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Testimony of the Month

brett.johnson2BRETT JOHNSON'S TESTIMONY

Editor’s Note:

Each month we like to share a story of a homeless person who joined our New Life Recovery Program and had their life changed. It is this comprehensive program that helps the broken and addicted have a new life marked by faith, sobriety, employment, housing and healthy relationships.

And while the New Life Program is a cornerstone of our ministry, it is not the only way we help people. Recently, we have been refocusing on our Transitions Program. Our staff, led by our House Manager Don Nicholson and Greg Sheffield, our job placement and housing coordinator, have been dedicating more time to helping people (who might not be good fits for our New Life Program) transition out of homelessness.

Each week we ask anyone who wants to continue staying in our dorm to sit down with a staff member and talk about their options for employment and housing.  Our staff can connect people with resources that those people might not have known were available. The goal is to help homeless people who do not have a need to t join our New Life Program to transition out of homelessness.

This month, for the first time, we are bringing you the story of one of the men in this newly refocused Transitions Program. Brett Johnson started staying at the Rescue Mission back in February. He had been in jail for several months on a pair of DUI charges. Brett had worked through a program while in jail and   lost his desire to drink.

When he was released, he was able to stay sober but he had nowhere to go. He was eager to get back to work and back on his feet. But he was in such a hole financially and legally that it was going to be a while before he could afford to support himself again.

Brett, then, was a great candidate for our Transitions Program and shares his story in this month’s Rescuer. We hope Brett’s story gives our supporters a better picture of how the Rescue Mission seeks to help the diverse population that comes through our door each day.

Brett Johnson: Getting Help to Get Off The Streets

My name is Brett Johnson and I have struggled with life since my divorce 13 years ago. When my marriage fell apart my oldest son was 10. That was the same age I was when my father left our family. In settling the divorce I decided to give up my custody rights because I didn’t want my two sons and my daughter to be put into “the system.”

Divorce, Custody and Pain

I don’t know if that was a good choice or not or if I really understood what I was doing, but it is a decision that has caused me great pain. Ever since my divorce and loss of custody I have turned to alcohol to ease my soul. While I have been able to hold down some jobs and support myself, my heavy drinking eventually caught up with me. Last year I received two DUIs and went to jail for five months. I stepped out of jail at the end of January after five months of hard reflection. I had considered the reasons why I had been drinking so much and, as I left jail, I really had no desire to drink.

Still, I had no friends that trusted me, no job and was unable to get a driver’s license until 2018. I needed some help. After a week or two I found out about the Rescue Mission. Here, they gave me a place to stay, some food and a hot shower that allowed me to feel clean and halfway human again. It was like coming home.

I slept on the overflow floor of the chapel for a few nights before the Rescue Mission staff members began to ask me why I was homeless. They said they wanted to know if there was anything more they could do to help. They found out I was a veteran and helped me learn about some VA benefits that could help. A few days later a bed became available in the dorm that had a little closet where I could keep the few things I had.

The Stability I Needed

I was encouraged by the bit of stability my bed, my closet and the staff’s compassion had on my life. I have had jobs doing remodeling and decided my best way forward was to reopen my handyman/remodeling business.

With the Rescue Mission’s help, I worked some odd jobs and saved up enough money to rent a storage unit. Then, my dad bought me a few tools and I saved up some money to buy a few others. Next I saved up money to register my business, One Man Services, LLC., with the State of Utah and even had enough money to pay the business insurance I needed. Finally, I opened a business checking account and even have a separate account to pay my business taxes.

None of this progress would’ve been possible without the help I am getting from the Rescue Mission. The staff is helping through each part of this process, even as they continue to provide me with encouragement, shelter, food and clothing.

And I do continue to need help. Despite all the work I have done I am far from back on my feet. I have been able to do a few jobs, but without a vehicle I have to find jobs that are fairly close to downtown. I have to get my tools to the job and they can be heavy. Still, I have been able to do small jobs like roof repair, painting, drywall and even some landscaping. My business motto is “craftsman quality at reasonable prices.” The few jobs I have gotten have allowed me to put $1,400 into my business account, but that—along with my few tools—is all that I have. And I do have some business expenses like taxes and other costs that I need to use that money for.

