True-Life Stories of God’s Provision Through You! Sept/Oct 2020

Berto, Child of God

A family move can be difficult enough when you’re a kid. But moving from his childhood home in Puerto Rico to the huge metropolis of Chicago proved to be a bigger challenge to Berto than he could have ever imagined.

“It all started when my family moved to Chicago,” Berto says. “I was 7, and I had a really rough time. It was culture shock. It felt like a slap in the face. I grew really shy and socially awkward. I started drinking at 12. Suddenly, I was a different person, more outgoing, funny, sociable. Then, I didn’t stop drinking. It became my security blanket. I couldn’t function in public when I was sober. I didn’t know who I was sober.”

Over the years, drinking cost him friends, family, jobs, his apartment and finally his health. “I wanted to stop,” he says. “Every day, I went to the liquor store and, before I walked in, I started to gag because I wanted to stop so bad. But I just couldn’t. Then I ended up in the hospital, bleeding and dehydrated because of alcohol. Someone asked me if I wanted help, and I finally said, ‘yes.’”

Berto came to MRM and completely surrendered his life to Jesus. “It was hard,” he says. “I carried that blanket of alcohol all my life. I prayed to God for help before, but I could never give up that blanket. This time, God said, ‘Give it to me.’ I didn’t think I could do it, but I did. I gave up everything, 100%, to God.”

Berto has been sober for 10 months, and he’s learning more about God’s deep love for him. “Now, thanks to the Milwaukee Rescue Mission, I’m learning who I really am in Christ. And I like who I am. Please tell the donors how much they mean to me. They made this all possible. I wouldn’t be here without them.”

Just $2.04 Provides a Thanksgiving Meal to a Hungry Neighbor!

After a summer of job losses, fear and many other overwhelming challenges, more of our struggling neighbors are turning to MRM for help every day. Many are experiencing homelessness for the first time. More men come to escape the elements, hurting single moms and their children come seeking shelter and hope, and all the 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, 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 the love of Jesus Christ—throughout the weeks ahead. Thank you!

Please send the most generous gift you can today!

Please Choose MRM

If you are an employee of one of the many private organizations that participate in the United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County, you can support MRM by giving through your workplace. By designating your gift to the Milwaukee Rescue Mission (listed as #50625), you will help transform the lives of men, women and children struggling with hunger and homelessness this fall and winter.

Surrounded By Love

When Lavonna first came to Joy House, the young mother felt defeated and lost. She desperately wanted a better life for herself and her kids, but she had no idea what to do.

“I grew up in a family with a lot of challenges.” Lavonna says. “I never got much support from anyone. I had a baby when I was 15, dropped out of school, and was completely on my own. And I’ve been on my own ever since.”

Lavonna seemed to be getting by on her own until a year ago when she lost her job. Then, last spring, she lost her apartment. Having run out of options, she came to Joy House.

“I really needed to figure out how to make my life work, so I’d never be in this position again,” she says. “But how do I do that? I have children who need me. I never graduated from high school. I don’t know anything about how to live like an adult. I mean, where do I even start?”

Thanks to Joy House—and YOUR support—Lavonna gained valuable life skills, through budgeting and parenting classes, and by learning how to set and maintain goals. She started studying for her GED, and next plans to attend college to study nursing. Lavonna says she has a long way to go, but she is thankful for Joy House staff who continue to walk with her and guide her every step of the way.

“They helped me get on the right path with God,” she says. “God is helping me get through all this, and he’ll never leave me nor forsake me. “I’ve been surrounded by so much love here, and knowing that donors make all this possible is such a blessing. It helps me stay positive and determined to keep going. I’m so thankful!”

Our Guests Want to Thank You for All You Do

“In one of the darkest spots of my life, you brought me back to the light. You really did give me the chance to start over.”

“I have a new life no one can ever take away from me. That’s what your support did for me. You saved my life. Thank you!”

“I want the donors to know that I’m so grateful for their support when I needed it most. I don’t know where I’d be without Joy House!”

Family Food
Basket Wish List

Every year we provide hundreds of food baskets to graduates of our programs and other members of the community, thanks to donated food from friends like you.

Can you help this year?

Items Needed

President’s Letter

Dear Friend,

In his letter to the Thessalonians, Paul wrote: “...give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Notice that he didn’t say for all circumstances, but in all circumstances.

So far, 2020 has been a year of fear, anger, upheaval and overwhelming uncertainty. We’ve seen a terrible pandemic sicken and even take the lives of friends and family. We’ve seen neighbors lose jobs and income. And we’ve all come face to face with deep social turmoil and distress.

Yet give thanks in all circumstances. And in the midst of all our challenging circumstances today, God’s faithfulness and grace is at work all around us.

God has blessed the Milwaukee Rescue Mission with an incredible staff, who courageously—every day—set their own worries aside and roll up their sleeves to serve our neighbors devastated by homelessness. Each day, I’ve witnessed hurting men, women and children give their lives to God and experience new life in Him. I’ve watched in awe as God has begun to heal deep divisions and brought reconciliation to many.

And, of course, I thank God for the extraordinary generosity and faithful support of friends like you. When our students at Cross Trainers Academy needed iPads and Chromebooks to study from home during the pandemic, many of you stepped up to provide them. Even in times of economic hardship, kind folks like you have continued to care about those we serve through donations and food drives. No matter how tough our circumstances get, compassionate friends like you continue to step up through your gifts, prayers and notes of encouragement—and we are so grateful.

So, this fall, as we begin our journey to Thanksgiving, we thank God for shepherding us through this difficult year, and we thank YOU for walking alongside us! May God bless you this season, and may the gift of his amazing grace encourage us all to give thanks—in all circumstances!


Patrick H. Vanderburgh, D.Min.