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My last drink was 1,900 days ago. I never thought that I could make it one day without a drink. God, through Hope Gospel Mission and others, has helped me to change my life.
Before Hope Gospel Mission, my life revolved around alcohol. If you had asked me before what was important, alcohol would have been at the top of the list. I was always drunk, drinking, or thinking about drinking.
From the time I started drinking I knew that I was different than most people; I always drank to the extreme. I would drink to escape situations; trying to cover up feelings of insecurity with numbness. When I was in the middle of a mess, the bottle was my best friend. I could always count on it. I’d reach out my hand and it would be there. It was there in good times and in bad. I drank heavily for 22 years of my life. Most days I would drink at least a bottle of Vodka, sometimes more. I drank alone and isolated so that people wouldn’t know the extreme depth of my sickness.
I have been to treatment many times. I have been to many different kinds of places; detox, long-term, short-term, faith-based, and secular. What I found was that each one of them had things that were of benefit to me. With each of these treatments I became more and more desperate to get well, but kept failing.
I only thought of myself when I was drinking. I lost everything; my marriage, my children, my jobs, my home, my car.
The one thing that I held on to was my faith. I knew that Jesus loved me, even though I couldn’t figure out a reason why. The song “Jesus Loves Me” that my parents taught me reminded me of his love. Yes, even a drunken sinner like me.
During this time I felt that I was in control of my life. In reality, I needed to surrender everything to God. Hope Gospel Mission helped me to realize this.
The first time I came to Hope Gospel Mission, I felt so lost. I related to much of the old stuff that people donated at the Bargain Center. I felt broken, kicked to the curb like a pile of junk. I felt worthless and unwanted. There were chunks of my life that had been saturated with self-pity and hatred. I liked working at the thrift store. I watched many things that once looked like junk get transformed into valuable pieces that had a purpose. That was the beauty I found while there, that with just a little love even a broken piece can have value. I thought about my own life while working there and felt hope that eventually I would find value in my own life. I had to remember that being homeless didn’t define who I was. I was a child of God, and that defined me.
Unfortunately I struck out of the program due to various issues in my life. I then started drinking very heavily for about eight months. I was very broken and discouraged.
Looking back, being broken was the best thing that ever happened to me. One of the verses that I have had to stand on was Romans 8:28, where it says that everything happens for a reason for those who trust in God. God gets all the glory in the process of transforming my life.
After this period of heavy drinking, I joined Teen Challenge in Milwaukee. While there, one day I decided to praise God for having the “gift” of alcoholism. I decided that I was going to use my history with drinking to glorify God’s name somehow.
Years later I was able to return to Hope Gospel Mission as an employee.
I feel fortunate that while I was a resident here years earlier I had formed a close bond with Kathy in the housewares department of the Bargain Center. Her guidance and mentoring really helped me then and helps me still today. I also feel a close bond with many of the other staff. Being surrounded by people who are not afraid to show and express their love for God is very important to me. Hope Gospel Mission has helped me more than I can ever express. They took me in when I was at my lowest point in my life and are letting me mentor other people and work beside them at the thrift store – people who struggle with the same issues I had. They showed me that being filled with God’s love will show through everything that I do. The restoration that has taken place in my life is beyond my wildest dreams. The empty feeling that I had before is gone. I love being a part of the Mission. One of my favorite things is daily devotions, where we all get together before the store opens and devote our day to God’s will. Prayers for residents, staff, volunteers, and customers begin our day. What a great way to start a day!
After a while I began to wonder what kind of a purpose I could have in life. So I began to ask God what his plans were for me.
I am now going to school to be an AODA counselor and I have one semester left. I want to help others who have drug and alcohol addictions. I know that he has great things in store for me. The chains that bound me so tightly have been broken. I praise God from the depths of my soul for saving me.
I love God with all my heart, and will spend the rest of my life telling people of the miracles that he has done!
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Please drop off any items on this list at 8 South Farwell Street in Eau Claire at any time. Thank you!
