Denver Rescue Mission Posts

A Summer of New Experiences

This summer as the Public Relations and Special Events intern at Denver Rescue Mission has truly been an unforgettable experience. Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, I never left my city much. Besides the occasional Las Vegas family trips and trips to National Parks, I rarely left California. In the fall of 2015, my friend, Kelsey, and I applied to Denver Rescue Mission as interns. Suddenly, there was a huge decision to make. Was my calling to stay in California to intern at a typical PR firm working in the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles? Or did I want to do something a little more meaningful in a completely new state and culture? Well, I guess writing this blog post answers that question.

After packing the car and driving 17-hours alongside Kelsey, who also accepted an internship at Denver Rescue Mission, we finally made it. It was my first time in Colorado, first time in Denver, and this was technically the furthest east I’ve ever gone in the United States. Sad, I know. I was extremely hesitant and scared for what lied ahead of me. I once worked at a YMCA, where I will never return to because of the chaos and egoistic attitude everyone wore. It hurt me to see that such a national organization was being consumed by greed and selfishness, or at least at my specific branch. I wondered if working at Denver Rescue Mission would be the same. Thankfully, I can say it has been the total opposite.

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On the road to Denver, CO!

My internship here at Denver Rescue Mission was more than I could ever ask for. It was swept me off my feet and I have never been more confident or eager to grab the next opportunity by the horns. Through it all, I have gained so much knowledge about the general duties of PR practitioners, how to act professionally and how to handle the media. I have done so much over this summer, both in my personal or professional life, and I know that my standards have definitely risen after working here. From attending meetings, events, and concerts to working on social media, media pitches, and weekly reports, I have really dabbled in a little bit of everything to broaden my knowledge of how work gets done in this field. As I return to school and apply for internships near me, I am grateful that my supervisors at Denver Rescue Mission have prepared me for the future.

 

Me with my intern supervisors, Stacy and Josh

My supervisors, Josh and Stacy, kept me busy this summer with PR and Special Events projects.

As I continue to grow older and learn more about myself, I think I have found a new love for putting myself outside of my comfort zone and truly immersing myself in new situations. That is when I have grown the most and truly appreciate all that I have, in addition to helping me find my passion. Working at Denver Rescue Mission has helped me discover that I want to help people who are struggling. Through this summer, Christ has shown me that I can always help improve the lives of other people. In such a twisted and unfair world, I believe that everyone should have a chance to succeed and show their ability to their fullest. Wherever I may end up in a couple of years, I know that because of this experience, I will walk away with at least the desire to help save the lives of those suffering in any situation. This summer, the Mission has been a place to call home and I know that this will not be my last time here.

There’s something about Colorado that has won my heart. Both the big and little things have made a huge impact on my stay here. The beautiful sunsets every night behind the mountain ranges. The freshness of the air. The Colorado pride that everyone shares so eagerly. People actually saying “hi” while passing each other on the street. The food here that is so different and tasty (green chili, I’m looking at you). The close proximity to nature. The abundance of free parking, even in downtown (you just have to look for it). The amount of Subaru’s on the road. The amazing restaurant, Casa Bonita. The bipolar weather that is truly not the same anywhere else. The one-way streets that I’ve gone down incorrectly way too many times. The *wonderful* train that passes by The Crossing every 20 minutes. The amazing relationships I’ve made at Denver Rescue Mission. And last but not least, my heart for the homeless community in Denver, who are trying to get back on their feet, all in the name of Jesus Christ.

Amen to that.

Auto-Amanda! Local Teen Fixes Cars in the Mission Auto Shop

Did you know Denver Rescue Mission has a fully functioning auto repair shop? For more than 18 years, we’ve ran the shop as part of our Vehicle Donation Program. We created this program to provide transportation for graduates of Mission programs including the New Life Program, STAR Transitional Program and Family Rescue Ministry. The men and women who complete our long-term programs often require reliable transportation to secure employment. Owning a vehicle makes one less barrier for these deserving individuals to overcome on their road to success. The shop also provides services such as repairs and maintenance.

And the shop just got a new volunteer! 18-year-old, Amanda Dungan, began volunteering at the shop earlier this summer. She comes every Tuesday to offer her time and skills to fix cars and further her experience in mechanical engineering. It is inspiring to see that such a young and bright mind is willing to get her hands dirty to be of service for those less fortunate.

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When I first met Amanda, she was wearing cowboy boots, so it was no surprise to hear that she was born in Texas. Eventually, her family consisting of her mom, dad, sister and herself moved to Denver. Amanda had a very active childhood and continued her active lifestyle throughout high school. She has a tendency to pick up a hobby and run with it. By the age of 18, Amanda has been a swimmer, tennis player, horseback rider, hiker and archer.

Unlike most teenagers, Amanda already knows her true passion and what she wants to achieve in life. She plans on attending Georgia Institute of Technology in the fall of 2016 with a major in Mechanical Engineering. Amanda first started repairing cars in high school, when her school offered a one-day car repair workshop that taught her how to change brake pads. Not long after, she wanted to get more hands-on experience, so she enrolled in a “Cars 101” class at Front Range Community College.

