One of my main jobs here at the Mission is writing our monthly newsletter: The Changing Lives Newsletter. The process to produce one edition takes an entire month, so even though I’ve been here for seven months, I’ve only seen the process from start to finish five times. It’s a long learning curve!
I usually start by reading through last year’s edition of that same month to get ideas. As I feel a concept start to percolate, I call other Denver Rescue Mission employees to ask about some program participants. I call program heads, chaplains, mentors, counselors, the list goes on. I ask if they have anyone in their program who would be willing to explain their journey to and at the Mission. Once I have those names and numbers, I make appointments.
Then comes my favorite part of the job: meeting our program participants and graduates. Because I haven’t been here long enough to see an individual enter and graduate our program, my relationships with our participants are built in my interviews. I have met so many gracious people at this point in the process. People who are not only willing to let me snap photos, but are inviting me to ask questions about the most difficult experiences of their lives. It’s incredible to see these people sitting in front of me who are usually so well-acclimated speak about such trying times.
It’s a constant reminder that all of us are one decision away from losing everything. It reminds me of my fallibility and my utter dependence on God. I praise the Lord for these people’s victories and feel privileged to tell their stories.
After the interview, I usually rush back to the office and try to write the story while it’s fresh in my brain. But the writing part is not the part that I look forward to each month. It’s the interviews. It’s the relationships that I get to build. It’s seeing a participant graduate knowing some of the mountains they had to climb to get there.
The finished product may be a pretty newsletter with compelling words and photos, but the end goal is seeing that same person living a self-sufficient life months after it’s printed. To me, that is when the job is truly done.