Denver Rescue Mission Posts

When Seeking Help Is The Smart Thing To Do

Many people shy away from counseling; they think that if they seek help with their lives that others will label them as “crazy”. In fact, the exact opposite is true! Scripture tells us that:

A wise man will hear and increase in learning, and a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel.  –Proverbs 1:5

and

Listen to counsel and accept discipline, that you may be wise the rest of your days. –Proverbs 19:20

In other words, asking for help is the smart thing to do! Seeking input from others as we go through the seasons of our lives is an important part of becoming – and staying – mentally fit.

Not everyone needs to see a professional counselor. But if you or someone you know is feeling depressed, having difficulties in relationships or struggling in some way, a visit to your pastor, a chat with good friend or talking to a professional can make a world of difference. And, like a cavity in your tooth, if you handle things sooner rather than later, the problem will stay small and be more easily resolved.

However bleak the present may appear we can always have hope for better times ahead. That is one gospel promise that we see played out daily here at Denver Rescue Mission.

mental health awareness

May is Mental Health Awareness Month and we acknowledge that mental health is an important component of overall health and wholeness. The STAR Transitional Program Counseling Department sees its mission enfolded in the Mission’s overall mission statement: we “meet people at their physical and spiritual points of need” to address their unique challenges. This includes helping them with life issues and problems like depression and anxiety as well as in their relationships with themselves, with others and with God.

In our Counseling Department we support people on their way to becoming self-sufficient. We meet with each person or family in the program and see how we can help them individually with their mental and emotional challenges.

Through workshops, individual sessions, groups for teen girls and teen boys, and play therapy for children, we have the joy of watching participants grow and flourish in their relationships with God and with others. Along the way, we also help future professionals get the real-life experience they need to hone their skills through our intern program. In the future, we hope to add to our list of services by introducing group counseling as well as support groups for those who need extra encouragement.

Our counseling department is a place where our guests and program participants can find help, hope and healing as the Holy Spirit continues to form them into the image of Christ. And we are so grateful to serve this community in need.

To learn more about how you can help #breakthestigma around mental health and get involved in your own way, visit www.nami.org.

125 Years Strong: Lon Gregg

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In an effort to highlight the Mission’s 125 Years of Changing Lives, we wanted to spotlight a very special employee. Lon Gregg started at Denver Rescue Mission in 1989. He is the Mission’s Spiritual Director and has been here for almost 28 years.

Lon had a huge role in creating what is now called the New Life Program. Years ago he spent some time at a Rescue Mission in Chicago when he needed help with his own addiction and getting his life back on track. Lon has a huge heart to serve those experiencing homelessness, and we wanted to ask him a few questions.

How does it feel to be Denver Rescue Mission’s longest standing employee?

“Standing” is the key word. I’m thankful to God for the health to be still active in this great work. I’m glad every (or, almost every) day to get up and come to work here

Can you share what brought you to work at Denver Rescue Mission?

After leaving a pastoral position in a church, I worked for several years in a condo management company. My wife Janet saw a position listed in the newspaper for a couple to be houseparents at a new program at the Mission in an apartment building on Champa Street. By the time we answered the ad, the concept had changed, and they were instead looking for someone as director of the Lawrence Street Shelter. I thought I could be more useful working in a ministry than on condos, so I applied, and began at the Mission in August 1989.

What has changed the most since your first year?

Mostly, size. There were somewhere between 8 and 22 people on staff when I began and we had only two operations, the Lawrence Street Mission and Harvest Farm. (Champa House was not yet open.) In Denver, everything that’s now housed in the Ministry Outreach Center, The Crossing, and the Admin and Education Building all took place in the confines of the Lawrence Street Shelter. Things were cramped, and things have mushroomed!

Is there a particular person who has helped you grow in your career or influenced you in your ministry?

This may sound like an overly pious answer, but I think my years in getting to know Jesus better has had the most effect on my career in ministry. I have only very imperfectly followed the Savior, but His life (past and present) has impacted me most deeply.

What is the strangest thing that’s ever happened at the Mission?

