Looking Out The Window

Looking Out The Window

Dennis and his wife Marsha moved to Nashville in February 2016, to be closer to their children and grandchildren. Before that time, Dennis was the assistant pastor of a church in California, where he and his wife were actively involved in urban ministry.

“Shortly after moving to the area, my wife and I fell in love with Ethos church,” said Dennis. “It was during one of our prayer meetings on a Sunday night that I first saw the Mission’s building from the window. The logo caught my eye and I was curious to know more about what took place there.”

After taking the Mission’s “I Had No Idea” Tour, Dennis was impressed. “There were several things that stood out to me during the tour,” recalled Dennis. “The first was that the Mission doesn’t take any money from the government, which means they can share the Gospel without reservation. They also treat the men and women with dignity and respect, meeting all their needs psychically, mentally, and spiritually. It’s obvious through their Christ-centered approach that they desire success and a victorious life for those they serve.”

After signing up to volunteer, Dennis went home and prayed about where God would have him serve. He quickly received an answer after meeting with Ken Millwood, the Mission’s director of Life Recovery Ministries for men. “Before that meeting, I had no idea what a life recovery program was,” said Dennis. “This was a new facet for me of ministering to the homeless and addicted. The Lord gave me a vision for how I could serve, and in August 2016, I started teaching an elective class on Tuesday nights, based on the book of Ephesians.”

Over the course of six months, Dennis faithfully taught the men in his class to know the exceeding riches that God has for each of them through His gifts and blessings. “It was truly amazing to see the transformation in these men. One of the participants invited me to attend his graduation. I was honored he asked, and it was such a blessing to attend.”

Dennis has felt led to serve in several other capacities. Once a month, he leads a chapel service for the nearly 400 men who are nightly guests of the Mission. He has also recently started teaching a core class for the men in the Life Recovery Program.

“It is obvious God’s hand is upon Nashville Rescue Mission, and the Mission is finding favor in God’s eyes,” said Dennis. “I’m delighted to be a part of this family of faith. It is a blessing to serve at the Mission.”

Mission in My Words—Ted Dekker

Mission in My Words—Ted Dekker

I grew up in the jungles of Indonesia, far from any city. My parents were there as missionaries among cannibals who killed and ate our coworkers when I was six years old. My experience may be different than most people, but not as different as you might think. We all live in a world that consumes and discards us when we no longer fit into its framework.

Ministering to the outcasts was at the heart of all that Jesus taught and did two thousand years ago, and His message of hope for the hopeless remains the same today.

Growing up in a tribal culture, I was unfamiliar with many of the Western world customs. I was used to running in the jungle where I didn’t need to wear a shirt or shoes. When my parents returned to the states in my early teens, I felt totally lost and untethered. I was alone in a busy world that was foreign to me and more, I was rejected and bullied. In a very real way, I was an outcast.

I know many of the homeless can relate. Being looked down on, being avoided, being made fun of—I can identify with those feelings. I think we are all just trying to find our place in this world. In some ways, we are all homeless when we’re rejected.

“What you do to the least among you, you do to me,” Jesus taught. Not just people you agree with, or those in your religion, but everyone. In today’s vernacular He might have said, “What you do to the homeless, you do to me.”

Even more, He didn’t look down on the outcasts, instead, He told them that they were the light of the world. The gospels tell us that those with “various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed;” were being brought to Jesus for healing. He was speaking to them. He wanted the outcasts to see their inherent beauty and He invited them to awaken to the light within them.

Jesus was telling them how beautiful they were, you see? His was a message of hope for everyone, especially the destitute because in many ways we all find ourselves destitute at some point in our lives. Who will come and tell you how beautiful you are when you find yourself outcast?

After moving to Nashville, I had the opportunity to serve at Nashville Rescue Mission where you will find people who are attending to the needs of the homeless, without question. This is what loving the outcasts looks like.

It is said that you cannot be in the light and hold another in darkness, because in holding another in darkness, you only darken your own world. So we seek to love our neighbors as ourselves and walk in the light as we see the light in all we meet.

The Mission is doing that every day. This is the kind of love that holds no record of wrongs. It is the kind of love that shares with them what is ours. It’s why I support the Mission and the work they are doing. It’s important that we remind the homeless how beautiful they are because in a very real way, we are all homeless.