- 15 passenger van (Call Craig at 715-271-4673 for more info)
- Body wash (men's, women's)
- Shampoo/conditioner (men's, women's)
- Extra strength Tylenol
- Phone cards
- AAA batteries
- D batteries
- Light bulbs
- Hair dye brown / light brown
- Black mascara
- Vitamin C
- Men’s boxers, small to medium
- Men’s undershirts, small to medium
- Men's deodorant
A special thanks to the following Banquet sponsors:
Ava Anderson (Kathy Ailie)
Brent Douglas Floral
Down to Earth
Eau Claire Indoor Sports Center
Fall Creek Dental
Family Christian Stores
Fancy Cakes by Staci
Karen Hurd Nutritional Practice
Mother Nature’s Food
Mouldy’s Archery & Tackle
Park Lane Jewelry (Kathy Ailie)
Ramada Inn & Convention Center
Richie, Wickstrom, & Wachs
Sue’s Deluxe Bake Shop
The Florian Gardens
The Potting Shed
In Honor/Memory of
We thank the following individuals for their financial support of the Mission in honor or in memory of a loved one or friend. Persons being honored or memorialized are in bold text.
Randy & Terri Acker, Linda Bosinske; All People & Children Who Need Help, Pete and Georgette Hovind; Bailey, Premier Drywall LLC; Raymond & Myrtle Bauer, Richard Bauer, Sr; Clement Becker, Shirley Becker; Mae Bellmore, Michael and Brenda Peterson; Robert & Ellen Bennett, Robert and Victoria Bennett; Kenneth Borsheim, Tom Borsheim; Herb Bowe, Erma Bowe; Ruth & William Bradford, Kris Vieira; Gregory John Bredlau, Dennis Bredlau; Clay & Judy Brooks, Linda Bosinske; Hazel Bruhn, Bruce and Diane Heuer; Alwin Christopherson, Daniel and Gail Schulner; Leo R. Clark, Leo and Mary Clark; Jim Coleman (2), Neil Hemenway; Lawrence Cook, Hazel Cook; Chad Corbin, Susan Corbin; Byron Crawford, Juanice Crawford; Steven Curry & all in New Beginnings, Willard & Faith Johnson; Violet Dachel, Francis and Doris Gaier; James M. Dahl (2), Barbara Dahl; Dale, Bunny and Hugh Curry; Dean & Dolly Hubbard, Dennis and Fay Hubbard; Mitchell Denk, Dennis or Connie Denk-Demoe; Earl Christenson, Everett and Gloria Klopp; Edgar E. Henricks, Vivian Henricks; Edna Lane, Avery and Linda Burton; Elizabeth Frank, Paul and Angela Kuchta; Ted & Clem Erickson, Robert and Victoria Bennett; Doris Erickson, Marjorie Erickson-Ongna; George Ollis Esse, Robert Esse; Arthur and Ruth Evenson, Lois Minnich; Dennis Falde, Lisa Traun; Owen Farris, Sally Farris; Shirley Field, Robert Field; Richard K. Finn, Betty Finn; Jeanette M. Fischer, David Fischer; Gary Follofen, Ellie McMahon; Mr & Mrs Donald Fredrickson, Sandra M. Findlay; Frances Gagliardo, Linda Nordahl; Lynn J. Geissler, Virginia M. Geissler; Scott Gilbertson, Kim Gilbertson; Harlan & Sophie Gonstead, Karen Sabin; Grandma, Shirley Myren; Vernon Gullickson, Florence Gullickson; Ronald Gygi, Cheryl Gygi; Kaye Hamilton, Janice Hamilton; Jahn S. Hansen, MD, Brenda or Steven Burgess; Sharon Harris Tate, Thomas L. Harris; Robert and Lois Hart, Christine Canfield; Dorothy & Fred Haug, Fred