It’s a Thanksgiving tradition to sit around the table and give thanks to God for the blessings He has given us. Our health, our homes, our relationships and our financial situation are all common subjects that come up as we share our prayers around the table.
But the prayers here at the Phoenix Rescue Mission’s Changing Lives Center are all but routine.
For example, Michelle, a recent graduate of our recovery program, will be thanking God for a myriad of things. Among those blessings, one will stand out from the rest.
The fact that she is here today is because God reached out and miraculously saved her from a violent death.
“God brought me here,” admits Michelle.
Just a few months ago, she was living out of a truck, strung out on drugs with her boyfriend. They had been evicted from their home and had nowhere else to go. The news of the eviction soon reached the ears of her son’s teachers and the custody of Michelle’s only son was soon stripped from her as well.
Michelle had been homeless before; she knew where this road led. She was devastated by the loss of her son but even that wasn’t enough to keep her clean. To this day, Michelle admits she doesn’t know what it was that suddenly pointed her in a different direction. One day she just lost her taste for the life she was leading, and suddenly saw with perfect clarity that if she didn’t do something different, she was going to lose her son permanently. That’s when Department of Child Services referred her to the Changing Lives Center.
One and a half weeks later, she was informed by police that her boyfriend had been found beaten to death on the streets she formerly called home.
“We went everywhere together; that could have been me,” says Michelle.
Through the tireless work of the counselors and staff of the Changing Lives Center, God has saved her life. He’s saved her soul through a saving relationship with Christ she found during her time here. But God didn’t stop there.
Michelle graduated from our new Changing Lives Center Food Services Training Program – a 13-week course designed not only to give our women the chance to become ServSafe® certified as a food manager, but to give in-depth knowledge about the inner workings of the restaurant business. It’s a program designed to teach skills that will serve the women long after they leave the Center. This education is sparking the beginnings of a long-term career.
“I’m proud to say that every woman who has become certified through this 13-week program and has sought employment has found it,” says Brad Shire, our Food Service Operations Manager and head of our Food Services Training Program. “It’s not entry level positions either. My students have been blessed with positions as general managers, shift managers and team leads in restaurants all over Phoenix.”
Jackie, another recent program graduate, is excited about what this certification will mean for her and her daughter’s future. “I used to work in a tattoo shop so I’m covered in tattoos. This makes the job search difficult,” admits Jackie, “but because of the skills I’ve learned and the certifications I’ve received, doors are now open to me that were shut before. It’s exciting to not only see all the success the others have found through this program, but to know that I have that same opportunity before me.”
Because of you, women like Michelle and Jackie have the opportunity to find a bright new future full of possibilities! From all of us at the Phoenix Rescue Mission, we wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving!
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As we enter the holiday months our taste buds are tempted by all the traditional baked “goodness” we long for this time of year. Understanding that, Mission Cookies has joined with GarageFly for the rest of 2015 to give you a ‘sweet reward’ that will simultaneously Pay It Forward to homeless women and children in our community!
Book an appointment through GarageFly or write a review of a GarageFly shop, GarageFly will send a beautifully packaged box of 4 mouth-watering gourmet Mission Cookies to your door. That gives business to the ladies at the Changing Lives Center, GarageFly gets the reviews, and you get the "sweet rewards!" Click here to get in on this deal!
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Thanksgiving is a time when we’re able to sit down with our family, sometimes family we haven’t seen in ages, to share a meal. Breaking bread with our loved ones has a special way of enriching and repairing relationships, invigorating lost friendships and bringing families closer together.
In the same way, Phoenix Rescue Mission invokes this special bond, not just once a year – but every Sunday.
Every one of the men in our recovery program has the opportunity to invite family members at the end of each week to a dinner provided by volunteers and the Phoenix Rescue Mission staff. It’s an important component to recovery in a lot of ways. It enables our clients to reconnect to their families, to rebuild damaged relationships, to review and test what they’ve learned and to experience fellowship outside their normal day-to-day routines.
Patrick, a client currently in the Inner Healing or second phase of our recovery program, says family night dinners have helped him affirm his progress through the eyes of his family.
“Sometimes we have bad days, even weeks, and it’s easy to question our own growth,” admits Patrick. “Because we’re in it every day, sometimes we don’t realize that we’ve changed, that we’ve gone from A to B or even C. But when our families come each week, they can see the changes – even if we don’t. It’s incredibly encouraging to get that feedback.”
Nicolas, who is in the final phase of our recovery program, acknowledges the power these dinners have and explains how they’ve been vital for his growth.
“Some of the issues that we have to deal with are tied to our upbringing. It’s necessary to deal with those things face-to-face with the people involved… to start mending the broken relationships with our family. It’s the only way to get past some of this stuff and to grow. It’s helped me tremendously.”
But it isn’t just our clients who benefit. There’s an enormous sense of hope and joy that comes from seeing a son, a brother or an uncle who had been written off as lost not only turn his life around, but grow and thrive week after week.
“I’m so thankful for this time because we get to bond in a positive way. We’ve been so destructive throughout our whole lives, it’s nice to finally make some good memories, to have some good discussions and just be together as a family.”
All of us at the Phoenix Rescue Mission will be giving thanks for you this Thanksgiving and for the support you give that allows men like Patrick and Nicholas to find hope and new life here at the Mission!
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