“People have all kinds of excuses for why they won’t help folks on Skid Row,” says Burlyn, a 60-year-old guest at Union Rescue Mission. “Some of them are afraid and too intimidated to get involved. Others don’t want to know how bad it is, so they just ignore it.”
Burlyn knows all about excuses. He spent more than 30 years of his life addicted to cocaine — and more than 30 years excusing it.
“I came from a good family, so I knew better,” he says. “But when I picked up cocaine in 1983, I couldn’t stop. I had all kinds of excuses: I always worked, so I can’t be that bad. I might be an addict, but I’m not as bad as that guy in the streets. Or when it got really bad, I thought, I messed my life up so bad, there’s no point in quitting.”
But he says there was always a voice in the back of his mind that nagged him, “This isn’t the life you want to live.”
Refusing the Call
In 2012, he finally listened to that voice and broke free of his addiction. Once free, he heard God’s call to minister to others like himself. He even went to school to prepare. But when he left, he found new excuses: He wasn’t smart enough to help anyone, or he was already so broken, God could never use him.
So, Burlyn came to Union Rescue Mission to keep from ending up on the streets. He thought he was running away from God’s calling. Instead, he ran straight into the calling God had planned for him all along.
“I’m All In”
“I could tell right off, Burlyn wanted to serve,” says Chaplain Mike McIntire. “He just needed to stop making excuses and get serious about serving God right here on Skid Row.” So Chaplain Mike hired Burlyn to work alongside him to help other guys in the program.
“I couldn’t run away from it anymore,” Burlyn says. “If God wanted to use me to help these guys, then I’m in.”
True to his word, Burlyn has thrown himself into serving hurting men at URM. Without any judgment, he listens to them, he cares about them, and he shows up every day to remind each one that they’re truly loved.
Skid Row Needs You
He would also like to see more people, including donors, get more personally involved.
“Their donations are really important to keep this place open,” he says. “But Skid Row needs more than money. People here need to see Jesus in the flesh. They need to see people like you and me show them they’re still loved. That someone still cares, and that they can trust that we’re never going to abandon them. That’s when lives change down here.”
Stop Making Excuses and Get Involved
- Volunteer and serve men, women, and children experiencing homelessness! Please visit urm.org/Get-Involved . . . or contact our volunteer department at email@example.com or 213-347-6300 ext. 2135.
- Use Facebook or Twitter to inform your friends and to encourage them to get involved in this movement to end homelessness in Los Angeles. Link to youarethemission.org to share the latest information with your friends.
- Subscribe to Union Rescue Mission’s email updates and receive regular features, including video stories and requests for volunteering and support at urm.org/Email-Signup.
- Financially support agencies like Union Rescue Mission, which make a difference on behalf of people experiencing homelessness in our communities and provide effective solutions to homelessness. To donate to Union Rescue Mission, visit urm.org/ActToday.
“They’re just lazy.” . . . “They’re on the streets because the weather is so nice.” . . . “Jesus said, ‘The poor you will always have with you.’”
People use many excuses to keep from helping men and women experiencing homelessness. But in Deuteronomy 15, God told His people: If you’re obedient, there will be no poor in the land. But since there is disobedience, both personally and corporately, there will always be poor in the land. So open your hand to your brother and sister. Lift your brother and sister out of poverty. People experiencing homelessness don’t need excuses, they need help — and God has issued us all a call to action!
Change Someone’s Life Today!
Please invest in hurting men, women, and children experiencing homelessness today. Your generous gift will provide them with meals, shelter, life-transforming services — and the reminder that someone cares.
Please visit our website at urm.org/ActToday
Union Rescue Mission provided the foundation for Michael’s new life and now he gives back in an incredible way. Watch his story at urm.org/Stories
Notes from Andy
As the tragic epidemic of homelessness continues to grow out of control in Los Angeles, far too many people refuse to get involved and do something about it. They have all kinds of excuses: men and women on the streets choose to be homeless because of the weather. Or they’re just lazy and don’t want to work. Or the Bible says the poor you will always have with you. So why do anything?
Excuses like that break my heart. The truth is, the folks experiencing homelessness are our neighbors. And these precious men, women, and children are suffering and dying on our streets. They don’t need excuses. They need immediate action.
That’s why I’m so grateful for Burlyn, whose story is on the cover of this newsletter. He stopped making excuses, and now other hurting men at Union Rescue Mission are experiencing new life because of him. But I’m also so grateful for people like YOU. You don’t make excuses, either. And now your financial support and prayers are transforming lives here as well. You’re truly an instrument of God, and you’re helping Him make miracles happen here every day.
Thousands of precious people on Skid Row desperately need hope and a helping hand — in fact, they need YOU. And now, generous friends have offered to match every gift we receive — up to $500,000!
That means any gift you give will be DOUBLED automatically — to provide twice as much help for hurting men and women at Union Rescue Mission, and to remind them that someone really does care. This extraordinary opportunity is only available for a short time — the deadline is June 30!
Please go to urm.org/ActToday today and provide TWICE as much help, and in return — receive twice the blessing!