Serving Up Hope

Serving Up Hope

At 75, there’s no stopping Carolyn, a faithful volunteer of the Mission.

For more than 16 years, Carolyn and others from her church, First Baptist Joelton, have been volunteering to serve the homeless. Ten years ago Carolyn joined a group of women from church who are serving up hope and love to ladies graduating from the Mission’s Life Recovery Program.

Most of what is served has been prepared at home by the loving and caring hands of these volunteers. “We don’t make them stand in line,” said Carolyn. “We want them to know they are loved, they are important—and we do that by serving them. We want to treat them as we would our own families.”

A mother, grandmother, and a great grandmother, Carolyn knows a thing or two about families. “When I’m volunteering, I remember each girl is someone’s daughter. I cannot imagine the pain, grief, and suffering their families have gone through. I can’t imagine anyone growing up wanting to be addicted to drugs. No parent wants that for his or her child. The Mission offers those in need, struggling, hurting, and addicted the opportunity to get off the streets and make dramatic changes in their life. It’s a wonderful program.”

The desire to serve hope and love stretches well beyond the monthly graduation ceremonies. Carolyn and her group of volunteers have found many other ways to get involved and give back.

“I love a good cup of tea,” shared Carolyn. “Two years ago I asked the women in my church group if they’d be interested in hosting a tea party for the women at the Mission. They were tickled to do it. I brought my teapots. We put tablecloths on the tables and served on fine dishes. We waited on the ladies and served them as if they were dining at a five star restaurant. Each lady received a cup and saucer as a gift. We look forward to doing this again next year along with several other events. ”

 

The Mission is so grateful for Carolyn, her church, and the many groups that faithfully serve here. If you’d like to learn more about the ways you and your church group can get involved in the work God is doing at Nashville Rescue Mission, visit nashvillerescuemission.org/get-involved/

Mission in My Words- Lily Isaacs

Mission in My Words- Lily Isaacs

I was born in Germany, but we moved to New York when I was two. I dreamed of performing in the Jewish Theater. Along the way, I formed a duo with a friend and we sang in a coffeehouse in Greenwich Village. That’s where I met Joe, who was from Kentucky and played bluegrass—I’d never heard that type of music before. We dated and married.

When Joe’s older brother died in a terrible car accident, my life was forever changed. As my in-laws gathered for a memorial service (Joe’s dad was a Pentecostal preacher), I didn’t want to go. I had never attended church. But for the sake of my family I went. As I sat on the back row, ashamed to be there, I cried my way into an acceptance of Jesus.

When I gave Jesus my heart, He changed it. The hope and faith I have in Him has carried me through raising a family, breast cancer, divorce, being on the road, and performing around the world. Through it all God has grown my heart for wanting to help others in need.

About ten years ago I got a letter postmarked from Atlanta, Georgia, but with no return address. The man said he was homeless and had read my story in a magazine he got out of a dumpster. He was from New York, but living on the streets of Atlanta. My story encouraged him. A month later I got a second letter. By some miracle, I tracked his letter back to a little gas station outside of Atlanta where he would stop to eat leftover food. I decided to write him back. He didn’t ask for anything, but I sent him $20. Our dialog lasted for two years. I would sometimes send him snacks, money, a Bible and so on.

In that time he accepted Christ and reunited with his son. I had planned to send him a CDs, but to my surprise, he wrote that he was deaf. How ironic, he couldn’t even hear our music. One of the last exchanges we had was that his son and daughter-in-law had a baby and named her Lily. I cannot imagine a greater compliment. His story inspires me and reminds me there are many people like him who are lost and living on the streets—in need of hope.

It is for that reason I’m so grateful for Nashville Rescue Mission. It’s a place where people can find more than a sandwich and blanket. It’s a place where lives are transformed through the power of the Good News of Jesus Christ. It’s an honor to be a part of the Mission family of supporters.


