The Mission Newsletter – December 2012

The Tragic Consequences of a Life Invisible

Steven’s ankles are swollen, his abdomen bulges grotesquely, and weariness consumes him. Forty years of heavy drinking earned him cirrhosis of the liver. Thanks to Union Rescue Mission, he’s sober now and on a waiting list for a liver transplant. But it’s a long list with no guarantees. Without the transplant, he has just months to live.

But he’s not worried. “God never gave up on me,” he says. “Over the past 40 years, he’s carried me past a lot of graveyards, and I believe he can do it again.”

Steven grew up the son of an uneducated, but hard-working father, who sacrificed a lot for his family. “My father wasn’t a selfish man. But I was. I didn’t want a slow nickel, I wanted a fast dime — and I wanted it now,” Steven says.
He got married in his early 20s and started working in the record industry. But before long, he was also a “full-blown” alcoholic.

“I became a black-out drinker and couldn’t remember what I did when I was under the influence,” he says. What he did was forge checks and rob banks, landing in prisons all over the country. He lost everything and ended up living on the streets.

“Most people saw me as a homeless drunk living behind dumpsters. But when I drank, I didn’t have to see me. I was Casper the Ghost,” he says.

In February 2011, his health was failing and his face was a “bloody mess” from a beating he received on the streets. He hadn’t bathed or eaten much in three months and his entire family had long ago given up on him.

He’d had enough and came to Union Rescue Mission. “I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior and I signed up for my man card. I was 57 years old and I had to grow up and take responsibility for my life. I did everything He asked of me,” he says. And he did much more than the basics. He learned about responsibility and even reconnected with his siblings and renewed his wedding vows with his wife.

Everything in his life improved — except his health. That’s when doctors informed him he had cirrhosis.

“What’s my New Year’s wish?” he asks. “Sure, I want another chance at life. But what I really want is just to love on my family for as long as God gives me. I want to give back and love on people. I want to share the good news of Jesus Christ with them, because I’m so grateful for what God and Union Rescue Mission have done for me.”

New Years Wishes from the Street

For people experiencing homelessness, ringing in the New Year is not a celebration — it’s a painful reminder of their personal misery and the hopelessness they feel at not being able to do anything about it.

At Union Rescue Mission, however, we give these men and women the chance to hope and dream again. Your generosity gives hurting people the foundation they need to take their first steps toward a whole new life.

In this issue of The Mission, we celebrate and honor the hopes and dreams — and the courage — of the men and women at URM who choose to transform their lives in 2013.


Last year, I was living on the streets. But Union Rescue Mission completely changed my life. My dream for 2013 is to attend Pepperdine University’s Business Entrepreneur Program, and to attend Los Angeles Community College to study architecture. I want to be an architect —that’s been my life-long goal.

Todd, 46
Union Rescue Mission Christian Life Discipleship Program




I was a stay-at-home mom raising five kids when my husband decided to leave us. I didn’t have anywhere to live. I thank God He led us to Union Rescue Mission. Now I’m at Hope Gardens, and I know my kids and I have a future. My goal for 2013 is, first, to make sure my kids are stable. Then I want to go to college to study anesthesiology.

Raven, 34
Union Rescue Mission Hope Gardens Family Center




I was a drug addict for 43 years, but thanks to God I’m clean and sober today. I’ve lived a crazy life and I’ve written a book about it. In 2013, I hope my book is a blessing to people and I get the chance to travel the country promoting it. I also want to attend Hope International University so I can study the Bible and learn His Word.

Stanley, 58
Union Rescue Mission Apprenticeship Program

Things to Do Before Year End!

1. Make a Year-End Gift to Union Rescue Mission before Dec. 31

2. Visit our Gift Catalog at to give a gift to a guest at URM this holiday season

3. Get some info about volunteering by visiting or emailing

Wishing for Work

As 2012 comes to end, I can’t help but joyfully look back at all the transformed lives who’ve come through Union Rescue Mission, thanks to people who care — people like you. I think of all the men who overcame addictions, others who found new jobs, and mothers with new-found hope.

Yet plenty of challenges remain. Last summer, we were home to a record number of families, including an average of 165 children per night. I think of all the parents who need jobs. I think of all the men escaping the streets, but who now face the daunting task of finding work that offers a livable wage.

My New Year’s wish? Jobs. If people are going to escape homelessness, they must have jobs. In 2013, I’m looking forward to working with investors who will help us create new job opportunities for our men and women. Union Rescue Mission is in the business of saving lives. Heading into 2013, I pray that with the help of increasing numbers of generous people like you, we can make a real dent in the numbers of people experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles.


Rev. Andy Bales, CEO

4 thoughts on “The Mission Newsletter – December 2012

  1. Selina DuBerry on

    I read the testimony of many people lives that the Lord and the mission done help.I dont have no funds that i could give at this time, but i would like to offer my time in teaching the Word of God or just being a help. Please contact me at 818-488-9304.

  2. Nicole L. Feast-Williams on

    I met Raven on Thanksgiving Day. We volunteered that day and enjoyed meeting with everyone. I got a chance to visit with Raven and she is so positive and appreciated the visit. I hope and pray that Raven reaches her goal in 2013. My prayers are with her and her family this holiday season.

    Thank you,

    Nicole Williams

  3. kathy teixeira on

    Please, I would like to know the name of the book Stanley wrote and how to buy? Thank you, hope to be back soon to volunteer, what a blessing to see people I have met there(URM) while volunteering and seeing them achieve their life goals. God is so good!

    • josiah on

      Hello. The book stanley wrote is called “Stan…Stan the Hurricane Man”. Its a great book.

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