I have lived in Nashville for nearly 40 years, but only in the last 18 have I had an awareness of Nashville Rescue Mission.
In 2000, I retired from a full-time music career as a Christian recording artist, songwriter, and producer, went to seminary, and became a pastor at a local downtown church. It was there I first encountered the problem of homelessness in our city.
Through almost daily interaction with people coming to our church for food and other assistance, I began to grapple with the social problems that often produce homelessness: addiction, mental illness, lack of education, dysfunctional families, domestic abuse, poor social skills and work habits, spiritual poverty, and more.
I began to ask myself: who is addressing these issues and where do people go when they fall off the bottom rung of the economic ladder? The answer came up again and again—Nashville Rescue Mission. I began to learn more and started encouraging some of the people I met to consider the Mission, even taking some to the Mission when they were finally ready to make a move off the streets.
It was only after repeated interaction with Mission staff that I learned more about the additional aspects of their work. First, their Guest Services area provides the most basic requirements needed for survival, such as food and shelter, to those experiencing homelessness. Second, their Life Recovery Program, which is a one-year, faith-focused drug and alcohol rehabilitation program, is available to men and women battling addiction.
As God would lead me, I left my church post in 2013, and the following year became a Case Manager at the Mission working directly with homeless guests. I experienced both great challenges and wonderful breakthroughs, including reuniting a homeless man with his family whom he had not seen for nearly 30 years. They thought he was dead, but he was simply lost in a fog of mental illness and despair until, by God’s grace, we were able to intervene.
In late 2015, I become a Chaplain and Life Coach in the Life Recovery Program where I witnessed the miracle of restoration and God’s incredible power released in the lives of men who were finally willing to surrender to Him. The highlight of every month is graduation where the men who finish the first six months of the program are celebrated and have the opportunity to praise God for what He’s done, as well as the option of moving into Transitional Housing. To see, bitter, broken, and despairing men transformed—now beaming with life and gratitude as they stand before their families—always fills my heart with joy.
While ministry work has taken me elsewhere, I am still an active volunteer and supporter of the Mission and plan to remain involved as long as I live in Nashville. It is truly the place where hope lives.
Rob Frazier enjoyed a 25-year career in Christian music as a songwriter, artist, and producer before becoming a pastor, teacher, mentor, and creative coach. Initially coming to Nashville to play keyboard and guitar with the band Petra, he recorded and toured with them, then subsequently produced seven solo albums. Rob has over 200 recorded songs including ones by Kansas, Petra, Steve Camp, Ricky Skaggs, and more receiving multiple Dove and Grammy award nominations.
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