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What’s Your Mission Story?

Demetria Kalodimos—This is my Mission story.

“Every time I go to Nashville Rescue Mission, I am blessed by the stories of hope I hear from the men and women in the Mission’s Life Recovery Program.

Several years ago, I developed an awareness video for the Mission, along with my crew at Genuine Human Productions. The story that resonated most was that of a young, physically-fit father, whose back injury led to a reliance on prescription pain medication. A “normal guy” you’d talk to over the backyard fence. Through prayer and study, running and lifting weights, he was regaining his body, mind, and soul. He told us his youngest daughter thought of the Mission as “God’s Hospital”—a place where daddy was getting good medicine, and needed just a little bit more. If indeed the Mission is God’s Hospital, then we can think of ourselves as the staff—doctors, nurses, orderlies, counselors, and through street outreach—the MASH unit. We might not be wearing scrubs (okay, maybe the occasional hairnet) but we are all helping do the healing work. Our cure rate may not be 100 percent, but it’s getting better every day.”

 

Josh Wilson—This is my Mission story.

“We are all in need of Christ’s love, and Nashville Rescue Mission is a place where that love is given freely.

I have lived in Nashville since 2002, but it took me eight years to really see Nashville Rescue Mission, despite attending college at Belmont, just a few miles down the road. I was writing a song in response to the May 2010 flood and praying for God to send help to our devastated city. After a few days, I realized I was praying for God to send help, but I wasn’t doing anything to help. God challenged me to give my own time and resources
to show His love in my city. I wrote a song called “I Refuse” that summed up what I learned from the situation, and its basic message was that while I can’t do everything, I must refuse to do nothing.

As I opened my eyes to the needs in our community, I began to see many ways to serve. I came across Nashville Rescue Mission online and signed up to help. Not knowing much about the Mission,
I assumed its primary functions were to provide food and shelter for those in need. After the first five minutes of my tour of the facility, those presuppositions were blown away. Yes, the Mission provides food and housing, but it also goes abundantly beyond that. I recently met one man who was nearing the end of the program, and he told me God and the Mission saved his life. Over the years my wife and I have been back to the Mission to serve many times. Each time, I experience Jesus in a new way. If you want to see God at work, look no further than Nashville Rescue Mission.”

So what’s your Mission story? We’d love to hear all about it.

 

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Pastor Mike Glenn

Pastor Mike Glenn

We don’t have a homeless problem. Sure, there are people that don’t have homes, and yes, that’s a problem. In reality, however, being homeless is a consequence of a series of other problems. There are many reasons a person might end up homeless, and there is no one solution that answers all of the challenges that can lead to homelessness.

Sometimes, the issue is addiction. Other times, it’s mental illness. Abuse or abandonment can leave a mother on the streets with her children, and other times, changes in our economy leaves an entire family without anywhere to go.

Most people, as well intentioned as they may be, don’t understand how complicated and complex the issue of homelessness is and because of this, their efforts to minister to the homeless aren’t as helpful as they could be. In fact, these efforts can end up hurting the homeless.

So, if you are convicted about the homeless and want to do something to help them, where do you start? With food? That’s a start, but there’s more to the problem of homelessness than meals. Shelter? Again, a good start, but how many shelters can one person build? How many people can you actually get off the street?

The tough answer is this: not many.

That’s why being involved in Nashville Rescue Mission is a matter of stewardship as much as compassion. Nashville Rescue Mission has the systems and processes needed to engage the homeless at their point of need. Addicts need one kind of response. The unemployed, whether temporary or long term, need a different kind of response. A single mom with children needs a different kind of response. No one person can handle the complexities of each of these situations.

The Mission has the systems in place so you can engage in ways that maximize your resources and gifts. They can train you, which means you don’t have to learn the hard way. You can be connected to a meaningful ministry a lot faster than you would ever be able to do on your own.

Second, as you give to the Mission, you can be assured your resources are being spent in ways that have been proven to make a real and lasting difference in the lives of those being served.

Do you want to know the best part? Working with Nashville Rescue Mission, we do it in a way that allows all of us to work together. A problem—homelessness—is being addressed as God brings people together with the needed resources, talents, and experiences to bring solutions no one person could have thought of themselves. Together, we find out it’s a God thing.

And like always, we leave thinking we showed up to help, only to find out we were the one who was helped most. Like I said, it’s a God thing.

 

Pastor Mike Glenn is the senior pastor of Brentwood Baptist Church in Brentwood, Tennessee. He is a graduate of Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama, and received a Master of Divinity and Doctorate of Ministry from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. He and his wife, Jeannie, have two married sons. Visit his blog at mikeglennonline.com.

Spreading Hope … and Desserts!

Spreading Hope … and Desserts!