Many strange things have happened! The sitar music outside the walls of our downtown facility comes to mind. I was in my office at the corner of 23rd and Lawrence one day around lunchtime and heard loud Indian music coming through the air conditioner. (There was no window in the office in those days.) Investigating, I found a Hare Krishna van parked at “Triangle Park” across the street, loudspeakers blaring. The van was manned by folks in orange robes, handing out sandwiches to the needy folks gathered across the street. I remember thinking later with pride that our message, the “Jesus saves” sign, had hung outside that same corner for so long. We had a message to proclaim, underlined by years of commitment, telling the world that our Christian faith was concerned about our needy neighbors, a faith that was determined to do something about it for the long run.

What is one of your best memories at the Mission?

My best memories are transformed lives. Some years ago I led a small group of New Life Program participants in a discipleship program. One of the young men, a heroin addict with a lengthy criminal record, graduated and has now gone on to be a leader and evangelist in his church. He has maintained this strong testimony for Christ for a number of years. He holds promise of being a Christian leader in his home (he is now married with a child), and in his community, and maybe beyond, for a lifetime. Stories like this bring great joy; what more could one want in life?

We’re so grateful to have Lon at the Mission. He is a calming presence who makes an impact every day by encouraging our program participants and other staff members to find strength in our Lord and Savior. Here’s to another 28+ years, Lon!

It’s Volunteer Appreciation Week!

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April 23-29 is National Volunteer Appreciation Week and we’re celebrating! Here at the Mission, volunteers are our heroes. They serve meals with a caring smile, tutor kids who are behind in school, spend time mentoring adults & children, care for kids in transition, sort donations and so much more to help our organization flourish as we do God’s work.

We’re excited to share the passion and commitment of these seven featured volunteers. Read their stories below and consider signing up to make an impact at www.denverrescuemission.org/volunteer.

Thanks for all you do to #SERVEDenver and #SERVENoCo!

Steven Walker

Steven Walker

Steven serves three times a week at our Lawrence Street Community Center (LSCC) in downtown Denver. He greets guests, scans their badges and hands out silverware. “I greatly enjoy the one-on-one contact with the Mission’s guests. I want them to feel welcome and know this is a place where there is no judgement,” says Steven.

Steven was blown away by our new LSCC facility when it opened and wanted to be part of it. “Blessings have been bestowed on me. Volunteering is just one small way I can pay back this gratitude,” says Steven.

We’re grateful you chose the Mission, Steven!

 

Melissa Thevenin

Melissa Thevenin

Melissa enjoys giving her time once a week as a Work Therapy Engagement Volunteer at Harvest Farm and working in the kitchen at Fort Collins Rescue Mission.

“Every person is unique and so many are hilarious. They energize me with their perseverance, and I enjoy hearing their stories and talking about their interests and goals,” says Melissa.

She was nervous at first because she didn’t feel qualified, but Melissa quickly learned that all she had to do was show up and be herself. “You’ve probably heard the quote, ‘God doesn’t call the equipped; He equips the called.’ I never believed that until I became a volunteer at Harvest Farm.”

Not only is Melissa positively impacting our program participants and guests, God is working in her heart in the process too.

Linda Parker

Linda Parker

Linda finds her passion for volunteering in our kitchens — she feeds lunch to our hungry men, women and children at The Crossing every Tuesday and serves up breakfast on Saturday mornings at the Lawrence Street Community Center.

“My heart aches for all the participants but when I am on the line serving, I have an opportunity to say hello, offer a smile and another chance to do what Jesus would do,” says Linda.

We are so grateful to have her smiling face at our facilities every week!

Larry Lewis

Larry Lewis

For nearly three years, Larry has helped lead the worship service at our Fort Collins Rescue Mission chapel.

When asked why he likes volunteering at the Mission, Larry said “It’s real. I love looking at the variety of faces of children and knowing no matter where that person is today that God can provide healing and hope.”

Larry’s voice and his words make our guests feel lighter and happier every time they enter the chapel, and we can’t thank him enough for sharing his talents. “I certainly receive much more from volunteering than I could ever give,” adds Larry.

The Spicers

The Spicers

The Spicer’s are one of our most dedicated volunteer duos! Russ teaches Fly Fishing Basics to our men in recovery at Harvest Farm. While Tina provides foot care for our guests twice a month at Fort Collins Rescue Mission.

Russ takes our men out on the river a few times a year and says “I enjoy helping the men at Harvest Farm know that they can have fun in a clean, healthy way.”

