He awoke with the sun in his eyes, groaning in pain and covered in sweat. Another night had come and gone that he didn’t remember, but it didn’t matter. Living in the open desert just outside Bullhead City, Tom Crandall wasn’t concerned with what he did, how he got back or even what today would bring. He was just going through the motions.
Tom Crandall was a man waiting to die.
It’s because he had been here before, many times. Ever since his first encounter with alcohol at 14 years old, addiction had followed him throughout his life, turning every success into failure.
At 19 he was fresh out of high school and looking forward to a bright future before a nasty accident shattered those dreams – landing him with a DUI and heavy debt. A few years later he got a job as a flight attendant making good money and seeing the world, until drinking at work and a new drug called “ecstasy” cost him that position.
For the next three years, Tom stayed clean and sober. He co-founded a successful marketing firm, began writing articles in trade magazines and was on his way to becoming a thought-leader in his industry. That is, until a single martini at a trade event triggered a relapse – and he fell further than he ever had before.
Tom tells us, “Within a week I was back to abusing alcohol and started using methamphetamine. I hated myself for it and I turned that hate and that anger on the people around me. I became a monster.”
Tom’s business, built on relationships, quickly dissolved. His friends stopped calling and each severed tie only served to add to Tom’s self-loathing.
He remembers, “I went crazy. I started looking for fights. In the space of a year I was incarcerated 6 times. Eventually I found myself alone in Bullhead City, penniless and sleeping beside a river in the desert.”
Finally, Tom had enough. He knew his only hope to break the cycle was to get help, something he couldn’t find in Bullhead City. He had to get to Phoenix.
“I tried hitchhiking, but with the way I looked no one would pick me up. I tried pan handling, but couldn’t collect enough for a bus ticket. Then I got frustrated and used what little I had to buy alcohol.” Tom confesses, “Drunk and desperate, I made my way to the valet box at a local casino, helped myself to some keys and drove a stolen Nissan to Phoenix.”
As soon as he reached the city limits however, he was immediately pulled over for drunk driving.
Tom remembers, “I ended up in Durango jail and something miraculous happened. It was like a switch was flipped in my heart. All of a sudden I had a hunger for God. I requested a Bible, read it every day and attended every church service available. When my time was up and I was released, I asked around if there were any Christian recovery centers nearby. Everyone pointed me toward the Phoenix Rescue Mission.”
Thanks to the support of friends like you, Tom found the rest and peace he had been searching for his whole life just a short walk from Durango Prison.
Tom tells us, “It was Chaplain Gabe who talked to me first. He spoke life into me. Right away I felt like I was home. I completed the year program and it totally changed my life. I’m a new creation in Christ!”
Today, Tom is free from his addictions for the first time in 24 long years. He works part-time at the Mission teaching recovery classes and sharing what Christ has done in his life.
“God’s given me a purpose, a clear calling. My goal is to go into ministry and share my story – give the glory to God for the life He has redeemed. I’m alive today because of Him and because of this place.”
A few weeks ago, the front page headline of the Arizona Republic read ‘Last emergency center in Phoenix expected to close.’
Imagine our surprise! As an emergency center located in Phoenix, this was news to us!
But oversight aside, the article’s focus was on Maricopa County’s Men’s Overflow Shelter, a government-funded facility which is scheduled to be shut down at the end of March. Reading the article, there is a sense that if this shutdown proceeds as planned that the over 300 homeless residing there and in the adjacent lot will have nowhere to turn for help. We would like to take this opportunity to say that, thanks to friends like you, nothing is further from the truth.
The Phoenix Rescue Mission is ready and willing to provide food, shelter and recovery services to anyone needing help – to anyone searching for hope.
Jay Cory, our Executive Director, has this to say, “The Phoenix Rescue Mission supports and cooperates with all efforts to end homelessness.
We’ve met with various city leaders and continue to offer our support regarding the overflow shelter issue. We believe shelter is not a solution in and of itself to homelessness, but rather, it serves as a meeting point where we can connect people to solutions that make sense and transform their lives. In that regard we have seen miracles occur and look forward to assisting those displaced by the shutdown in the same way.” (Jay Cory wrote an op-ed piece about the need for emergency shelter which you can read by clicking here.)
Because of friends like you, every day our Mission feeds the bellies of the hungry and comforts the souls of the broken-hearted. This year, thousands of meals will be served, hundreds of men and women will find freedom from their addictions through our recovery program, and dozens of families will be brought back from the brink thanks to the combination of our job readiness and food box programs.
We couldn’t accomplish this life-changing work without God’s grace and your support. While this shelter shutdown may be a sad development – let’s remember that it’s certainly not the last emergency center in Phoenix. Actually, for many, this may even mean a first chance at finding true hope and life-change here at the Mission.
Easter Outreach Celebration | March 28
Volunteer for our annual Easter Celebration on March 28th and help us make this most important holiday a fun and exciting one for the families we serve. This year we’re expecting 500 families – that means we’ll need 1,500 filled Easter baskets, 500 stuffed food boxes and of course, 500 plastic Easter eggs filled with candy, trinkets and scripture verses. Hold a Basket Drive today! For more information on how you can help, please visit phoenixrescuemission.org/events or call Gail Engstrom at 602-346-3372.
Easter Service with Music Serving the Word | April 5
Volunteers are needed for our morning Easter Service at Mission this year on April 5th. Live reading and worship will be lead by Music Serving the Word. Can’t attend? You can help us end the day by giving the gift of a special Easter meal with all the trimmings for just a $1.92 per plate by donating securely online here.
Arizona Gives Day – April 7
Last year, through the support of our friends, the Phoenix Rescue Mission came in first place during Arizona Gives Day by raising over $50,000 and being awarded an additional $15,000 to change the lives of the men and women we serve! Help us do it again this year by visiting Phoenix Rescue Mission’s Arizona Gives Day page at http://PhoenixRescueMission.org/AZGivesDay.
Quarterly Celebration – April 21
You are invited to join us for our upcoming quarterly celebration on April 21st. Come and listen to the stories of redemption and life-transformation that your partnership helped make possible! For more information on times and location please visit www.phoenixrescuemission.org/events.