Four years ago, Lexi and her family volunteered to serve Thanksgiving dinner after hearing about Nashville Rescue Mission from country star Tracy Lawrence. Lexi was only nine and if she’s being honest, she’ll tell you she was nervous. Maybe even a bit frightened. She’d never been to a rescue mission before, didn’t know what to expect, and wasn’t sure she what she’d be doing. Now, when she looks back, she has no idea why she ever hesitated.

“It was really cool being able to serve homeless families with my own family and my friend who came along,” she recalls. That Thanksgiving also happened to be my birthday. By the time I left, I decided to have my birthday party there the next year.”

She couldn’t wait an entire year though. Soon after, Lexi and her mom and dad began serving in the men’s kitchen twice a week. They bonded with the staff and guests. “We don’t have family outside of the three of us. The Mission has become family. The men in the program that come through here, the staff, and so many others there have been amazing to our family. They have given more to us in love and respect then we can ever pay back. We are so grateful.”

When her 10th birthday rolled around, she invited her friends and their parents to serve alongside her. It was a birthday to remember. “WOW, the experience was amazing and the turnout was huge,” Kerry, Lexi’s mom says. Lexi’s birthday guests filled the kitchen and dining room, serving food and offering smiles and hope.

For a now thirteen-year-old girl, Lexi’s big heart and love for others is more than evident each time she serves at the Mission. All of her free time is spent in dance classes, focusing on perfecting her skills for competitions. But no matter what, volunteering comes even before dance, which is a selfless act for such a young girl. “I learn the most when I choose to come to the Mission instead of dance class. I know God told me to be here. God always comes first, and therefore helping others come first above my hobby. I love helping people. I want to make sure none of them go to bed hungry.

Lexi and her parents have seen homeless guests walk by with grateful smiles, and others with downtrodden and sad faces. No matter who they interact with at the Mission, they continually strive to spread hope … and desserts. “My favorite part is always when I get to be the one to serve the desserts!” Lexi exclaims. Everyone loves dessert.”

Who’s at YOUR Table?

Who’s at YOUR Table?

As you gather around your table this Easter season, who will join you? Will you invite your family, friends from church, coworkers, even neighbors?

For the man, woman, or child who is homeless… where can they find a seat? What table will they sit at this Easter? At Nashville Rescue Mission, there is room enough for everyone.

Easter is a time for the Christian community to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It’s the gift of new life. It’s a time when the Mission hopes to lift the hearts of the poor and homeless in the community with a traditional Easter meal and bless them with the gift of love.

The Easter meal can be an opportunity for the homeless to seek renewal. And the Mission provides an opportunity for everyone to participate in the festivities. The Mission expects to serve over 6,000 meals between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Volunteers will be serving heaping helpings of eggs, bacon, hash browns and fruit, for breakfast, followed by a traditional Easter lunch of ham, green beans, mashed potatoes, salad and desert… not to mention a friendly smile.

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“A meal can be the entry point for someone who is struggling with homelessness,” said Rev. Glenn Cranfield, president and CEO of Nashville Rescue Mission. “As we fill those in need with good nutritious food, we also hope to introduce them to the other services and programs we offer that can help them get off the streets permanently. So many of our guests are newly homeless—they were not homeless a year ago, but due to job loss, foreclosures, and other difficult situations they are now seeking our help. We know many are looking for a program based on Christian values, which is something we can offer them at Nashville Rescue Mission.”

“I came to the Mission on Good Friday of last year to eat lunch,” recalled Norman. “It was a big day with TV crews and even Nashville’s Mayor was here. I was escorted to my seat and sat next to Brian, who asked me many questions. I thought he was a reporter and shared my story with him. I was surprised when he told me he wasn’t a reporter, but rather a counselor on staff at the Mission. He didn’t judge me, but instead invited me in to the Mission’s Life Recovery Program. Easter Sunday was the first time I ever spent the Easter holiday in a church. Something changed for me that day. I knew God was speaking to me. I entered the Mission’s Life Recovery Program the next day. I graduated the program in November. Today, I’ve been set free from the chains of addiction. I am using my training as a chef to prepare meals for the very men I once walked the streets with. It’s my prayer they’ll find their way upstairs like I did. And maybe, just maybe it might start with a meal I’ve helped prepare.”

“At Easter, we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus and the freedom and redemption He brings,” said Cranfield. “Norman experienced that freedom and redemption every day here at the Mission. For him, it’s more than just a second chance. It’s an opportunity for a new life.”

This year, the Mission will serve a special Easter meal on Good Friday, as well as Easter Sunday. We pray the love of Jesus will shine brighter through the gifts of a meal and humble service to our homeless friends and neighbors in need. Because Jesus lives, there is room for everyone this Easter season.