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Testimony of the Month

James and WandaWANDA AND JAMES WEIR


Editor’s Note: We normally feature first-person stories about the men and women who have had their lives changed on the New Life Program. This month we are changing up our format to bring you a different perspective. The people who come to the Rescue Mission often have parents or loved ones who desperately want them to get sober and get out of homelessness. The pain a parent feels when their son or daughter is out of control and homeless can be almost unbearable.

But there is hope for parents too and there are few joys greater than seeing a son or daughter restored. This month, then, we bring you the story of homelessness as told by a desperate mother and an addicted son. This is the third time we have featured James Weir in the Rescuer, but we are happy to continue his story as he keeps making further strides, now eight years since he graduated from the New Life Program.

A Mother’s Story; A Son’s Story

For James and Wanda Weir, it all came to a head at dawn on a snowy morning in 2007. After years of bribing, cajoling, and babying her son James, Wanda, along with James’ step-father, decided to take a stand.

They had kicked James, a 300-pound drug addict, out of their home in Holladay a few days earlier. But with winter snow falling and nowhere else to go, James had been sneaking back to his mother and step-father’s patio and was sleeping on the patio couch (a place normally reserved for the family dogs’ naps).

Here’s Wanda: In the past I resorted to bribery. I would tell him, “If you stop using drugs I will rent you an apartment. I’ll buy you a car.” Or “If you go get a job I will drive you to work, I’ll bring you lunch, whatever, if you just stop this behavior.” I know how silly that seems but we would’ve done anything for James. We sent him to rehabilitation centers. Once we paid for him to go to a recovery ranch for $900 a month. We had to just scrimp and save to be able to afford that, but we were desperate. It was all really, really hard.

As the snow was falling I saw how cold it was outside. I began praying and crying. There were five empty rooms in my house and my son was sleeping where our dogs sleep. I looked out of my kitchen window and saw him sleeping and said to myself, “You are my son. You are worth more than sleeping where my dogs sleep.” But then, all of the sudden through the grace of God, I realized it had nothing to do to me. This was between James and the Lord. I figured out only the Lord would be able to bring him out of it.

 I realized we were trying to do too much. We were not allowing James to live out the decisions of his life. Our ego was too big, we thought we could fix him, but only God could.

Calling the Cops

So instead of bringing James a blanket or letting him back into the house, Wanda called the police to report that her son was trespassing. When the police arrived James—cursing the whole way—was taken to jail. When he got out, Wanda met James at Sugarhouse Park on his birthday. It was just the two of them. She brought a cake and sang happy birthday. She still loved him but told him she wouldn’t enable his addiction anymore.

Without help from his parents James was arrested again. When he got out of jail this time, James ended up at the Rescue Mission. From that point on James’ life changed. He has been sober for the past eight years and works the Noon to 8 p.m. shift as a case manager for a local behavioral health clinic that works with the homeless

Here’s Wanda Again: The Lord took care of him like He promised us. James was 300 pounds, eating every piece of sugar in sight and just a lazy, pain-in-the-neck kind of guy. Now he gets up at 5:30 a.m. and goes to the gym. I don’t think there is an ounce of fat on him. Then he comes home, fixes his meal, and gets ready for work. I mean, who gets up at 5:30 when they don’t have to be to work until Noon?

I think it’s a miracle. It’s a miracle of the Lord’s hand that happened at the Rescue Mission. The Mission took him under their wing, they fed him, and clothed him. They were loving and kind and patient. Yet they were also direct and did not put up with the games he played. He finally understood this and felt it and that’s what inspired the change in him. Now he’s 35, he has a steady job, he just bought a home all by himself, with no help from us. Imagine, him having the credit to buy a home as a first-time buyer! It’s been quite a road but we are so grateful to the Lord and to the Mission and everyone there.

James Keeps Up His Walk

For James it has been a blessed journey from the snowy day his mom called the cops on him for sleeping outside in the family dog bed.

Here’s James: My job is great. I work with people who are either homeless or struggling to make ends meet. Most of them also have a mental health diagnosis. I connect them with housing and part-time employment and help them with paperwork. It’s a real job with benefits, a 401K, a retirement plan, everything. It’s crazy. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life until I walked into the Rescue Mission. After being there for six months I knew I wanted to serve people. I wanted to be just like the staff team at the Rescue Mission.

I am excited to move into my new townhouse this month. I should close on February 10. I have even been able to save up money for a car and a motorcycle, which I paid in full without getting loans.

Please keep praying for me as I moved into my own house. Pray that God would keep me connected to my home church, Calvary Chapel. I have many good relationships with people I know from the Mission but I need to develop a stronger church family. Thank you for supporting the Mission. The change I experienced here has made my mom proud of me and made an eternal difference in my life. I owe it all to God, the Mission, and you, who support this ministry.

 

DIRECTOR'S NOTE

How The New Homeless Service Model Will Impact The Mission

Last month I shared an overview of Salt Lake City and County’s new model for homeless services and voiced our support for it. While there continues to be much public discussion about the locations of the new resource centers, the Rescue Mission still believes it is the right model and believes local and state leaders can make it work.

