Mike is the actor on our recent “Band-Aid” commercial.
The truth is that Mike is no actor at all. Mike actually lived a homeless, drug addicted life, until his time here at the Mission.
“It was a neat experience,” Mike says of the day he volunteered to film our TV commercial. “I’m glad the message is getting across, that the hand-out that you give here or there is just temporary. I know that’s true.”
Mike knows because he’s been there.
He lived most of his life in Tucson. Apart from his father passing when he was 12, he had a good childhood. He became a painter and earned a good living. But in 2015, when his mother passed away suddenly — Mike lost his way. “It put me in a bad place,” he remembers. “I wasn’t ready for God to take my mom. I couldn’t understand why He did that - and I hated Him for it.”
Mike turned to drugs for help. “I was already drinking here and there,” he recalls, “but that’s when I got hooked on meth. I started smoking every day. For the next two years, it was my coping device. I thought it was helping with the pain, but the more I did it, the more I realized it was just masking the problem.”
“I eventually lost my job,” Mike says. “I couldn’t pay my rent and I ended up on the streets.”
That’s where he spent the next 7 months: on sidewalks, in drain tunnels, anywhere he could find a place to lay his head.
He learned how hard it is — and how dangerous — to be homeless in Tucson.
“It wasn’t pretty,” Mike says. “You’ve got to watch your back all the time.” Someone was murdering homeless people - four people were killed in five days. One morning, Mike awoke to find police officers swarming the neighborhood. “A man in the tunnel next to mine was beaten unconscious with a lead pipe.”
That was the day Mike decided, “It’s time to get out of here. I’d had enough. I knew I needed to get help.”
By God’s grace, he heard of a place called Gospel Rescue Mission. He decided to give it a try. Every day, he came for a meal. When a bed opened up, we moved him in. Finally, Mike had a safe place to lay his head. A place to call “home.” A real bed. An actual pillow. A place of rest... of love... of hope.
And when Mike discovered that we offered Genesis, an addiction-recovery program, he was eager to sign up. That was barely a year ago. “GRM has changed my life,” he says. “The change is like day and night.”
But Mike’s transformation is about more than just substances. It’s about the Savior.
“One day in chapel, suddenly it all made sense,” Mike remembers. “The Holy Spirit grabbed me and I understood why everything happened. He told me that it was time for me to get my life going!”
“Here I’ve felt the Holy Spirit,” Mike says. “I’ve been blessed. GRM has changed my life. It’s like night and day, the change.”
Today, Mike is working, saving for an apartment. He’s also a little “famous,” thanks to his participation in our Band-Aid commercial! “I’ll be out somewhere and people say, ‘Aren’t you that guy from the GRM commercial?’ It makes me feel good that people are getting the message!”
God did it all — but He uses friends like you to set it all in motion. And we pray you’ll help us keep our doors open to another man like Mike, by giving a generous tax-deductible contribution today. Your generosity won’t provide just a Band-Aid, a short-term fix... You’ll be offering the chance for long-term transformation... hope for eternity! Thank you in advance! God bless you!
In one horrible flash — one terrible moment of realization — Tamara suddenly knew: Her addiction was out of control.
While it was true that she had been an addict for most of her life, Tamara was what you would call “functioning.” She managed to hold down a job, care for her nephew, the son of her incarcerated brother – she even attended church. She was one of the few who could keep her cravings in check, all the while covering everything up.
But then, when she was 33, a few of her girlfriends introduced her to a new “friend:” Meth.
Tamara entered a whole new world. She knew this drug would wreck her life. To this day, she remembers whispering a prayer, with the meth-pipe in her hand: “God, you have to come and do something, because I like this.”
Nine years later, you wouldn’t have recognized her: She was broken down. She’d been fired – again. She’d sold off all her possessions just to buy meth and stay high. She was homeless and utterly addicted. The word she used to describe herself: “worthless.”
For a time, she survived by driving prostitutes to and from their appointments. “I was homeless, broken-hearted, broken down,” Tamara says. Seemingly beyond hope – Tamara sometimes slept in her mother’s car. Some nights an acquaintance would let her sleep on their couch.
Only God can help me, she thought, because I’ve been so ugly.
“I gave up,” she recalls.
But God didn’t.
She remembered, that since she was little, her parents took her to church and taught her about God. Now, scraping the very bottom of life’s barrel, Tamara reached up to God one more time. On this desperate day, she knew that if God didn’t answer her prayer, the drugs were going to kill her.
“I don’t want to die like this,” she prayed. “I don’t want to be smoking a bowl when you sound that trumpet. I want to be free.”
And God did answer her prayer — with three simple words: “Gospel Rescue Mission.”
She had actually called us before, more than once, looking for a place to sleep. But every time, our women’s shelter facilities were at full capacity. “No room at the inn.” Then one day, Tamara somehow worked up enough faith to give it one more try.
“Lord, if it’s easy to get in, I’ll know it’s you speaking to me,” Tamara prayed. “If it’s hard, I don’t know what I’m going to do. But you said you’d never leave me or forsake me, so I’m going to call.”
“Can you come in Wednesday?” Stephanie asked (a graduate of the women’s recovery program) Tamara was so astonished, she had to ask the woman to repeat herself! On Wednesday, Tamara got another shock: She learned about our addiction recovery program that she had never known about. “God, this is you!” she exclaimed. “This is all you!”
