Serving Up a Side of Gratitude
Thanksgiving is coming fast. As a chef at the Milwaukee Rescue Mission, the holiday season is one of the busiest times of the year for me, and I’ve got a lot of work to do between now and then. But no matter how busy we get, I always take time to remember just how grateful I am for this place.
I had a pretty difficult childhood. I was really shy and I didn’t do well in school. A lot of things happened that I didn’t know how to cope with. So I started rebelling and eventually fell into a life of alcohol and drugs. At first, I thought drugs helped me fit in for the first time. It took the stress off. But really, all it did was destroy my life. I spent most of my adult life in and out of jail—or homeless. I hit rock bottom so many times I lost count. I failed so many times, I thought that’s all I’d ever be.
But God had other plans. In 2012, I came to the Milwaukee Rescue Mission. When I walked through these doors, I thought I was just Otis the drug addict. Otis the failure. Otis the liar and thief. Over the next year, however, I learned who I REALLY am. I’m Otis, child of God. I’ve been redeemed. And God had work for me to do.
In 2013, after I had completed the Life Skills program, the Milwaukee Rescue Mission hired me to be a full-time cook in their kitchen, helping serve hundreds of meals to hurting men, women and children every day. But I’m not just a cook. I get to share my testimony with other guys here at MRM, encouraging them, loving them, helping them stay sober and live for Christ.
Serving meals at the Milwaukee Rescue Mission, and serving the men, women and children here, is one of the greatest passions of my life.
As a donor, you made all this possible for me. So as we head to Thanksgiving, that’s what I’m grateful for. I’m grateful for my new life in Christ—and I’m grateful for caring people like you. Thank you!
Just $2.04 Provides a Meal to a Hungry Person This Thanksgiving Season!
Every day, hurting men come to escape life on the street, struggling women and children come seeking shelter, and students at Cross Trainers Academy depend on us to provide them with hot, nutritious meals.
It doesn’t cost much. Thanks to hundreds of volunteers and generous donations from local markets and friends in the community, it only costs us $2.04 to serve a meal. Your gift today will provide precious men, women and children with hot meals, safe shelter, hope—and the love of Jesus Christ—throughout the weeks ahead.
Please send the most generous gift you can today!
A Safe Refuge to Heal
I never thought something like that could happen to me. I never saw it coming. I really didn’t think he was that kind of guy. But he was.
About a year and a half ago, I was dating a man. He seemed nice enough. Then one night, he broke into my apartment. He beat me and sexually assaulted me in front of my 2-year-old son.
I was so traumatized and scared, I moved out immediately. I didn’t know if he would come back and “finish” the job. A month later, the police caught him and today he’s in prison. But I ended up in prison, too—an emotional prison.
After I left my apartment, I also lost my job. My whole life started falling apart. I kept moving from house to house, living with people I thought were safe, but they weren’t. All I wanted to do was forget what happened, brush it all off, but I couldn’t. I started having nightmares, and I was paranoid that something bad would happen again. I needed help. And that’s when I turned to Joy House.
I came here two months ago. For the first time, I was surrounded by people who cared about me. It was so comforting to spend every day with women who have been through similar circumstances. We pray together, encourage each other and comfort one another. It means so much that I don’t have to do this alone.
Thanks to Joy House, I have a new relationship with my Heavenly Father, and I’m learning to leave all my fears in his hands. It’s not always easy, but I’m getting there.
Thank you for supporting the Milwaukee Rescue Mission! You’re not only giving me the chance to heal, you’re giving me a new future for me and my son. Thank you!
Our Guests Want to
Thank You for All You Do
“You gave me food and clothes. But what you really gave me was hope. You gave me a vision for what my life could be. Thank you!“ — JENISE
“I spent my life believing there are no good people in the world. No one cares. But your support for the Milwaukee Rescue Mission showed me that’s not true. Thank you!“ — CHRISTOPHER
“Thanks to you, I not only overcame my drug addiction, you also helped me put my family back together. I’m so grateful for you!“ — JAMES
Basket Wish List
Every year we provide hundreds of food baskets to graduates of our programs and other members of the community, thanks to friends like you.
Can you help this year?
The weeks leading up to Thanksgiving are such a busy time at the Milwaukee Rescue Mission. There’s so much to prepare for! But in all the busyness, I don’t want to lose sight of all I’m grateful for. So as summer turns to fall, here is my 2019 gratitude list:
I’m grateful for the Milwaukee Rescue Mission: Psalm 107:8-9 (NIV) says, “give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind, for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.” To me, the Milwaukee Rescue Mission—from our staff to our board members to our volunteers—reflects that love and goodness of God to thirsty and hungry people. What a blessing to be a part of this amazing ministry!
I’m grateful for Cross Trainers Academy: This year, Cross Trainers Academy celebrated our first ever graduating class of seniors. These kids remind me that we’re not only giving students a good, solid education, we’re sharing the love of Jesus Christ—seeing their lives transformed and impacting their families and neighborhoods for years to come.
I’m grateful for those we serve: It’s such a privilege to serve the men, women and children who come to the Milwaukee Rescue Mission seeking our help. But they are not just people who need to be “rescued.” Many are my brothers and sisters in Christ. They are my friends and some of the most remarkable people I’ve ever met. I’m grateful for the chance to help transform their lives. But they’ve transformed mine, as well.
I’m grateful for you: You not only support us financially, but your prayers, notes of encouragement and phone calls ALL make the work of the Milwaukee Rescue Mission possible. I consider you my friends and partners in this ministry. You’re Milwaukee’s best, and I can’t tell you what it means to have this holy army of people like you standing with us.
Thanksgiving is still weeks away. But I am grateful every day for all of God’s blessings!
Patrick H. Vanderburgh, D.Min.