Three years ago, Mary Crutcher, Director of the Family Life Center had a desire to start a mid-day chapel service on Wednesdays geared towards both the homeless women and program women staying at the Nashville Rescue Mission. Leave it to God to weave this together in a way only He could do.
Sandy first learned of the need for help at the Nashville Rescue Mission, through her friend Michelle, a faithful volunteer at the Mission. Sandy, who’s father was Jewish and mother was unchurched, strongly believes “God led” her to volunteer at the Mission. Sandy’s parents came to know Christ as adults, so Sandy was blessed to grow up in the knowledge of the Lord. However, she describes herself as a “flashlight without any batteries.”
“I was an emotional girl always living my life based on feelings,” says Sandy. But this was not enough to sustain her walk with the Lord. Eventually Sandy became rebellious, prideful and independent. After a number of heart-breaking experiences, she became determined to never feel again. All of that changed in 1994, when she started attending church again. Sandy’s hunger for the Lord had been renewed.
“At this point in my walk, instead of being emotional, I became very logical and almost legalistic in my thinking,” shares Sandy. Once again, God had something else in store for her. “On August 22, 1998, I heard the Lord ask me what I was doing to fan the flame.” Sadly, my reply was “nothing.” According to Sandy, “This started me on a journey that eventually led me to the Nashville Rescue Mission and put the batteries in my flashlight. The light is now on!”
Becky met Sandy around the same time she was volunteering at the Mission in a Bible Study. After the study wrapped up, Becky went through some difficult trials and was spending more and more time in her prayer closet. In search of clarity, Becky went on a 2 week fast in January 2007. Bright and early one morning, Becky decided to drop off some clothes for the women at the Nashville Rescue Mission. The next day, she found herself at the gym and on the treadmill next to her was Sandy.
“Sandy told me about the volunteer work she was doing at the Mission’s Hope Center,” says Becky. “I was in awe at how quickly God answered my prayer; I knew immediately He was calling me to join in this work.”
Becky’s hairdresser, Pam had miraculously been cured of cancer after receiving only 4 chemotherapy treatments. Becky couldn’t wait to tell Pam her exciting news about volunteering at the Mission.
When Pam was only 12 years old, her grandfather, an alcoholic, would go on binges and be gone for weeks or months at a time. “I can remember going to the Nashville Rescue Mission back then, where we would often find him staying.”
“Sadly, this became the routine over the years,” says Pam. “I remember my first job working at the Captain D’s on West End Avenue. My grandfather would stop by for a cup of coffee. One day, he just stopped coming.”
Unfortunately, Pam’s grandfather was found murdered under the Woodland Street bridge. “After that, I started donating monthly to the Mission,” says Pam. “The streets took my grandfather from me, but the Mission always gave him food and shelter.”
So when Pam heard Becky’s news, she too felt God was calling her to volunteer at the Mission.
Wendy, also a hairdresser, works with Pam. Wendy had been greatly touched in seeing Pam walk through her ordeal with cancer and become a living miracle. So when she heard about Pam’s experiences volunteering at the Mission, she too wanted to get involved.
“I told Pam I’d love to help out,” says Wendy. “But I prefer being behind the scenes. I specifically told her, I’d do almost anything to help, with the exception of praying out loud. I just wasn’t comfortable praying out loud.”
Shortly after this, Wendy went to see Pam’s husband, who is a dentist. She desperately needed a crown and he was just the man for the job. Before placing the permanent crown, Pam’s husband engraved the word “pray” on Wendy’s crown and both he and his wife prayed over her.
The next thing you know, Wendy is now leading the prayer time during the chapel service.
Lives Woven Together
In a way that could only be orchestrated by God, the lives of these women were woven together and now form a blanket that covers the mid-day chapel service at the women’s Mission on Wednesdays. They bring love, hope, courage and inspiration to the ladies staying at the Mission on a weekly basis. These women are truly making a difference in the lives of those who are lost, homeless and hopeless. The value of their service is priceless.
The Nashville Rescue Mission could not do what we do without the help of precious volunteers. If you’re interested in volunteering at the Mission, please call our volunteer hotline at 615-312-1544.