Stories of Transformation: Mark

Kindness of a stranger led man to Mission

“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.” ~ Hebrews 13:2

Mark Shephard was digging in a dumpster for his next meal when a stranger offered to put him up for the night. The next morning the Good Samaritan dropped him off at the Phoenix Rescue Mission.

Mark had only been homeless for a week. Two years of unemployment left him without options. He did some temporary work, but it wasn’t enough to pay his rent. In what seemed like an instant Mark was homeless, scrounging for food and a place to sleep in the neighborhood he used to call home.

“I didn’t know how to be homeless. I had never heard of the Phoenix Rescue Mission and now I credit the Mission with saving my life,” said Mark.

Mark has been working in the laundry room at the shelter, while looking for work. Thanks to the Mission’s support team he now has a plan for his future.

“I’ve given myself until the first of the year to find a job. I’d like to save up a few paychecks by staying at the Mission and then get my own apartment. I have a lot more hope than the day I arrived at the front door,” said Mark.

Mark vividly remembers that day. At the time, he questioned whether a homeless shelter was the right place for him, but in a leap of faith, he trusted the stranger who had compassion for him and his situation.

“I think about that encounter a lot. I was in the right place at the right time,” said Mark. “When I walked through the doors of the Mission, I was scared to death. I didn’t know anybody and I believed all the stereotypes about the homeless.”

“After a couple of days, I realized that the guys living with me in the shelter are not bums. Most are hard-working Americans just down on their luck,” He said.

Mark is hoping to find a job in the service industry and start a new life, but admits he will miss the food at the Mission’s dining hall.

“I have never had a bad meal here,” said Mark. “There are a lot of us out there that don’t have jobs and now I know where to send them.”