True-Life Stories of God's Provision Through You! November/December 2018. Soup for your Soul

Healing the Hurt Little Boy

I spent much of my life caught up in anger, self-pity and bitterness toward a world I thought rejected me. But all along, I was really just a hurt little boy.

At a young age, I was taken from my mother and placed in foster care. But no one ever told me why. Why couldn’t I be with mom? Why did she not want me? Why did she reject me? What did I do? Then she died before I could get the answers I needed. So I always felt like it was somehow my fault she didn’t want me.

At 13, I started running the streets with my friends, and for years I drifted lost through a world of alcohol, drugs and self-loathing. Eventually, sitting alone and tired in a jail cell, I found God. I even earned a degree in biblical studies and served at a ministry in Chicago for almost 20 years.

It’s one thing to serve God. But it’s another thing to give Him your wounded heart. And God wanted my heart.

One day about two years ago, I made a poor decision that caused me to lose my job. Immediately, all the old feelings of anger, bitterness, hurt and rejection came back.

But I knew what God wanted. So I left Chicago and came to the Milwaukee Rescue Mission to give Him my whole heart.

From day one, I worked hard to peel back the layers of my heart, exposing myself to a community of people who loved me in the name of Jesus, who saw me for who I really am. They accepted this hurt, rejected little boy and showed me that I’m a man worthy of God’s love and forgiveness. And they opened a door into my heart for God to come in and heal the pain—to fill my heart with the love I never experienced before.

Today, I’m overwhelmed with gratitude that people like you cared enough to make my new life possible. Thank you!

DOUBLE Your Gift Today with Our Summer Match!

Every summer, vulnerable men, women and children in Milwaukee face extraordinary challenges. At the same time, the Milwaukee Rescue Mission also experiences significant challenges, including a drop in donations, straining our budget even more.

But there’s good news! This summer, a couple of longtime friends have offered to match every gift we receive through the end of August—up to $100,000. That means any gift you send will be DOUBLED—automatically— to provide twice as much help for struggling people. This extraordinary opportunity is only available for a short time—the deadline is August 31!

Ways to Give:

  • Give online at
  • Mail a check and write “Summer Match” on the memo line
  • Call us at (414) 2RESCUE and mention the “Summer Match”

Please send a generous gift today and provide TWICE as much help!

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President’s Letter

Dear Friend,

In Matthew 22:37-39 (NIV), Jesus says “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

The Apostle Paul later added, “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2, NIV).

This kind of love lies at the very heart of the gospel, and these loving commands are at the heart of what the Milwaukee Rescue Mission is all about. When our friends in need are struggling and hurt, it is especially important for them to be surrounded by people who love and value them, and who will help carry life’s burdens when they no longer can, just as God does for us. That kind of love is life-changing.

Yes, we first take care of people’s essential human needs: food, shelter and clothing. But the human need for loving, caring, supportive relationships is no less important. No one can thrive outside of loving relationships.

Almost every man and woman here at the Milwaukee Rescue Mission—just like Rodney, whose story is on page 3—could tell you how important the relationships they experience here have been in transforming their lives.

We try to model God’s life-changing love here at the Milwaukee Rescue Mission. But it’s not just us. It’s YOU. This is what your support and prayers really mean to the men, women and children we serve. It means love—the kind of love that leads to new life.

We all fall down at some point in our lives. Hopefully, someone will be there to help carry our burdens when we do. Thank you for being the kind of person who is there when someone falls. Your loving compassion transforms lives.


Patrick H. Vanderburgh, D.Min.