A Family Legacy

“The Mission grew me into the man I am today. It was my daycare. It was my first job. It’s where I donate and bring my kids to volunteer.”

Shane Miller grew up at Nashville Rescue Mission. His grandfather, Brother Carl Resener, was involved with the Mission for 41 years, acting as CEO from 1971-1998. When he was just a baby, his mother would bring him to the Mission while she went to work, leaving him to spend his childhood at the organization that would come to be part of his family’s legacy.

“When I was about 13 years old I got my first summer job. I helped with the construction of the [current] building. We demoed and reconstructed the downtown Sears Department Store for the Mission’s use.” This gave him a behind-the-scenes look at how his grandfather implemented leadership in the organization’s development and growth over multiple decades. It gave him the unique opportunity to be constantly surrounded by those that were different from him. It enabled him to learn empathy and compassion at a young age and instilled character traits beyond his years.

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“I remember being just seven or eight and watching my grandfather greet the men every single morning. He’d look them in the eyes and say ‘hello,’ or ‘good morning,’ and thank them for being there. I didn’t understand why he did that so I asked him. He told me that he was sure to talk to each individual because there was always a chance that a warm greeting could change someone’s life.” This dedication to pursuing relationships and sustainable change wasn’t wasted on Shane. These are the same values that he’s currently teaching his own children, encouraging them to treat everyone the same and exude positivity and happiness. “We’re in a world that thrives on negativity. Nashville Rescue Mission is the place you can walk into and see happiness and smiles and people working so hard to change their lives for the better. Everyone is excited – whether its an employee or someone being served.”

To continue the Resener legacy, Shane continues to bring his two older children, Tyler and Kaydence, to the Mission to volunteer in the kitchen. He wants them to grow up with the same dedication to serving others that he was surrounded by. “Everyone who works at the Mission and donates their money and time is continuing right where my grandfather left off,” he shares. ‘If he could be there he would have a smile on his face. It’s grown so much and is an explosion of kindness. I’m blown away every time I step in the building.”

Mercy Me’s Nathan Cochran

Mercy Me’s Nathan Cochran

Being in a band means I spend most of my time on the road. MercyMe has toured the country countless times. This gives us the distinct privilege to step outside of ourselves and meet all different types of people. One such instance was at a rescue mission in California. We spent a day there volunteering and listening to stories from homeless men who were in need of food and shelter.

I specifically remember one man. It didn’t take much on my part to help him. All I needed to do was give my time. It didn’t take any special skill to serve him a meal, greet him warmly, or ask how he was doing that day. He had a rough childhood and essentially lost his family. He didn’t have a support system. I can’t imagine living without the incredible support system of my family and friends. Many people would look at this man and make assumptions about why he was homeless and what decisions he’d made to come to that point. But that wasn’t my job. My job was simply to help and listen.

Over the past few years, I and the other members of MercyMe have moved to Nashville. This is our home now, and we are honored to serve our neighbors in need.

As believers, I know full well it is our responsibility to be the hands and feet of Jesus. We are convinced that fulfilling The Great Commission means helping others. It’s a no-brainer. We aren’t obligated to help­—rather, we desire to help because of the love and grace we’ve received. We understand what Christ did for us and therefore, we are compelled out of gratitude to love those around us, regardless of what they look like or where their home is.

While recording our holiday album, Mercy Me, It’s Christmas!, I got to thinking about what it would be like to be homeless during Christmas. Outside of being cold here in Tennessee, it would probably be lonely. But it would be so easy for people like you and I to help.

With this in mind, I encourage you to pick up an extra gift during your holiday shopping trips and bring it to Nashville Rescue Mission. Something as simple as a wrapped gift could remind a homeless man, woman, or child they aren’t alone this Christmas.

It doesn’t take much to help our neighbors. Together, let’s be a reflection of Christ’s love and grace.

Merry Christmas!

Nathan Cochran

The Greatest Gift

The Greatest Gift

“I was seven years old when my little sister died. Life from that point on was never the same.”

Amy grew up in a small town, where she attended a private Christian school. Her family attended church, and while Christmas in their home was filled with holiday carols, the focus was never on gifts. “Christmas was about Jesus,” said Amy.

By all outward appearances, life seemed normal. But her younger sister was battling cancer and the trips to the hospital consumed most of her mom’s time. This was all Amy had ever known. Her sister was only five when she lost the fight. Less than a year later, Amy’s parents divorced.

“Life was hard,” she admits. “On top of all of that, I was picked on for wearing hearing aids.” A genetic hearing impairment had left Amy with 25 percent hearing loss in both ears. She fell prey to depression and by the age of 16, had attempted suicide. “I didn’t know how to deal with my emotions.”

Because her high school years were filled with turmoil, Amy decided to get her GED. This was followed by a job at a local gas station, where Amy’s supervisor first introduced her to prescription drugs. “I had no idea what I was getting myself into,” said Amy. “I had never used drugs or alcohol.” She continued to use pills while working at the gas station, but three years later, when she quit that job, she quit the pills, too.