One of Tina’s most memorable experiences as a volunteer was when she brought some friends with her to the Mission’s Easter Banquet where they washed the feet of our homeless guests, just as Jesus did with his disciples. “Being allowed to serve others in this way is humbling and very rewarding,” says Tina.

Duane Barker

Duane Barker

Duane has been volunteering with us at Harvest Farm since August of 2015. He feels privileged to walk with and pray for the men in our New Life Program that they may find healing and deliverance.

“I have a farming background and every farmer knows there’s an investment before the Harvest. I’m investing a piece of my daily life into my Father’s ‘farm’,” as Duane explains it.

Duane’s heart for serving our men is incredible and we know that they feel encouraged after each encounter with him. Thank you, Duane!

1,000 Happier Feet This Easter

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As the Denver Rescue Mission staff member who oversees all of our events and corporate engagement, one of the best parts of my job is getting to see the greater community of the Denver area come together to make a difference in the lives of our guests and program participants. Hands down, my favorite event that I get to be a part of is our annual Easter Celebration.

The Easter Celebration is all about restoring a sense of dignity to men and women by providing a holiday meal and a clean pair of socks and shoes. In addition to a new pair of shoes, they enjoye an Easter chapel service, a traditional Easter meal and the opportunity to have their feet washed and examined by a podiatrist. This year we were fortunate to distribute nearly 1,000 pairs of shoes.

Easter Banquet 2017 Shoes

Our Easter Celebration wouldn’t be possible this year (or any other year for that matter) if it weren’t for our corporate partners like Runners Roost Denver and New Balance. As ambassadors of the local running community, perhaps no one understands the value of clean socks and new shoes like the teams at Runners Roost and New Balance. They have served and partnered with us on multiple occasions for our Easter Celebration. Each year, they are willing to not only donate shoes, but also to come and serve at the event to help distribute the shoes to our guests.

I have been honored to work with Runners Roost and New Balance in previous years. I’m always struck by their graciousness, willingness to say ‘yes’, desire to serve those in need and just how “on the ball” they are in regards to communication, efficiency and partnering with us. It’s so awesome to me that these companies believe in: our community; providing and restoring dignity to those Denver Rescue Mission serves; and building community in their own organizations through service opportunities like these.

 

If you are a part of a company or your company is looking to partner with an organization to help make a lasting change in the lives of those in need, please reach out to me at JLittlejohn@denrescue.org. Let’s start the conversation and see what kind of change we can make together!

A Love Made Stronger

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In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, I began reflecting on some of the wonderful couples I’ve had a chance to meet at Denver Rescue Mission. I’ve met the Lopez family who just moved into our STAR Transitional Program with their four children – both parents are working and trying save up money. I’ve chatted with couples at our banquet meals downtown who are grateful to have somewhere to go during the day where they can spend time together. Another couple that sticks out in my mind is Denise and Thomas Martin.

The Martin’s met back in October of 2012 and were married six short months later. “We’re always wanting to spend time together,” says Denise.

They’ve had their share of hardships — with Thomas suffering from an eye condition that prevented him from working and Denise battling heart problems and breast cancer. In fact, they were homeless for the first six months of their marriage and had to spend dozens of lonely nights in separate shelters. But, these two always seemed to find a way back to each other and soon they found solace in our STAR Transitional Program at The Crossing. The Martin’s lived at The Crossing for two years and were able to get their lives and health back on track.

Nearly a year after they graduated our program, I caught up with Denise and Thomas to see how they were doing. They were proud to report that they still live in a beautiful two bedroom apartment at Park Hill Station, an affordable housing complex just down the road from The Crossing.

What really strikes me is their steadfast faith. Even when their situation looked dire, they leaned on God, and each other, day in and day out. Denise reports that their health is doing much better and she attributes this to “God’s healing hand”.

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, Denise and Thomas are looking forward to spending a romantic evening together going to dinner and a movie and are thankful to now have a place to call home.

You can read more about their love story in the Mission’s Changing Lives newsletter and listen below to a piece of our conversation. 

As I make my own Valentine’s Day plans with my husband, Matt, and reflect on our three years of marriage, I feel inspired by the Martin’s love for each other and God and will always keep Denise’s words close to my heart…

“Make your priority God and if the other person is making their priority God, you’ve got a good foundation.” – Denise Martin