 

Lily Isaacs is a vocalist and matriarch of The Isaacs, a country and bluegrass gospel music group that also includes daughters Becky and Sonya Isaacs, and son Ben Isaacs. The Isaacs have won over seven Doves in various categories and have had several Grammy nominations in their career. They perform frequently at the Grand Ole Opry, are active members on the Gaither Homecoming Videos and Concert Series.

Radically Redeemed by God’s Grace

Radically Redeemed by God’s Grace

 

Jay was charged with three counts of attempted murder, and two counts of illegally discharging a firearm. He was a teenager facing a minimum of 80 years and a maximum of five consecutive life sentences. But hope and opportunity in the form of Nashville Rescue Mission and Charles, a Mission supporter, were the agents of change that transformed Jay’s story from high school gang leader to a happily married father who is giving back to the community.

“My dad was a heroin user and died when I was ten,” Jay said. “My mom married two more times and was heavy into prescription drugs. The court ordered me to live with my grandparents.”

Within a year and a half Jay would attend five different public schools and two alternative schools. At the age of 13, Jay joined his first gang. And at 15, he was leading a gang of 35.

“We sold weed and robbed houses. Once we started robbing for guns we made enemies. My grandfather was in bed when bullets sprayed our house.” After returning fire on those responsible, the police caught and arrested Jay and three others. “I was under age. So they took me to juvenile and the others to jail. I stayed in for a few months, went to boot camp, and got out on house arrest.”

Two weeks after being released, Jay was involved in an auto theft where three people were shot. A week later, detectives were at Jay’s house. “This time they took me to adult jail. I was 15 and facing hard time.”

“After being in jail for awhile, I remember telling God I was ready to surrender. I didn’t want to live the rest of my life in prison. The next day, Charles walked into my life. He’d heard about my case and wanted to help. He visited me in jail for six months and asked a Christian attorney to take my case. After three years of jail, we went to court—I was released the next day.”

Charles told the court about Nashville Rescue Mission’s Life Recovery Program. The court agreed to five years of parole for Jay, as long as he completed the program.

“This experience saved my life,” said Jay. “I was setup to be homeless, a drug addict, and in jail. But I was willing to do anything to get a second chance.”

“My first two weeks at Nashville Rescue Mission were the best weeks of my life. At the Mission I was introduced to a relationship with Christ, something I had never seen before. It was everything I needed and all I would ever need.”

“The Mission’s program provided me with biblical training during the day and stewardship of a job that was sometimes humiliating— like cleaning the bathroom for the homeless guests. At first I didn’t grasp the reason behind work therapy, but through the process, I learned more about myself and how to care for other people.”

After graduating from the program, Jay lived in the Mission’s transitional housing for six months. He found a job, joined a church, and participated in Bible studies… things that were completely foreign to him. “But it was everything I wanted,” said Jay. “I enrolled in a psychology program at MTSU and was accepted. I was surrounded by good people but I didn’t tell anyone my story until my developmental psychology class.” When the subject of incarcerating juveniles as adults came up, Jay shared his testimony. “I was finally able to embrace my story and allow God to use me. It was a pivotal moment in my life.”

Jay met his wife at MTSU in 2012. Soon thereafter, Currey, Jay’s counselor from the program performed their marriage ceremony in the chapel at the Mission. Surrounded by family and friends, it was symbolic in many ways, as this was the chapel Jay had cleaned many times. Jay graduated from college in May of 2015 and has since gone on to work for various organizations giving back to the community.

“Today I am different person,” said Jay. “Eight years ago, I was someone most people would write off. And now through the generosity of strangers I have a stable life rooted in Christ, and I’m driven to bettering my community. I recently became a father. I couldn’t ask for a better life.”

According to Jay, as long as God is involved, there will never be another addict or homeless person in his family line. It stops with him. “My grandfather died from a heart attack when I was in jail. It took a lot of talking with God and forgiving myself because I thought I was to blame. I went to his funeral in shackles and handcuffs with two armed guards. If only he could see me now.”

Jay’s story is a testimony of the life changing effect Christ can have in someone’s life. There are many more people in need of this life change, but we need your help. Will you join us in our efforts to bring hope and healing to others like Jay?

Donate today.