It was only her second time in a bar when Amy met and started dating her boyfriend. She had no idea he was an alcoholic. Eventually, his struggle came to light, and in the process, he bribed Amy with pills so she would ignore his drinking. This worked for a while. But when she got pregnant, she put the pills down once again.

“After our son was born, I experienced postpartum depression,” said Amy. “My boyfriend didn’t like me taking pills, but for some reason, he was okay with me drinking. He would bring home bottles of vodka and offered that to me instead of pills. I drank all the time. I knew I needed help, but I wasn’t sure how to get it. I went to detox twice and once to rehab. But staying sober never lasted.”

Despite her addiction to alcohol, she and her boyfriend made plans to have another child.

“Once I knew I was pregnant, I wanted to quit drinking,” said Amy. “I tried to detox myself. For four days I was throwing up, had the shakes, and even blacked out. I finally called MainStorySideBarmy mom, who took me to the hospital. Once the ER staff learned of my condition, they made us leave. Even telling my mom to stop and get me a beer on the way home.”

“Last year, there was no Christmas for me or my son,” said Amy. “I was hungover and spent the day after Christmas drinking. The next day, I broke down and asked my family for help. That’s when we started looking for long-term treatment options.

Amy went to a two-week detox program, then she was ready. “I called so many places, but once I told them I was pregnant, they turned me down. I was ready to give up when I stumbled across Nashville Rescue Mission’s Life Recovery Program. I will never forget that feeling of relief when the person on the other end of the phone said, ‘Yes, please come, we’d love to help you.’ It gave me hope.”

Amy’s sister agreed to take care of her son while she got the help she so desperately needed. And braving an ice storm, Amy and her brother drove to Nashville where she entered the Mission’s Life Recovery Program.

“Shortly after arriving at the Mission, I went to see a specialist. I learned I was having a girl. But sitting in that room alone, in an unfamiliar town, as the doctor continued to tell me all that was wrong with my daughter—the weight of what I had done was too much. I was terrified. I didn’t know what God’s plans were, but I knew what I deserved.

Back at the Mission, Amy confided in the staff, expecting to be condemned. But they didn’t condemn her. And at times Amy wanted them to. “Did they not see what I had chosen to do to an innocent child? Instead they stood beside me and we started a journey together.”

Amy’s baby grew a little bigger and stronger. And when her daughter took her first breath of life, Amy was overwhelmed with love. “I know I don’t deserve any of this. Yet, God has chosen me to receive this gift of life. He knows what I’ve done to my son and what I did to my daughter, and He still loved me enough to bless me with a miracle.”

“I came to the Mission knowing everything love wasn’t. Love wasn’t neglecting to bathe for weeks at a time. It wasn’t neglecting to wash your child, or drinking two liters of vodka a day. It wasn’t drinking even though you carry the gift of life inside of you, or gathering your two-year-old and all his toys and going in the room with the door closed just in case mommy dies during detox. I know these things because this is who I was when I arrived at the Mission.”

Today, Amy has graduated from the Mission’s Program and is living in transitional housing. She intends to stay in Nashville, surrounded by who she now considers family. “My kids are going to grow up with lots of aunts,” shared Amy. “I’m looking forward to Christmas this year. It’s not about the presents—it’s about celebrating new life.”

“I know we have a long road ahead of us. But I can’t wait to tell my daughter about God, and what He and Nashville Rescue Mission have given us. Coming to the Mission saved her life, and mine.”

VIDEO: All I Want for Christmas …

Can you imagine what it would feel like to be unable to provide your children with Christmas gifts? Or know you wouldn’t receive any yourself? 

We asked a few of the children who stay at the mission what they want for Christmas. Their answers might shock you. Watch the video to see. 

Will you help us give them gifts this year? 

 

Download our Christmas Wish List to see which items the children, women, and men who stay here need and want most! And when you’re out doing your shopping, pick up something off this list and bring to our donation center. If you can’t get to the store, donate online and we’ll do the shopping. 
 
It’ll mean the world to them. 

NES Gives Back!

When you turn your lights on, you don’t necessarily think about all the people who work hard to ensure you have electricity. Well … they think about US!

Employees at Nashville Electric Service celebrated Customer Service Week by helping others! First, they raised money to provide costumes for the children at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital. Then, they organized a shoe and clothing drive for the men, women, and children who stay here at Nashville Rescue Mission.

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“Giving brings great joy to the heart, especially during the holiday season,” said Annetta, Customer Relations Supervisor at NES. She said they chose the Mission because of its broad range and high volume of services and impact.

As the temperatures drop, the homeless will need warm clothing and footwear to stay warm and prevent illness. Thanks to NES employees, we are able to re-stock our clothing closets at both campuses. We can’t thank them enough!