Today, nearly a year later, Tamara has a new relationship with her mom. (They have a lovely routine: Tamara visits her on Sundays, cooks dinner for her, and spends time with her. Her mom often tells her how proud she is of her!)
Today you can help change the lives of others like Tamara. When you donate, not only is your gift tax-deductible, it also helps us minister to people in desperate need of a new chance at life. Thank you in advance and God bless you!
We can imagine how you’d describe Bill, if you had known him back then: “A star.”
He was a business owner. Popular. Successful.
And a true patriot: he served in the U.S. Army National Guard for years.
But then came trouble. Even though he could find success, he couldn’t seem to hold onto it. Whatever enterprise he pursued, it would always go great at first, but then he would somehow ruin everything...
Bill couldn’t figure out why he was chronically self-destructing. In frustration, he started drinking. Project after project collapsed. His résumé — once honorable — degenerated into an embarrassment. His reputation got so bad, he couldn’t find corporate work anywhere. He ended up turning to the only employment he could find: working as a day laborer.
Yet at 57, he couldn’t keep up with the younger guys. He needed more energy. Power bars didn’t cut it. Finally, Bill made a deadly mistake: he started ingesting meth. He was addicted in a flash — overwhelmingly addicted. It wasn’t long before he was such a mess, he couldn’t work at all... and soon he was evicted from his apartment.
It was the end.
“If this is all there is,” he said to himself, “I don’t want to be here anymore.”
But by God’s grace, Bill didn’t take his own life. Some small spark of hope flickered to life in his heart and he called out to a God he hardly even knew:
“I can’t do this anymore, I’m too old,” he cried. “I need help.”
God in His mercy led Bill to Gospel Rescue Mission. And thanks to the generous support of caring friends like you, we were here for him. We welcomed him, gave him a place to sleep, clothes and meals — and we introduced him to the love of Jesus, the only power that could really change his life.
Bill isn’t the last one who will need us, though. Another desperate, downtrodden, downhearted soul will show up on our doorstep tomorrow.
Bill’s story is just one great example of how a life can change, even when things seem hopeless. He entered our recovery program and enrolled in our “Genesis” discipleship program. In the days that followed, he was amazed to finally discover what started his downhill slide in the first place: he witnessed a traumatic event involving his family that he had to keep a secret. This resulted in him living with fear and anxiety and, at times, physical abuse because of what he had witnessed.
Bill had grown up as a prisoner of fear. His instinctive response was to push himself to succeed in business and find his identity there. So when success eluded him, Bill self-destructed.
This breakthrough insight set him on the road to a whole new life.
Here at the Mission, Bill discovered that God never intended him to find his identity in status as a business owner, or in financial success. God designed him to find his identity in Jesus Christ, as a reflection of God’s love.
“I am not the same person I was when I came in here,” Bill says with a tremendous smile. “The core classes have helped me surrender my life to Christ — to truly live by what that means.”
Bill has graduated from our recovery program — and he’s training to become a recovery support specialist with the National Association of Mental Illness.
“It’s all God,” Bill says. “I couldn’t do any of this without Him.”
And God, in His grace, has chosen to work through you and me, allowing us to serve here as the hands and feet to His foundation of Love.
Please partner with us today to help us continue in this work, provide emergency shelter — and more — for someone like Bill, someone in dire need, by giving generously today. Thank you in advance! God bless you.
“At my worst I would go through 10-15 tall boys and a 30 pack of beer every day. I must have spent $700 or more on alcohol every month,” Roberto admits.
His addiction cost him his home, his job, even his relationship with his wife and daughter who, when we met him, he hadn’t spoken to in six years. It was only when he finally wore out his welcome sleeping on people’s couches, that he found himself at the doors of the Gospel Rescue Mission.
The plan was to sleep, shower, and sober up in hopes of finding work. But with his alcoholism still unresolved, there was little hope that Roberto’s plan would be successful – and God knew it. Soon after he arrived, changes in the fire safety codes reduced our men’s shelter capacity from 130 beds to just 55. Suddenly Roberto was one of over a hundred men that found themselves out on the streets with nowhere to go.
But God didn’t abandon him – He just had a better plan...
What was your family like? They sold drugs.
You’ve probably never heard such an answer, but you’ve never met Tracy...
Cameron had battled addiction ever since Afghanistan. Working for a military contractor, his job was to help find and clear out caves filled with drugs – a major source of funding for terrorists. It was common knowledge among his co-workers that if a little bit of contraband went missing during assignment, no one cared - as long as it didn’t interfere with work. Curious, Cameron tried a bit after work one day and got hooked.
Bringing his addiction home with him was the hardest battle of all.
It had success over him on a number of occasions. But he fought back, managing to kick the habit several times on his own. He was in the middle of his longest stretch of sobriety when he found out that his brother, who he was staying with, was also an addict. He knew that if he stayed, he would fall right back into addiction – that’s when a friend pointed him to Gospel Rescue Mission.
Marlene wandered the streets of Tucson for 14 long years. Hungry years.
She was working so hard.... So dedicated to her kids.... Working 50+ hours a week, to provide for her family. Emotionally and physically, Sheri was a maxed-out mom.
But then her own mother was diagnosed with a grave illness; one that required serious care. Nobody else in the family was in a position to step up and Sheri couldn’t let her mother suffer alone. So she made the sacrifice and added “caregiver” to her list of responsibilities – but it was too much...