I Had to Change or Die
The Apostle Paul got it right: “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows” (Galatians 6:7, NIV). I put nothing good into my life, and I got nothing good back. By the time I came to the Milwaukee Rescue Mission a year ago, I knew I needed to do more than stop using drugs and alcohol. I needed to completely change everything about my life. If I didn’t, I was going to end up one more dead guy on the news.
I grew up in a loving Christian home. I couldn’t have asked for a better upbringing. But for some reason, I started rebelling in 7th grade and never looked back — alcohol, drugs and trouble. I was in and out of institutions from the age of 14 on, and after every incarceration, I just got worse.
And the more trouble I got into, the more drugs I did. Because I knew I was wasting my life and I knew God had a better plan. But it was easier to use more drugs than to face it.
Then God got my attention when I overdosed and almost died three times in one year. The last time, I passed out in my car and crashed. Miraculously, no one got hurt but me. That was my rock bottom. I had to change or die. When I got out of the hospital I came to the Milwaukee Rescue Mission.
Since then, everything has changed. I pray every day for God to change me. I listen to everything the staff has to say and I learn everything the classes teach me. The people here are on my side. This place is filled with love. You can feel it. My heart is changing and so is my thinking. And I’m ready to go wherever God takes me.
As a donor, that’s what you did for me. You saved my life. In fact, you’re saving lives every day here. Without your support, I’d be dead. Thanks to you, I’m becoming the man I was supposed to be. That’s God’s work, and you’re a part of it.
Provide Hungry People with a Thanksgiving Meal for Only $2.04!
The fall season leading up to Thanksgiving is one of our busiest times, as more men and women escape the cold, as more single moms with kids seek shelter and hope and as all the kids at Cross Trainers Academy rely on us to provide hot, nutritious meals.
Thanks to hundreds of volunteers and generous donations of food, it doesn’t cost much. Each meal we serve still costs only $2.04. Your gift today will provide precious men, women and children with hot meals, safe shelter, hope and even the love of Jesus Christ — throughout the weeks ahead.
Our North Campus Expands to Serve More Children and Families
The Milwaukee Rescue Mission’s North Campus completed a building expansion that will allow our Cross Trainers Academy to grow from 300 to 500 students, and enable our Child Enrichment Center to serve more than 70 children, ages 4 weeks to 4 years. The next step includes the construction of a new gym, which will make it possible for our students to participate in more extracurricular activities. This new expansion will also serve as a critical resource hub for the entire community.
For more information or to find out how you can help, please visit milmission.org/thrive.
— and Grateful
Life wasn’t always easy for Nathosha growing up in rural Alabama, but at least it was stable and familiar. She was close to siblings, her parents cared about her and she was an honor-roll student at school.
But that all changed when her parents divorced. Her mother moved the family to Milwaukee and remarried. Nathosha felt lost in a new family, new school and new city. “It was hard,” she recalls. “Everyone looked at me different here. I didn’t have many friends. I felt abandoned and angry, and I went from A’s and B’s in school to barely making it.”
After she graduated, Nathosha got her own apartment, but she struggled to make ends meet. Life got even more complicated when she had her first child at 21 and another at 25. When her second child was born, she moved in with the baby’s father, but they struggled from the start.
“He’s got a drinking problem,” she says, “and when he drinks he gets to arguing. We just kept getting into it, until last Valentine’s Day, he said, ‘Get out and don’t come back.’ That’s when I came here to Joy House.
“Joy House gave us food, clothes and shelter. I got closer to God, and they gave me the chance to get my life in order. They gave me the stability I never had since Alabama. I’m learning to stop worrying and put everything in God’s hands.”
She’s especially grateful for the donors who support the Milwaukee Rescue Mission. “I want to give them all a big hug and say thank you,” she says. “Without Joy House, me and my kids could be on a street somewhere. But thanks to the donors, I’ll never have to go through anything like this again.”
Fall is always such a wonderful time here at the Milwaukee Rescue Mission. As summer draws to a close — finishing up projects at our North Campus, nurturing kids through our City Camp, and so much more — our thoughts turn toward the challenges our neighbors in need will face with the changing weather, a new school year at Cross Trainers Academy and, yes, the excitement of Thanksgiving right around the corner.
I know, Thanksgiving is still more than two months away. But it really is a remarkable time, and there’s no way I’d rather celebrate than with our guests at the Milwaukee Rescue Mission. In many ways, the holidays can be a painful time for the men, women and children here who have lost so much. But we are reminded of 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18: “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
Through support like yours, these precious souls find reasons to give thanks — reasons like a hot meal, a warm bed and the reminder of God’s love. They know that, despite their painful circumstances, God is faithful and will lead them through those circumstances. They are truly grateful for the food they eat, safe shelter and for people who care — people like you.
And so am I. As we enter this season of Thanksgiving, I am truly grateful for God’s faithfulness and His steadfast love — and I see that faithfulness and love every day through your generosity and compassion. You make gratitude possible at the Milwaukee Rescue Mission. You make Thanksgiving possible — not just one day a year, but 24/7, 365 days a year. So on behalf of myself and all our guests — thank you.