter. They have nowhere to get washed up either. And as embarrassed as I am, at least my situation is temporary.

But each time I get up in the morning and shuffle into the construction zone that is currently our bathroom, it reminds me of the people I meet down at the Lawrence Street Shelter.

It’s a sobering reality that simply getting clean is a near impossibility for most of our homeless neighbors, let alone getting access to clean drinking water and restroom facilities.

That’s why the Lawrence Street Shelter and the now-under-construction Lawrence Street Community Center are so important. The shelter provides a warm bed at night, but it also provides the homeless a dignified place to use the restroom, access to drinking water and a place to get out of harsh weather. For those who stay the night at the shelter, a fresh shower in a requirement before climbing into the 200+ beds to help keep all our guests clean and safe. And soon, the Lawrence Street Community Center will feature showers and more restrooms so that the homeless can have a dignified place to wash up and access to restroom facilities throughout the day.

You know that refreshing feeling of stepping out of the shower, ready to meet the day? Imagine having that feeling for the first time in weeks or months. That’s what the new Community Center will offer our struggling neighbors.

Imagine having that feeling for the first time in weeks or months.

So next time you step into the shower to start your day, remember our homeless friends and neighbors with me. And remember that phrase harkening back to the martyr, John Bradford, “There but for the grace of God go I.”

Because we’re all just a few short steps away from being in their shoes, and we’re all just within reach to help them get back on their feet again.

Break the Cycle II, A Final Thank You

Brad_Meuli

Brad Meuli, President/CEO

We made it! We made it! We made it! If you followed our journey on bicycles from Reno to Seattle, raising awareness and funds to fight hunger, I want to say thank you. If you prayed for us, supported us financially or even just read our blogs, thanks for caring. I am excited to share that we surpassed our goal for Break the Cycle 900 Miles Against Hunger – more than 25,000 meals = $50,000 was raised. We could not have done this without you, thank you.

 

I have been asked, “How was your bike trip?” and “What was it like?” It is a little hard to put an experience like this in to words. But after some reflection on these questions I would say…

1. It was hard. It rained pretty much every day and many of those days were also cold. There was plenty of time to compare ourselves to the people who are homeless, who we were raising money to feed, that have it a lot worse than we did riding.

2. What I appreciated the most was the team of riders and support personnel (Tanner and Jeremy) with whom I had the privilege of spending nearly two weeks. They made the ride special. Think about traveling in a support vehicle, following riders who at times are climbing and slowing to 3 mph, for over 900 miles. (This took some patience!)

The Rescue Riders:

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Griff Freyschlag, at 60, I like to call, “the oldest living Break the Cycle finisher”, a guy who prior to this had never really ridden a bike much.  (He borrowed mine!) He was an inspiration to me.

Brian Newman, former professional triathlete, who could have done this ride in half the time but was so supportive of everyone. He is big on encouraging others and whoa can he eat!

Nathan Hoag, pastor at Cherry Hills Community Church and DRM Board member who had to buy a bike to join us and then proceeded to lead the way. Toughest 135 pound man I have ever met, second only to Brian in riding and eating!

Josh Geppelt, our navigator, thanks to Josh and his apps, we knew where we were going and how to navigate throughout the trip.  If you are ever going on a ride like this, take Josh.

Jeff Dines, one of our staff members and now the first graduate of our New Life Program to complete Break the Cycle. It was pretty powerful when he finished, it symbolized his new life free from addiction! His gratitude for all the Mission had done for him and his thankfulness for being included on the ride gave us all a lift.

Kyle Petrie, who really masterminded the entire trip, without him this ride would not have taken place.  I also probably would not have eaten at some of the places we enjoyed without his insistence on a “dining experience.” (Note: if you are gathering that much of our dialogue was about food, you are correct…burning thousands of calories riding, makes you famished!)

I also want to thank my son Gus Meuli, who joined us in Bend, Oregon for two days of riding. Gus agreed to join me riding across Kansas a few years ago which really started all of this. Such an unselfish guy, must take after his mom!

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As for me, I am so grateful for completing this ride, and to try and do something a little bit out of the box for the people who are homeless and come to us for help at the Mission. Even though some people think it was crazy! I thank God that my 57 year old body and particularly my back, held up over this ride, because it is not what it used to be. I am humbled that I was able to lead, out of my own weakness, this fine group of men to a cause greater than ourselves. And so appreciative for our sponsors and community’s support.

Lastly, let me encourage you to do something extraordinary, something you might be afraid to do, something for someone else, and take some friends along. I promise you that your life will be changed forever.  

 

When one falls down the other can help him up

Josh Geppelt, Director of Emergency Services

Josh Geppelt, Director of Emergency Services

Monday started in the beautiful Columbia River Gorge, at the base of Bridge of the Gods. After paying our $.50/bike toll to cross the bridge, we entered Washington, the final state along our journey. It’s the next to the last day, and it was the hardest: 103 miles and 10,090 vertical feet of climbing! 

One might ask why we saved the hardest day until the end, and the honest answer is its just where our journey took us. We enjoyed the beauty of Gifford Pinchot National Forest and the occasional sighting of Mount St. Helens in between the clouds. While it was beautiful in many ways, we had to “earn” the views through a lot of hard work (“climbing”).

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This idea that hard work pays off is a key ideology in Denver Rescue Mission’s long-term work with men, women and families struggling with poverty, addictions and homelessness. While some individuals simply need secure housing, many have long journeys ahead of them as they build stability in their lives and work toward sustainability and self-sufficiency. This is a hard journey that we cannot expect anyone to make alone, or to go about in the same way; and one where we must prepare folks to tackle tough challenges when they are least expected.

As we climbed up two very steep passes, there were many different approaches our team took; some charged ahead quickly; others geared down and settled in to the long climb; and others (me) sought refuge in the support van when my body couldn’t take it any more. In each of these very different styles, the one thing we had in common was that we tackled this challenge with someone else by our side. 

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“Dr. Peppering” my knee…

 

As we work to support individuals and families as they tackle huge challenges in their lives, or to ride our bikes 900 miles, the words of Ecclesiastes comes to mind: “a strand of three chords is not easily broken; when one falls down the other can help him up.” 

Thanks for all that you do, through prayer support, financial gifts and volunteer efforts, to help the mission change lives in the name of Christ.