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Testimony of the Month

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MIKE WHITESELL: A Young Man Learns the Value of Work

 

I came to the Rescue Mission over a year ago after pouring my heart out to a cop. He was giving me a ticket for drug possession. I told him how meth had made me into a different person. This wasn’t me, I said.

Later, when I was recounting what I told the police officer to my sister, she suggested I get help at the Rescue Mission. I had known about the Mission’s addiction recovery program for a while but had convinced myself it wasn’t for me.

While I had been couch surfing or in jail for most of my adult life, I had never been on the streets and homeless. I had always told myself I was not meant to be at the Mission. It was too much.

But, it turns out, the Mission is where God wanted me the whole time.

Since coming to the Mission God has changed me. I used to believe I was worthless, that no matter how hard I tried, I would fail. But I have come to realize that God created me, believes in me, and wants what’s best for me. I have come to see myself as God sees me.

Still, it is hard not to slip back into self-pitying and self-defeating attitudes. I need regular reminders and checks to make sure I am still believing the truth each day. Without constant reminders of God’s perspective I will fall back into self-doubt and use drugs to cope.

My relationship with God has made me into a hard worker. For my entire life (I am 24 now) I never really had a job. My father wasn’t present much to teach me a good work ethic and my mother was on welfare. I never learned the value of work.

In the New Life Program, part of the transformation process involves work therapy. We get jobs to do that help run the Mission – laundry, cooking, cleaning, guest check-in, delivery and pick-up – there is a lot that needs to get done to run what amounts to a hotel, restaurant, church, addiction recovery program and homeless service center.

I have enjoyed working. I realize now that God made people for work and that work has been something that was missing in my life. I am currently serving in an internship as assistant house manager of the Rescue Mission.

As assistant house manager I work with many community partners, like grocery stores and others, to pick up weekly donations of food, clothing and more. I also work directly with our homeless guests and try to support them with the services they need. And, I help talk with and counsel the men on our New Life Program when they are struggling with sobriety and the pains of life.

I am grateful for this work God has given me and hope that I could move from my current internship into a full-time assistant house manager position at the Rescue Mission. I want to help people and, given my experience, feel I have a lot to offer.

Before coming to the Rescue Mission, my life experience was not good.

Since I was 11 I have been in and out of juvenile custody. My father took my sisters and I to Texas when I was three, against my mother’s will. When I was 13 my sister’s boyfriend introduced my sisters and my mother to drugs. I was a pretty depressed kid. I was bullied in school, had a learning disability and didn’t have a lot going for me.

When I saw my sisters and my mom become happy after they smoked marijuana, I thought, “Wow, I would love to be happy. I want to be happy like they are.”

So I started smoking pot, and it was at that moment when I taught my brain that getting high would solve my problems. Of course, getting high only solves your problems for a while. Ultimately, it leads to greater depression and isolation.

I had always been somewhat of a people person. I liked people and like hanging around with friends. But once I graduated to using meth I became a different person. I was suspicious of people. I stole from people and was scared they would find out. I didn’t want to be around anyone. I completely isolated myself, even as I stayed awake for days on end, using meth. I became a loner, breaking into cars to get money for drugs.

Since I have become sober at the Rescue Mission I enjoy people again. I have cleared up most of my legal issues. I still have some outstanding possession and traffic tickets that I need to clear up. I am seeing the judge again on Dec. 5, but the judge has been so good to me so far. When he found out I could have an internship at the Rescue Mission if I could get my driver’s license back, he paved the way for me to get my license. He told me, “I want to be part of your recovery.”

All the good things that have happened to me are a blessing from God. I have a great church family at Gospel Grace Church and love living here at the Rescue Mission, where I have constant support from the staff and other members of the New Life Program.

My relationships with my family are getting better. I maintain good relationships with my mom and sisters and have been able to forgive my dad and have at least some connection with him. It was hard with my dad because he wasn’t really there for us, and I felt he was abusive towards my mother and sisters.

