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Dr. Frank Lewis

I’ll never forget my first night in Nashville, back in 1994. I was in town for a job interview and stayed at a downtown hotel. Being from Henderson, Nevada, my interaction with the homeless population had been limited. So, when the man at the hotel recommended a restaurant within walking distance, I didn’t hesitate to put my feet to good use, despite his suggestion of taking a cab or driving.
As I walked from the hotel to the restaurant, it didn’t take long for me to soon realize why he’d suggested a cab. Nashville was very different from Henderson. The urban poor were highly visible. I saw a city with many needs.
After accepting a position with the Baptist Sunday School Board, my family and I moved to Nashville in 1995. And while my job required a lot of traveling, I was honored to accept an interim position with First Baptist Nashville to lead a new contemporary worship service.
Over time I began to recognize the men from the Mission, whether they self-identified themselves by proudly telling me they were in the Mission’s Life Recovery Program or if they were only a temporary guest of the Mission.
I still vividly recall the day during the Lord’s Supper when one of the men from the Mission who’d been coming to our church for a few weeks asked me if we used grape juice or wine. He was quick to say, “I’m battling alcoholism, and one drink is all it’s going to take to get me off track.”
I told him we offered grape juice with absolutely no judgment for his question. In my heart, I celebrated with him. Just knowing he had hope, that he’d picked himself up, went to Nashville Rescue Mission for help, and was getting the tools he needed to build a better life was such a blessing.
Once on staff full time, I saw the issue of homelessness in Nashville on a much larger scale. There were days I would pull up to our church only to discover someone asleep in the bushes, seeking whatever little bit of shelter they could find.
Anytime I see someone who chooses to sleep on the street, I’m saddened, because I know they have a place they can go. Nashville Rescue Mission has been on the front lines in our city for over 60 years. At the Mission, those in need can find a safe environment where they have the opportunity to build a new life in Christ.
Getting our congregation involved at the Mission is never a hard sell. The Mission is doing a great work in our community. It’s why so many members of our congregation volunteer there on a regular basis.
I’m thankful for Nashville Rescue Mission and what they provide to those in need. It’s why our church has made a bottom line commitment to support the ministry of the Mission. They give people in need help and hope. It’s an honor to be a part of it.

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