True-Life Stories of God’s Provision Through You! September/October 2019

Hope & a Future for Christmas

by Armando

This Christmas Eve, it will be one year since I entered the New Journey program here at the Milwaukee Rescue Mission. That first Christmas, everything changed for me. From now on, the day we celebrate the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ, I will celebrate my own rebirth and new life as a child of God.

No one needed that new life more than me. For more than 25 years, I sold drugs and ran with violent gangs from New York to Chicago to Milwaukee. We hurt a lot of people, and I hated it. But it’s all I knew.

By 2014, I was a heroin addict myself. I had a wife and kids, and I stopped running with the gangs, but my life kept getting worse. I couldn’t find a job, I couldn’t pay bills, I couldn’t take care of my family, I couldn’t do the things a man is supposed to do. I felt worthless. Two years ago, my heroin addiction got so bad, my wife and kids left me.

For a long time, I gave up on life. I felt like I had no future and there was nothing else to live for. But then I came to the Milwaukee Rescue Mission. That first Christmas, it was like Jesus looked me in the eyes and said, “I see you, Armando, and I’ve come to give you hope and a future.” I gave my life to him that day, and I have walked with him every day since.

Today, I have hope again and I have a new purpose: I want to be the best father I can be for my kids, I want to be a productive citizen and I want to love others like Jesus has loved me.

That’s what your donations to the Milwaukee Rescue Mission did for me. God used you to give me a future and hope when I had none. You gave me the chance to live again. You gave me a Christmas I will never forget.

The Joy of Christmas Lives Here—Thanks to You!

Thanks to generous people like you, precious men, women and children at the Milwaukee Rescue Mission can experience genuine hope and the joy of Christmas because they know they have not been forgotten. This holiday season, let’s make it one they’ll never forget!

Last Christmas…

… children in our programs and throughout our community received thousands of toys, games and stuffed animals, thanks to caring people like you!

… men, women and children at the Milwaukee Rescue Mission received hundreds of new hats, gloves and scarves last year to keep them warm in the elements, because of your generosity!

… your support also helped us to serve a special Christmas dinner to all the women and children in Joy House and all the men in our Safe Harbor Programs!

… more than 200 special holiday food baskets were distributed to families of our students and program graduates, as well as those in need in our community — all thanks to you!

New Toys Needed

Every Child Deserves a Christmas Gift!

This Christmas season, we’re counting on friends like you to help provide new, unwrapped gifts for hundreds of children in our community. Please drop off toys and gift items for infants through teens at the Milwaukee Rescue Mission.

Where:     830 N. 19th Street, Milwaukee, WI 53233
When:     Mon. – Sat. 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. by December 6
What:     $10 minimum value, please.

For more information, call (414) 344–2211

Our Christmas Wish List

▢  New toys for children (infants to teens)
▢  Watches & jewelry
▢  Perfumes/cologne
▢  Lotions
▢  Soaps & loofahs
▢  Women’s robes & slippers
▢  Wallets
▢  Gift cards
▢  Wrapping paper, gift bags and tissue paper — we need enough to wrap hundreds of gifts!

Thriving Again

Throughout Maria’s life, abuse followed her wherever she went. When she was a child, it was so bad she was placed in foster care for five years. But the damage was already done. “By high school, I was so starved for love, I dropped out of school to live with the first guy who showed me any kind of affection,” she says. “But he soon started to abuse me, and I ended up going from relationship to relationship with men who treated me just like I’d been treated my whole life.”

By her early 30s, Maria had three kids and was on her own for the first time. She started working, got an apartment and was doing well. Until last year, when she met another man.

“I thought he was different,” she says. “He seemed nice. But he turned out more abusive than all the others.”

Finally, last February, Maria escaped with her kids and came to Joy House. “I was never religious before, but Joy House staff showed me how much God loves me and used the Bible to show me how to live my life in a more godly way,” she says. “They provided me with everything I needed to survive—even thrive. They showed me how to take care of finances, helped me with my parenting and even helped me learn more about healthy relationships.”

Today, Maria is living on her own again with her kids—but they aren’t alone! Through your support, MRM is able to continue to help with food, school supplies, clothing and all the support they need to thrive.

“As a donor, you made a life-changing difference for me and my family,” Maria says. “This Christmas, I thank God for you!”

Faces Filled with Christmas Joy

by Patrick H. Vanderburgh, D.Min. President

Dear Friend,

Joy. If there’s one word that describes our aspiration for all who come to the Milwaukee Rescue Mission, 365 days a year, it’s “joy.” But it’s never more profound than in the weeks leading up to Christmas, when we celebrate the “good news” that a new king has been born. The “good news” of a Savior who will redeem the world. The “good news” that our Lord and Creator has come to give us—as Armando says in his story on page 3—”hope and a future.”

Yes, the holiday season is a special time of year, but it’s also a challenging one. This year has been tough on Milwaukee as we’ve seen many more people in need of shelter and coming through our doors. The needs of those on the street today are greater than ever—which can make their Christmas celebration all the more joyful and triumphant once they have finally found warmth, shelter and love after coming to the Milwaukee Rescue Mission.

In fact, I wish you could experience the joy inside the Milwaukee Rescue Mission for yourself this holy time of year. I wish you could see the special holiday meals, the warmth and care, and all the Christmas decorations and presents that mean so much to people who are homeless and hurting. But most of all, I wish you could see the faces of all the men, women and children who truly know what the spirit of Christmas is all about, faces filled with the joy and the promise of eternal life—because of a baby born in a manger.

Whether you’re a donor or a volunteer or a prayer warrior on behalf of the Milwaukee Rescue Mission, those faces are filled with joy because God used you to help make it all possible. And on their behalf, I want to say thank you... and Merry Christmas!


Patrick H. Vanderburgh, D.Min.