As a recent graduate of Valor Christian High School, Amanda’s always heard about Denver Rescue Mission. When she discovered the mechanic volunteer opening, she felt selfishly excited because she got to learn so much and build her resume while getting to volunteer. But it turned out to be so much more than that. Amanda is full of compassion and heart and truly enjoys what she does at the shop.

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Her favorite part about working in the shop is working hand-in-hand with her two supervisors, Russ and Don. Amanda quickly learned to love the work environment and the community it brought her. It was an instant connection. She says she loves the shop because “the guys are super funny and know how to have a great time!”

Russ and Don say that they love her desire to learn and her lack of fear to tackle any task. “She loves trying and does a great job trying,” they said. “She’s open to any work. She may need some direction, but her ambition is the best we’ve seen.”

Amanda is willing to do whatever her bosses need her to do. “I clean a lot of gaskets, do oil changes, inspect cars, making sure things are okay and write down what’s wrong with them,” she said. “After that, we check tires and brake pads, and whatever needs to be fixed, we fix it.”

Amanda pays great attention to detail making it easy to recognize malfunctioning parts that are wrong, like leaks. In the future, Amanda has the desire to learn all about cars. She wants to be well versed in the vocab and parts of cars, just like her supervisors Russ and Don.

So far, her favorite cars to fix are Toyota’s. “I have a new earned respect for them because they just keep going and going,” she said. “They’re awesome and they never die— it’s amazing.”

As Amanda matures and attends college, her supervisors want her to succeed at what God has called her to be. She’s already made such an impact on the lives of our program graduates and all the guys she works with in the shop. Russ and Don add, “She makes it fun again, to do what we do.”

Finding joy in the Father

My son and daughter, Roman and Abigail, were born in June two years ago, and spent the next 2 months in the intensive care unit at Saint Joe’s; that’s where I spent Father’s Day 2014. They gave me a bottle of root beer in a foam coozie that said “Happy Father’s Day” and I remember thinking how surreal it was to see those words apply to me. God had given me two new things that belonged to Him that He expected me to take care of.

Roman is an introvert (like his daddy) and Abigail is an extrovert (like her mommy). Most mornings I’m up around 5:30 because Roman starts crying. He and I sit on the couch for the next hour. We don’t actually interact a whole lot during that time, but that time is meaningful to him. When he doesn’t get that time, he’s off.

Abigail on the other hand is a force; everything she does she does with her whole heart. She is usually the instigator of the arguments with her brother. She also gives me her full attention during story time. She pays so much attention to detail; I think she’s going to be one of those people who edits Wikipedia.

Chris Rutledge Family

My wife and I constantly see God’s perspective when we raise our kids. One day we were taking our kids to the park and Roman didn’t want to leave the house. He was having a blast playing with a toy he’d played with a million times before. I picked him up to put him in the stroller and he threw a temper tantrum and thrashed in my arms. I said to him, “Dude, you’re going to have so much more fun playing at the park than with that toy. Trust me and let me put you in the stroller!” I probably got more upset with him than I should have. I don’t blame him, really; he had a good thing going with that toy. What more could I possibly have to offer him that would be better? I realized later how often my Creator says the same thing to me. I resist change when I’m comfortable, even when I know it’s God’s will that I change. I empathize with God; it must be so frustrating parenting me.

In his book “The Weight of Glory” C.S. Lewis said, “If we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

I get chills every time I read that. I imagine that’s how the disciples felt when Jesus told them, “Follow me and I’ll teach you how to fish for people.” God designed us to do something specific, and until we do that thing, we feel unfulfilled. Things just don’t feel right. God tries to take me somewhere he’s so excited for me to go. He knows I’ll enjoy it immensely. But I tend to kick and scream and reach for the toy that I’m so consumed with. I reject His plan for my life.

Chris and New Life Program GraduateThe largest part of my job as a Chaplain here at Denver Rescue Mission is talking with men in our New Life Program about what it looks like to live a life free from addiction. After seven years of working with them, I’ve realized how similar we are. A lot of us are dads and still working on what it means to be a father. Food, shopping, relationships, money, power; when boiled down, the desire for these things comes from the same place as a desire for heroin, alcohol, marijuana, and crack. There are a myriad of ways I can make myself happy without God’s help. Those ways of course lead to nothing but death, but in the impulsive moment they feel pretty good.

Jesus knows the desires of my heart. Many of those are desires I can’t identify with words. I stumble upon them after I’ve sinned, then submit myself to God’s will. Weeks after that, in my quiet time alone with God, I’ll realize how happy that submission to His will has made me.

In Luke 11:11-13 Jesus said, “You fathers—if your children ask for a fish, do you give them a snake instead? Or if they ask for an egg, do you give them a scorpion? Of course not! So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.”