Nashville Rescue Mission
Nashville Rescue Mission
A Brief Description
As I sit in my cozy RV and listen to the torrent of rain which is being poured out on us, I think with grief of the many homeless and displaced persons who have no where to go. What are they doing in this? Where do they go? How do they protect themselves from weather like this? And sadly a common answer would be; they go nowhere, because there is no where left to go; and they often don't, can't protect themselves from weather. And then my mind raises up in thankfulness for the Rescue Missions and other facilities like this, across North America and other countries.
Recently, my husband and I, have had the gift of working with the Nashville Rescue Mission. It started out as my husbands involvement with a downtown men's Bible study. Therein he made contact with other volunteers with the mission. He was so excited that first day, as the men went down to the mission and helped serve lunch to not only the "program" guys but to all any man coming off the street.
The Nashville Rescue Mission has both a Men's and Women's program. Because we were involved with the Men let me give a quick description of what is available for the men. The programs for men includes:
Carl Resener Men’s Shelter: is the place where men in need can come and receive the necessities of life. These necessities include nutritious meals; warm, safe nights rest; medical care; clean clothing and hot showers. It matters not if they stay for one meal or one night, they are cared for and loved.
Barnabas House: isa life-recovery program. The Mission uses a spiritual, instead of a clinical, approach to helping men, ages 25 and older, resolve personal problems and chemical addictions of all kinds. This is not JUST an addiction recovery facilities, but helps men with issues of all kinds from addictions to clinical depression and life management.
The recovery programs require the men to live seven months together in provided dorms, and they all must participate in work therapy and Godly spiritual instruction. They are taught the truth of God, their sin and need. And with that, they are given the good news of the ability and sufficiency of Jesus Christ to be their Savior.
Many, when they first arrive, undergo detoxification from drug or alcohol addictions and are taught the essential skills of abstinence. To get back on their feet, the men are offered classes in job preparedness, interviewing skills, financial accountability and personal relationships. They also have opportunity to go through GED certification. After graduating from the life-recovery program, they are not left on their own. The men are given an option to live in transitional housing for a nominal rent until their financial and personal affairs are settled.
Anchor Home: helps men ages 18-24 overcome bad decisions made before reaching legal age. Many find themselves homeless and hopeless with no skills for continuing in life. The life-recovery program offered to them gives young men opportunity to participate in the education program. From this they are able to improve their academic and employment skills and/or obtain their GED. A graduate will then be able to contribute to their community by finding gainful employment and move into stable housing. More importantly, the young man is made spiritually whole, able to be used of God in building and growing God's Kingdom.
The women are housed in a separate building and are offered two programs. One is called the Hope Center, the other the Family Life Center. Here homeless women who find themselves emotionally or physically abused or find themselves dealing with addictions, can find sanctuary and new life.
Rescue Mission Workers
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Under the Banner
The Gift of Brokenness
God has given us the opportunity to volunteer with the mission in a variety of ways, from my husband preaching at chapel to helping with the meals and fellowshipping with the men...to attending the monthly graduating ceremony for those who have completed the seven month program successfully. Never have I been so humbled as at a graduating ceremony.
These men have come from diverse lives and are of all ages and ethnicity. Yet there is a brotherhood achieved through their struggles and in the Lord that the organized Church could take a lesson from. As I sat in the audience and observed, I saw total vulnerability and acceptance in these men. I saw Jesus. When speaking to His disciples one day Jesus instructed them that others would know they were His disciples by one sign. And it was not the sign of the fish or the cross or any other invented thing...but by LOVE.
And truly we saw this in effect. These men loved one another. Their testimonies brought tears to the eyes of many in the audience including mine. There was heartfelt gratitude, thankfulness. They knew they were broken men and they knew they needed Jesus for all that they needed to do in life. I found myself envious and scared of their brokenness. What a blessing, what a gift given to them by God. What! You ask, a gift?! Yes, a gift...the Word has said:
Psalm 51:17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
Isaiah 57:15 For this is what the high and lofty One says-- he who lives forever, whose name is holy: "I live in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.
These men had recieved a great gift in that their prideful and selfish souls were broken, ready to be replaced by the Life of the Lord Jesus. They have been...rescued... and they well knew it! They had truly received new LIFE, both in soul and body.
I would encourage any, if you live any where near a rescue mission, go to the graduating ceremony. Hear the testimonies these precious children of God lift up in gratefulness to their God. Hear the encouragement they give to each other to "hang in there." Hear the words of truth as to the difficult road ahead yet the power of God to hold them and carry them through. . Their testimonies are all about God, all about what He has miraculously done in their lives. These precious people know it. They know all about their inability to live the life God had intended them to live, They know all about the strength of their sin and their lack personal ability to overcome. These people are blessed.
I went into this ministry thinking "I" had something to give these people. I came out humbled and knowing that if I would but lay my pride to one side, in fact toss it away, they instead had something precious to give me. Brokenness. I came away changed. I came away with greater humbleness and a greater hunger to be broken for His glory. What a gift!
Nashville Rescue Mission Easter 2010
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