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

Removing the Mask

In a way, Eric wore a mask almost all his life. “I learned pretty early how to talk, act, dress, and look like a good Christian,” he says. “But it was just a mask. And by high school, I had enough. So I rebelled, left God behind, and went looking for a good time.”

Instead, Eric found a prison of painkillers, heroin and crack that quickly became just another mask keeping him from ever looking at the hurt, shame, and self-hatred that filled his heart.

“I knew drugs were destroying my life, and I tried to get sober several times,” he says. “But every time, I just wanted to fix my drug problem. I never wanted to fix Eric. So I kept relapsing. I even overdosed three times and almost died. I still couldn’t stop.”

Finally, in October 2017, after burning every bridge to friends and family, Eric decided to check out the Milwaukee Rescue Mission. “I didn’t know it at the time, but God led me here,” he says.

Over the next two and a half months, Eric dragged his feet. “I wanted to change, I just didn’t want God,” he explains. “But the people here cared about me so much. And I could see how God was changing so many other lives around me. Slowly, I opened myself up to the God I never knew, the God who loves me. The real me. The me with no mask.”

Today, God is continuing to use your support for the Milwaukee Rescue Mission to not only restore Eric, but to reconcile the relationships with his entire family. “In some ways, for the first time, I feel like we’re all learning who we really are, and it’s amazing,” he says. “Thanks to donors, I can finally be Eric. I can be myself, with no mask to wear.”

Educating Kids, Helping Families, Transforming a Community Through our North Campus

For years, the neighborhood of Lindsay Heights, north of the Milwaukee Rescue Mission, has experienced some of the greatest suffering in our city. Did you know that in ZIP code 53206...

  • Only 36% of adult males are employed.
  • Two-thirds of the children live in poverty.
  • 96% of children attending school come from economically disadvantaged households.

Thanks to your support, through our North Campus we are determined to change statistics and bring hope to Lindsay Heights through our school and community outreach programs.


MRM’s Equip programs focus on strengthening families in the community by providing education and resources. Equip’s mission is to help men, women and children become stable physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Equip Highlights:
• Child Enrichment Center:
Provides children ages 4 weeks to 4 years with healthy activities and nurturing love to help them grow.

• Neighborhood Association: Established to help the community take ownership of their local concerns.

• Navigate: Offers Bible studies, classes and practical resources to help the community address parenting issues, conflict resolution, finances, nutrition, career help and more.

• Community Room: Offers daily access to computers and community-outreach staff.

• Community Events: Through block parties, movie nights, local barbecues and other events, we help build a stronger sense of community and relationships.

• Monthly Distributions: Every month, we distribute food, clothing and hygiene items to those in need.

Cross Trainers Academy

Cross Trainers Academy has been providing Christ-centered education for at-risk students, from pre-kindergarten through high school, since 2006.

Education is essential to breaking the cycle of poverty and CTA provides students with the resources they need to reach their full potential by emphasizing:

• Strong Academics: CTA offers comprehensive courses including STEM classes and arts programs.

• Character Development: Students are taught to develop a strong sense of personal responsibility, civic duty and moral integrity by establishing a personal relationship with Christ and discovering His calling on their lives.

• Career Readiness: The curriculum at CTA prepares students to enroll in a post-high school program, either a vocational program for a trade or technical career, or a two- or four-year college. In addition, students may enroll in one or more classes at Milwaukee Area Technical College during their senior year.

Matching Challenge: Your Gift Will DOUBLE in Impact!

Thanks to a $255,664.64 Matching Gift Challenge, your May gift will go TWICE as far this summer!

Hurting men, women and children who come to the Milwaukee Rescue Mission desperately need hope and a helping hand—in fact, they need YOU! Thanks to a generous group of friends who recently contributed a $255,664.64 Matching Challenge Gift, every donation we receive in May will be combined with the Match to feed, clothe, shelter and help transform the lives of our homeless neighbors now and through the summer.

That means any gift you send will be DOUBLED in impact—automatically—to provide twice as much help for struggling neighbors, and to remind them that someone really does care. This extraordinary opportunity is only available for a short time—please give by May 31!

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

Give Now

Attention Golfers:
“18 Holes for the Homeless” — Save the Date

Calling all golfers! Doesn’t matter if you’re a golf pro or a weekend hacker, we’d love to see you at our annual golf outing, “18 Holes for the Homeless,” on September 9 at Bluemound Golf & Country Club. Your participation will help provide hope and care to struggling people in our community.

For more information contact or call 414-935-0205.

Leaving the Chaos Behind

“My life was crazy growing up,” says Shamika, who came to Joy House pregnant and feeling lost. “There were nine of us kids. There was no child abuse, but there was stuff going on with my parents, and we got put in foster care when I was 11.”

Despite the chaos she experienced at home, the trauma she felt being taken from her parents haunted her for the next seven years. “I was trying to figure out what was going on,” says Shamika, now 20. “I felt abandoned.”

Yet Shamika has fond memories of her foster mother. She had her own room and her own bed for the first time. Her foster mother even officially adopted her, and Shamika calls her “Nana” to this day. But as soon as Shamika turned 18, she tried to reconnect with the family she lost. ”

She moved in with an older sister, and later her birth mother. Unfortunately it didn’t work out. Then, when Shamika got pregnant, she realized she needed help. “It was too much,” she says. “I knew I had to get my life together before my baby came. That was my main focus.”

So Shamika came to Joy House where she learned about God’s love, and where her faith in Him has been growing ever since. She also credits the parenting and financial classes with giving her a solid foundation to build a new life for herself and her baby.

“Joy House really showed me I can have a better life,” she says. “They taught me so much here. Life can throw you some hard stuff, but things are going to get better. And they already are better. I want to thank the donors, because they made sure my daughter will not have to go through the same chaos I went through.”

President’s Letter

Dear Friend,

Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.” Eric’s story, at the top of this newsletter, is a perfect illustration of that truth. He didn’t want to open himself to God and the gospel we preach until he experienced how much we care about him.

Every day, more hurting people like Eric, and Shamika, whose story is above, come to the Milwaukee Rescue Mission. Many have suffered for years from the emotional scars of painful childhoods. Others have struggled with paralyzing addictions and crippling hopelessness, because they think it’s all they deserve. Over the years, they’ve lost connections to family and friends. They feel abandoned. They feel like no one cares—and that their lives will never change.

But that’s not true. Jesus cares. His life-transforming work on the cross and His resurrection can change their lives today and for eternity. Together, we can remind our hurting neighbors of this powerful truth.

This summer, and all year round, your support shows precious men and women at the Milwaukee Rescue Mission that they aren’t alone. They aren’t abandoned. Every meal and night of shelter you help provide shows them you care. Every smile, every hug, every word of kindness they experience here is because you helped make it possible. Every class, every Bible study, every hour of spiritual counseling demonstrates how much you care.

Then, as our friends in need receive more and more loving care, their hearts are opened and eager to learn what we know to be true—that the Good News of Jesus Christ will transform their lives forever. Thank you for your life-changing generosity this summer. Thank you for caring!

May God grant you a blessed Easter,

Patrick H. Vanderburgh, D.Min.