Ted Dekker is an American author of mystery, thriller, and fantasy novels including Thr3e, Obsessed, and the Circle Series. His novels have sold over 10 million copies worldwide. Two of his novels, Thr3e and House, have been made into movies. Dekker resides in the Nashville area with his wife Lee Ann and one of their daughters. The oldest of his four children, and first daughter Rachelle Dekker is also a writer.

The Mission or The Streets

The Mission or The Streets

Greg never imagined he would be homeless and living in a shelter. But when some serious medical conditions left him permanently disabled, he realized he didn’t have a lot of options. A friend told him about Nashville Rescue Mission.

“Despite living most of my life in Nashville, I didn’t have any one I could turn to in my time of need,” shared Greg. “I had only recently moved back following a 13 year stay in California with my wife and kids. But after we divorced I returned to Nashville.”

Looking back, Greg has had a successful life. He spent six years in the military serving his country. He’s also worked in retail management and spent time working as an electronic engineer. By most standards, his life was normal. But when complications from brain surgery left him unable to walk, talk, and do things most people take for granted, his life took an abrupt turn.

“Recovering from the surgery was hard and frustrating,” said Greg. “It was kind of embarrassing having to relearn how to walk and talk, things I knew I should know how to do. My life was completely flipped upside down.”

He lost his job, and eventually his home. At that point, Greg realized he had nowhere to go. “I do receive a monthly disability check, but once I pay child support, there’s not a lot left,” said Greg. “Today, most places require first and last month’s rent, as well as deposits for utilities. I wasn’t even in a position to save up money for those things. I felt utterly hopeless.”

As a preacher’s kid, Greg spent the better part of his childhood growing up in church. But at the age of 18, as he headed off to the service, Greg turned his back on his faith. He quit reading his Bible and stopped attending church.

“When I first arrived at the Mission, I really had no idea what I was going to do,” recalled Greg. “I would sit around and not really do anything, except maybe feel sorry for myself. But after spending time in chapel services, I rediscovered my faith in God.”

Greg started reading his Bible again and getting involved with various programs the Mission offers. “I signed up to be in the Guest Volunteer Program, or GVP. This program afforded me some privileges and opportunities I might not otherwise have had in exchange for helping around the Mission. I’ve also made some close friendships with other guests as well as staff. We are like family.”

“After losing everything, I was filled with despair,” said Greg. “I was without money. I had one set of clothes. I was at the bottom of the barrel and had no idea how I was going to get out. But the Mission gave me back my hope and my faith. I so appreciate all they’ve done for me.”

Since arriving at the Mission in early 2017, Greg has now saved up enough money to move into his own place. (By the time this story is published, he hopes to be living on his own again.)

“I have hope for the future,” said Greg. “I hope one day I can own a home and possibly get married again. I definitely plan to stay in church. I also look forward to coming back to the Mission to volunteer. They’ve given me so much, I want to give back.”

And for those struggling with homelessness or despair, Greg had this to say, “Don’t just sit there and let time pass by. Get involved. Get into a program. Help yourself move forward. Let your faith and hope be restored.”

Because of you and your gifts, Greg had the option of choosing the Mission over the streets and today he is eternally grateful.

 


If you’d like to help others like Greg by giving them a choice, visit nashvillerescuemission.org to make a donation today.

A Cold Night

A Cold Night

For most of us, the cold blast of winter means layering and bundling up, but for the homeless it can be fatal.

Homeless men and women who remain on the street are at risk for a variety of conditions caused by exposure to the cold, including frostbite and hypothermia. Many of the chronic problems faced by the homeless, including inadequate clothing, malnutrition, and underlying infection, further increase the risk of developing and dying from hypothermia.

Which is why on the coldest nights of the year, the Mission’s “Cold Patrol” goes searching for those sleeping outside. “Cold Patrol” is a valuable part of the Nashville Rescue Mission’s ministry to reaching and rescuing hungry, homeless and cold people from extreme weather. When the temperature drops below 25 degrees, the Mission’s “Cold Patrol” team hits the streets warning the homeless of the dangers of staying out in the cold and inviting them into a place of warmth, safety, and security.

Through your support, Nashville Rescue Mission offers support to our city’s homeless and hurting every day. Thank you for befriending Nashville’s homeless and giving them a resource to come in out of the cold year-round.

If you want to help provide resources to those who depend on Nashville Rescue Mission, you can donate here.