Denver Rescue Mission Posts

Lessons Learned // Intern’s Edition

Written by Valerie, PR Intern

There are some great people here at the Mission and, as a PR intern, I got to be a part of bits and pieces of their individual stories and learn wonderful lessons from them.

Some of my favorite lessons include:

  • Learning that you can find people who genuinely care everywhere, from the mom who gave me a giant, warm bear hug, with overjoyed tears in her eyes, after I told her my recent engagement story.
  • Learning that very real change is possible from the sweet old man, once a solitary confinement prisoner, who entrusted me with a frame of his favorite poem, Footprints.
  • Learning that Christ-like friendship is a wonderful thing from the gorgeous, wacky girls in the office who like to sing and dance to early 90’s songs I’ve never heard of (and also get work done, of course).

Here are bits and pieces of other amazing internship lessons that are going on around the Mission this summer:

Learning that it’s never too late for redemptive transformation:

“I’ve had the joy of watching men in the New Life Program who are absolutely in love with the LORD, seek Him, knowing that He is their only hope. As they invite Him into all of the messy places, only they can truly experience the transformation of His love and presence in their lives. I’ve seen the power of Christ’s presence in witnessing tangible and lasting change in these guys, which has filled me with hope that it’s not too late for any of us.”

-Eric, Mentoring Intern, from Colorado

Learning how to humbly teach others:

“It’s giving me the preparation to be a teacher. Since I want to work with underprivileged youth, this internship has provided key experiences into showing me how to interact with youth who have not grown up with the same privileges.”

-Cameron, Youth Intern, from Minnesota

Learning what community looks like:

“Living in the midst of interns, men in the New Life Program, and families at The Crossing has given me such an appreciation for community. The atmosphere at The Crossing is filled with joy and being able to be able to interact with many different individuals has shown me what Christ’s love looks like.”

-Jeremiah, Refugee Services Intern, from California

Learning how to engage with people that are different from us:

“Not only do I get to interact with both the refugee families we work with and their mentors, but I actually get to mentor some families and see their transition and growth from when they first arrive in the US to when they have become self-sufficient members of the community. As an intern I’m so glad I get to bridge that gap to those seen as “outsiders” and be among the first to accept them and befriend them as they transition into their new lives.”

-April, Refugee Services Intern, from Minnesota

Learning about working for a greater purpose:

“For me, the best part about working at the Mission has been working with people who genuinely love God and love people. Working in operations, I work less with individual people and more behind the scenes. Everyone works to serve the Lord daily in both speech and deed. People are willing to laugh, have fun and enjoy the work they are doing, because they know it is for a cause that is greater than them.”

-Caroline, Operations Intern, from Alabama

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Incredible ladies that work with the interns!

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Rachel’s Lens // The heavy stuff

I’ve been doing a lot of self-examination lately. Even typing that sounds selfish. But sometimes, in order to be truly “others focused,” ya gotta check your own motives. And doing this kind of heart-check feels heavy, cumbersome and frankly, a little scary.

Why do you do things for other people? What drives you? Do you do it because you’re supposed to? Or do you truly delight in service?

I can’t say that I always do. I can say that I rarely delight in what feels like chores for other people.

Through a lot of reading and not enough prayer, I’m studying passages in the Bible about living life for other people. Whoa, it’s convicting:

Galatians 5:13-14…For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
Mark 10:44-45…And whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.
Romans 12:9-13…Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.

But there is hope. We don’t have to find this wellspring of kindness within ourselves. In fact, it is absolutely impossible for it to come from us:

1 Peter 4:10-11…Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.
Isaiah 41:10…Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
1 Timothy 1:12-14…I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service. Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.

I know this is a bit much for a Friday morning, but I just wanted to share what I’m working through…is there anything heavy you’re working through?

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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.