The Main Thing – Home for the Holidays

As we sit down to dinner this Thanksgiving, surrounded by mouth-watering dishes of every kind, let's remember those who will be going without this year. A staggering 30 percent of our neighbors are considered working poor. In a state with a population of 7 million, that means 2.1 million of us are struggling to put food on the table, not to mention the thousands who call our streets home.

Numbers like these seem insurmountable. But, you know what?

Our God is bigger than hunger and homelessness.

Thanksgiving was central to Old Testament worship. Sacrifice and offerings were to be made not grudgingly, but with thanksgiving. The psalmist valued a song of thanksgiving more than sacrifice. Thankfulness was expressed: for personal and national deliverance; for God’s faithfulness to the covenant; and for forgiveness. All creation joins in offering thanks to God.

The first harvest celebration was held in 1621. It was then William Bradford proclaimed a day of thanksgiving and prayer to be shared by all the colonists and the neighboring Indians. It was not until October 3, 1789 that George Washington assigned Thursday, November 26, 1789, to be a day of national thanksgiving.  In his proclamation Washington stated, "...recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer; to be observed by acknowledging, with grateful hearts, the many ... favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness." 

Thanksgiving is a natural element of Christian worship and is to characterize all of Christian life. Early Christians expressed thanks: for Christ’s healing ministry; for Christ’s deliverance of the believer from sin; for God’s indescribable gift of grace in Christ; and for the faith of fellow Christians.

A Thanksgiving Proclamation, spoken by Abraham Lincoln on October 3, 1863 observed that the last Thursday of November would be a day of "Thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens."

He continued, "It has seemed to me fit and proper that God should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and one voice by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November as a day of Thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens."

Psalm 100 A Psalm For Giving Thanks. 1Shout for joy to the LORD all the earth. 2Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. 3Know that the LORD is God.  It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. 4Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. 5 For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.

This Thanksgiving, because of donors and volunteers, we were able to serve over 1,200 households with a Thanksgiving meal they may have otherwise gone without. It is heartwarming and encouraging to see the impact a community can have when we come together with a common goal.

Through your support of Phoenix Rescue Mission, God transforming lives that in turn impact others. It's a ripple effect that reaches farther and impacts more lives than we can imagine - just like a wind becomes a storm, a flame becomes a wildfire, it's been God's method for change from the very beginning.

So, as we remember those who will go without also remember that you are a part of something big, something that is changing the face of homelessness and hunger in our state.

God bless you and Happy Thanksgiving.

 

 

 

Christmas is Right Around the Corner

Our annual Winter Wonderland Event is right around the corner! This annual event is a special day where we invite our community into our campus for a day of celebration. Families who may otherwise go without celebrating Christmas due to financial strain, are greeted with a carnival-like environment where they can just have fun! Parents are able to "shop" for presents for their children, and kids even get the chance to return the favor and pick out a present for their parents. There will also be cookie decorating, fun activities and hot chocolate for everyone!

It is only through your support this special day is possible. We need toys for children of all ages, as well as items for adults like household wares, personal care items, blankets, and tools. If you are interested in hosting a toy drive or rally friends and family around this worthy cause, reach out to Catie at chammann@phoenixrescuemission.org or 602 346 3347. Volunteers are also needed for this event to bring joy to families who may otherwise go without celebrating the birth of our Lord and Saviour! To get started and see the different opportunities to serve visit prm.volunteerhub.com. Want to speak to volunteer services about how you or your church can volunteer your time or talents for this special day in our community? Reach out to Volunteer Services at volunteer@phoenixrescuemission.org or call 602 346 3363

If you, or someone you know could benefit from this special day and want to sign up, contact Jussane at jcarrera@phoenixrescuemission.org or 602 346 3372

Mission Possible Cafe Celebrate One Year Anniversary


We just celebrated Action Hunger Month, which precedes the first anniversary of the grand opening of Mission Possible Cafe, a social enterprise owned and operated by the Phoenix Rescue Mission - a non-profit dedicated to ending hunger and homelessness.

It's a special time for all of us at the cafe because of what the restaurant has done to change the lives of all our employees, each of whom have struggled with homelessness, addiction or trauma.

For me, Mission Possible Cafe has made life possible again.

I would have never thought when I took my first painkiller that I would ever end up homeless. I never would have thought a decade of my life could be lost to drugs. The worst part about taking that first pill was the effect it would have on my two children.

You see, it's difficult enough living out of a car, not knowing where you'd end up or how you're going to survive the day. But pales in comparison to knowing what it's like to watch your kids sift through the trunk of the car, desperately looking for clean clothes for school. It pains me to this day that they know when to tuen their heads while I put a needle in my ar,.

I nearly lost everything to my addiction. My house. My belongings, My kids. I was in and out go haul several times. It almost took my life. Thankful, by the grace of God, my probation officer took me to the Phoenix Rescue Mission's Changing Lives Center for women and children August of 2015.

As part of my treatment, I helped the Mission open and run Mission Possible Cafe, a Mexican-American restaurant in the downtown Phoenix area that serves breakfast and rich. Besides offering delicious, original recipes, the goal of the cafe is to change the lives of the men and women in trcovery at the phoenix Rescue Mission.

The cafe provides, real-world culinary-,amazement experience tot this in trvobery and also provides funding for the Mission vocation training program, which is part of a long-term recoevery program among to end the cycle of homelessness and addiction.

 

I am now 34 years old. I am a graduatee of the Phoenix Rescue Mission's long-term recovery program, and I just celebrated my third year of sobriety. For many who've had a history like mine, getting clean is half the battle. THere's still an entire world our there that wasn't made for people who have court records instead of diplomas. But because of Mission Possible Cafe, I completed my recovery treatment with real-world, on-th-job experience while earning a high school diploma through the services available at the Mission.

