A Testimony of Hope, Restored

Dennis was just 13 years old when he started experimenting with alcohol and drugs. By the time he was 20 years old, he was hooked on crystal meth. For the next twenty-three years, he never stopped using. Dennis was married at 23 and his wife gave birth to their son a couple years later. While he loved his wife and son, it wasn't enough to get him to stop his drug use. His wife divorced him when his son was only 18 months old.

For years, Dennis bounced around, doing whatever he had to in order to support his addictions. In 2003, he was arrested for drug smuggling from Mexico and spent a year in jail. After that, things only got worse. His addiciton to meth cost him the trust and respect of his family and friends, he lost any chance of joint custody of his son and finally, lost his job, becoming homeless.

Living in a van, one night he decided to pray. With tears flowing, he prayed asking God to rescue him and put hope back in his life. The next morning when his drug dealer showed up, he asked Dennis to go somewhere with him. Before he knew it, the dealer dropped him off at the Mission and told him to focus on getting better for himself, his son and his family.

It wasn't long after he entered our recovery program that he realized what was missing from his life was a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. The hardest part of the program for Dennis was surrendering. He found that the more he grew in his relationship with God, the easier it became to surrender his past sins and allow his heart to be filled with hope and joy through God's forgiveness.

Dennis graduated from our Men's Recovery Program in April and already has a job. When he went back to the last company he had worked for, Quick Pik Allover Towing, to apologize, the owner hired him on the spot. They could see right away that Dennis is a changed man.

Thanks to those that support the Mission, lives are being changed. As Dennis put it, "Thanks to everyone who donates time and money to the Mission. You literally saved my life and the lives of many others. I can't thank you enough!"

Don’t Look Back

Jerry Sandvig, President & CEO of Phoenix Rescue Mission

"Don't look back. Something might be gaining on you."

This is a quote from Satchel Paige, a famous baseball player in the early 20th century.

I hadn't given this saying much thought until the early part of this year. Throughout the years, I have enjoyed keeping you updated on the matters of the Phoenix Rescue Mission. I have enjoyed it because the reports on God's blessing on this ministry of His are exciting and because His blessings typically flow to us through the donors and volunteers that make up our Mission family.

Everyone is aware of the difficulties generated by this present economic downturn. It seems few lives have been spared from its effects. Since the Mission provides food, clothing, shelter and many services based on care for those we serve, the demand for these basics of life have continued to grow beyond any expectations. As we look forward through our doors, we see ever-increasing crowds of men, women and children in need. We see the same crowd, yet, different faces. And, as we look back something is indeed gaining on us, the human wreckage of this economic condition.

We feel the costs of serving "gaining on us." The last thing we ever want to do is reduce services because what we do is what God has called us to do.

I thank you for your faithful support since you have allowed the Mission to grow to serve so many people in need. I appeal to you at this time for your continued help and increased help where you can.

When all is said and done, our greatest asset and path to provisions is prayer. We hear everyday from many people who keep this work bathed in prayer. For that we offer our profound thanks.

I'm not sure about the theology of Satchel Paige's saying , but there is wisdom in what he says. "Don't pray when it rains, if you don't pray when the sun shines."

May you experience God's continued blessings in your life.

Peace and Joy,

Jerry Sandvig
President & CEO
Phoenix Rescue Mission

Don’t Miss Dunk a Firefighter This Saturday!

Bring your pitching arm and cases of bottled water, lip balm and sunscreen to help prevent homeless and elderly deaths this summer in Phoenix!

                1 case of bottled water = 1 pitch
                $5 = 1 pitch
                Sunscreen = 1 pitch

For more information check out our event on Facebook at http://bit.ly/9M5NYs or call Marlena at 602.272.4663.

If you can't make it to Westgate for our event, we are accepting all these items at our Family Outreach Center at 3532 West Thomas, Suite 9 in Phoenix all summer long.

Walk Starts Water Campaign Off On the Right Foot

Over a hundred folks came down to Starbucks v2v World Water Day Walk on Saturday, bringing enough water to assist 6,378 homeless people and enough donations to build a well for Water for Kids. With that many bottles of water coming in, Starbucks more than met their goal of doubling last year's donation to the Mission.

For Phoenix Rescue Mission, this walk was the kick-off for a long season of preventing dehydration and possible deaths among the homeless population in partnership with the City of Phoenix Heat Relief Network

Said the Mission's Nicole Peña, "It was fun. After doing the four mile walk myself, I realized how far that is just to collect drinking water every day."

The bottled water collected from the walk and from collection points at valley-wide Starbucks locations will be distributed by Phoenix Rescue Mission's Hope Coach as Phoenix starts to heat up. The Hope Coach travels throughout the city every day providing water, packed lunches, toiletry kits and during the summer months, light colored clothing and sunscreen to homeless people.

We'd like to thank Starbucks for their continued support of the Mission and to thank all of Saturday's walkers for putting themselves in someone else's shoes.

If you'd like to assist us with items for the Hope Coach please visit the Get Involved section of our website or to donate water click here.

Stan’s Personal “Pursuit of Happyness”

The recipe for a dream sounds simple enough: hard work and determination sprinkled with hope. Stan Robinson has shown the willpower and true grit it takes to pursue that dream.

Stan Robinson was a guest of the Phoenix Rescue Mission in 2007. He had moved to Phoenix from Orlando, hoping to put his 22 years of experience in film and television production to good use. The fledgling Arizona film market seemed ripe for the picking. But at age 60, Stan discovered finding consistent work was a challenge.

Staying at the Mission until he got back on his feet seemed a logical plan. While at the Mission, Stan had an epiphany of sorts - rather than work in the entertainment industry he loves, why not write about it.

The movie "The Pursuit of Happyness" was an inspiration to Stan. In the movie, Chris Gardner loses his wife, house and financial stability after investing his money in a faulty invention. Determined to be successful, Gardner was selected for a 6-month internship program required to become a stockbroker. With few resources, Gardner and his young son are forced to live on the streets and in homeless shelters until his internship becomes a paying job.

In the typical scenario of life imitating art, Stan could relate to Gardner's drive to change his life. Yet, Stan had no idea the road to pursuing his own personal happiness as a local film critic would be so rocky.

In October of 2007, Stan was brutally attacked outside of Burton Barr Central Library by two men who wanted his laptop computer. His injuries were severe. He was hospitalized for weeks and was still undergoing rehabilitation a year later. He though a lot about Chris Gardner's plight while staying at the Mission and knew he had to keep writing, networking and submitting his articles to publishers.

As he healed both physically and spiritually, Stan was determined to get his reviews published. He found a copy of the AZ Weekly Entertainment Magazine at the bus stop right by the Mission and submitted his work.

CEO and Publisher, Brian Muir of this publication took a chance and asked Stan to join the staff, writing for the film section. Each week, Stan's reviews are read by thousands who pick up the free weekly on street corners or inside businesses. Stan then joined the Phoenix Film Critics Society and currently sits on their Board as the Director-At-Large.

Starting this month, Stan's reviews and articles will appear in the Resident News Newsletter. The newsletter is delivered monthly to 1.2 million country clubs and apartment complexes nationally within more than 50 publications.

Stan's reviews can also be found online on Examiner.com Phoenix.

Through his hard work and perseverance, Stan has taught our shelter guests and staff alike that happiness is not gifted  to some and taken from others, it is something to be pursued.