2216 S. Cedar St., Lansing MI 48910 ~ www.BEaRESCUER.org ~ 517.485.0145
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"I had nobody left..."

“I didn’t even realize that I was going to end up homeless. I was doing good. I always did good.” Even as “George” was sharing his story, he was surprised by the dramatic change in his life in the past few years. He had worked for a downtown restaurant for more than twenty years, but when his brother became very ill with cancer, he decided to leave his job to care for him. George had lost his mother and father and wanted to keep his brother from having to go into a care facility; the thought of what would happen if he lost his brother never occurred to him. “I wasn’t thinking.” Eventually, his brother needed constant care; George rarely ever left him. Then, his brother died. George was physically and emotionally depleted, and in his despair, he started drinking for the first time. Too quickly, he drank his money away.

Homeless and alone, he found the Mission. “Homelessness wasn’t real to me. I’d only seen it on TV.” It was Christmas when he arrived, and though he needed a place to stay, George was still driven by alcohol. Eventually he “just walked out.” The “first time, I was mad...I had nobody left. I was pretty messed up. I didn’t care.” With nowhere else to go except an older brother who was somewhat estranged, George slept under a bridge and fed his addiction. Finally, the day came when he looked at his life and wondered how he had ended up here. “Drinking wasn’t the answer... The problem’s still going to be there. The next day and the next day. That wasn’t me.”

This time, he knew he needed help, and he knew where he could go to find it. He returned to the Mission with the determination to start over. George has progressed through the Mission’s extended stay dorms. He has held a few odd jobs and continues to volunteer. However, like many of the men in our extended stay dorms, his health, age, and lack of a recent employment make it challenging to find work. He continues to work with Mission staff and our casework coordinator to find long-term solutions so that he can fully progress out of homelessness and into independence.

Thank you, fellow rescuers, for your compassion for those, like George, who are seeking a second chance. Thank you for being a rescuer.

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A Message from Mark: "There was first sacrifice"

“For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.” 2 Corinthians 4:5

I was reminded last week that whenever there is fruit in service, there was first sacrifice. This was clearly evidenced by the Apostle Paul in his letters to the Corinthian church. In this letter, Paul encouraged the Corinthians that they have a precious message: the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ can be displayed through you. Revealed in 1 and 2 Corinthians, Paul and his disciples worked hard for the spiritual and physical well being of the Corinthian people, as well as for Christians in Jerusalem. Paul reminds the Corinthians that he did not sacrifice his life and resources for their sake but for Jesus’ sake and for the benefit of those who believe. The light of the knowledge of Jesus Christ transforms lives “from one degree of glory to another.” The goal for Paul was to serve and sacrificially give his life as a living sacrifice that is holy and pleasing unto God (Romans 12:1). The Corinthians witnessed the “fruit of service” from Paul and his disciples because of their perseverance and commitment to sharing the Gospel.

The encouraging reflection of this truth is that, every single day, God is using you, our rescuers, to share the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet physical needs in the area of shelter, food, and clothing. Nearly two thousand years ago, in Greece’s capital area, the Apostle Paul and his disciples set their hearts on the spiritual well being of Corinthian people and impacted a countless number of lives. A hundred years ago, God used a different set of people in Michigan’s capital area to help others and to share this same truth. Today, God is using you for this same purpose: to share the fact that “Jesus Saves.” However, I humbly recognize that this privilege of “sharing the light” does not come without sacrifice. As a matter of fact, this ministry of rescue is only fruitful because of sacrifice. Rescuers, like the Apostle Paul, give of their time, talents, and finances because they know “Jesus Saves.” That is part of the “knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” You make this so. Better, God makes it so through you. “Whenever there is fruit in service, there was first sacrifice.” Thank you for your continued help in the ministry of rescue. Thank you for being a rescuer!

To God be the Glory,
Mark Criss
Executive Director

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"Rescue" News: The Plan Continues

Last month, in the “Message from Mark,” our executive director mentioned potential changes ahead for community agencies in the area that might impact the Mission and how we currently provide services. Some of the changes that we suspected were confirmed in a press release from Volunteers of America Michigan (VOAMI) on May 1. Per the press release, “Since March, VOAMI officials have been in discussions to transfer the agency’s Lansing homeless programs to Holy Cross Services...” VOAMI has committed to try to make any potential transition as seamless as possible to prevent disruptions in services that affect not only their clients but also homeless people who are staying at other shelters, like the Mission.

As part of GLHRN (Greater Lansing Homeless Resolution Network), the VOAMI Vice President of Social Services plans to keep other local agencies apprised of updates as she becomes aware of them. Our Executive Director has reached out to VOAMI and Holy Cross to learn of any further developments but has not yet received any information beyond what was shared in the initial press release.

While we wait for further details, we are not yet sure what the impact may be regarding services for our guests and throughout the community. Please know that we are already preparing to do what we can to help in the transition, to continue working with VOAMI, to create a connection with Holy Cross, and to increase our services if needed. Thank you for being a part of every opportunity to make a difference to those in need.

Addendum: Please note that after this article was written and our June newsletter files sent to the printer, the Lansing State Journal released an opinion piece on this issue. There have also been some further communications from local representatives from Volunteers of America.

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Cook's Corner: Ambrosia Salad

12 Servings (Family Size):
1 cup Pineapple Tidbits (drained)
1 cup Mandarin Oranges (drained)
1/2 cup sliced Strawberries
1 cup Maraschino Cherries (drained)
1 ½ cups Shredded Coconut
2 cups Mini Marshmallows
4 cups Whipped Topping
1/4 packet of Cherry Gelatin (for color)

72 Servings (Mission Size):
6 cups Pineapple Tidbits (drained)
6 cups Mandarin Oranges (drained)
3 cups sliced Strawberries
6 cups Maraschino Cherries (drained)
10 cups Shredded Coconut
12 cups Mini Marshmallows
22 cups Whipped Topping
1 packet of Cherry Gelatin (for color)

Directions are simple. Just mix everything together, and chill. The one important thing is to make sure the canned fruit is thoroughly drained before mixing.

This salad would be offered as part of the "salad bar" available as part of lunch and dinner. The Mission serves lunch and dinner every day of the year, and we're grateful to be able to offer fresh and healthy options to those we serve!


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