The Phoenix Rescue Mission Plants Seeds of Hope

Hope for new homeless found at the Mission

One evening, just a couple months ago, Jeff was walking near the downtown ASU Extension campus and before he knew it, he was attacked by several men and a woman. In an attempt to steal his backpack, they kicked him, hit him with a bat, tried to stab him and left him in a pool of blood, unconscious with multiple injuries. The following two weeks were spent in the hospital and when he was released, he was put in a cab and sent to the Phoenix Rescue Mission.

As part of our mission to rescue lives, to save lives, change lives and serve lives, our staff began to minister to his physical, emotional and spiritual needs. Seeds of hope and promise of a future are being planted in Jeff through our hospitality.

Jeff found himself on the streets of Phoenix after coming here from Seattle to help his sister through a bitter divorce. But alcohol, drugs and rage caused him to lose favor with his family and he was forced to leave his sister’s home.

When he came to the Mission, he put his head down, followed the rules and reflected on what had gone wrong in his life. Then he missed curfew and his bed was given to another. A week later he returned determined to work through the demons of destruction that had brought him to this point.

Jeff enjoys the security the Mission provides and says “it provides a buffer from the street.” While he sometimes feels embarrassed to be staying at the Mission, he is grateful that he has a safe place to sleep at night.

Further he says, “I really like the chapel services. They help and for the past two days I have been starting to pray on my own.”

Jeff believes “all this crazy stuff” happened for a reason. “I am here for a reason,” he says. “This is where I am supposed to be; this is a chance to move up. Another thing I like about this place is that it gives me time to think, to clear my mind and to pray.”

Jeff is at a major turning point in his life. He is discovering that peace comes from Jesus Christ. He is examining his faith and he is talking to God. He is discovering the satisfaction of serving others. Day by day we have the privilege of planting seeds of hope and seeing him grow and become whole.

Jesus talks about this in Luke 13 where he tells the story of the farmer planting seed. Some, he says, “fell along the path…some fell on rocky places…some among thorns…some fell on good soil…” In Jeff’s case the seed has fallen on good soil and it is beginning to grow and will “bring forth fruit” as we help him.

Tom’s Story

Phoenix Rescue Mission's Jerry Sandvig with Tom Murray

I had the privledge of meeting Tom Murray at our Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon in April. He was our featured speaker and when he took his place behind the podium in his suit and tie, I had no idea how powerful the story he was about to share with us would be. Here in his own words, is Tom's story of homelessness and hope.

"I lived in Phoenix many years, and for the most part, I lived on the streets in central Phoenix.  I had jobs and then I had months of no jobs and homelessness.  I used to sleep in the bushes along I-17 near Grant Street in the years before I first went to the Phoenix Rescue Mission.

Those years were mostly awful. When I finally went to the Mission in October 2001, I was seriously ill (I didn't know it) and in fact, I laid on a piece of cardboard for several days outside the gate of the Mission - I was just too sick and tired to get up. I had what you might call a life changing experience before I went to the Mission.

I had a heart attack and underwent several heart surgeries while I lived at the Mission and I remember Jerry Sandvig coming to lead Bible studies when I was not able to get out of my bed.  What a blessing Jerry and everyone at the Mission were to me, and are now to many people.

I am school in Kansas City now, completing my doctorate degree and I will be a Doctor of Chiropractic next year.  I plan on returning to Phoenix to help Jerry and everyone else at the Mission.

~Tom Murray"

There are many more homeless men just like Tom. Please visit our website to see how you can help or to find out more about our Addiction Recovery Program.

~Debra Pryor

We couldn’t do it without you!

Thanks to all our donors, volunteers and sponsors, Phoenix Rescue Mission’s Annual Easter Event was a huge success for hundreds of families.

We are thrilled to give people a way to give back to their own community and want to thank everyone who made Saturday’s event possible. Because of you, every family left with Easter Baskets for the kids and clothing and a food box for everyone, but most of all they left with the feeling that people really do care about them and want to help.

