There is no question that working at Union Rescue Mission is both challenging and at the same time, a work of ministry, to say the least. Every now and then, someone takes a moment to share a life changing experience that they have had at the Mission, and then you know that all of the hard work and all of the challenges are more than worth it. Here are two stories I received just yesterday that lifted my spirits:
I received this one from someone I will call Rebekah;
“I came to L.A. in 2005 with only a few dollars in my pocket due to a serious family situation beyond my control. I landed at Union Rescue Mission where I was favored and taken care of. I was given shelter, food and clothing. Your case managers worked along with me and my working schedule. I was able to start working temporary as a legal secretary and after six months, I landed a permanent job. I am on my feet now with my own apartment and a nice car to get around the city. I’m back in school majoring in legal studies with a minor study in performing arts. Because of my wounds, it was very hard and challenging, but it is worth it. I will always support Union Rescue Mission and I thank you for allowing me to have another chance at life.”
Bill sent me this one late last night;
“It has been several years since I have been to Union Rescue Mission; the last time there was a funding event that I attended as a Board Member of Centenary United Methodist in Little Tokyo. Before that, our church had a youth mission project at Union Rescue Mission.
However, today I had the chance to engage with your staff once again as I was personally directed to help usher a young [abused] Crack addicted mother to a safe, and Godly nonprofit. It could have been that the timing was bad and it conflicted greatly with my calendar, or – it may have been so inspired by faith that I was simply in shock at the urgent role that your nonprofit (Union Rescue Mission) plays on skid row.
From the moment this mother and I walked into your mission, I could indeed feel the spirit move in [our] favor. We were asked to sit in the lobby, and a team of staff embraced this young mother’s needs.
One person guided us from one person to another, and then another… within 15-minutes (of our arrival), I met Mr. Colin Kakiza. He assured us that he would find the supportive services that were needed. With care, and Christ-like friendship Colin shared his love for this new client. Job well done!
However, the saga did not end there; this mother in need was guided to the patio, then (she) slipped out the back to Crack Alley, then to the park. Having produced a 2-year documentary on the skids (the bottoms)… I am well versed in this area, also well known and respected. I saw your new client sitting with a group of (drug) dealers. They hovered around her like bees on honey offering her their products. Not seeking to enter a beef with bangers, I returned to the mission to find security. I told Mr. Kakiza what happened, and he said ‘I will go back with you and we will get our client’.
Again, God was on her side and allowed her to flee. Rev. Bales, your staff member, Colin, provided Christ’s love and was ready to stand in the gap for a stranger. I’m not amazed at the courage of his heart, but – I am thankful for his service to your client, and the willing support he directly displayed for me.
May God continue to bless the Union Rescue Mission with the fiscal resources to grow a sustainable nonprofit on the front lines in the Kingdom.”
There isn’t much more I can say or add to these two stories, except, I am honored and blessed every day to serve here at Union Rescue Mission.
Rev. Andy Bales