I am continuing to work with the Rescue Mission and they are giving me ideas about how I can locate affordable housing and find clients for my business. I am so grateful they are going the extra mile to help me. All the Mission’s supporters who give to make a place like this possible deserve my thanks as well. I want the Mission’s supporters to know that there really are people out here on the streets who are trying. Many of us are trying to work, get back on our feet and want to become productive again. And many of us would be lost without a place like the Rescue Mission that helps.

 

DIRECTOR'S NOTE

Are you a Wise Man or a Shepherd?

I once had a conversation with a young lady who questioned whether she had a real relationship with Jesus. She had been talking to other people who seemed to have had a more radical experience in coming to know Jesus than she had. 

Her experience was more cerebral, more investigative. The people she had talked to had a sensational experience where Jesus seemed to change their lives almost instantly and make them into new, forgiven people. Because her experience was different, she wondered if it was real. 

As we talked, I pointed out the different experiences the wise men and shepherds had in encountering baby Jesus. One group, the shepherds, had a radical experience. Their lives and their experience in meeting baby Jesus was about as different from the wise men as could be. The shepherds were uneducated, Jewish, and poor. Yet, they saw angels in the sky and even heard a heavenly host. They had a very short journey to see the Messiah and became among the first to see the Christ child. 

The wise men were the opposite. They were rich, educated, and not Jewish. And their experience, instead of an instantaneous, experiential come-to-Jesus moment, was more cerebral. They had to travel a long distance. They had to chart the stars. They had to know some history about the promised Messiah and they had to ask a lot of questions before eventually finding Jesus. 

The wise men and the shepherds could not have been more different. And their experiences in coming to Jesus could not have been more different. 

Yet, the result was the same. In the end, both wise man and shepherd worshiped Jesus. 

So, I told this young lady that some people, like the shepherds, have a radical, life-changing experience that brings them to Jesus. Others, like the wise men, ask a lot of questions and take a long, investigative journey to find Jesus, who cares for the uneducated and the educated alike. 

Don’t worry about your journey, background or social status, I said, just make sure to worship Jesus when you find Him. 

I thank God we can worship Jesus this Christmas. And I thank God for all of His people who continue to support our efforts to restore broken lives. It is a hard work, but we do continue to see people come to Jesus, whether through many questions or through a radical experience. It’s a journey that is worth it and one that we are happy to help guide people along, even as we meet their basic needs of food, shelter, clothing and compassion. 

Thank you for helping our work, especially during this time of year. Please continue to volunteer, pray, and give towards our mission as we share the message that Jesus is for everybody. 

Merry Christmas,

Chris D. Croswhite

Executive Director

Help Homeless Kids This Christmas

There are two ways you can help bring Christmas joy to needy and homeless children this year.

1) Call Greg Sheffield at 801.355.1302 to “adopt” a child or a family and purchase gifts for them.

2) Make a monetary donation designated for the Christmas gift outreach that we will use to purchase presents for kids and families who haven’t been “adopted.”

While we know Christmas isn’t all about presents, we hope some simple gifts to needy kids will show God’s love and be the spark to restore broken lives. Prayerfully consider supporting today!

 

Amazon Smile

Now, you can help the homeless when you make purchases through the world’s largest online retailer this holiday season. When you are ready to shop, go to smile.amazon.com and log in to your amazon account. Once logged in, you can use the search bar at the lower right to find a charity. Type “Rescue Mission of Salt Lake” into the search window and choose “Rescue Mission of Salt Lake Inc.” Amazon will donate half of a percent of your total purchases to the Rescue Mission. And if you forgot to start at smile.amazon.com and there are things already in your cart, just leave them there, log out, then log back in using the smile.amazon.com portal, choose the Rescue Mission and you will be set. It’s a great way to help our homeless while Christmas shopping.

 

Year-End and Corporate Giving

It’s never too early to start thinking about taxes. So if you are making some year-end donations for tax or other reasons, please remember the Rescue Mission. We rely on year-end donations to sustain us through the year and we are blessed to use your tax-deductible gifts to help the homeless in our community! Making year end donations is a great way to lower your tax burden while helping the least fortunate in Utah.

Also, many of you may work for companies that offer an employer match for the charitable contributions their employees make. Check and see if your company offers a matching gift program. If it does, please consider using the program to donate today. Using a matching program can double the impact your gift has on the lives of the homeless in our community!

pdfDecember 2016

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

 

Editor’s Note:

 

Each month we like to share a story of a homeless person who joined our New Life Recovery Program and had their life changed. It is this comprehensive program that helps the broken and addicted have a new life marked by faith, sobriety, employment, housing and healthy relationships.