But the question remains, how will decentralizing homeless services away from downtown impact the Mission’s ministry?

The current plan for four new “scattered-site” shelters and the possible closing or downsizing of the community shelter in the Rio Grande neighborhood may actually result in few shelter beds available in Salt Lake County. We also anticipate the scattered-site model will create a lower concentration of people experiencing homeless in the downtown area. Instead of people being able to walk from the Rio Grande neighborhood to the Rescue Mission in order to receive our services, our homeless friends will have to commute greater distances (from the scattered-sites).

These factors require the Mission to create a purposeful approach to logistics and transportation. We have experience with transportation to and from the Rescue Mission Women’s Center and other partner agencies located in cities and counties across Utah. Armed with this experience, we are working on a plan to ensure no one misses out on the Mission’s life-changing services simply because of transportation.

We will continue our jail diversion program, in partnership with the Legal Defenders Association, court system and Adult Probation and Parole. This program helps people with very low to no income receive recovery services at the Mission. Instead of sitting in jail these men and women receive the services they need to rebuild their lives. This program saves our community hundreds of thousands of dollars each year.

In addition, Utah’s population is growing at twice the national average and planners forecast that Utah’s population will double in 20 years. The Rescue Mission, then, is expecting to serve an ever-increasing number of people through emergency services (e.g. meals, shelter, clothing, day room) and our inpatient recovery and transitions programs, which are helping to end homelessness. What is also certain is that hurting people will still need God’s loving care—spiritually, emotionally and physically—which we have been showing daily for 46 years.

There is still much we don’t know, and we should all realize that God, His love and change are some of the only constancies in life. It is our responsibility to adapt to change while enjoying and serving Him. Please keep us in your prayers as we try to serve God and people in this changing landscape. Every day, the homeless remain in need of comprehensive support to reach their God-given capacities in life. We need to help them.

Thank you for making all we do possible and may God bless you!


Chris D. Croswhite

Executive Director

 

Spiritual life: the right thing is the hard thing

Michael Dye, the author of the primary recovery curriculum we use at the Rescue Mission, teaches that the right thing to do is often the hardest thing to do. We find this statement to be true, both from a biblical perspective and in tangible ministry with our hurting friends.

Throughout the Bible, God teaches us to deny quick, easy, and sinful gratification for the lasting pleasure of following Him. God knows the immediate delight may be fun and give people what they “think” they want, but will ultimately result in difficulty and anguish. God may simply ask us to do seemingly hard things in obedience to Him because He knows the ultimate joy of doing the right thing will be far greater than the sacrifice. A pointed example of this is when Jesus asked the Disciples to follow Him. Jesus knew he was calling them to their own martyrdom. Jesus was asking them to give the ultimate sacrifice (the hard thing), for God’s Kingdom (the greatest thing).

When the men and women on the recovery program address the difficulties in life that have created their addiction and homelessness, they are doing the hard thing. This process requires a safe environment, support and trust. It also requires courage and a hope that the process of embracing pain— doing the hard thing—will help them and ultimately bring peace and joy.

Family members should also consider the right thing/hard thing principle when faced with how to help their addicted loved ones. In the past week three family members of people struggling with addiction have called the Rescue Mission for support, guidance and resources to foster a path to recovery. Most who call receive the help they need to stop the process of enablement, just like Wanda Weir, who shares her story in this month’s Rescuer.

Others, however, can’t exercise tough love (the right and hard thing) and the process of enablement and addiction goes on. A good friend of the Rescue Mission and one of our Chapel Providers was seeking help for his son who was in jail. His son, who was going to Bible studies while in jail, asked for his dad’s help to get into a recovery program. Doing the hard thing, he left his son in jail to ensure a transition from jail directly into a rehab program. However, a different family member felt sorry that the son had to stay in jail while awaiting a rehab program. That family member paid the modest bail. Worse yet, alcohol and money for drugs were waiting in the car to celebrate the son’s release. Later that night, the son overdosed and died.

Needless to say, our dear friend wishes his son was still in jail. He wishes his son would’ve served his full sentence, saying to us “at least my son would be alive.” God promises He will use all things for good, which is a far cry from all things being good. God has used this young man’s passing—a terrible thing—to enable his dad to be a down-to-earth, direct, and personal chapel provider as he relates his story to our program members and homeless friends.

If the Rescue Mission can ever help with a family member or close friend facing addiction please give us a call. And remember, when helping a person who struggles with an addiction the right thing to do is often the hardest thing to do.


STATS: HOW YOUR GIFT HELPS

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 Job Opportunity

The Rescue Mission needs an Executive Assistant with responsibilities in grant writing, data entry, media coordination, and other duties. Applicants must be Bible-believing Christians who are actively involved in a local Christian church and have a passion to help hurting people. Ideal candidates will have a bachelor’s degree and possess strong writing, verbal and computer skills. Other criteria apply. Please email Chris Croswhite at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.