You can view photos of the event on Flickr

Ripped From the Headlines: Phoenix Man Dies From Heat Exhaustion

All summer we've been talking about heat relief and how important it is to get bottled water to people who live on the street. We've had water drives, I've been sharing stats about how many bottles of water we give out every week, we even have a video.

It's one thing to talk about how dangerous heat exhaustion is and quite another to read an article on about a homeless man, named Howard, who died Saturday night, just a few blocks away from where I live.

The article describes the scene near Second and Monroe streets,

"He was very thin and wore soiled baggy clothes. His trousers rode up on his legs, revealing skinny white calves. He sat facing north on Second Street, toward the 10-story Arizona Republic building, the massive Sheraton Hotel and the fancy new twin dormitories of Arizona State University, which are largely used to house students for the journalism school and the nursing school.

That would have been the dead man's last view."

I know our Hope Coach goes out distributing water every single day, usually to areas of the city that nobody wants to go. But, it saddens me to learn that this man died on a bench in downtown Phoenix, next to the Herberger Theater Center, not some remote or scary area of the city. This means people would have walked right by him. It means on a different night, I might have walked right by him.

This is usually the point where I lead into something about how you can help by donating bottled water or by making a gift online. While those things are important and do help us provide for people like Howard, the only thing I ask now is that next time, you don't just walk by.

Top 10 Tips to Beat the Heat

Forecasters are saying weekend temperatures could hit over 116 degrees in Phoenix. This news leaves even life-long Phoenicians feeling the burn.

With that in mind, here are 10 tips from to avoid heat-related illness:

  • Drink! Never depend on thirst to signal when and how much to drink. Instead, drink five seven ounces of fluids every 15 to 20 minutes to replenish the necessary fluids in the body.
  • Limit exercise or outdoor activity between the hours of 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. when the sun is at its peak intensity. If active during this time frame, drink a minimum of 16 to 32 ounces of water each hour
  • Avoid “heat hangover” Continue to drink fluids even after strenuous activity. This will enable the body to maintain optimum hydration and help prevent the after effects of heat exposure such as headaches and fatigue.
  • Avoid beverages containing alcohol, caffeine or large amounts of sugar as they dehydrate the body.
  • Never leave infants, children or pets inside a parked vehicle - 90% of the temperature rise occurs within 15 minutes of closing and leaving the car.
  • Some medications, both prescription and over-the-counter, may increase the risk of heat-related illness. Consult your physician if you have questions.
  • When outdoors, wear a sunscreen with a minimum SPF15. Apply at least 30 minutes prior to going outdoors and re-apply as necessary.
  • Wear lightweight, loose-fitting clothing when outside.
  • Take advantage of free air conditioning! Visit shopping malls, movie theaters or the library to escape the heat for a few hours.
  • Rest frequently in shady areas so that the body's temperature has a chance to recover when outdoors. 

Now imagine following those tips when you have no access to water, no shade or are actually living out of your car.  According to a recent article from

"Heat is more than a matter of comfort in the Phoenix area. It kills more people than earthquakes, floods, hurricanes and tornadoes combined in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control. Dozens of mostly homeless and elderly people die in the Phoenix area every year, and hundreds more experience heat-related illnesses that can cause a rapid heart beat, throbbing headache, dizziness, nausea, confusion and unconsciousness."

That's why Phoenix Rescue Mission will open its shelter facility during the daytime this weekend for homeless people to come in and cool off. We will also be distributing water, food, sunscreen and ball caps provided by our donors to those in need. The Mission is part of the Phoenix Heat Relief Network, which means we provide respite, a water hydration station for the homeless and serve as a water distribution hub for other agencies providing water to those on the street all summer long. Visit if you'd like to help or you can drop off water donations Monday through Saturday, 8:30AM – 4:00PM at:

The Family Outreach Center
1468 N 26th Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85009 
SW corner of McDowell & 26th Avenue