When Manette was enduring homelessness, addiction and brokenness, she never imagined the Lord would use her suffering to change lives …
Manette says she’s called to the life-transforming work at Phoenix Rescue Mission. She understands people devastated by homelessness. She empathizes with and cares deeply for them — because she’s been there.
“My mom was addicted to heroin and we were homeless,” she explains. “As a teenager, I followed in her footsteps and became a heroin addict myself. I went to prison three times. The last time, I was so sick of my life, I melted down in front of a police officer, screaming at myself, ‘I hate you! I don’t know who you are anymore!’”
The policeman’s response stunned her. “He stopped his patrol car and said, ‘You may not know who you are, but I do. You are a daughter of the Most High. You are loved and forgiven.’ All I could do was sit there and cry,” Manette remembers. “I haven’t used drugs since then. I turned my life over to Jesus in prison, and when I got out, God anointed me to work with people in addiction.”
No doubt her passion and empathy were forged by hardship, and it led her to join Phoenix Rescue Mission as one of our lead case managers several years ago.
Case management at the Mission involves reaching out to men and women who are homeless in the Valley and leading them through the recovery journey. In Manette’s case, she builds a relationship with those she is helping, walking with them every step of the way — from that first meeting to the time they get keys to their own apartment or into our residential recovery program. This process can take up to a year or longer.
“Some just want housing,” she says. “Others want to change their lives. The key is, you have to catch them at the moment when they want to change.”
Outreach is especially urgent during summer. Life on the streets becomes incredibly dangerous beneath the blazing desert sun. “People die in the heat,” Manette says. “So we constantly take water to them and offer them a place to get out of the heat for a while. It makes a big difference.”
Perseverance to Help Others
Manette shares a story of a man who spent four years walking the streets of El Mirage. She met with him often in the summer heat. Offering water and hygiene products, she invited him to get help. He’d take the water but nothing else.
Refusing to take rejection personally or give up, Manette kept reaching out to him, serving him and the other homeless neighbors in the area. The man would watch as she prayed and served others around him. “After six months of watching, he told me, ‘OK, I can’t be out here anymore. Help me.’ Today he’s living in his own apartment and thriving,” Manette says.
What Makes the Mission Different?
Manette says the biggest thing that sets Phoenix Rescue Mission apart from other programs is that it’s Christ-centered. “Every day we’re out on the streets, we talk about Jesus and we pray over people, and they watch us out there. We’ve made a name for ourselves and they trust us. That’s why we have success.”
She continues: “I’m so grateful for our donors! Everything we do is because of their kindness. They’re making a huge impact out there on the streets.”
Thank you for providing the prayers and resources that equip Manette, our case managers and so many others at the Mission with the tools to transform lives!