Where are they now?

Tommy - From a bruiser to a brother in Christ

You might remember Tommy Smith. He spent 23 years in prison for attempted murder. While on the inside, he took orders as a prison “hit man.” Then in 2016, his life took a complete 180°. He became a graduate of our recovery program and, today, despite his toughguy appearance, Tom is one of the most kind, helpful and compassionate people you’ll ever meet.

But where is he now?

Even after his graduation, Tommy decided to continue to stay plugged into Phoenix Rescue Mission. He had a passion for learning, volunteering, and ministering to others through our numerous programs and outreaches. In fact, he’s become such an asset, that just 6 months ago, we hired him full-time – to help with our Code:Red outreach program. If you had water donations picked up this summer, you’ve probably had the pleasure of meeting him!

From a bruiser to a brother in Christ, Tommy has come full circle! Thank you for the support that produces real, lasting transformation in the men, women and children we serve!

Testimony Tuesday!

Hope Coach - Julie PatrickAt Phoenix Rescue Mission, we couldn't do all that we do without the dedication and passion of our many volunteers who give their time, talents and treasures. With all that they give, it's always amazing to hear how much they get back from serving others. Here is a perfect example - a testimonial from Julie Patrick.

For long-time Phoenix Rescue Mission volunteer Julie Patrick, riding on the Hope Coach mobile outreach van to help the homeless men and women she saw on the streets was a completely different experience.

Patrick and her colleagues at Greystar Real Estate Partners in Phoenix know the Mission well. They have volunteered over the years in countless ways including serving meals at the men’s shelter, coordinating sock drives, sponsoring needy families at Christmas, and participating in last year’s Code Red heat relief campaign, where over 450,000 bottles of water were collected across the Valley. She’s even taken advantage of the Mission’s new social enterprise, Mission Cookies, by ordering dozens of boxes for her real estate clients.

“My passion has always been about helping charities. Volunteering on the Hope Coach made a huge impact on all of us,” she says.

Patrick read about our Hope Coach outreach program through the Mission’s monthly newsletter, and knew she wanted to get involved. When the day finally came, Patrick, together with some colleagues and friends, set out on the Hope Coach, led by Chaplain Cliff Danley.

“Soon after we started out, we came across some guys who looked like they could use our help. They wanted blankets and sleeping bags. One of them was with his girlfriend who also needed a blanket. We didn’t have any in the van right then, but knew we could get some. We told them we’d be coming right back, but they seemed doubtful.

After a quick dash to the store, we came out with blankets in hand and set out again to find them. We drove to the same spot but they were gone, and it took some circling around to finally catch up with them. When I jumped out of the van with the blankets and sleeping bags, they were completely surprised and were so grateful. The girlfriend was especially thrilled to get a blanket with flowers on it. That was really special.

They were just some of the many people we helped that day. Our experience on the Hope Coach was amazing. I’m ready to go out every month now.”

Click here to learn more about our Hope Coach program, and to volunteer.

Testimony Tuesday!

BikeA few weeks ago on a Saturday, a gentleman visited the warehouse looking for a sleeping bag. This was, of course, one of the rare days when we didn’t have one.  As usual, I had to remind myself, there on the spot, that God will present a solution if I stay out of His way. I said a silent prayer that this man would receive what God had sent him here for, whatever it might be. He asked to use my phone for a call to a relative to have some money wired to Western Union to go and purchase the sleeping bag and some bike supplies.

His only transportation was a well-used, but durable mountain bike that he obviously knew how to take care of. He said he was leaving town to go back to his family and see if his wife would take him back. He had gotten the bike as “payment” from a Phoenix relative and said it was only time he had received work compensation from him that wasn’t in drugs. He had accepted the bike and ran. He said he wanted to ride back to Illinois! He wanted to use the time to reconnect with God get into better shape.

As he waited for a return call, he shared some of his recent struggles. He had moved out here from Illinois with his wife and 2 children, with the hopes of landing a job with this relative who promised solid work in his new company. As this man explained it, the business was not as advertised and the four of them shared a house with this relative who seemed to spend more time selling and doing drugs than working. The man admitted that he had fallen into drug use as well over the next few months. When the wife had had enough, she took the kids and moved back home, while my visitor stayed in this unhealthy situation, determined to “make it work” in Phoenix. He slowly realized this was not going to happen and left.

Soon a regular donor, a couple, pulled in with a few boxes of diapers and some cases of water. Somehow the conversation lead back to the biker and introductions and handshakes were exchanged. The man relayed some portion of his story and the couple assured him that he would be in their prayers. They left and we continued our discussion about the way God might use this trip to show him the value and direction of his life. A few minutes later the couple returned, saying they felt that something was left undone. They asked how much a bus ticket would be to get him home. He refused saying he needed time before getting home. The couple then asked us to wait while they drove to Wal-Mart and purchased a sleeping bag. They also returned with the bike repair items that the man had been looking for! Even though, they had not even been present for that part of the conversation.

Was this man telling us the truth? Was he really going to travel across half of the country on a bike? To me, that’s not the point. The point is God showed up. He used the hearts of His children to show what it means to extend a hand and trust Him in all things. To move forward, be His hands and feet, and let Him do the “heavy lifting”. This man bore witness to God moving and working for his benefit, regardless of his original motivation. All of these little blessings coming together to prove to four people on a Saturday morning, that He is there with us. Even when there is doubt.  Especially when there is doubt.

Testimony Tuesday!

MarkWe're always amazed by the notes and letters we receive from our Mission clients. Here, Mark shares the difference that Phoenix Rescue Mission is making in his life.

"Being homeless for several years, I found that the Phoenix Rescue Mission is indeed an oasis in the desert. In addition to providing a safe place to sleep and incredibly wonderful food, the Mission also provides a link to Christian values and morals that are the basis of man caring for his fellow man."

Testimony Tuesday!

homeless-crisis-ministriesHere, Chris shares how the Mission helped to turn his life around.

"Before I came to the Phoenix Rescue Mission, I was at the worst I’ve ever been in my life. I was broken to the core and trying to do things on my own which always led to failure and a destructive path full of hurt people and broken promises.

Once I came here, I learned a great deal about the Bible and about who Christ is. I knew absolutely nothing about Him, nor did I spend a thought on Him. I have learned about myself as a person, and how to grow up to become a mature Christian. I am dealing with issues here that I have been repressing for years, and have caused me to live a terrible lifestyle full of repercussions and remorse. I would not have been able to do this without their help, and without their amazing demonstration of what peace and joy are, which is incredibly attractive for broken people like myself.

Without them doing all of these things, I would not have been blessed with a second chance at life, and an opportunity to be born again." - Chris