For more than 20 years, Nashville Rescue Mission has been an important part of Bobby Nichols’ life. It began back in 1986 when he was a student at American Baptist College.
“My assignment was to write a report on homelessness,” recalled Bobby. “I stopped by the Mission to see if I could ask a few questions.”
Bobby not only walked away with an excellent interview for his report with Bro. Carl Resener (long-time Executive Director of the Mission), he received a job offer in the process. And for the next three years, he worked at the Mission part-time while attending school full-time.
After college, Bobby returned home to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, before returning to Nashville ten years later to participate in a chaplaincy program.
“Once I knew I was returning to Nashville, I checked with the Mission to see if there were any openings,” shared Bobby.
“When they called me to say they’d have a job waiting for me when I got there, I was shocked.”
Bobby spent the next 16 years working for the Mission, serving in a variety of positions. In 2017, Bobby retired from his full-time work at the Mission and started pastoring a church. That hasn’t stopped him from returning to the Mission only now as a volunteer.
“I love the Mission,” said Bobby. “It will always be a part of my life. The love and fellowship I experience each time I walk through the doors mean so much to me.”
He returns regularly to lead a morning devotion for men in the program, either teaching a lesson, or delivering a message. But according to Bobby, the best part is the time he spends talking with the men.
“Most of them know I used to work at the Mission. I think because of that, many of them are willing to open up with me a bit more. Often these conversations take place AFTER the devotion.”
Bobby has continued to look for ways to grow his and his church’s involvement at the Mission. Last year, they added an evening chapel service for women who are in the Mission’s program. His church, Progressive Missionary Baptist Church, also sends a church bus to the Mission on Sundays to pick up anyone who wants to attend.
“The Mission is a place where people genuinely care about you, will try to understand you, and will help you if you really want it,” said Bobby. “It’s a special place—a place where hope truly does live—and I encourage anyone who wants to help others to learn more about the Mission and find ways to get involved.”