 

pdfFebruary Rescuer 2017 2017

Looking for more testimonies? You can find them all in our Archives. Also, check out our Videos.

 

 

 

Editor’s Note: We normally feature first-person stories about the men and women who have had their lives changed on the New Life Program. This month we are changing up our format to bring you a different perspective. The people who come to the Rescue Mission often have parents or loved ones who desperately want them to get sober and get out of homelessness. The pain a parent feels when their son or daughter is out of control and homeless can be almost unbearable.

 

But there is hope for parents too and there are few joys greater than seeing a son or daughter restored. This month, then, we bring you the story of homelessness as told by a desperate mother and an addicted son. This is the third time we have featured James Weir in the Rescuer, but we are happy to continue his story as he keeps making further strides, now eight years since he graduated from the New Life Program.

 

A mother’s story; a son’s story

 

For James and Wanda Weir, it all came to a head at dawn on a snowy morning in 2007. After years of bribing, cajoling, and babying her son James, Wanda, along with James’ step-father, decided to take a stand.

 

They had kicked James, a 300-pound drug addict, out of their home in Holladay a few days earlier. But with winter snow falling and nowhere else to go, James had been sneaking back to his mother and step-father’s patio and was sleeping on the patio couch (a place normally reserved for the family dogs’ naps).

 

Here’s Wanda: In the past I resorted to bribery. I would tell him, “If you stop using drugs I will rent you an apartment. I’ll buy you a car.” Or “If you go get a job I will drive you to work, I’ll bring you lunch, whatever, if you just stop this behavior.” I know how silly that seems but we would’ve done anything for James. We sent him to rehabilitation centers. Once we paid for him to go to a recovery ranch for $900 a month. We had to just scrimp and save to be able to afford that, but we were desperate. It was all really, really hard.

 

As the snow was falling I saw how cold it was outside. I began praying and crying. There were five empty rooms in my house and my son was sleeping where our dogs sleep. I looked out of my kitchen window and saw him sleeping and said to myself, “You are my son. You are worth more than sleeping where my dogs sleep.” But then, all of the sudden through the grace of God, I realized it had nothing to do to me. This was between James and the Lord. I figured out only the Lord would be able to bring him out of it.

 

I realized we were trying to do too much. We were not allowing James to live out the decisions of his life. Our ego was too big, we thought we could fix him, but only God could.

 

Calling the Cops

 

So instead of bringing James a blanket or letting him back into the house, Wanda called the police to report that her son was trespassing. When the police arrived James—cursing the whole way—was taken to jail. When he got out, Wanda met James at Sugarhouse Park on his birthday. It was just the two of them. She brought a cake and sang happy birthday. She still loved him but told him she wouldn’t enable his addiction anymore.

 

Without help from his parents James was arrested again. When he got out of jail this time, James ended up at the Rescue Mission. From that point on James’ life changed. He has been sober for the past eight years and works the Noon to 8 p.m. shift as a case manager for a local behavioral health clinic that works with the homeless

 

Here’s Wanda Again: The Lord took care of him like He promised us. James was 300 pounds, eating every piece of sugar in sight and just a lazy, pain-in-the-neck kind of guy. Now he gets up at 5:30 a.m. and goes to the gym. I don’t think there is an ounce of fat on him. Then he comes home, fixes his meal, and gets ready for work. I mean, who gets up at 5:30 when they don’t have to be to work until Noon?

 

I think it’s a miracle. It’s a miracle of the Lord’s hand that happened at the Rescue Mission. The Mission took him under their wing, they fed him, and clothed him. They were loving and kind and patient. Yet they were also direct and did not put up with the games he played. He finally understood this and felt it and that’s what inspired the change in him. Now he’s 35, he has a steady job, he just bought a home all by himself, with no help from us. Imagine, him having the credit to buy a home as a first-time buyer! It’s been quite a road but we are so grateful to the Lord and to the Mission and everyone there.

 

James Keeps Up His Walk

 

For James it has been a blessed journey from the snowy day his mom called the cops on him for sleeping outside in the family dog bed.

 

Here’s James: My job is great. I work with people who are either homeless or struggling to make ends meet. Most of them also have a mental health diagnosis. I connect them with housing and part-time employment and help them with paperwork. It’s a real job with benefits, a 401K, a retirement plan, everything. It’s crazy. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life until I walked into the Rescue Mission. After being there for six months I knew I wanted to serve people. I wanted to be just like the staff team at the Rescue Mission.

 

I am excited to move into my new townhouse this month. I should close on February 10. I have even been able to save up money for a car and a motorcycle, which I paid in full without getting loans.

 

Please keep praying for me as I moved into my own house. Pray that God would keep me connected to my home church, Calvary Chapel. I have many good relationships with people I know from the Mission but I need to develop a stronger church family. Thank you for supporting the Mission. The change I experienced here has made my mom proud of me and made an eternal difference in my life. I owe it all to God, the Mission, and you, who support this ministry.

 

 
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