 

And while the New Life Program is a cornerstone of our ministry, it is not the only way we help people. Recently, we have been refocusing on our Transitions Program. Our staff, led by our House Manager Don Nicholson and Greg Sheffield, our job placement and housing coordinator, have been dedicating more time to helping people (who might not be good fits for our New Life Program) transition out of homelessness.

 

Each week we ask anyone who wants to continue staying in our dorm to sit down with a staff member and talk about their options for employment and housing.  Our staff can connect people with resources that those people might not have known were available. The goal is to help homeless people who do not have a need to t join our New Life Program to transition out of homelessness.

 

This month, for the first time, we are bringing you the story of one of the men in this newly refocused Transitions Program. Brett Johnson started staying at the Rescue Mission back in February. He had been in jail for several months on a pair of DUI charges. Brett had worked through a program while in jail and   lost his desire to drink.

 

When he was released, he was able to stay sober but he had nowhere to go. He was eager to get back to work and back on his feet. But he was in such a hole financially and legally that it was going to be a while before he could afford to support himself again.

 

Brett, then, was a great candidate for our Transitions Program and shares his story in this month’s Rescuer. We hope Brett’s story gives our supporters a better picture of how the Rescue Mission seeks to help the diverse population that comes through our door each day.

 

My name is Brett Johnson and I have struggled with life since my divorce 13 years ago. When my marriage fell apart my oldest son was 10. That was the same age I was when my father left our family. In settling the divorce I decided to give up my custody rights because I didn’t want my two sons and my daughter to be put into “the system.”

 

Divorce, Custody and Pain

 

I don’t know if that was a good choice or not or if I really understood what I was doing, but it is a decision that has caused me great pain. Ever since my divorce and loss of custody I have turned to alcohol to ease my soul. While I have been able to hold down some jobs and support myself, my heavy drinking eventually caught up with me. Last year I received two DUIs and went to jail for five months. I stepped out of jail at the end of January after five months of hard reflection. I had considered the reasons why I had been drinking so much and, as I left jail, I really had no desire to drink.

 

Still, I had no friends that trusted me, no job and was unable to get a driver’s license until 2018. I needed some help. After a week or two I found out about the Rescue Mission. Here, they gave me a place to stay, some food and a hot shower that allowed me to feel clean and halfway human again. It was like coming home.

 

I slept on the overflow floor of the chapel for a few nights before the Rescue Mission staff members began to ask me why I was homeless. They said they wanted to know if there was anything more they could do to help. They found out I was a veteran and helped me learn about some VA benefits that could help. A few days later a bed became available in the dorm that had a little closet where I could keep the few things I had.

 

The Stability I Needed

 

I was encouraged by the bit of stability my bed, my closet and the staff’s compassion had on my life. I have had jobs doing remodeling and decided my best way forward was to reopen my handyman/remodeling business.

 

With the Rescue Mission’s help, I worked some odd jobs and saved up enough money to rent a storage unit. Then, my dad bought me a few tools and I saved up some money to buy a few others. Next I saved up money to register my business, One Man Services, LLC., with the State of Utah and even had enough money to pay the business insurance I needed. Finally, I opened a business checking account and even have a separate account to pay my business taxes.

 

None of this progress would’ve been possible without the help I am getting from the Rescue Mission. The staff is helping through each part of this process, even as they continue to provide me with encouragement, shelter, food and clothing.

 

And I do continue to need help. Despite all the work I have done I am far from back on my feet. I have been able to do a few jobs, but without a vehicle I have to find jobs that are fairly close to downtown. I have to get my tools to the job and they can be heavy. Still, I have been able to do small jobs like roof repair, painting, drywall and even some landscaping. My business motto is “craftsman quality at reasonable prices.” The few jobs I have gotten have allowed me to put $1,400 into my business account, but that—along with my few tools—is all that I have. And I do have some business expenses like taxes and other costs that I need to use that money for.

 

I am continuing to work with the Rescue Mission and they are giving me ideas about how I can locate affordable housing and find clients for my business. I am so grateful they are going the extra mile to help me. All the Mission’s supporters who give to make a place like this possible deserve my thanks as well. I want the Mission’s supporters to know that there really are people out here on the streets who are trying. Many of us are trying to work, get back on our feet and want to become productive again. And many of us would be lost without a place like the Rescue Mission that helps.

 

 
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