When I graduated the Mission's program, I landed an assistant manager position at a doughnut and coffee chain, I have a stable home for me and my children and I was asked to come back and manage the front of the house for Mission Possible Cafe.

So, this year means a lot to me and my Mission Possible team. For our one year anniversary, we invited the community and our neighbors to come have lunch on us! A special thanks to Nathan's Hotdogs, who provided 200 hotdogs to share to hungry guests who came through our doors. We enjoyed cake together and Mission Possibbe Cookies baked fresh by women going through the progaram at the Changing Lives Center for women and children.

It is only through your support that the Cafe is able to function as a place for our community to break bread together, and support men and women working towards new life at the Phoenix Rescue Mission.When you eat at the cafe, know that 100% of proceeds at Mission Possible Cafe go directly to those in need. The very men and women that take your order, make your coffee, and prepare your food, you are liftin up and saying, "we care."

Thank you, Phoenix, for supporting those of us who just needed someone to show them that anything is possible.

 

-Seanna Perry

Mission Possible Cafe - front of house manager

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Smile Can Change A Life

How God is using our partnership to restore the years the locusts have eaten

When we see people missing teeth, we “label” them. We somehow tend to think of them as unintelligent ... unprofessional ... even untrustworthy. No, it doesn’t really make sense, logically. But it happens nonetheless.

It’s a challenge faced by many of our graduates. Even though they are new creations in Christ, their bodies still bear the scars of the past – ruining job opportunities and potential relationships – essentially keeping them from moving forward.

Enter our dental partners that give our graduates a reason to smile. Phoenix Rescue Mission is blessed to have Smiles Beyond the Bars, Pacific Dental Services Foundation, Brighter Way, Custom Fit Lab and Smiles for Everyone provide bright smiles for our clients.

“We help formerly incarcerated people who have come to love the Lord, and are in a faith-based organization,” says Linda of Smiles Beyond the Bars. “If they qualify, we will totally rebuild their mouth, giving them a new shot at life, a new confidence, and a chance to live like anyone else and not hide their teeth.”

It makes all the difference for our graduates. Just ask Tyler. “For years I’ve hid my smile,” says Tyler, “unable to enjoy even the smallest moments of joy and laughter. I could feel the assumptions and judgments from those who would see my teeth. Smiles Beyond the Bars not only gave me back my confidence and ability to enjoy life, eating is no longer  painful! It’s been a huge blessing. I am so thankful for Phoenix Rescue Mission and Smiles Beyond the Bars!”

“The Phoenix Rescue Mission brings them in, gives them a bed and teaches them life skills, but if they still have bad teeth, they can’t get a job,” says Linda. “The missing factor is their smile.”

Lisa, CEO and founder of Smiles Beyond the Bars, approached Tyler about a special opportunity during the process of receiving his new smile. Smiles Beyond the Bars was hosting their 2018 Smiles for Success Gala, and wanted Tyler to be the emcee! Tyler was more than excited to raise awareness for the cause that gave him his new smile, and praise God for what He had brought Tyler through. "I want to do this every year," Tyler explained.  Tyler's testimony and experience was shown on the big screen as he told his story of hope and transformation, not only for his teeth, but his soul/ It was a beautiful night celebrating World Smiles Day among supporters and recipients of new smiles.  They year, Smiles Beyond the Bars will provide 75 new smiles to recipients, from a dedicated core of 65 dentists and 13 labs contributing their services equating to $2 million of treatment and lab services!

God’s grace, your support and the dedicated support of our counselors and staff give our graduates the tools for transformation from the inside-out. Our dental partners provide our graduates with dazzling new smiles to match their inner change – the combination is nothing short of 1 Peter 5:10: “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.”

 

 

Spinato’s Pizza Serves Community for Hunger Action Month

For women, once broken, homeless and addicted, now sit at a upscale pizzeria on 7th Street and Camelback Road in Phoenix. As a Spinato's staff member came by to check on the women, and mothers with their children enjoying their meals, Christina a mother of two going through the program at the Phoenix Rescue Mission is holding back tears. "They opened up their doors to us, they sat down and spoke with us, we prayed together." "I will be talking about tonight for a long time."

Spinato's Pizzeria in Phoenix has a community based mindset, and giving back to their community is part of their Mission. "We have such a big family, our staff is family, our restaurant is a place where we can bring in people and make them feel at home as well," family of owner, Nicole explains.

Spinato's closed their restaurant down to serve the 100 women and their children currently residing and transforming their lives at the Phoenix Rescue Mission Changing Lives Center for women and children. "We told our staff, 'take your time, sit down and get to know these men and their stories.'" "They are who we are serving tonight.

"Going out to eat with children is difficult, Christina explains. They [Spinato's] welcomed it, and even gave our children goodie bags to take home on top of this amazing night out. To sit down at a beautiful restaurant and be catered to was so special."

Spinato's gave each woman, as well as their children the opportunity to order "anything and everything," from their specialty pizzas, pastas, calzones and even dessert! Tables were full of delicious food, smiles, and full bellies were seen throughout the restaurant. "This is the best pizza I've ever had, 5-star!"

September is Hunger Action Month, and Spinato's has stepped up in a big way. Thank you to the staff, family, and friends that made this incredible night possible. "It was heaven, a night I won't forget." Christina and the other 100 women and children invited to a closed restaurant just for them, finished dinner, and were given goodie bags to take home.  The women and children from the Phoenix Rescue Mission left Spinato's with a renewed spirit, full bellies, and full hearts. "Tonight reminded me people care," Christina said as she walked out with left over pizza, a goodie bag, and a smile that will impact others for days to come.