God has also helped me come to terms with my relationship with my daughter. She was two when I entered the New Life Program and part of me thought that I could get sober, get my life together and then be a father to her. However, during the time I have been in the program she was adopted. Now it seems unlikely that she will ever know me or that I will know her. But, I have come to trust that it is in God’s hands. If He wants her to know that I am her biological father one day and wants us to have a relationship, He will make it happen. I am at peace with the fact that God is her true father and will take care of her.

If you remember, please pray for me. Pray that I will continue to do a well in my internship and that God would open the door for me to be the full-time assistant manager here at the Mission. Pray also that God would keep me sober and that I would be happy for whatever He has in store for my life. I want to be where God wants me to be. Thank you for supporting the Mission, which helps people like me every day.

  

MAKE A DIFFERENCE

Everyone can make a difference in someone else’s life.

This point has been driven home to me during my time at the Rescue Mission.

I recently had the opportunity to make a difference in the life of a woman who had been sleeping at the Salt Lake bus station for a week. She had taken a cross-state bus trip and somewhere along the line the bus company lost her luggage or someone had stolen it. She had been waiting at the station, hoping her luggage might show up.

The woman, who lived in Ogden and needed to get home, did not have the wherewithal to deal with her situation and walked over to my office for help. It made me feel good to know that someone had told her the Rescue Mission could help people in need.

Together we contacted her employer, who was wondering why she had not returned to work. I helped her explain the situation to her employer, who said she could keep her job. We also contacted the place where she was living and they also said she was welcome back.

The Mission helped her travel up to Ogden so she could get back to work and her housing. It is incredible to think that in just one hour, we were able to help a woman who had lived on the streets for a week end homelessness in her life. The alternative could have been a downward spiral and a tragic story.

While not all situations can be addressed as easily, this story serves as an example of how everybody can help somebody. Unfortunately most people walk a long way down the road of destruction before they hit bottom and ask for help. And thus require more help before a difference is made.

This past month The Rescue Mission, working with Megaplex Theaters, was able to host a “Red Carpet” showing of the movie Same Kind of Different as Me, based on the best-selling book of the same name.

The movie details how Dallas resident Ron Hall and a homeless man named Denver Moore made a difference in each other’s lives. Ron, who wrote Same Kind of Different as Me, also spoke at our New Life Banquet on Nov. 4, inspiring all of us to help other people.

Denver, as a wise, homeless person who never went to school has inspired millions by his “make a difference” truisms, such as: “God is in the recycling business, turning trash into treasures” and “Nobody can help everybody, but everybody can help somebody.”

As many of us celebrate Thanksgiving with family and friends this month and then quickly turn our attention to Christmas we often recall why we are thankful. I want to share how thankful I am of you, people who pray for, volunteer and support the Rescue Mission. As a privately funded organization we would not exist without you. Thank you for all you do through the Rescue Mission!

I also want to encourage you to continue to make a difference in people’s lives by prayerfully asking how you can help somebody. God can use even “little” things, like helping someone contact their employer and gain bus fare, to change lives. Thank you so much for your continued support of our ministry, which God uses each day to make a difference in the lives of so many.

God bless you,

Chris D. Croswhite

Executive Director

 

STATS: HOW YOUR GIFT HELPS

STATS Nov 2017 Newsletter

 

 

 YOU ARE INVITED- NEW LIFE BANQUET

Please join us for our New Life Banquet on November 4 at Calvary Chapel of Salt Lake.

The night will feature great food and a fantastic speaker, Author Ron Hall, who wrote The Same Kind of Different as Me. Ron will talk about his friendship with a homeless man named Denver Moore. The two met on the streets of Dallas, Texas and their friendship helped inspire a community.

Our New Life Banquet is complimentary. Seating is limited so please RSVP for attendance. At the banquet you will be inspired by stories from the Mission and Ron Hall and receive an invitation to pray, volunteer and invest in changing lives, to make the same kind of difference that Denver Moore made.

Please Plan to attend.  RSVP  HERE today.

 pdfRescuer October 2017

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