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I started smoking, drinking, and using marijuana at age 11. Through my life I moved around a lot. I was a child of a divorced family. As soon as I graduated high school, I joined the military to better myself. When I got into the military the drugs and alcohol got worse. I then got kicked out of the Navy because I couldn’t pass a drug test.
I first got exposed to recovery groups during that time and from the time I was 20 years old up until now (46) I struggled with sobriety. Before I found the Lord this last year, I hadn’t taken a sober breath for 8 years. My alcohol and drug use, along with depression and other mental health issues, cost me my credit and many jobs and hurt my relationships.
Over the last few years, it got really bad; I was depressed all the time. I could not and would not work. My father supported me. I made money any way I could, scrapping and picking up odd jobs. I became very isolated and angry, bitter and depressed. One night I got angry at my father and punched his windshield. After I hit the windshield that night, I answered the door to six policemen with their guns drawn on me because my father told them I can be violent and there were guns in the house. They handcuffed me and sent me to jail where I started withdrawing.
When I was withdrawing, my blood pressure went through the ceiling and they had to monitor me and give me medicine just to keep my heart from bursting.
When I was let out, I had legal issues and I needed medicine. I tried to find a way to get the medicine. I was also suicidal again at the time and I ended up at a local hospital where I spent four days in the psych ward. They determined they could no longer do anything for me so they let me go. I left the hospital still not knowing how to get my medicine or where to go and I got very fearful. I didn’t want to be suicidal anymore. Before I left the building that day, I stopped before the door because of the fear, I was overcome with fear. I asked God to give me the strength to walk out the door and not hurt another person or myself. And since that day on I never smoked another cigarette, had a drink, or did drugs. Since then all I’ve been doing is finding a friend in Jesus. Then I came to Hope Gospel Mission. The Mission has given me everything I needed just to get through this. Today I’m able to get my medicine and get my physical and mental self together.
Frank* was able to find the help he needed at Hope Gospel Mission. But help like this wasn’t always available.
The Mission was founded by Mark Donnelly, a Christian businessman from Eau Claire, in December of 1998. Mark had a burden for the homeless and saw the need in the community for a place they could go to get help both physically and spiritually. Mark’s wife Cindy came up with the name for the Mission. Since there is hope for all in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, it was named Hope Gospel Mission.
In the first year, the Mission served only men by providing emergency shelter, food and clothing. By the fall of 2001 the need for jobs for the residents became evident. A work program was started to address this need. A basic life skills program was also started to help people with their finances and hygiene.
As time went on we saw a number of our residents relapsing into drugs or alcohol problems and losing their jobs. Other residents could not find or keep a job due to lack of education or job training.
In November of 2003 we opened the Bargain Center to provide on-the-job training for our residents and as an additional source of revenue for the Mission. For the first time we were able to train our residents in-house before helping them obtain employment. In the fall of 2004 we opened the our Integrative Learning Center to help our residents catch up on basic math, reading and writing skills needed in the work place and in everyday life. In the fall of 2005 we opened the Ruth House, which can house up to 12 single homeless women. By 2006 our programming offered our residents a complete life change designed to break the cycle of homelessness. In 2006 we also opened our Building Hope re-use center to provide more job training for our residents. By 2010 we had run out of space at our Integrative Learning Center and we opened our Solomon Learning Center where we were now able to offer our residents more classes and also offer them the ability to get their GED’s if they didn’t have a high school diploma.
All of these steps were taken to improve our programming and offer life-change to those who, like Frank, were imprisoned by addictions, poverty, and homelessness. We thank God for how he has provided the right people, the facilities, the funding, the help from other missions and organizations, and the prayers of thousands of people.
However, seeing hurting people come to us every day with different needs, we knew there was still more we could do.
In our next issue you’ll learn about what God has been doing recently and our future plans to impact even more lives in the next five years. ♦
*Name & picture changed for privacy.
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Some Words on Hope Gospel Mission's 15 Years
"I have seen the Mission restore men’s and women’s confidence through the mercy and grace of Jesus Christ. He shows them their intrinsic value to Him because the program is rooted in Christ."
Owner, SourceCut Industries
"I believe that, with the guidance of the Lord, the staff that work with the residents have a part in their success. I believe in what the Mission does, its vision, its motto and future plans."
Program Graduate & HGM Employee
"The Vision of Hope Gospel Mission is both beautiful and powerful: To see the lives of the homeless and needy transformed for the glory of God, so they can be the people that God intended them to be! It is the vision I signed up for as the first stewardship director and is being lived out now more than at any other time in HGM history. With a steadfast focus and dependence on Jesus, I am convinced that the best days for Hope Gospel Mission are still ahead. Keep going!"
Brent A. Hafele, M.A.
President, NewDay Nonprofit Solutions
Please drop off any items on this list at 8 South Farwell Street in Eau Claire at any time. Thank you!
- Our food delivery and pick up minivan is struggling to keep up. We are looking for a new minivan. If you have a van you'd like to donate, please call Ryan at 715-830-0155 for more info.
- Women’s one a day vitamins
- Liquid body wash
- 9V batteries
- Light bulbs
- Chewable vitamins
- Sharpie markers
- Variety sizes of women’s underwear
- Men’s One A Day Vitamins
- Twin Bladed Disposable Razors
- Laundry Soap
- Large Bars of Soap
- Men’s Boxers (All Sizes)
To view our entire newsletter in a PDF, click here.