Haug; Nicole Henning, David Nanstad; John Hicks, Barbara McRae; Henry & Merle Horgen, Julie and Peter Lea; Danny Hugh, Kris Vieira; Deanna Hurd, Richard and Sylvia Thomas; Robert Jensen, Linda Wood-Reisterer; Jesus Christ our Lord, Patrice Gjerning; Mary Ann Johnson, Laurie Buresh; Don Mike Johnson, Marilyn Stratton; Ray Jones, Violet Jones; Judy & Gloria, Dick and Nancy Shaurette; Ethel Keil, Gloria Budik; Rev. David Kester, Dennis and Cheryl Wiemer; John A. Kirst, Jackie M. McCune; Evalee Kunkel, Norah Airth-Kindree; Francis A. Kunz, Janice Kunz; Carol Laizure, Elizabeth Laizure; David W. Landgraf, David and Laurie Landgraf; Virginia Larson, Gary and Virginia Larson; Burnett & Alvina Larson, Eugene and Arlene McAdam; Ardythe Lee, Robert R. Lee, Sr.; Audrey M. Lenroot (mother), Paul D Klomstad; Jerome P. Lieffring, Tony and Marge Binkowski; Mr. & Mrs. Leonard Lone, Dale and Linda Lone; Love & Family, Gail Gunderson; Loved ones, Mrs. Clayton Anderson; Aunt Evelin Luduce, Norbert Bischel; E. William and Florence Maki, Fred Maki; Marge's Mom & Dad, Rev. Donald and Marge Pardun; Robert W. McDonald, Donna Schroeder; Morley Family, Raymond Morley; My Brother and Father-in-law, Gary and Kathi Bauer; My Dear Mom, Margaret Kopp; My grandchildren, Paulette L. Carlson; My Mother & Brother, Bonita Potter; My Parents, Bette Fenske; My Sister Marlent-lost to cancer, Jan Wickstrom; W.T. Olson - Bloomer, Thomas and Barbara Anderson; James O'Neill, Jr, James B. O'Neill; Our Creator, Ryan or Melissa Fellenz; Our Parents, David and Mary Fanetti; Our Parents, Ron Melick; Our Parents and Children, Gary and Kathi Bauer; Parents and Loved Ones, Jacob and Betty Vitek; Ray, Susie, and Mark Parsons, Robert and Teresa Parsons; Lea Rae Pastorello (2), Samuel Pastorello; M. Pecha, Ursula and Erik Lindblad; Bud & Ruth Piette, Robert and Victoria Bennett; Fran Piotrowski, Swanhild Rasmussen; Michael L. Reidt, Bill and Jane Maule; Jack Robbins, Jack and Neva Robbins; Juan Roca-Mas, Cheryl Roca-Mas; Deb Rosentrater Haugen, Harold and June Rosentrater; Alice Sauder, Fred Sauder; Anna Schultz, Phyllis Ede-Hovey; Paul Schumacher, Barbara Schumacher; Joseph Schumacher, Peter and Lucille Schumacher; Aaron Schuster, Grandson, Joanne Hamberg; De Wayne Solie, Ruth Solie; David Beck Sowsalaw, Donald and Deloris Christianson; Staebell Family, Dale and Jacqueline Staebell; Duane Stafsholt, Sherrie Stafsholt; Thomas Todd Stien, Margaret Hattamer; Rev. and Mrs. David Stratton, Meg and Craig Schultz; Donald Stratton, Marilyn Stratton; Helen Mary Sydejko, Joseph Sydejko; Terri, Diane, & Joanne, Vernon and Ruth Hanson; Ernest and Elizabeth Topper, Anna Suvada; Omer Tormoen, Bernice Tormoen; Reed Toy, Wilma Toy-Hodges; Craig Tuttle, Judith Ann Kistner; Aloizy Waletzko, Thomas and Tina Johnston; Kit Warner, Bessie and James Whalen; John and Lilian Wright, Penny M. Edwardson; Vance Zimmerman, Karen Zimmerman.